Juniors and masters row at Opening Day

Vashon’s masters men’s 8 rows through the Montlake Cut on May 2. - Courtesy photo
Vashon’s masters men’s 8 rows through the Montlake Cut on May 2.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Despite the rain, thousands of spectators showed up to cheer from the banks of the Montlake Cut, the Montlake Bridge and from nearly 300 yachts for their favorite rowers at the Opening Day Regatta on Saturday, May 2.

Some of the cheers were coming from the coaches and parents of the Vashon Island Junior Crew men’s 8, a boat that was rowing for the first time in this “invitation only” event sponsored by the University of Washington, Windermere Real Estate and the Seattle Yacht Club. Also rowing were Vashon Island Rowing Club’s masters.

Nearly 500 of the best Canadian and American rowers, from 14-year-old juniors to 81-year-old mariners, competed in this prestigious event.

“It is an honor and privilege to be invited to this event,” said coach Lucas Ridinger.

The Opening Day Regatta is the preliminary event to the women’s and men’s Cascade Cup, Windermere Cup and the Opening Day Boat Parade, which signals the beginning of boating season in the Northwest.

The 2,000-meter course begins parallel to the floating bridge at Evergreen Point in Lake Washington and runs east to west through the Montlake Cut and to the finish line near the mouth of Portage Bay in Lake Union.

In the Cascade Cup, spectators saw the UW women and UW men take first place. In the Windermere Cup, the UW women and the UW men won again.

Rowing for UW in the Cascade and Windermere Cup races were Vashon’s Thomas Kicinski and Matt Zapel.

Following the Windermere Cup was the Opening Day Boat Parade. This year’s theme was the Wild, Wild West, so can-can girls, cowboys, Indians and even outhouses decorated the 300 boats participating in the parade.

— Joseph Pringle is a crew dad.

Learn to row

Learn-to-row classes will be held this spring for adults at Jensen Point. Coached by Vashon Island Junior Crew’s Lucas Ridinger, each two-day session will teach participants basic skills on and off the water. One session is Saturdays, May 23 and 30; the other session is Saturday and Sunday, June 6 and 7. Camp meets from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and costs $140 per session. Contact Vashon Park District at 463-9602 for more information.

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