Youth takes on experience at Quartermaster Harbor

The Vashon Island Rowing Club kicked off its 2013 racing season with a spirited masters versus juniors regatta this month at Jensen Point. In the club’s annual scrimmage on March 3, young rowers went up against the VIRC’s seasoned master rowers, giving the older athletes a head start in the races. According to tradition, the day ended with a final race for the One Guinea Pig Cup.

Finding a three-hour window of good weather in an otherwise stormy week, the rowers participated in seven exciting races on a 1,000-meter course in Quartermaster Harbor. A total of 55 rowers and three coxswains participated in the event.

In the first race, the junior boys lightweight eight set the tone for the day by easily handling the masters men. As viewed from the finish line, the boys’ boat seemed to float above the water while the men appeared to be seated in the sound.

The girls’ double versus women’s double (sculling) race was won by Kalie Heffernan and Kirsten Girard, with a strong showing by the masters women, Lisa Huggenvik and Kim Goforth.

Next up was a strong win by the junior boys’ heavyweight quad against a masters men’s boat that put up a gritty performance.

With a 20-second head start, the women’s eight-plus had the most exciting race of the day, beating out the girls eight by less than a second at the line. Three girls joined the women to fill up the masters boat and lowered the average age of the boat by a couple of decades.

The boys heavyweight double of Tate Gill and Gus Magnuson handily took the next race over the junior lightweight double of Baxter Call and Nathaniel Petram and the masters double of Bruce Morser and Steve Haworth. Morser, however, won the Ironman award for the day by stroking four separate masters boats.

The girls’ quad versus women’s quad race was won by a strong row from juniors Heffernan and Girard joined by Anna Ripley and Hannah Russell — a young crew that coach Richard Parr said “is starting to row well together”.

The finale for the day was for all of the marbles, or at least the coveted One Guinea Pig Cup. The competition: mixed (men and women) eights hand-picked by the respective captains.

Bruce Morser summed up the event well at the end of the day.

“I finally have figured this out. Every four years the masters are four years older and the juniors are all fresh and new,” he said.

So once again the trophy went to the juniors — you can’t beat that power to weight ratio.


— Pat Call is a recreational rower and father of junior rowers.


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