Tag: rowing

Today I capsized on a single…

Manuel Marques February 2, 2013 1 Comment Uncategorized , ,

… but I did it deliberately! šŸ™‚ Apparently for security & insurance purposes British Rowing has some guidelines on simulated capsizing drills the clubs must do with every new member. Here at the University’s boat club they hosted it on a public pool: we had to do a 15-second underwater breath test, swim two lanes and finally capsize a single (they brought two singles to the pool, it was quite a sight to have two rowing boats right in the middle of the pool! :P).

It was quite interesting, and I managed to learn a few things (even though I’ve already capsized twice in the whole of my rowing life – both them unintentionally and in one of them the water wasn’t as nice as the one in the pool! :P). Apparently one has to double-tap the boat hull (to signal others you’re still down there and trying to set yourself free, I suppose), and when resurfacing it is important to hold one’s arm above the head in order to prevent injuries, should one hit the head on the boat’s rigger (I found this quite important, I had never thought about it!).

And tomorrow, finally: a rowing outing!

Manuel Marques January 25, 2013 No Comments Uncategorized ,

It has definitely been a while since I last rowed in the UK… Thankfully, I still trained a bit whilst in Portugal, therefore I reckon it is not going to be too bad tomorrow morning! šŸ™‚

The big problem: I have to (partially) cycle to the boathouse! It wouldn’t be that much of a problem if it wasn’t 10 miles away on hilly terrain with strong winds against me, though. Oh well, one has to endure certain sacrifices in order to get one’s rewards, right? šŸ˜‰

Vistas do Porto (Oporto views), circa 1989

Manuel Marques December 8, 2012 No Comments Uncategorized , , ,

This is an old video I digitised a while ago from a pile of my grandfather’s old Betamax tapes. I think Vivaldi’s Four Seasons (Winter) is the perfect soundtrack for such a dramatic landscape!
(and note the two rowers on the double-scull – my old grandfather’s Sony camcorder has quite a good zoom, as you can even see the colour of their blades šŸ™‚ )

Updates, or why I haven’t posted anything in the past weeks.

Manuel Marques September 19, 2012 No Comments Uncategorized , , ,

Well, let’s see… first there was the MSc dissertation and its numerous corrections & over-deadline edits (I don’t recommend that to anyone, by the way).

Oh, but wait, there’s more… before that, I had one very busy week mentoring high school students in a Robotics project integrated into the activities of the Physics Summer School for high school students (year 10 to 12…). It went OK (it is my third time coordinating the project), but it is *very* time-consuming and demanding (both physically and mentally).

Add to the mix some very regular marathon training (a friend of mine at my rowing club managed to convince me to sign up for the Oporto marathon, even though I still don’t know whether I’ll be in the country by then – more on that later), and you can imagine that with all of this (our trainings oscillate between 1h-1h30 run sessions and some weights) there isn’t that much time left.

MM, the strokeman

But there is always time for a Douro river descent! (of course!) This year we started in Caldas de Aregos, a bit upstream from Carrapatelo dam (approx. 10 km), and in total we covered 66 km in two days, using our old, battered but always fit for the job 8-Yolle. Almost perfect weather (a bit on the hot side, but we rowed mostly in the mornings & evenings, and also a bit windy, but the Yolle can take it all with ease!), and everything went smoothly apart from the night camping at Melres – apparently all people with tuned cars and loud music within a 20 km radius seemed to have converged to that particular river beach that night, and it was long after 4 AM that they either fell asleep or drove somewhere else. And our senior coach had no problem in waking us up at 700 for us to move and get the boat ready! šŸ™‚

Since I came back from England, I’ve been rowing a lot, spending some time with my friends and family, all things that I missed while being 2000 km away in that green corner of England. However, it seems that I will probably miss all those things again in the near future, because one of my PhD prospects (so far, the only one confirmed) involves a full 3-year stay at Kent. Honestly I am very inclined to take it, but it is very hard to leave Porto just 2 months after I got back home – my friends, my family, my beloved Douro river, the lovely climate all year round (even those chilly mornings in January have their charm!), all that weigh hard on the other side of the scale. But one must follow what is good for him, and it may not be the easy, comfy option (almost never is!).

So now I am facing a return to Kent in perhaps one month’s time. But first there are still some loose ends to tie, namely my Master’s degree – the dissertation was (finally!) submitted last Friday, but there is still a lot to be done.

Let us see what the future holds. Like we say in Portuguese, “vamos indo e vamos vendo“!…

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