North American Open Water Rowing Championship
|Next Race is 2013||
July 31, 2008
[Text first, lots of picture below and links to even more.]
Wow. Another spectacular race. The weather was really uncharacteristic for July. Usually at this time of year the fog is in thick and the wind kicks up early. On race day it was sunny all day with about 12 knots of breeze coming in under the Golden Gate Bridge. The wind was kicking up enough chop that I decided to shorten course to cut off the additional 2 miles out under the bridge to Pt. Diablo. That seemed like some unnecessary pain for what was a long enough race.
The racers started deep in Richardson Bay in nice flat water. The first leg through Richardson Bay had the racers either heading east to stay away from the anchored boats, or dodging them on the way through. The Graves brothers flipped their double while playing dodge-boat. But they got right back up and kept going.
There were four starts: 1) Championship course, all doubles, 2) Championship course, men's 1x, 3) Championship course, women's 1x, 4) all Bay Course boats.
Coming around to Lime Point (the turning point at the north tower of the Golden Gate bridge) the first boat was Steve Tucker and Aleks Zosuls followed closely by Tyler Peterson and Evan Benjamin. Surprisingly enough, the Graves brothers had recovered quickly enough to pull into third place. Those were three fast moving doubles.
The Steve and Aleks maintained their lead, although didn't manage to increase it by much through the rest of the course to win the Men's 2x trophy for the second year in a row in 1:22:20.. Around the back of Angel Island where the water flattened out the Graves brothers decided to make a push to try to get past Tyler and Evan. Their move was successful and they held on for second place. Tyler and Evan got third place. The next boats to finish were fully eight minutes later. Those first three doubles were moving FAST.
The women's 2x race was actively competed this year. The winners, Renee de Cossio and Kimberly Pross were the product of a local peace effort. Renee is from the Dolphin Club and Kimberly is from South End. If you don't know the local scene, the two clubs are located right next door to each other and are, like most rivals, so similar as to cause the members to focus on their differences. But Renee and Kim looked very good together and crossed the line in 1:41:51.
The third year was the charm for the mixed double of Jeff and Teresa Knakal. They rowed a good, hard race in tough water to beat the local team of Kellogg and Abbott in a time of 1:39:31.
The Men's single race was the strongest yet seen. There were 18 entries with any of at least 8 boats capable of winning the race on any given day. Coming in first, for the second year in a row, was Sound Rower's own Robert Meenk. Robert jumped to a commanding lead on the first leg and never let up. By the time he reached the mark at Lime Point, Robert had caught up to some of the doubles and was starting to get by them. He finished the course in a remarkable time of 1:39:35. If you're reading carefully, that is 4 seconds slower than the winning mixed double and 2 minutes faster than the winning women's double.
Second place went to east coast talent Tim Willsallen rowing a borrowed Peinert Dolphin. Tim had some trouble getting his boat the day before the race, but in the end he rowed a really great race to finish second to Robert.
Third place was a story to tell the grandkids. There were three boats that rounded Cone Rock (a mile from the finish) pretty much together: Tom McInerny from South End had a slight lead over Scott Cahill from South End and Rich Klanjscek from Cape Ann. Tom got away on the last leg but Rich and Scott were overlapped with half a mile to go. Rich went a bit wide on the course and that cost him fourth place. 3rd through 5th places finished within 15 seconds of each other after one hour and forty-four minutes of rowing.
Talking to Rich after the race he told me that he and Scott were overlapped for the last seven miles of the course. That's hard to even comprehend.
The women's single once again saw Diane Davis showing once again that she is the woman to beat. She finished in a time of 1:47:13 -- leaving her a comfortable 5 minute margin over Kristin Goodrich in second place. Kristin is a local rower who has never done much (if any) open water rowing. She clearly showed that she was up to it as she beat out the 2006 champ, Abigail Cromwell in this race.
I have only touched on a few of the races. There were lots of stories from this regatta including: racers who tried open water for the first time, the Viking from South End that flipped when getting a tow, the sexy new surfscull designs and friendships made.
I would really like to thank the South End Rowing Club for hosting the dinner on Friday night. It was a truly wonderful affair and we on the left coast got to show our friends some of the local rowing history that embodied in South End. Another big thanks goes to Gordie Nash, probably the most knowledgeable person about rowing on SF Bay who talked the racers through the course.
