HULL, Mass. — Come Boating!, Belfast's community boating organization, sent two boats down to the 27th annual Head of the Weir River Race Nov. 2, gathering at the Windmill Point Boathouse in Hull, Mass. Continuing their winning ways, the crew of the Malcolm G took first place in the Pilot Gig category, with Selkie taking third.
This year's event saw strong entries from the largest field ever for the 5.5 mile event; 67 boats and perfect conditions - calm winds, mid-60 temperatures and an ebbing tide. Starting at the narrow head of the Weir River, pilot gigs , coxed 4s, whaleboats, work boats, livery boats, ocean shells, kayaks and surf skis charged across the start line one at a time with 30 seconds between the competitors. The two Come Boating! entries were #66 and #67 by virtue of their past performances, but with strong crews, they soon began to catch and pass boats.
The crew of the Malcolm G (Come Boating's newest, traditionally built Cornish Pilot gig), had a goal of passing all other pilot gigs and in one of the most exciting finishes of the season, managed to do so with barely 100 yards to go, catching up to the men's team from Saquish, Mass., in the Mike Jenness Sr., and passing them right at the line with a time of 45:33. The Saquish men finished second with 47:05, and the other Belfast boat, the Selkie, third with 49:17.
“This was the last race of the 2013 season and a great way for the Belfast teams to end a very successful year,” said John Dillenbeck, a crew member of Malcolm G, in his emailed report. “The racers now get some time off before training starts again for the first race of the year, the 2014 Snow Row, which takes place March 1, also in Hull, Mass.”
The crew of the Malcolm G consisted of: Cox - Rowan Walauski, Dillenbeck, Kyffin Dolliver, Kevin Brown, Ethan Shaw, Monica Piccinini and Tanya Lubansky.
The crew of the Selkie consisted of: Cox - Rick Fitzsimmons, Roy Rodgers, Rafe Blood, Greg Stafford, Marnie Reeve, Susan Orsato and Eric Matthews.
• Photos of the race, courtesy Rick Fitzsimmons, here.
Ron Hawkes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org