“After all, it is a snow row”, was the reply given Sue Cunningham, on Saturday, when the hour by hour weather report on cited temperatures in the 20’s, a wind chill factor of 13, with winds 18 miles an hour, and she called Hull to inquire if the Snow Row was still on. That, taken as a “yes”, the two teams and spectators hooked up the trailers and headed off for the hour and a half hauls to Hull.

Upon arrival at Windmill Point, a virtual beehive of activity, one couldn’t help being impressed by the orderly way in which boats and watercraft of every description were being positioned on the shoreline for the start of the race. The Flying Cloud, and the Kanawha were carried to the water’s edge by twenty or so volunteers (no easy feat since each weighs 800 lbs) and then rowed to their spot next to the WCR’s, Skylark, crewed by the Gray Buzzards.

By then, the Flying Cloud crew had stowed away their festive Mardi Gras masks and beads and were ready for action. Looking out at the harbor with its wind driven white caps and large waves, we realized that these were conditions under which we would ordinarily never even consider stepping into our boats back in Fairhaven But, stoically, all lined up behind our marks and when the flag was dropped, raced to the boats. Last “man” in pushed the boat out as we scrambled to our seats and were off and rowing; not so smoothly for the Kanawha which, when hit by the swell, popped out an oarlock and then, no sooner underway, number two rower caught a crab and was thrown off the seat, thus allowing the Buzzards team and Flying Cloud to take the lead.

Divided into three legs, conditions wise, the first was fraught with large waves, some of which broke into the boats drenching us, and making it difficult, at times, to catch any water with the oars. Things almost came to a halt when a kayaker was thrown from his boat and both BBRC boats stopped, ready to lend assistance if needed. However, he quickly righted himself, climbed back in, and sped past , leaving us in his dust(or would that be spray?).

From that point on it was full speed ahead as all headed for Sheep Island and the first turn. Rounding the island we experienced some chop but, in general, conditions seemed a bit better. Spurred on by Jodie Smith’s intermittent calls for “power tens”, the Kanawha moved ahead giving chase and playing tag with a couple of the gigs. One minor collision and a near miss later, the Kanawha rounded the Peddocks Island marker for the final leg. Rowing against the wind now, and with the help of several power ups, finally came the welcome words, “only four boats lengths to the mark”, and, as the crowd cheered us at the finish, it was over.

Later, boats secured on the shore, the two BBRC teams came together in the Windmill Point boathouse exchanging ‘stories’ while enjoying the chowder, chili, and beef stew served up by the volunteers. We had previously toasted with Sue’s hot chocolate and finished up our repast with Mary Jane’s crème brule treats.

Warmed, tired and proud to have met the challenge, we headed for home. And no…we never did catch those Buzzards…maybe next year.

Thanks to the drivers, Gail and Bill; and to Lee who filled in at the very last minute; and to our faithful spectators and photographers, Barbara Traban and Michael Suonimen, who braved the cold winds and were there for us, cheering when we pushed off and, then again, when we returned. Surely, a act of LOVE for the sport.!

Flying Cloud 55:32
Bill Anderson, coxswain
Jane Abbott
Jodi Duval
Jeff Moore
Nancy Anderson
Mary Jane McManus

Kanawha 53:15
Jodi Smith, coxswain
Jackie Duval
Sue Cunningham
Lee Wheeler
Barbara Belanger
Gail Isaksen

Skylark 42:21 (!!!)
Louie Doherty, coxswain