Open Water Rowing Club is Sausalito also deserves a huge thanks for race day. Ellen Braithwaite was her usual organized, do-everything self. Dan Alexander ran the docks flawlessly and JoAnn Dunaway did a spectacular job providing food and drinks for the crowd. I also would like to thank the many, many people who volunteered their time to drive chase boats, help set up and take down, organize housing and boats for out of town rowers. This event is a big production and it was really wonderful to see all the local clubs coming together to put it on.
Here are just a few of the pictures from the race. We have photos that were taken by Allison Kidder and by Elizabeth Glass. Allison's can be viewed here, here and here. (Allison edited hers down to around 750 pictures -- there is very likely to be one or 10 of you in there somewhere).Elizabeth's pictures can be viewed here. Check out the first shot Elizabeth has of the start. I didn't have the ability to get it onto this site, but it is just great. Allison edited hers down to around 750 pictures -- there is very likely to be one or 10 of you in there somewhere.
If you are interested in a high res, unaltered version of any picture here, just send me an e-mail with the file name and I can send it to you.
January 28, 2008
We had our first planning meeting for the 2008 NAOWRC at the South End Rowing Club in San Francisco. We had 12-15 people there with members from: South End Rowing, the Dolphin Club, Open Water Rowing Center and Santa Cruz Rowing Club. The day started out with a row up along the City Front and approaching the South Tower of the Golden Gate Bridge. It was decidedly choppy (typical Bay conditions) and great fun.
Below are my abbreviated notes from the meeting:
The race will be held on July 26th. The tide will be relatively slack early in the morning.
The first topic was deciding on a format. The consensus was to run two courses: a 12-15 mile long course for the championship with just the five championship classes (M1x, W1x, W2x, M2x, Mixed2x), and a 5-6 mile short course that will have more classes. The expected number of racers is around 100 with a total of around 225 including families and guests.
We will offer the racers the following schedule:
The cost per entrant will be $50.
I believe that we have all the major pieces of the regatta distributed out to the various people who attended the meeting. If you want to get involved, we'd love to have the help. Contact me at doug at maasboats dot com and I will figure out how to get you involved.
October 22, 2007
Plans for 2008 are starting to come together. After considering a range of possibilities, we are picking July 26, 2008 to be the race day. The course has not yet been finalized, but it will be a tour of the spectacular San Francisco Bay.
August 4, 2007
Wow. What a race we had again this year. An open water race is a collection of people and stories and we had wonderful people and stories this year. Before I get into details, I really need to thank Rich Klajnscek and everyone else who made the Blackburn Challenge such a spectacular event. Rich seems to have unlimited energy as he was central to putting the race on this year and he found the time to train and race in it.
I also need to give sincere thanks to Brian Kippen who, with the help of David Lay drove a long ways across the country and back. He had to stop and repair my old Explorer a couple of times. Everyone I talked with was full of praise for the job Brian did this year. Another big thanks goes to Paul Flagg who so nicely and capably chartered his 34' trawler to us so that we could watch the race. And then of course I need to thank all the people who came out and made this race so great.
The day started out just beautiful -- sun shining and relatively flat water -- as the 256 boats launched and paddled out to the start. The Blackburn Challenge is open to all sorts of boats, and they were all represented from double sculls to 6 person outrigger canoes to kayaks, whale boats, a couple of paddleboards and a couple of boats that are unique.
Since pictures are worth a thousand words, here are images from the start. Please forgive my horrible abilities with things like cropping and color correction. If anyone wants pictures from the race, please let me know and I can send along very high-res originals. My sincere thanks to my new fiancee Allison Green for taking all these pictures (and literally hundreds more.)
Tim & Patrice warming up.
Leslie Burns adjusting her footstraps.
Peter & Carin looking perfect in their Wintech double.
Robert Meenk looking small among the whaleboats.
Two of the three women from South End. Renee, Diane and Andrea.
An Echo looking great..
The line up for the sliding seat rowing shells.
More outrigger canoes than I've ever seen in one place.
The high performance kayaks get ready to go.
The race starts in a river that cuts across Cape Ann, so the first 8 or so miles of the race is on a wonderful, flat, winding river. The course then heads out into open ocean around Cape Ann. So boat selection becomes a bit of a question. There were two very capably rowed Van Dusen boats (a double and a single) that came flying out of the river with good leads.
