BBRC’s Kanawha wins Golden Scallop Award at Wareham Race

With only Barbara Traban, of New Bedford, experienced in long distance rowing, having rowed to Cuttyhunk a few years back, the five women rowers of the BBRC’s Whaler team, in the club’s whaleboat, Kanawha, headed off to Wareham to take part in the Gleason Y’s Kayak Challenge on August 13th. The annual event, in its fourth year, is run to benefit the youth programs of the Y and draws an impressive field of kayakers. The longest of the courses is a 12 mile circumnavigation of Bird Island, and is offered to the most experienced ocean kayakers, while others, who seek something less formidable, may paddle a two or six mile course. The ladies of the Kanawha opted for the six mile course which was more than two times longer than they had ever rowed. Since this was the first time a whaleboat was making an appearance in the event, the gals wanted to make a strong impression and, at the very least, “look good”.

Sunday, the day of the race, was picture perfect with temperatures ideal for a long row. Following a breakfast provided for the participants, the rowers readied themselves for the task before them. The BBRC women were in the second of three heats, one per distance, and lined up with several kayaks and couple smaller rowing craft. The Kanawha, along with one of the kayaks, took an early lead then settled into a cruising pace to which they added in some power ups from time to time. One hour and twenty-one minutes later, the Whalers crossed the finish line, second only to the kayak with which they had been neck in neck, until the brisk winds around the second mile mark made the going a little slower. Having set a goal of an hour and a half for the distance, the women were more than pleased with the result. Walking off the dock each was presented with the gilded clam participation award and, then, after a lunch provided by the Narrows Restaurant, received a gilded scallop award for winning their division. Finally, at the end of the festivities, coxswain, Michael Suominen, of Wareham, gave the command to “ out the oars” and the team headed for the boat ramp to be trailered back to Fairhaven but, not before smiles were brought to their faces, as someone on the dock called out, “Lookin’ good!”, thus, adding the perfect ending to a perfect day.

This is a good race to keep in mind for next year. It is well organized, has good food (always important), a gift bag of quality items, and is attended by the nicest and friendliest bunch of folks of all ages. With a variety of courses it’s doable for most and, the scenery is gorgeous.

Rowing for the Whalers were: Nancy Canastra, Gloria Gundersen, and Barbara Belanger of Fairhaven; Svanhild Bendiksen of Dartmouth and Barbara Traban of New Bedford.