BELFAST — Come Boating!, Belfast’s community boating organization, held a successful rowing regatta during Harborfest on Aug. 20. This was the 11th consecutive year that the organization’s rowing regatta has been held.
Competing in the rowing races against Belfast’s 32-foot Cornish gigs Belle Fast and Selkie were five racing gigs from three New England clubs: Mike Jenness, Saquish and Interceptor, all from Plymouth, Mass.; John McCoy from Buzzards Bay, Mass.; and Siren Song from Gloucester, Mass.
In a friendly yet fiercely contested race, home team Belle Fast captured the lead during the home stretch and garnered first place in the 3.0 nautical-mile race, with a time of 28:54:28 minutes. Its crew consisted of coxswain Rowan Walauski, 1st stroke Wes Reddick, 2nd stroke Rafe Blood, Jonathan Fulford, John Dillenbeck, Roy Rogers and Jim Bahoosh. In second place, with a time of 29:14:18, was Mike Jenness, followed closely by John McCoy, clocked at 29:35:00.
Saquish produced a time of 32:00:28, and Selkie, Belfast’s all-female crew — rowed by 1st stroke Linda Hurley, 2nd stroke Martha Garfield, Sally Faulkner, Monica Piccinini, Marnie Reeves, Willy Reddick and coxswain Chris Gordon — powered in with a time of 34:45:26 to capture first place among the women’s teams. Interceptor finished the race with a time of 35:42:15, and Siren Song followed right behind at 36:18: 34.
After lunch, an additional lively short-course exhibition race was held between Belle Fast and Selkie. The close race pitted crews consisting of combinations of adult volunteers and well-trained youth rowers from Murial Curtis’ Station Maine of Rockland.
Event organizers Carol and Malcolm Gater said, “It was a wonderful event. It was fun to see old racing friends from the other rowing organizations and meet new enthusiasts. The crews from ‘away,’ towing gigs, began arriving Friday afternoon, and had time for a practice row before gathering at our home, The Wealthy Poor House B&B, for dinner. There was a lively exchange of rowing talk and good-natured teasing about how all the crews would do the next day. Several Come Boating! hosts opened their homes to the visitors and all retired early for a good night’s sleep.”
Saturday morning many ComeBoating! members pitched in to help set up tents, tables, do registration duty, set out baked goods for a bake sale and dessert for lunch, and supplied dishes for the lunch that was served to all the crews. Others were on the water setting the course, acting as safety committee, guard boats, race starters and timekeepers.
Even though the race got off to a late start because the fog rolled into the bay, the camaraderie among the rowers, the members of Come Boating! and support people made for a special day for everyone.