The first Van Dusen was the double rowed by Steve Tucker & Alex Zosuls. They were closely followed out of the river by a pair of Maas Doubles -- the first rowed by Dan G. & Mike Smith, the second rowed by Tyler Peterson and Evan Jacobs. We were waiting on the trawler about four miles from the finish. And the first boat we saw coming at us was Steve & Alex.
That is some pretty good rowing to set up a Van Dusen in that kind of cross-chop.
100 yards behind them was Tyler and Evan.
And 50 yards behind them came Dan and Mike.
That is the order in which they finished and the gap between the boats didn't change much. Think about it -- racing for 20 miles always in contact with your competition. That's a tough race. The most remarkable thing about that race was, as Dan G put it afterwards "We broke the course record by four minutes and came in third. What do you have to do to win?"
Following the lead doubles was a procession of other men's doubles and mixed doubles.
The next race that came up was the Men's single. As I heard it, Robert Meenk and Rich K were rowing together up the river. When they turned and headed out into the ocean they had the swell behind them for a bit and Rich's Echo Ace was surfing really beautifully so he pulled ahead. Then the swell came from the side and Robert managed to work back up and through Rich. By the time we saw Robert he had a substantial lead over Rich who was suffering badly from cramping.
Rich in the Ace. Notice the really innovative design on the Ace. It has the wave piercing bow and stern.
Third place was someone I don't know (help appreciated) rowing a Peinert Dolphin.
Then the women's single race came along. The story here was the matchup between Diane Davis and Leslie Burns (the sponsored women) and Gia Deangelis. Diane represents experience and training while Leslie had a significant age advantage.
Leslie came out of the river quite fast, but then experience took over as Leslie forgot to put in her stern plug. As Leslie started to fight both the waves and the increasing weight of water in her boat she dropped back and was eventually helped out by the Coast Guard. To Leslie's credit, she got back in the boat and finished the race.
When the boats came up to us, it was Diane leading Gia by perhaps 50 yards. As I heard it, Gia was out of the river in her Van Dusen ahead of Diane, but as the waves built Diane, who never seems to tire, pulled past Gia.
Diane is an inspiration to me and everyone who has ever had the pleasure of watching her row. Her strength and ability are just amazing. She is also strikingly modest. When I approached her about being sponsored she really didn't think that she was going to be able to do a good job. But that was one unbelievable row!
The second boat was Gia in her Van Dusen with a block of foam taped to the bow.
Followed by another modest rower -- Andrea Kellog from San Francisco. The night before the race Andrea said that she just hoped to get around the course in less than six hours. That she did -- finishing in third place. Andrea is a relatively recent convert to rowing. Has youth, talent and Diane Davis on her side. She is someone to watch in the coming years.
Then the rest of the women's singles came along:
Following this race was an interesting collection of boats. Here were a couple of my favorites -- an Alden 18 that was taking every other wave over its bow:
And a boat I refer to as the pushmepullyou.
And finally, some pictures from the awards ceremony. I apologize for these pictures as it was really hard to get set up for a shot.
For more on the race, check out the article written in the NY Times by Peter Van Allen who rowed in the race (Google "Kayaker Meets Challenge in Race." To read the entire article you need to subsribe to the NY Times.) And there is another nice writeup on surfski.info on the race.
We will see everyone next year when the race is in my backyard -- the San Francisco Bay.
July 12, 2007
It's getting very exciting now. I just saw the trailer that Brian Kippen is driving out from California to Gloucester -- and it is full!
I also got my first look at the trophies for this year and they look really great.
I selected this trophy to photograph because we expect to see an absolutely fantastic race. Diane Davis and Leslie Burns are both really talented rowers. But Diane has also managed to bring along a group of really great women from the San Francisco Bay.
May 22, 2007
We have a trailer leaving the West Coast (Seattle and then Richmond, CA) heading out for the race. We still have some room on it, but slots are getting taken. The cost will be split between everyone with boats. We're guessing that it will be around $300 per boat. Please pre-register and tell us what you want to put on the trailer.
I just heard that Dan Gorriaran recommends that you use a GPS for the course and he is willing to supply the waypoints. I hear that there are some tricky bits around the end of the Cape.
March 30, 2007
The race is coming together now -- the talent is starting to line up. We've filled some of the sponsored slots -- but not all. From the Pacific Northwest Tyler Peterson and Evan Jacobs are going to be defending their Men's 2x championship from last year. And I'm really pleased to tell you that Diane Davis of the South End Rowing Club in San Francisco is going to be racing in the women's 1x category.
