Guy Harper –
The Quinault shell is the very Pocock boat that started my own interest in the rowing club at Port Townsend. I had taken my wife, Pam, to a local quilt show and since we were early, I said we should go to the marina and look around. In front of the white house was a shell…and I told Pam that I rowed in a shell just like this and believed the name of it was Quinault.
She looked at the bow and saw the same name…and it was a pivotal moment for me in bringing back lots of memories. In fact, we rowed that very shell at the Nationals back east when we won the race as Freshmen in 1951…I put many hours in that stroke seat when rowing on Lake Washington!
So, I went into the office and inquired about the use of the shell and was advised that it was not being rowed as there were no oars. Upon arriving back in Seattle, I called Frank Cunningham who was very kind to donate a complete set of Crocker oars! Jim Buckley picked them up and took them to the rowing meeting that night…and he can relate the “rest of the story” as they say. It certainly was the start of a major rowing program which prompted me to drive to Oregon and pick up a few more free Pocock shells…and so the story continues.
– Guy Harper
Jim Buckley –
What we know about the Quinault is this. Stan Pocock thought the boat was built about 1949 as a “bat boat” – the double hull to add strength and durability to boats built for Navy’s interbattalion rowing program.
Not all the “bat” boats went to Navy, however. The Quinault was apparently built for the University of Washington.
Guy Harper (UW Crew ’54) rowed stroke in the Quinault when his freshman crew beat “The Great Eight” Navy crew. Navy went on to win the 1952 Olympic Gold at Helsinki -and remained unbeaten for their next 23 starts.
Heavy as it is with it’s double hull, Stan Pocock quipped, “Once you get it going it’s like a truck going down hill.”
– Jim Buckley
Steve Chapin –
The Quinault was later in the Western Washington University fleet where violin maker Ole Kanestrom rowed it in the 1970′s. From there it wound up in the Everett Juniors program, was judged too old and heavy for the Juniors and was donated to the Rat Island Rowing Club where it became the club’s flag ship – and literally the only rowing shell we had for our entire first year (1998.)
“It attracted attention and got friends together who started rowing,” said Steve Chapin, a local shipwright who started the club in 1998 with Ole and a group of other rowers. – Jennifer Jackson Peninsula Daily News
Wooden Boat Festival 2015
Boats bring people together in really good ways. The weekend cemented old friendships and opened up new ones.. But on Saturday a gentleman wandered into the boathouse and was shocked to see the Quinault. The same thing had happened to Guy Harper 10 years earlier.
Turns out Gordon Hardy (seat 5) and Guy Harper (stroke) had rowed the Quinault to victory over an undefeated Navy in the 1951 nationals. I gave them each other’s emails – they hadn’t spoken since college….over 50 years ago. They had lots of catching up to do!
From Guy Harper:
Here’s a better picture of that really fine UW 1951 Freshman crew…the only one to beat the Navy crew during those four years!
It is really too bad that Al (Ulbrickson) did not us allow to continue with this line up as I contribute all his personnel changes, right up to the day before the race as the reason we lost to Navy…otherwise, we might have been receiving the Olympic Gold medal later that year.
Here are Guy’s recollections of the race:
From Guy Harper Class of ’54:
It was 1951 and our Freshman year at the UW. The team that competed in the IRA at Marietta, Ohio that year, included cox Bob Witter, Stroke Guy Harper, 7 Keith Reilly, 6 Gordon Hardy, 5 Ted Frost, 4 Ivar Birkeland, 3 Skip John, 2 Roland Camfield, Bow Jim Howay.
The morning of June 16, 1951 was windy with the Ohio River clogged with all sorts of wood and logs that came down stream from the recent rain storms up river. The Frosh race was first however the Navy boat sank and our race was rerun later that day. The Navy Plebes were so good, that they beat their Varsity boat–so it was thought that Rusty Callow had the boat of his dreams. When our race started, we were behind several boats and Stan Pocock, following in a coaching launch, says his heart just sank–to the point that he didn’t want to watch the race and turned away. Half way through, however, George Pocock turned to him and advised that we were picking off the other shells one by one and that he may want to watch!
One by one Bob Witter, the cox, passed the other boats. We crossed the finish line first, followed by MIT and then Navy. The Frosh boat was the only Washington winner that year at the IRA Regatta. Stan was really delighted and he was the only crew coach that had never lost a race–with a 10 to 0 record! It was a most enjoyable return to Seattle with lots of newspaper articles.
We continue to enjoy the sport of rowing even to this day. In 1988, several of us formed the Ancient Mariner Rowing Club. This group attends races on the West Coast including Canada and has won several gold medals for their efforts. Together with several other rowing clubs, The Pocock Rowing Center was built. Today, many rowers of all ages and levels enjoy this fine facility. It is one of the finest sports ever created–thanks to the Pococks!
Guy Harper Seattle, Washington December 16, 2003
Well, might as well bring back a few other memories with some more photos. We sure had lots of fun!