Photo by Ted Springstead
|Small Wonder is the first eight built for small women.|
About 1985 Stan Pocock and Frank Cunningham were concerned that, with more women rowing, there were no boats build to fit them. There were a few boats built for lightweight men but most of the boats were built for men 6'-4" tall and weighing 200 pounds. Women trying to row these big shells looked like "chipmunks on a log" according to Frank.
So Frank and Stan built a small eight-oared shell for women made from parts of two fours and a two seat section made for a sectional eight so all ten members of the team could row at once - but that's another story.
|The boat Frank and Stan built for women was ten percent smaller in every dimension - 54 feet long, short stations, even the oars were cut down. A contest was announced to choose the name, "Small Wonder" being the winner.|
For a short time in the late 1980s and early 1990's several crews, known as "Frank's Little Women" rowed Small Wonder with considerable success - enough that Charlie McIntyre formed a group of tall women known as "Those Big Gals" (TBGs) to compete.
Soon, with considerable help from Title 9, there were many boats built for women and Small Wonder was seldom used and the boat was donated to the Wooden boat Foundation in Port Townsend. It's a little heavy but, as Stan says, 'Once you get it going, it's like a truck going down hill."
Rowed by the Port Townsend Tuf As Nails, it "looks like a mens eight" according to Frank as opposed to "chipmunks on a log" - a high complement indeed.
Here are a couple of photos Ted Springstead took on Saturday at Wooden BoatFestival--Tuf As Nails in the "Small Wonder." In the one with Mt. Baker inthe background, you can see Steve Chapin in the "Legacy" behind DianeVanDerbeek and Jim Whittaker in the Junaluska. What an incredible day!