We are going to have a trailer driving across from San Francisco to Gloucester for the race. We have the vehicle and the trailer. If anyone is interested in driving (we'll pay all expenses and a bit more) then please let me know.
December 5, 2006
We are just starting to really talk and plan for next year's race at the Blackburn Challenge in Gloucester, MA.
Steve Wells promoted the event at the US Rowing convention this year. It will be interesting to see how many flat water rowers accept the challenge of open water racing.
August 28, 2006
Full results just arrived from Sound Rowers.
August 27, 2006, 6 p.m.
Pictures just in from Dan's brother of the finish of the Men's Single race. This gives some sense of how close the race was. It was scary after 8 miles of rowing to see this 300 m from the finish.
And then 100 m from the finish.
Folks. That's an 8 mile race finishing with the 1 and 2 boats overlapped. The official time difference was 0.7 seconds.
August 27, 2006, 4 p.m.
I just got the link to the pictures from Sean Trew. Very, very cool stuff. He managed to capture the beauty, intensity and friendly spirit of the race. Check them out at Pacific Fog.
August 27, 2006
Wow. It is going to take some time before I can really get through all the stories that were made during this event. It was really tremendous -- I know of no other way to say it. The weather was perfect, the racing was incredible, and I made a bunch of new friends from around the country and around the world.
I guess the only way to tell the story is to start at the beginning and meander through until I'm tired of typing. Recognize that this is my account from memory and including some pictures from my little point-and-shoot camera.. Full results will be posted on the Sound Rowers website, an article will be appearing in the Rowing News and Sean Trew from Pacific Fog photography will have lots and lots of real pictures. There should be a picture of just about every rower at some point. I would like to apologize in advance for all the misspelled and mangled names. I am writing this without benefit of any notes -- just an aging and increasingly poor memory. Please correct me soon and often.
The beach before the race was just great! We had boats lined up and everyone in that state of pre-race jitters. But everyone was helping everyone else out. We were all adjusting and helping out. Great spirit and camaraderie. I have to say particular thanks to the Steve Wells of Evergreen Rowing for putting untold hours into making this a huge success. Sound Rowers (Jeff Knakel and Beverly Storb in particular) for organizing the race. Dan Thatcher for driving
The start. In the half hour before the start we got to watch all the boats warming up and cruising around. There was Steve Tucker with his national team blades, but easily the most dangerous looking boat out there was the new Echo Ace. It is a narrow boat with a wave piercing bow and beautiful, clean lines. It has a true open water cockpit and can clearly handle these conditions.
As the time ticked down, the boats started lining up. I'd never seen 100 boats on a line before. The competitors were spread out over at least a quarter mile and the adrenaline started pumping.
When the horn sounded for the start the line surged forward out from the relatively flat water near shore into the open water conditions in the middle of the Sound. In the middle of the Sound there were the usual obstacles -- a tug and barge, a ferry and about a foot of wind-driven chop. Surprisingly enough, with that many competitors on the line, I didn't hear any complaints about clashing oars or other mishaps.
The first leg was about three miles across from Alki Beach. It was quickly apparent that there was one boat that just had unbeatable speed in those conditions -- a Maas Double rowed by Tyler Peterson and Evan Jacobs. They just took off across the Sound like it was flat water. By the time they arrived on the other side of the Sound they had a minute on the second place double. And they never let up. Tyler and Evan won the race outright and set a new course record.
Following Tyler and Evan out to the first turning point was another double rowed by Peter Kermond (the owner of Burnham Boat Slings) and his partner Russ Cone. In the interests of fairnessI have to note that Peter and Russ were spotting Tyler and Evan 15 to 20 years each. But, as you can see, Tyler and Evan have had a couple of new additions to keep them up at night.
The next set of boats to get across the sound included a double rowed by Rainer Storb and Todd Silver -- and the race of the century. There were four men's singles rowing in a pack with no more than 15 seconds between the first and fourth boat in the pack. Dan Gorriaran (rowing a Peinert Dolphin), Steve Tucker, Robert Meenk and Christian Dahlke. That is some intense racing -- three miles across the Sound boat to boat. That same intensity kept up back across the sound.
