Area rowing teams compete in Hull, Mass.

THE 60 CREWS that competed the Oct. 26 Head of the Weir rowing event in Hull, Mass., head toward the starting line for the 5.5-mile competition. Eight of the boats contained crews affiliated with Ferrisburgh’s Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. Photo by Richard Green/Courtesy of the LCMM

HULL, Mass. — Vergennes Union High School, Rice Memorial High School and adult rowers in the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s Champlain Longboats Program competed successfully on Saturday, Oct. 26, in the annual Head of the Weir event in Hull, Mass., a few miles south of Boston
The crews rowed in boats built by high school students from Middlebury and VUHS in tandem with the LCMM longboats program. Program director Nick Patch describes building the boats as a five-month intensive project for which the students get credit from their sending school.
The Head of the Weir features a challenging 5.5-mile course. On Oct. 26 the weather cooperated with temperatures in the 50s and a light wind.
Patch said teams met at the launch ramp at 7 a.m. to unload eight boats, with it taking as many as 30 people to unload a single 32-foot rowing gig. By 9:30 all the boats were launched and rigged, and crews were on their way to row a mile to the starting line.
The Head of the Weir is a timed race with one start every 30 seconds. With more than 60 boats in the event, Patch said there is a lot of jockeying for position, but the Vermont boats got clean starts on a course that meanders through a tidal estuary out into Boston Harbor.
The best local finish came from the VUHS team rowing Northern Sun, which triumphed in the youth six-oar division with a time of 51:12, followed by two Rice teams in Redwing in fourth in 1:07:01 and fifth in Annie O. in 1:08:28. Vergennes also came in sixth in Endeavour in 1:10:16 and seventh in Golden Oak in 1:15:36.
In the four-oared youth division, Rice came in third in ROPA in 1:11:22. In the four-oar adult division rowing American Shad the LCMM Adult Community rowers came in fourth in 58:37, while another Adult Community team in Frank Beckett came in seventh.
Patch said it was a great day for all involved.
“This was an amazing event in which everyone deserves accolades for staying the course and gutting out 5.5 miles,” he said.         

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