The 22nd Adventure Club Podcast: Rowing to Memmert & Dinner Afterwards

We’re now at the most important moment of the book, and the section that could be claimed to have secured the reputation of ‘The Riddle of the Sands’ as one of the greatest British adventure novels of all time. It’s the row to the island of Memmert in a thick fog on October 22: a fantastic feat of navigation and physical strength by our two heroes, Carruthers and Davies.

But can it actually be done? And what of the dinner afterwards at the Dollmans on the Schwannallee in Norderney? This podcast covers amazing feats of dinghy rowing, bird wardens, the holiday exploits of Chancellor von Bülow, and German (and Norwegian) dinner parties.

First up, we explain again why you should be supporting our efforts to create a brand new Handbook Edition of our favourite book, all yours for just £25 with Field Audiobook and an online adventure thrown in for free.  Full details at (01:44)

Tim notCarruthers consults the maps, the text and Yahoo Answers, then does the maths (in a very rough way) and concludes that the row to Memmert is probably a very tall tale indeed(05:30). He goes on to discuss real-life ocean rowers Harbo and Samuelsen (13:20), and the larger-than-life John Fairfax (15:33).

Harbo & Samuelsen

Lloyd NotDavies evaluates our chances of making it to Memmert at all on a real adventure next year (20:20), and talks about the only people to have lived on the islands in the last 100 years  – a strange family of bird wardens and rabbit hunters (21:07).

We then go in search of the Schwannallee and find only the Bülowallee (27:18). Much talk about Schwann the physicist, and Bülow the Chancellor, with speculation about Norderney as a place for ‘all-male gatherings’(30:58). We sit down to dinner and consider what kind of meal would be had in 1898 (36:07), rediscovering ‘Babette’s Feast’ along the way (37:28), and enjoying Germany’s funniest ever TV comedy sketch to boot (40:24).

Club Business. Inspired by talk of foghorns in a previous podcast, John tells us about ‘The Hornster’ (45:10); Gordon wants to know more about McMullen’s  ‘Down Channel’, so we oblige (45:58); EC Childers tells us more about Erskine’s personal library of sailing books (48:17); Emma on Facebook calls out Victoria BC for poor sewage management (49:23); Ian on Twitter points us back towards Latakia, the possible source of our pipe tobacco (51:09); instructions on how to pack a pipe come from Sergeant Matron of the Kervaig Pipe Club (52:04).

Missions for next week – members assistance required.

‘I asked for a ticket for Amsterdam’: Carruthers has to get to Amsterdam and back by train. What route did he take? And with some of the old train lines long gone, how are we going to replay this bit of the book with any kind of accuracy?

‘where does Böhme come in?’: we’ve found real-life equivalents for von Brüning and Dollman already, but what about Böhme? Any early examples of the classic German ‘baddy’ very welcome.

‘a perfect hostelry hard by the Amstel River’: where did Carruthers spend the night on October 23, and what is the nicest place to stay today near the Amstel River?

2 thoughts on “The 22nd Adventure Club Podcast: Rowing to Memmert & Dinner Afterwards

  1. Peter Puget’s Huguenot ancestors may have pronounced it “Poo-jhay”, but the English, and the current inhabitants of the territories about the Salish Sea, (look it up in Wikipedia) pronounce it “Pyew-djett” or “Pyew-djitt”. And Victoria still hasn’t got it’s shit together or cleaned up it’s act.


  2. Oh yes, the dinghy trip was quite impossible. An ordinary dinghy (as opposed to an outrigger scull) is limited in speed by it’s length; generally taken to be one and a third times the square root of the waterline length in feet equals speed in knots (about 1.16 statute mile per nautical mile). Sculls evade this limit by being so narrow they can cut through their own bow wave. The other thing is that the resistance varies as the cube of speed. That last knot takes a disproportionate amount of effort. So a dinghy 9 feet on the waterline might have a maximum speed of 4 knots, but no human oarsman, however young and brisk with a promising future in the F.O. could manage it. A boat with a 16 foot waterline might just do it, but would not be practical for Dulcibella to tow, much less allow Davies to yard it’s wreckage (Hohenhorn incident) on deck. I’d guess he wouldn’t have a dinghy over 12 feet long. Childers should have simply started them off at high tide, or at latest, an hour into the ebb.


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