Touring Belgium by rowing boat
27/06/2012 - 15:17:00
It may be a month to go until the Olympic Games, but let’s take a minute to remember the beauty of the recreational side of rowing, just as 60 rowers from around the world did recently.
The 2012 FISA World Rowing Tour of Belgium attracted rowers from 15 nations, mainly European countries, but with some from as far afield as Australia, Canada, United States and Japan. Covering 180km of Belgian waterways, the rowers spent a week covering about 30km a day.
As is standard on FISA Tours, rowers used recreational four-person sculling boats with coxswain. The participants rotated through the boats and also took turns at coxing.
The Tour began in Oostende then travelled to Beernem, then on to Gent with the last two stops being Oudenaarde and Tournai.
“One of the highlights,” said organiser Gwenda Stevens, “ was the welcome in the City Hall of Gent with the Alderman Christophe Peeters and of course the closing ceremony at Saturday evening in the rowing club Koninklijke Roeivereniging Sport Gent.”
Stevens noted that there was very little that was difficult in rowing the waterways with the only potential tricky bit being getting in and out of boats. “We don’t have so many nice pontoons,” commented Stevens, “but everyone helped each other so that went very well.”
“When I first saw the 60 rowers in the lobby of the hotel in Oostende I was thinking, ‘Oh my God, what have I done to organise this huge group,” said Stevens. “But after a few hours I knew this would be a great tour with a lot of new FISA friends. And it has ended as I hoped; with great, nice and enthusiastic new rowing friends, all very happy about the Belgian Tour.”
Many of the participants had already completed a FISA Tour and despite the first day handing out cold and windy May weather, each day after that got warmer.
This year there are two FISA Tours. The next one will take place on the French River in Sudbury, Ontario from 25 August – 1 September, 2012.
The FISA World Rowing Tour has been organised annually since 1971 with the idea of combining tourism and rowing. It is designed to suit all ages and nationalities.