The Birth of the Riverside (now the Stan Pocock)
Stan Pocock Way Enough p 237
1968 was also the busiest year we ever had in the shop. During those eleven months we built 125 boats of all sizes – better than one every two working days. This included 47 eights. The largest volume that year was due, in part, to an order we received from the City of Long Beach, host to the Olympics Rowing Trials. These had been awarded to them after local promoters promised to supply all the equipment (with the exception of the eights and singles) for the competition.
That order for 30 boats, along with 96 oars and sculls, came after our already busy season was nearly complete. I did not want or need the work and tried to talk them out of it, saying that I though it a waste of money. They could just as easily borrow the equipment. They wouldn’t listen and ordered the boats anyway. (To prove that I had no need for the extra income earned from all the evenings and weekends of overtime. I invested it in some kind of tax shelter and lost most of it)
Those boats were to prove a boon to rowing in the Long Beach area. This was only because of an old timer Pete Archer. Pete had rowed and coached thereabouts for years, and was currently taking care of the rowing equipment for Cal State. After the trials he was hired by the city to maintain all the new city-owned boats and oars. He did it with a vengence, ruling that boathouse with an iron hand. Years later, I visited him there and found most of the boats still looking as though they had just come out of our shop. Remarkable under any circumstances, it was all the more so, considering that they rowed on saltwater, an environment notoriously tough on boats.
We were not asked to build any boats for the U.S. Team to use at the games in Mexico City. They must have been bought from someone. While there was enough time after the trials for any boats there to be trucked down, the City of Long Beach didn’t want theirs used. Though I never heard any complaints from the competitors who used those boats in the Trials, one thing was certain: the movement away from our boats had begun in earnest. One of the few, perhaps the only one, to be used in those Games was the coxless four belonging to the Canadians.
Some fine oarsmen showed up, among them …Bill Tytus (current president of Pocock Racing Shells and LWRC coach.
When I asked Steve Chapin for the tail number on the Riverside, he replied
Just as I had expected, there is no Hull ID Number on the Riverside. But the numbers “1968” are indeed there on the aft bulkhead. There’s also the number “6” above it.