Monday, September 17, 2007

Why Wye?

So Wye Island. Its easily one of my favorite races. Not only because of the distance (12.5 miles), but because of the location and it also marks the start of our head race season. It takes a lot of planning, logistics and everyone helping out to make a successful trip to a race site. It begins by derigging our boats and loading them on the boat trailer. Above we have six 8+s and two doubles (2X) loaded up and ready to go. Most of us left between 6:00 and 6:30 in the morning to travel to Maryland's eastern shore where the race would take place. The day started out cloudy and even a few drizzles. The forecast called for clearing skies but windy as a front moved through. I was scheduled to stroke the Men's 8+.

Once at our race site, we have to unload the boats from the trailer. I'm on the far left here coxing the rowers taking the Poseidon off the trailer.
Next we have to reattach the riggers to the boats. Usually each crew will rerig their boat, but its also not unusual to help out on other boats. I'm on the middle boat attaching a rigger.

We're a Masters rowing club. Most of our rowers are 30+. Its hard to find adults that are small enough to be coxswains. We rely on high school coxswains to fill that void. They do a great job for us. Here are our coxswains returning from the Coaches and Coxswains meeting before the racing begins. This is the hardest race for these kids to navigate because of the distance and unfamiliar landmarks. They receive a crash course in dead reckoning, waypoints and compass headings. They have to keep us on course for over 90 minutes. We have it easy. We just have to row. The coxswain for my boat, Katie, is in the red sweatshirt. At the meeting it was announced that the 12.5 mile race around Wye Island would be reduced to 8 miles. The course would be adjusted to a 4 mile stretch, up and back, on the backside of the Island due to the wind and rough water.

Here we are finishing up the rigging on our boat, named the Titan.

Our novice women ran into trouble with the conditions and the revamped course. Their boat collided with a Quad and heavily damaged their boat. The bow ball and part of the front of the boat was ripped off. They weren't able to finish the race, but everyone was ok and no one was hurt.

Here the novice women's coxswain, Sammy, is comforted by our Operations Director, who is responsible for the boats. Boats that we don't own, but rent. She took it really hard and was a tearful mess for a while. Everyone went out of their way to let her know it wasn't her fault.

After the race its time to enjoy a few adult beverages and to start packing up. Here two of our rowers grab a handful of oars while wearing their new Wye Island t-shirts.

Our novice men picked up a first place medal. They beat my boat so kudos to them.

One of our mixed 8+ boats also took a first. The Men's coach is in the red shirt and helped out by rowing with us. We also took two first in Women's Double (2X) and Mixed Double (2X).

Back at the boathouse after another successful and fun day.

Photos courtesy of Mike Lee.
Additional photos can be seen here.

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