By Ben Mayock
This past Saturday, August 17th, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s rowing team traveled to Maine to compete in the 19th Annual Come Boating! Regatta in Belfast Harbor.
The morning was cool and overcast (perfect for rowing!) as we took a warm-up lap around the harbor. All of the turning marks were visible and the wind was light and variable. Despite the patchy fog, the conditions were excellent for the race. Our heat was the first of the three heats of pilot gigs. We lined up next to a mixed crew from Gloucester, MA in the Gannet and, next to them, a women’s team from Westport, MA looking sharp in The Spirit of Westport. Gannet took an early lead and we didn’t see them again until the finish line but we held our second place ranking for the rest of the race.
Our own LCMM team rowed wonderfully. Strong, synchronized, and enthusiastic, our rowers kept their oars in the water through each of the four turns and, throughout the entirety of the race, kept a focussed and powerful rhythm that filled this coxswain with fathoms of pride. The Belle Fast, a women’s boat from Belfast, ME, having started in a heat behind us was one or two boat lengths off our stern as we approached the finish. While their time was minutes ahead of ours, the threat of Belle Fast pulling ahead of LCMM’s boat, Frank Beckett, in the final meters was a timely motivating factor that found the LCMM rowers digging deep for a final burst of energy. Suffice it to say, the crew of the Frank Beckett crossed the finish line having left it ALL on the race course.
After catching our breath, we landed at the beach and enjoyed an incredible buffet of grilled meats, fresh salads, fizzy seltzers, bean dips, and some incredible corn on the cob. It makes no difference if it’s Hull, Belfast, Gloucester, or at home in Vergennes, our open-water rowing community always comes through with the most incredible post-race cuisine. While I got into this sport for the rowing, I think I’ll stay in it for the food.
Thank you to the builders, rowers, supporters and fans of Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s Community Rowing program, these events would not be possible without your support and enthusiasm.
Belfast Regatta LCMM Crew: Gretchen Richer (stroke), Andrew Rainville, David Brynn, Evelyn Hladik, Sandra Murphy, Mike Crane, Benjamin Mayock (coxswain)