It was when he tried to talk about “the boat” that his words began to falter and tears welled up in his bright eyes. – The Boys in the Boat
The Monarch Boat Club of Eton College dates back to the 1790s. It is here that Aaron Frederick Pocock passed the art of building racing shells to his son George, a champion sculler. Using his prize money, George followed a dream to the Pacific Northwest, where he arrived with $20 in his pocket.
From these humble beginnings he went on to build a racing dynasty. Pocock shells dominated consecutive Olympics with 21 gold medals – from 1920 to 1964 – including 1936 Berlin Olympics immortalized in bestseller The Boys in the Boat. From its Lake Washington home, the name Pocock became synonymous with national and international championship rowing – even to this day.
In the 1968 Olympics, Pocock’s wooden shells were replaced by fiberglass boats, mass produced overseas. The U.S. team didn’t win another gold medal for 20 years. Western red cedar, sugar pine, Sitka spruce and Alaska yellow cedar gave way to fiberglass, carbon fiber, and now Hypercarbon™
As racing clubs upgraded, the high-maintenance cedar shells were shuffled to the back of the boathouse, and out the door in search of a good home.
For many of them, that home is Rat Island Rowing and Sculling Club of Port Townsend. These classic cedar shells are kept alongside our fiberglass shells, where they’re lovingly maintained and actively used by rowers of all ages.