Working Waterfront Festival Races

Overcast skies did little to dampen the enthusiasm of the members of the eleven teams which came to compete in the Buzzards Bay Rowing Clubís first annual whaleboat races held during the Working Waterfront Festival on September 23rd. The first teams to arrive on State Pier were entertained by the TLC Band from Fairhaven who got through several songs before the raindrops became steadier forcing them to pack away their instruments. However, there was still plenty of entertainment in store as teams arrived in their outfits competing for special awards in the most creative, best theme and most team spirit categories. The Norwegian Squareheads, in their Viking/ troll theme outfits, took the first two categories with the dancing Crabalots voted the most energetic and showing the most team spirit.

It was the main event, the race, itself, however, that generated the greatest enthusiasm. The tricky figure 8 course with its four turns proved to be a challenge especially in the second lane where wind and currents added yet another degree of difficulty. Every eye was on the water as the Castaways, a novice coed team from Fairhaven High School, first out, and rowing unopposed in their division, made their way around the four buoys and along the straight-aways. They were followed by the four masterís womenís teams vying for the coveted first place deck prism trophy. Of the Gone Rowing, Crabalots, Midlife Crisis and Sea Biscuit teams, it was the Biscuits who turned in the best time of 14:23 and set the mark for the rest of the teams to come. Second in the division was Midlife Crisis (14:57) followed by the Crabalots (15:30)

The next two boats, Ahabís Wenches (womenís open) and the Norwegian Squareheads (senior division) started out in the midst of a sudden squall rowing against gusty winds and rain, yet, each managed to turn in credible times. They were followed by Margaretís Oars, the reigning women champions, who rowed against the White Caps. Once again, Margaretís was not to be denied, posting the best time in the division, 13:04. Second spot went to the White Caps at 13:25 with Ahabís in third at 14:27.

The final race between the two coed teams proved to be the closest race of the day. The WAV team took an early lead over the Draggins and finished at 13:03, eleven seconds ahead of the crew and, in the process, earned bragging rights to having the fastest time of the day, besting Margaretís time by a mere second. The names of both teams, as winners of the womens and coed divisions, will be engraved on a loving cup donated to mark the event.

With the awards ceremony competed and the tug boat muster about to begin the Club moved to Tonneson Park where the whaleboats were being readied for trial runs by the festival goers. With the rainy and windy conditions it was deemed too hazardous that afternoon, but Sundays improved weather saw over 50 take advantage of the clubs offer to the public ďto bend an oar.Ē

Celebrating at Knuckleheadís, in New Bedford, Saturday evening, the team members agreed that the event should definitely be repeated next year.