The Arts of Rowing and Training, with an appendix containing the laws of boat-racing, etc., by Argonaut . - Brickwood Argonaut

1866 - Horace Cox, 346 - First Edition
A near fine and rare first edition of ‘in all probability the earliest comprehensive work on the technique of rowing’. It was written to supply “the want of a concise, yet withal comprehensive, manual on boat-racing”. Only one previous writer, says the preface, had “been found willing to bequeath to his successors the results of his observation and the fruits of his experience; and even he, if I am not mistaken, excelled rather as a coxswain than as an oarsman”. The reference is probably to A. T. Shadwell.

The contents, which “
embody the precepts which have of late contributed to the repeated successes of the Oxford University crew”, are arranged in 2 parts. Part I, “Rowing”, includes chapters on boats and their fittings, the art of rowing, coaching, steering, sculling, examples of form and style, and the conduct of regattas. The chapters on coaching deplore the contemporary sacrifice of form to pace. The chapter on boats gives an interesting account of the development of outrigged boats and a table of dimensions and prices.

In Part II, “Training”, running before breakfast is condemned, meat should be “just done to a turn, as it is called, not blue or half raw”, and the author expresses his opinion that a limited amount of smoking should be permitted except in exceptional cases.’ No raw vegetables or green tea, but make sure to have a beer with lunch (p. 133-134).
 
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Price HK$ 11,000



Boat Racing: or The Arts of Rowing and Training - Edwin Dampier Brickwood (Amateur Ex-Champion of The Thames)

1876 - Horace Cox, 346 Strand - New Edition
Fine example of the rare second edition of ‘the earliest comprehensive work on the technique of rowing’ which adds the wonderful albumen photograph of an elegantly calm Henley and has been expanded with alterations bringing it up to date with the addition of historical matter. The most important being the invention and acceptance of the sliding seat between the first edition of 1866 and this second edition of 1876.

The introduction comments on the marked decline in the popularity of professional rowing, except on the Tyne. On the other hand, the crowds ‘have taken to the University boat race, which, for obvious reasons, would be more likely to prove attractive to the middle and upper classes’. A great improvement is noted in the art of rowing and an increase in its popularity. ‘Twenty years ago’. says the author, ‘there was not one regatta in England where there are now a score, and... good oarsmanship is not confined to the male sex. The art of training has been rescued from the depth of empiricism in which it was too long suffered to dwell, and in which the ignorant prejudices of illiterate professionals, who at one time usurped the coaching amateurs, purposely kept it. At the present time it is conducted on the principles of common sense and hygiene, and so far from being a mystery is now nothing more nor less than an adhesion to a few simple rules’. On the other hand, coaching has been needlessly surrounded with ‘humbug and bewildering technicalities’, and ‘form, perhaps has not improved, but better things may be hoped for, as the use of the new tools becomes familiar.’
 
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Price HK$ 10,000



Some Secrets of Successful Rowing. Including: A System of Training for a Boat Club and an exposure of the Errors of "Orthodoxy." - Steve Fairbairn

1930 - Sporting Handbooks Limited, London - First Edition
‘The object of this book is to get more oarsmen to think for themselves… look into the principles… and to settle for himself what is right.’

An increasingly rare and near fine first edition of one of Steve Fairbairn's classic titles on rowing techniques and training.
 
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Price HK$ 2,800



1870 - Deighton, Cambridge - First Edition
A near fine copy in original publishers blue and illustrated gilt covers of what is believed to be the earliest rowing history book (Meehan & Nisonger). Complete with five engraved maps of the racing courses, three of which are folding.

An account is given of each race, together with the names and weights of oarsmen, followed by a short biographical notices. During the later years, extracts relative to the period of training are given from the club log-books. The last ten pages of the chronicle are devoted to the Oxford and Harvard four-oared race of 1869. MacMichael (12st. 4lb) rowed in the 1868 and 1869 Cambridge boat (both won by Oxford, by six and three lengths respectively), Downing College had to wait until 1962 for their next rowing blue.
 
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Price HK$ 2,800



Practical Boat Building for Amateurs - Adrian Neison C.E.

1878 - &ldquo, London - First Edition
A scarce work in first edition, which became very popular and was later expanded and edited by Dixon Kemp. One of the earliest books to provide the designs and details of MacGregor’s ‘Rob Roy’ canoe.

As described in the title, chapters cover -
Designing; Tools and Materials; Punts; Skiffs; The Rob Roy Canoe; The Sailing Boat; and Canoes - Canadian Bateaux–Canvas Canoe–Shooting Punt.

Illustrated throughout with vignettes, plans and diagrams.
 
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Price HK$ 2,000



Canoe Errant, Canoe Errant On The Nile, Canoe Errant On The Mississippi, Canoe to Mandalay, Canoe in Australia. - Major R. Raven-Hart

1935 to 1948 - Various, Various - First editions, Canoe Errant is ‘the first of Major Raven-Hart’s books on his canoe trips throughout the world. He had survived World War I with impaired health, had little money, and wished to see Europe, especially those parts of it not yet spoiled by tourists. One day in 1928 he saw two German’s assembling and launching a folding canoe on the Seine below his home in Herblay. After chatting with them, he bought one, named her Couer Fidele (the family motto), made some experimental trips, and, in 1930, began serious voyaging. He tells of cruises in the spring, summer and autumn of each year through 1934. By the latter year, having travelled many of the rivers of France and Germany, he went down the Danube to Budapest and then cruised Dalmatian waters.

These are the first five books by Major Raven-Hart taking him canoeing across the world, from the Irrawaddy to the Murrumbidgee, the Mississippi to the Wadi Halfa. His books contain adventures, views on customs and languages and historical insights throughout.
 
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Price HK$ 2,800



Record of the University Boat Race, 1829-1880 and of the Commemoration Dinner 1881 - George G. T. Treherne, J. H. D. Goldie

1883 - Bickers &, London - First Edition
James Neville McQueen’s own copy. McQueen (page 83) rowed bow in the 1860 Oxford crew, and according to Goldie ‘a better race than that of 1860 has seldom been seen’ (page 173).

Finely bound and illustrated with two large and beautiful engraved plates -
A Boat-race on the Cam in 1838, and The Oxford Boat in 1829, as well a facsimile of The Card of the Invitation to Dinner, a Plan of the Tables, and two vignettes titled The Old Style and The New Style. A copy of the ornate and decorated original letter press Menu is also tipped in.

‘The account of the dinner is followed by verbatim reports of the speeches, the text of two odes on the jubilee of the race, and alphabetical lists of Blues. The analytical appendices include summaries of the races, and lists of the schools, colleges, academic and athletic honours and subsequent professions of the oarsmen and coxswains. No less than 188 of 285 took Holy Orders.

Pages 131 to 201,
Old Blues and Their Battles, give a detailed account of each race by W. B. Woodgate, slightly altered by the compilers.’ – Brittain, Oar, Scull & Rudder . 
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Price HK$ 4,500