Last Sunday, the Burton Beach Rowing Club (BBRC) finished off a successful autumn season by medaling in both of their races at the Head of The Lake, the largest autumn regatta on the West Coast.
Seventy-three clubs from around the country were treated to some harsh Northwest Weather on the historic rowing waters around the University of Washington.
The Boys Under 17 Coxed Quad (4x+), rowed by Zack Merrigan, Forest Macnab, Grant Gonter, Nate Wass de Czege, and Brisa Ordonez-Ramirez (coxswain), started off the racing for the BBRC by winning gold. They finished more than 35 seconds ahead of their nearest competitor.
Next, Sasha Thompson, Taylor Huffman, Keziah Rutschow, Ella Odegard, and Caroline Barnes (coxswain) took home silver in the Girls Under 17 Coxed Quad (4x+). They finished second to a strong boat from Oregon Unlimited out of Portland.
The weather played a key role in the regatta shortening the course for some races and canceling others. Heavy rain and strong winds made rowing tough for the early morning races. The strong winds forced the cancellation of all singles and doubles for the second year in a row. This meant that three BBRC boats had to sit out the event.
Despite the cancellations, the impacted rowers rose to the occasion and continued to be amazing teammates.
One of the highlights of this event is the chance to stay warm and dry while taking in the UW Rowing team’s Conibear Shellhouse. The BBRC crew sat beneath The Husky Clipper, a wooden racing shell that won gold at the 1936 Olympics. The eight hangs from the ceiling as a well-polished story.
It was masterfully built by George Yeoman Pocock out of primarily Western Red Cedar and rowed by nine boys in the midst of the Great Depression. Famously shipped into and raced to victory in Nazi Germany, the impressive 60-foot-long boat was launched many times on the same water the crew rowed.
At the end of the day, the BBRC’s Grant Gonter reflected on the race.
“Rowing through the historic Montlake Cut and seeing the quotes from members of the UW rowing team was awe-inspiring,” he said. “It was also amazing to hear the crowds cheer from the bridge as we approached the finish line.”