One day in 1993 I sold my first 1x rowing boat, a Coffey, which I had bought from a woman in Indiana. A 1x (or single), in rowing parlance, is a single scull rowing boat for one rower using two oars. I had a dream of rowing in the Olympics. I had just finished grad school in Germany and came home to live in Indiana with my folks trying to get my bearings (and some of Mom’s home cooking).
I soon left for Virginia to train on the Occoquan. The Coffey 1x had floats you could attach to the riggers to keep from flipping. I had never sculled before so the floats came in handy (I rowed sweep, or crew, in College, in big boats with four or eight crew members each with one oar). I’m sure people thought I looked ridiculous rowing with floaties on my riggers.
My enthusiasm eclipsed my shame.
Once I got the hang of rowing a single, more or less, I bought a Van Dusen with a loan from my Mom (the banks would not loan to someone with no money, come to find out). I sold my boat (the Coffey) to a guy who bought it from me down at Sandy Run Regional Park on the Occoquan. I never gave it another thought. With that transaction, I was off to chase my dream in earnest in my brand new, candy red Van Dusen.
Fast forward to somewhere around 2020 before Covid hit. I’m stroking the men’s 8 for the Alexandria Community Rowing Men’s 5 day rowing program down at the Dee Campbell Rowing Center in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. We’re coming back in to the dock, and the guy sitting in 7 seat behind me, Tom Fannon (of Thomas J. Fannon & Sons), starts talking about the Coffey 1x he likes to row up at his lake house in New York. I perked up and proclaimed I used to have a Coffey 1x I bought in Indiana right before I came to Virginia and started rowing on the Occoquan!
Turns out Tom Fannon had my boat all this time, since 1993, or 1994, and now we were teammates just connecting the dots! The pictures below are from this summer, 2023, when Tom brought the boat back down from New York. I was able to confirm that the boat was indeed the one I sold to him back in 1993 as it still has the Sandy Run sticker on it along with my name.
Just one of the many reasons I love rowing. It’s a small world with lots of great people in it.
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