At the finish line, it was Dan Gorriaran first by a deck over a fast closing Steve Tucker, followed some seconds later by Robert Meenk. It seemed that Dan had the advantage over Steve in the rough stuff, but Steve had the speed in flatter conditions. What I heard from people in the race was that Dan just didn't seem to ever slow down. He went through everything smoothly and evenly. I can't even imagine racing for eight miles in contact with another boat. As Dan put it; "I left a lung out there."
After the race of the century went by, the boats started coming fast. Too many stories to tell here, but here are some shots of competitors that came out respectably (for an amateur). I believe this is George rowing an Echo.
David Lay from Open Water Rowing in Sausalito rowing his Maas 24.
Wayne Lysoby from Norwalk, CT showing beautiful form in my own Maas 24. It was good to see the boat so well rowed.
We all had the pleasure of getting to know Jake Frith (shown below) and Roger Slaymaker who came over from the UK for this race. Very different and very interesting coastal rowing scene in the UK -- 2,000 meter races with a 180 degree turn in the middle. Jake and Roger are going to see what they can do about arriving with a bigger contingent from the UK next year. I also heard from Christopher Laughton of the Rocat (a UK-based rowing catamaran) that he's planning on coming in 2007.
Next year we'll do this again at the Blackburn Challenge -- a 20 mile open ocean race out of Gloucester, MA. Next year's Blackburn Challenge is being organized by Rich Klajnscek -- who rowed this year's event. I am absolutely thrilled to have Rich be the guy to organize it. He has tremendous energy and people skills.
August 16, 2006 (part 1)
We just heard that the people at LanternFilms.com have found a venue to do an advance preview of what sounds like a very cool film. For those who remember this; Joe Bob says check it out.
FILM: THE 2001 ROWING RACE ACROSS THAT ATLANTIC
See it Aug. 25, 2006, 5:30 p.m. at Seattle downtown REI
You're invited: Competitors and friends of open water rowing are invited to a private, advance screening of the rough cut of "Row Hard, No Excuses," produced by LaternFilms.com. Meet racers from around the world here for the North American Open Water Rowing Championship (NAOWRC) at Alki beach in Seattle.
Friday, August 25, 2006
5:30 p.m Social hour. Please bring finger foods/beverages to share. 6:30 p.m. Movie begins.
REI downtown, 222 Yale Ave. N., Seattle
Questions, contact MFurtado2000@netscape.net
Many racers have received financial support through the generosity of fellow open-water racers and patrons of the sport. To help racers travel to next year's race in Massachusetts, we ask for a voluntary donation of $10.
August 16, 2006 (part 2)
I picked up the trophies and medals today. They really look great.
My kids are fantasizing about getting these as soccer trophies...
August 15, 2006
We just heard that the Rowing News will run a story covering the event -- look for it in your mail. Also Steve Tucker will be rowing. In flat water, he is probably the man to beat.
July 20, 2006
We have a logo and we're not afraid to use it! Look for it on the race shirts, trophies and anywhere else we can think of.
July 18, 2006
This event is coming along nicely. Here are the really hot men's single rowers who will be competing as sponsored rowers:
In addition, coming in under his own power, is Randy Hixon from Open Water Rowing in Sausalito. All in all, this race is shaping up to be just fantastic.
We're thinking about making up some rowing singlets with bullseyes painted on them so everyone knows who to gun for in the race.
It also looks like we've got a good number of doubles going to race. That will prove very interesting. We've got a really good woman's double from LA coming up, and a number of mixed and men's doubles.
As part of the festivities we are going to sponsor a "Liar's Lunch" after the event, so plan on sticking around to overeat. And as an added draw, Chris Maas himself is going to be there. He's promised to be reclusive and cranky, and I've promised to cordon him off with a velvet rope.
Another link for housing in case you are just planning on blowing into town at the last moment. Steve found this Seattle Hostel.
June 18, 2006
We had a request from a Randy Hixon and Sunny Blende to understand other events / activities happening in Seattle around the time of the race.
To quote Steve Wells: Each year after the race there's a lot of informal gathering in the many restaurants across the street from the finish for post-race lunch and lies. I expect that'll happen a lot this year.
I will talk with Steve about perhaps organizing something a more formal "Lunch 'n Lies" venue.
Also, there are other things happening in Seattle, check out:
For kids events, check this out. (You'll have to select the date.)
For winery information, check this out.
For art check this out.
June 5, 2006
I will update this area as we move forward. For the moment, please take the time to register to let us know how many people to expect.
Home | Registration | Press Release | Race Details | News | Results