Stämpfli Express on the Move!
The Swiss are known as excellent skiers (duh!) and after the Alinghi’s spectacular win of the 2003 & 2007 America’s Cup, it’s clear that, though landlocked, the Swiss also know a thing or two about water sports. But extreme sailing is just the beginning. This time around the Swiss bring us the world’s longest rowing boat, awing athletes and spectators alike. At 144 feet, the Stämpfli Express seats 24 rowers, single file! It’s an eye catcher to be sure.
The Stämpfli Express was conceived of by 2001, and constructed by Stämpfli Racing Boats in Wollishofen, Switzerland. In August it was shipped to the U.S. in pieces, and this fall it will tour regattas up and down the east coast. The U.S. rowing community has received it with extreme enthusiasm, and already Olympic-level rowers have offered to hop in and give it a spin.
The Stämpfli’s maiden voyage, at least on this side of the Atlantic, was in North Carolina, rowed by members of the CHAOS rowing club (headed by Swiss expat Felix Mühlebach). But its first big public appearance was this past weekend in Washington D.C. at Head of Anacostia Regatta on Saturday, and Head of the Potomac on Sunday. Crowds gathered to witness this unusual sight. One spectator termed the boat the “centipede,” to the nodding agreement of those around him. Other comments overheard from the crowd include:
“Oh my gosh…”
“Wow, Wooow, Wooooooow!”
“This is sooooo cool,”
“24?! That’s our whole team!”
“24 people! Oh my god!”
“24 seats! No sh*t!”
“This is insane,”
and our personal favorite, “Imagine if they put 3 Olympic Eights in there… “
About that last one… we’re not there yet, but we accept the challenge. And it’s worth mentioning that we’ve come pretty close: at Head of the Potomac, 24 elite rowers (i.e. world champions and Olympians) stepped into the Stämpfli shell, settled into their seats, took their oars, and proceeded to expertly row down the river, oars perfectly in synch. Spectators on the riverbank stood at full attention at the impressive sight of Swiss precision in action. But see for yourself:
North Carolina and D.C. are just two of the Stämpfli Express’s many stops as part of the larger #swissnexontour. Coming up in mid October, as part of swissnex Boston’s 15 year anniversary, the boat (festively dotted with the swissnex logo) will be making an appearance on the green across from our office for close up viewing and the chance for interested spectators to stand at close proximity. Soon after the anniversary event, the Stämpfli will continue on to attend regattas throughout the U.S. East Coast. Read on to learn when and where you can witness this feat of Swiss engineering for yourself!
The Stämpfli Express in Boston
swissnex Boston’s 15th anniversary will be celebrated on October 9th, and as mentioned, the Stämpfli Express will be in attendance. From 2-5 PM, it will be displayed on the green in front of the Cambridge Public Library, just across the street from our office.
Visitors will have the chance to chat with Melchior Bürgin, father of the Stämpfli Express (and a rowing legend himself.) Our presenting partner, the Canton of Basel-Stadt, will also be there to quiz folks on Basel-based innovations through history—don’t be shy, the winner receives a trip to Switzerland!
For the creatives amongst you, there will also be a drawing contest… as mentioned, the Stämpfli Express is 144 feet – which is also the length of a grown blue whale and its baby. Or two school buses. Or a ten story building. Or….? You bring the ideas, we’ll take care of the pens and paper. Winner receives a fun prize and bragging rights. Chocolate will be made available to all.
A boat on display in a park is pretty cool, but a boat in the water is better. Be sure to visit the Head of the Q. Regatta that weekend, on October 11th. After the races, the Stämpfli Express will be taken out onto the Charles River. More info coming soon!
The Tour Plan*
*Agenda subject to change
- October 3/4: Head of the Ohio (Pittsburgh OH)
- October 9: swissnex Boston anniversary Event (Cambridge, MA), in cooperation with the Canton of Basel-Stadt. Come look at the Stämpfli Express right in front of swissnex Boston!
- October 11: Head of the Quionobequin (Cambridge, MA)
- October 17-18: Head of the Charles (Cambridge, MA)
- October 24-25: Head of the Schuylkill (Philadelphia, PA)
- November 7-8: Head of the Hooch (Chattanooga, TN)
- November 14: Head of the South (Augusta, GA)
Want to Give it a Try?
Are you a rower and interested in renting the Stämpfli Express for an outing with your club or your company? Get in touch with us here and we’ll see what we can do!