Leonard takes to rowing like duck to water

Tom Leonard stands near the water in this undated photo. (Contributed photo)

By Rebecca Jones, special to the News-Times

BEAUFORT — When Thomas Leonard moved to Carteret County in October 2016, he was looking for a way to meet new people and to get a little exercise. Nelson and Patty Owens introduced him to a group called The Oars. The Beaufort Oars is a community based, traditional rowing club that encourages enjoyment on the water, social activity and exercise. Thomas says they are also known to enjoy a few beers after rowing. They try to row Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings and on Sunday morning.

Thomas was a little apprehensive the first time since he had never rowed before, but it turned out to be fairly easy. The group currently rows two 34-foot Crestwood Gigs. The gigs are docked at the marina on Gallants Channel, and they row from there to Taylors Creek along Front Street in Beaufort. Most trips take about an hour, but sometimes they take longer trips on Sunday morning.

The skill of rowing is easy to pick up. Once you learn the commands and get the timing down, you are set. The only thing they warn you about is catching a “crab” which is when you leave your oar in the water too long and get pushed off the seat.

Thomas says, “Experience is a great teacher! Anyone can come out and try it a few times. If they like it you can join the Friends of the Maritime Museum and The Oars. Most people who row are in their 50s and 60s, but all ages are welcome.” The Oars also usually participate in the Pirate Invasion and the Christmas Festival of Lights.

 If you would like try out the Oars, Thomas encourages you to check out their website:   https://maritimefriends.org/membership-support/community-clubs/beaufort-oars-rowing-club/ . If you would like to try out, just show up. No experience is required and volunteer leaders are there to help.

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