Almost everyone who had participated in organized
rowing has develop as awareness of the presence
of a nearby eyes looking at you individually.
The natural result was to try a little harder
to do what was expected, add little oomph
to the effort and hope for the approbation
that rarely came. So the launch has been the
symbol of coaching and training.
But even at the late date of M.I.T. entering
the rowing fraternity launches not a common
presence, even for the "first" crews
let alone those of lesser importance.
The first coaching was accomplished either
from the float or dock, sometimes from a nearby
point of shore where the coach could view
a shell coming and going using a megaphone
for instruction followed by a critique session
after practice. This was the practice of William
O'Leary, Pat Manning and Artie Stevens. It
is not known whether on either side of the
Charles there were any stretches where the
English practice of following a crew on a
bicycle was possible, at least the fact has
not been mentioned anywhere. But O'Leary at
Union and Stevens at BAA were competent scullers
and as such could stay with a crew at a moderate
stroke although the attention afforded and
the competence of the coaching might be questioned.
Being in a suitable position for coaching
might be questioned. Being in a suitable position
for coaching on the water on the water has
always been a difficult problem that was only
particularly solved by the development of
powered craft. It was a fortunate crew that
had a coach close by for on-the-spot supervision
rather that after-the-fact reflection.
The first powered craft were steam launches
and quite beyond the financial reach of any
except the more affluent organizations and
not a part of the earliest Tech rowing experience.
Marine Internal Combustion engines were wither
small "one lungers" or in larger
sizes very heavy and slow speed for their
power output. The first launch at Tech was
a low powered tub borrowed by Artie Stevens
and must have been of very limited value although
it did provide a viewing position on the water.
Then a student, H.L. Dallas '24 made available
his family's launch for a stint at the job.
In 1922 Henry Morse '93 provided a launch
to round out the growing inventory of rowing
facilities, probably the "Wolf",
the first real qualified coaching launch which
was perhaps better suited to that work than
many others used up to the present time. At
least in embodied many of the features best
suited to its purpose, -- long and wide enough
to be maneuverable and speed to overtake a
shell. It had a cockpit forward of the engine
where a coach could, while seated, rest his
elbows and megaphone on the deck and devote
his full attention to his work. With the engine,
a six cylinder automotive type but made for
marine performance, located behind him he
was free of some of the interfering noise.
A driver behind the engine could see all around
him in full control of his boat and yet get
all directions from the coach. In the stern
was an open cockpit large enough to carry
several dignitaries, spare oarsmen, spare
oars or anything else that might be needed
for the occasion, even to a girlfriend once
in a while. This launch was operated for most
of its Tech life by a good friend of the sport
Charlie Peterson, a member of the Institute
maintenance staff assigned to the boathouse
for as much time as required and the driver
and maintenance charged to the Athletic Association.
In 1925, a second launch was hired, and later
acquired, which was named the "Spirit"
but more commonly referred to as the Wolf
Pup. In contrast to the Wolf, it was a far
less desirable craft, lacking many of the
features that made the Wolf so superior, not
having a forward cockpit or room for passengers
and was narrow and unstable. But it could
overtake a crew if its load was light and
enabled another an assistant coach a working