|Date: Thu, 4 Sep 2008|
Subject: Pocock pictures
Here are a couple pictures of my new boat you can add to the fleet. It'sthe absolutely perfect '73 standard from Bellevue I mentioned last week.See attachments and story below.
"Sugar", a 1973 Pocock Standard
I am the proud owner of a lovely Pocock single, made by George himself. It is my everyday boat 2-3 times a week on the Willamette River in Portland.
At a regatta last summer I spoke with a nice gal from Seattle who had a beautiful wooden double. I complimented her boat and whined about how I wished I could have a single that fit me (I unwittingly restored a Pocock flyweight- I'm 190 lbs, see Blakeley). She told me about a flyer for a Pocock standard on her club bulletin board.
Taking a family vacation the next weekend, we stopped by the George Pocock Rowing Foundation to see the flyer. It described a "1973 single, in storage since 1977, clean, sound and tight - time capsule condition, with matching tulip sculls." I called the number and spoke with the original owner, David Warren, and set up an appointment on our return thru town.
The boat was hanging from the ceiling in his mom's basement in Bellevue just east of Seattle. The riggers, oars, foot stretchers and sliding seat lay on a shelf nearby. My daughter Jesse and I gently lowered it down onto some old cushions. The nearby window left faint "tan lines" from the slings on the otherwise flawless finish. There was no bow clip, was it never raced? The decks were original and perfect. It seemed completely original down to the perfect black shoelaces on the leather clogs. The back of the foot stretcher was signed by George Pocock. Later, David produced a hand written letter from George which confirmed the boat order and assured that; "Rowing one of these is the most beautiful of pastimes. It clears the head of cobwebs and the thrill of it makes living a delight. I speak with authority as my dad put me in one when I was 12 years old and now at 81 I still get a kick from sculling one." I was flabbergasted. I was in love. I had to have it.
Problem was, David's pals at the rowing club had urged him to get at least $8-10k for his museum quality boat, and I didn't have that kind of money. I agreed it was worth it, wished him luck, offered $3500, and left my number. The house was being sold, everything had to go. Maybe I had a chance? I could be patient, really. Still on vacation, we displayed the Blakeley at the Lake Union Wooden Boat Festival, then we went home to Portland and back to work. After a few weeks at home I email David to ask; "Have you sold the boat?" - "Not yet, but we sold mom's house." Weeks passed, I emailed; "Have you sold the boat?" "Not yet, check with me next week, we're closing escrow." I was in agony, couldn't sleep. Finally, the new owners of the Bellevue house were about to move in, the boat hanging in the basement had to go. David relented and sold me his boat.
Early the next morning I drove back up to Bellevue, and carried the boat into the sunlight for the first time in 31 years. In Portland, after showing it off to my coach, I took it directly to the river for a row. It was beautiful. I promised David to take excellent care of his boat and he could borrow it anytime he was visiting Portland.
It's been about 9 months now. We took the 2 cedar speeders camping on Waldo Lake last fall, a big natural lake high in the Cascades. Then lots of practice time with my masters club here in town, raced it in The Row for the Cure, got 2nd place. I didn't row it in mid winter when the rising river was carrying lots of debris, but quite a bit in the last couple months. Last week I gave the hull a good wet sanding and laid on a fresh coat of varnish, not because it needed it, but simply to give something back.
David had never given the boat a name. I call her Sugar, for my wife, who is so sweet to me and lets me have my obsessions.
Dan Pence, Portland, OR
Pence - an older single
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