We talk about falling in love with rowing, but it’s possible too that you may fall in love while rowing! At least, that’s what happened to Jeff Ellison and Rachel Galbraith, two rowers I inadvertently led to each other even though they lived in different countries.
Besides wanting to stay active, Jeff Ellison got into rowing to meet girls. It worked. After rowing and coaching for 38 years at the Duluth Rowing Club, he agreed to coach at Craftsbury Outdoor Center in Vermont in September of 2015.
Rachel Galbraith started rowing through a learn-to-row course after she moved from London to Henley in 2014. When I was at the club in Henley-on-Thames, Rachel sought my advice on great rowing camps. She was a novice sculler and wanted to improve her skills as a rower and also to gain experience to join a Rowing The World trip, which she hopes to do in the future. Because I had had wonderful experiences honing my sculling there, I recommended Craftsbury.
The first rowing camp in North America, the Craftsbury Sculling Center, part of the Craftsbury Outdoor Center, remains one of the definitive training locations and experiences for scullers worldwide. It is situated on a gorgeous lake in the small town of Craftsbury Common, Vermont.
In a fortuitous stroke of luck, Rachel ended up attending the week Jeff was coaching. Jeff and Rachel had already fallen in love with rowing. At Craftsbury, they started to fall deeply in love with each other while rowing. After camp ended, they Skyped each other to stay in touch, and took turns travelling between the US and the UK until Jeff moved to Henley in October 2016, following another trip to Craftsbury in September.
Since then, Jeff has been rowing and coaching at Henley Rowing Club in Henley-on-Thames. Future rower baby Poppy arrived August 2017, and in April 2018, Rachel and Jeff are getting married.
“The willingness of your clients to try new experiences while rowing the world is giving them an opportunity to meet their special someone,” Jeff says. “We both feel strongly that our openness to new experiences, new people and new places led to our happiness as a family.”
Rachel says “Poppy was born August 17, 2017 and we are getting married in April so yes I’m very thankful to you for recommending Craftsbury. That club made me a better rower, a mother, and now, soon to be, a wife.”
Jeff wrote to tell me their story, adding “Thanks so much for bringing the two of us together!” I’d like to thank you, Jeff and Rachel, for sharing your rowing love story.