Race report by R.Conroy

Lincoln Maritime Center held its popular “Row Around Bumpkin Regatta” on Saturday, September 6th under blue skys and blustery winds, attracting a mixed field of over 64 youth and adult rowers from LMC, Hull, Hingham High and Cohasset Maritime Center.

The morning of the race dawned bright and humid but a 6am inspection of the course revealed that conditions behind the island were not looking good. As the winds began to climb past 10 knots, Dusan Nikolic, LMC’s Head of Rowing, went out again to Bumpkin at 7am and made the call – “Nope.”  Undeterred, the race organizers switched gears and the Row Around Bumpkin was quickly adapted to a shorter 3 mile course that kept the racers out of as much rough water as possible, earning the race the new nickname of “Row Around Button.”

Starting on the far side of the Hingham Bathing Beach, the racers headed on course in true head-race style, complete with an air horn serenading their entrance onto the course (providing a delightful wake up call to the residents of Otis Hill at the same time). The Hingham High girls’ 8+s came through first; fast, efficient and looking good for so early in the season. Next came an LMC racing quad, expertly steered by Kristen Feely and bravely steeled for the big water that lay beyond Button Island and the Hingham Harbor Channel.

Following the racing shells were the workhorse boats of the open water; LMC’s Hudson coxed quads and Cohasset Maritime Institute’s open water coxed sweep fours. This well-matched fleet took off at speed, with the rowers keen to get on the course and put down some good times. With the crew boats on course, the doubles followed including Club Edge from Hull (complete with a mirrored headband on bow) and one of the most beautiful boats in the race – a sliding seat wooden double, captained by John Struzzieri.

Bringing up the rear were the most fearless rowers of all – the open water singles. This competitive field of male and female scullers headed out in their Alden Stars, Maas and Echoes knowing that it was going to be close race and one determined largely by steering, water skills and-dread we say it-fitness.

Once on course, the race literally flew by, with the High School 8s reaching the turning point in under ten minutes. The racing quad was hot on their heels and these crews handled their sleek shells in the big water with great skill and determination. The Hudsons and CMI 4s were quick in pursuit, with CMIs Youth 4 putting in a particularly impressive performance in their sturdy and seaworthy boats. The small boats (doubles and singles) rounded the course not long after, with the steering skills of all parties being put to the test by a few paddle boarders who wandered on to the race course.

With an average finishing time of twenty-five minutes, by 9:45am, relief and post-race euphoria had descended on all of the rowers, with the dulcet sound of the air horn marking their finishes. Jovial rows back to the dock were punctuated by shouts of surprise as gallons of seawater were dumped on those who took their boats out and up over heads to the racks.

With the boats now put away, it was time to enjoy a well-earned post-race breakfast under the Curtis Pavilion. A delightful spread was put on, with almost all of the food being generously donated by local businesses (please see our sponsors and donor list below). The post-race breakfast provided a nice opportunity for all of the rowers to mingle, hydrate and re-fuel and some new rowing friendships were formed that morning.

Following the breakfast, there was a brief prize ceremony. Category winners included: Hingham High ‘B’ in the 8+, LMC’s Racing Quad in the 4x-, LMC’s Hudson coxed by Patti Coyle in the 4x+, CMI’s Adult Crew in the 4+, John Struzzieri’s crew in the 2x and Betsy Harling in the 1x. T-shirts in hand, race done and dusted and post-race breakfast all consummed, the rowers headed away around 10am, ready to enjoy the rest of their weekend. All in all, everyone had a great time and we’re already looking forward to next year!

LMC would like to thank some key individuals and businesses who supported this race. First, are our race sponsors, Eat Well, the parent company of Stars, Caffe Tosca and Tosca. This fellow harborside business provided the means for us to run this race and we can’t thank them enough for their generosity. Our breakfast donors also provided a wonderful spread for our rowers and volunteers and we’d like to thank: The Fruit Center, Atlantic Bagel, White’s Bakery, The Good Life Kitchen-Cafe and Catering, Crow Point Pizzeria, Stop and Shop, Hannafords and Trader Joe’s. Staples also provided a donation towards signage, adding to this wonderful morning.

Finally, the race day volunteers: Joe Dwyer, Kent and Ann Marks, Jamie Bush, Thomas Glynn, Ginger Walsh, Esther Healey and the many others who chipped in and helped out-we thank you! And of course, the race organizers: Betsy Harling, Sue Bush, Rosamund Conroy and Nina Villanova along with our logo designer Carol Chu. This group did an phenomenal job getting the race organized, sponsored, permitted and smoothly run on race day. Finally, our faithful LMC rowing staff: Dusan Nikolic, Jess Burbridge and Eliza Daniels. They did the race day water work; timing, registration and water safety. Thank you to all for really ‘pulling together’ on this!

Thank you again to the Sponsor of this event – Eat Well in Hingham, owner of these fabulous local restaurants!