By JEFF HOYT
For The Beachcomber
The streak is alive as the Vashon Island Junior Crew retained the One Guinea Pig Cup with an open water victory over the Vashon Masters at the annual VIRC Spring Scrimmage on Saturday, March 11. The whimsical trophy, an homage to yachting’s One Hundred Guinea Cup, was signed during the post-scrimmage awards ceremony by junior captains Seth Rosen and Riley Lynch before being returned to its rightful spot inside the Jensen Point Boathouse.
The rest of the races at the annual scrimmage in Quartermaster Harbor gave nearly 50 masters and juniors the opportunity to cross over and race together in the same boats. In a sport where rowing almost daily with the same teammates is a key to finding synchronicity, it can be a challenge to suddenly mix vast age differences, genders and degrees of conditioning within the same boat.
“The biggest thing is relaxing and being able to feel what the other rowers are doing,” said Junior Worlds medalist Lynch, who will graduate in June and row for Stanford in the fall. “You can’t force it, or it doesn’t work.”
“What a treat to row in the same boat with these great kids,” said long-time masters rower Bob Horsley. “I was in a pair. I haven’t been in a pair in more than a year, but we figured out how to move the boat — it was fun.”
Rowing under a bright sun on calm water, the closest and most exciting 1,500-meter race of the day pitted two eights composed of two men, two women, two boys and two girls each. The winning eight, coxed by Norwegian exchange student Jenny Beate Fossan, crossed the line in a photo finish just ahead of the other eight.
“I got to be a cheerleader at VHS this past fall and winter,” said Fossan, “so as the race got closer and closer, I just yelled ‘be aggressive’ and cheered them on. It was a great experience.”
The VIRC Spring Scrimmage was helmed this year by former Vashon rower and coach Tom Kicinski, who summed it up for everybody: “What a great chance for Masters and Juniors to come together, enjoy the beautiful weather, and share their common love for this sport.”
— Jeff Hoyt is a masters rower with VIRC.