North American Open Water Rowing Championship

August 26, 2006 - 9:00 AM

Press Release

Richmond, CA January 12, 2006. -The Maas Boat Company is sponsoring the first annual race to bring together North America's fastest open-water rowers. The 2006 championship race will happen in conjunction with the 28th running of the Great Cross Sound Race, an 8 mile course from Alki Beach in West Seattle to Bainbridge Island and back. The race date is Saturday, August 26, 2006. Until proven otherwise, these athletes will be designated North American Open Water Rowing Champions.

Championships trophies will be awarded to the fastest men's single, women's single, men's double, women's double and mixed double sculls.

To raise the standard of competition and to enable more athletes to participate, airfare, lodging, Maas boats and Dreher oars will be provided to sponsored rowers from outside the Pacific Northwest and to selected scullers from overseas. Sponsored rowers will be selected by the Maas Boat Company. Sponsorships in 2006 are planned for men's singles. The women's singles will be sponsored in 2007.

Candidates will initially be selected from known elite open water racers in New England and California. In addition, any experienced open water racer is invited to submit a nomination by sending a letter expressing interest, specifying the class of their boat and summarizing their open water racing experience and accomplishments. Geographic balance is wanted, though the main criterion for selection will be demonstrated speed and skill in open water racing. Letters must be received by July 1, 2006 and sent to Deborah Service, Maas Boat Company, Inc. 1319 Canal Blvd., Richmond, CA 94804.

Each year the race will be hosted by a different region, and in 2006 the first of these events will be hosted by Sound Rowers in Washington. Future North American Open Water Rowing Championships will be sponsored by Maas Boat Company and held in California and New England before possibly returning to Puget Sound in 2009.

Marty Meyers, president of Sound Rowers, is thrilled to be hosting this event. "We feel our members are the fastest open water rowers, and we're ready to prove it. Let the competition come over the horizon and prove us wrong." More cordially, members of Sound Rowers are offering to host athletes from out-of-town, including lodging during their visit and orientation to the race course on Friday, August 25. Marty was the first to volunteer! If you would like to be hosted, contact Steve Wells at Evergreen Rowing LLC (360-357-6588).

Any interested rower is invited to register for the Great Cross Sound race. Any human-powered boat may be entered in the Great Cross Sound race, and the only requirements imposed by Sound Rowers are that a PFD and whistle must be on board your boat, but more importantly, you must be safe and you must have fun.

Doug Kidder, President of the Maas Boat Company, welcomes this chance to see the best in the country face off. He says, "We hear legends about the fast rowers from around the country and wonder who is really the fastest. Is winning the Blackburn harder than winning Catalina or the Great Cross Sound Race? This event is a chance for us to really line everyone up. It promises to be great fun."

Details about the Great Cross Sound race, entry requirements, past race results, photographs and boat classifications are posted at Questions about the North American Open Water Rowing Championship may be directed to either the Maas Boat Company or to their Northwest dealer, Evergreen Rowing (

New boats provided to sponsored rowers will be available for purchase after the event. These will be special edition carbon versions of the Maas 24 featuring unique graphics commemorating the race and full race fittings (Speed Coach, bow number holder, bailer and bowball).

About Maas Boat Company, Inc.:
Maas Boat Company has been building fast open water racing boats since 1978. Their singles and doubles are known for the quality of their workmanship and the elegance of their design. They ensure safety in rough water by minimizing the size of the cockpit, by including positive flotation, by adding self- bailing capacity and features that make re-entry quick and easy. Because it includes these features and is remarkably stable, the Maas Aero is frequently used by clubs to teach sculling.

Deborah Service
Maas Boat Co. Inc.
1319 Canal Blvd.
Richmond, CA 98804
(510) 232-1612

About Sound Rowers:
Sound Rowers Open Water Rowing and Paddling Club is an organization conducting races coordinated by volunteers for world class and weekend athletes in any open water, human powered craft. Each year we sponsor about 17 races for kayaks, surf skis, rowing shells, rowboats and canoes throughout Puget Sound. The races are generally low-key, but highly competitive, usually with 30-50 boats involved and over a hundred participating in the club's major annual event, The Great Cross Sound Race. Distances range from 6 to 26 miles, with most falling into the 6 to 10 mile range. Ribbons are awarded for the first three places in a wide range of classifications, by gender but not by age. Non-members are welcome to participate - all you need is a boat, a paddle or oars, a PFD and whistle.

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