Sequim’s boy in the boat

MAC Pocock boat 2

There’s a best selling book called “The Boys in The Boat” by Daniel James Brown. Here’s a link to a short YouTube video about it. It’s a wonderful book about an improbable group of young men, a crew team from University of Washington, and their quest for gold at the Berlin Olympics in 1936. One of the team, Joe Rantz, came from Sequim (shown in the video and described as a “small dusty town”). Our local Museum and Arts Center (MAC) currently has an exhibit on “The Boys in the Boat,” including a smaller version of their rowing shell and memorabilia contributed by Joe Rantz’s family. The shell, Working Girl, designed and built by George Yeoman Pocock, is shown above.

MAC Pocock boat

Pocock revolutionized rowing shells by fitting together two long, single planks rather than multiple narrow strakes, or planks, creating lighter, more streamlined vessels. Working Girl has four positions; the University of Washington Pocock shell had eight.

MAC Rantz passport

In addition to the rowing shell, the exhibit includes copies of some of Rantz’s travel documents and high school keepsakes. My favorite personal item was a postcard Rantz sent his father: “Dear Pa, Here is a view of the finish of the race course where the world championship race takes place next week. By the time you get this I’ll either be chump or champ.”

MAC view

The MAC is a small museum but it’s got a little bit of everything, including art, an exhibit on the local S’Klallam tribe, information about Sequim’s famous mastodon, and more. Tomorrow I’ll tell you about MAC’s Friday duck celebrity.

8 thoughts on “Sequim’s boy in the boat”

  1. What a fascinating story and a fascinating museum. I was rather new to the world back when all this took place! 🙂 Sometimes I think the smaller museums are more fun.

  2. I placed a hold on the ‘Boys in the Boat’ a few months ago, and I’m patiently waiting my turn. Last I checked, at least a couple dozen other holds are in front of me. Very popular book in Sarasota. Have you read it? Your post has me excited. I’ll definitely remember Joe Rantz whenever I finally read the book. Cool Sequim connection!

  3. I am definitely going to look into the Boys in a Boat. I’ve never heard of that story, but sounds interesting especially with the Berlin ties.

  4. It is very exciting to see this post! As you know I loved the book and find all the information about Sequim’s favorite son fascinating and interesting. I especially enjoyed the postcard!
    What a wonderful place to visit! I have another boat book to recommend to you: Dead Wake by Erik Larson, about the sinking of the Lusitania. Beautifully researched with a compelling writing style.

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