>Regatta dogs and other fine things

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As I said last post – the boy now rows crew. At thirteen he is one of the youngest two on the team.  Yesterday was another regatta – it is sprint season. My boy was scheduled to row in four events.
 Unlike last week’s regatta, yesterday the sun was shining and the sky was beautifully blue.  The whole regatta was started about half an hour early and the officials were really trying to keep things moving briskly in an attempt to get as many events run before the expected high winds made racing too dangerous.

 The day began very well for our team – Men’s varsity 8 won by more than two lengths, women’s 8 pulled ahead at the very last to win by a little less than half a boat length.  Men’s Novice 8 (my boy’s first scheduled race of the day) won by so much that my picture of his boat coming across in the last quarter of the race doesn’t even have another boat in it.

                                   

                                           

Men’s varsity four came in second and a couple women’s fours won their races as well…
 But…. OMG the wind.  There was a point, early in the afternoon, at which quite a few of the boats had gone out to the start point for several upcoming races – sprints are 2K so though we could see glimmers off the boats from the start area, we really couldn’t see the boats as the launch area/parent tents/viewing areas are all at the finish end of the race course.  But back to the point, many boats had gone out, several heats/races worth, but all the boats were put in a holding pattern and none of the races were starting due to the wind.  
Here our two men’s novice fours are launching, the boy is there seated in the front of the boat on the right – he was “stroke” for this boat.  You can see the coxswain sitting in front of him with what looks like a headband going around her hair.  The band is what holds the microphone for her communications system.
Was getting a bit bored waiting for boats to begin racing back, so I started snapping pictures of a few of the doggie spectators.  Didn’t take the corgis to this regatta as our hotel this time was not dog friendly. 
Isn’t he grand?  There was another Dane there as well, a 2 year old fawn female, but I didn’t get a picture of her.

                   This white Shepard appeared to be team mascot for one of the University crews.

Australian Shepard puppy, she was there with some of the Clemson Crew.

                         This little girl is Edi, she was seven pounds of very cold and very sweet mutt.

There were several other dogs but after snapping these, things got a little exciting.

A couple of the races actually started but then all of a sudden several security boats motored rapidly away toward the start area and people begin getting phone calls – a murmur began to ripple through the crowd – boats swamped by the waves – boats flipped (with kids in them).  The boy was out there somewhere on his boat…  First word was neither of our fours was flipped – but they were taking on water from over the sides.  Then yes, one of ours was flipped.  Finally the boat with my kid on it rowed in, full of red faced young men and water.  Parents must not go down to the docks so we waited for the boys to bail enough water to be able to lift the boat and start out.  Meeting them along the way I asked if he was OK, his face was beet red and there was a look of panic in his eye.  He said yes, we was fine, but he was worried about the other boat (read, his friends in the boat).

Here the boys are preparing to lift the boat back out – notice adults staring off into the lake on the left There were several teams of kids out there on the water beyond our ability to see, swimming instead of rowing – some of them ours…The young man in the back who looks like he is about to wack someone with his oar is mine.

 Shortly after the first boat was hauled back to the trailering area a launch arrived with our other team of kids – but the brand new  multi-thousand dollar team boat was somewhere beneath the waves…

These are the conditions the kids were dealing with…

Those long – low – skinny boats don’t do well in that chop, especially with kids in them.  Most especially with novice kids.  We had four boats out at the time – the two novice “mens” 4 boats and two novice “women’s” eights.  This was to have been the maiden race for some of those novices.  We are talking true babes on the waves.  The coxswain for the boat that flipped actually dove under the boat to retrieve the “cox box” – electronic communication equipment – some very tough babes on the waves!
Needless to say, at this point the Regatta was over.  High wind advisory was to continue for hours and there were wet kids to retrieve and warm up, boats to be searched for, etc.
All the kids were really upset about the loss of the boat.  Of course parents and coaches were just relieved to have all kids safe and accounted for.  Thankfully, sometime later, a team from Clemson (hosts of the race) came in on a launch to let our coach know our missing boat had been located and hauled to the shore of the lake…. onto a golf course.  So once all the other boats were de-rigged and loaded for the ride home, we all convoyed over to the golf course to retrieve the wayward Fred & Ellie.  Racing shells being hauled across a golf course by a slew of teen boys is not a scene witnessed everyday.
Just look at that beautiful deceptive sky.
In spite of the shortened race – enough events had been completed to actually call it a regatta and tally points.  This regatta had high point awards for junior men’s/women’s/ and teams in addition to the collegiate divisions.
Our team took all three high point honors for the junior division.
The regatta also tallied points for over-all high point awards – all the teams combined.
 Our team took all three of those too.  Can you say sweep? 
 I think this qualifies as a successful regatta.  The kids all learned some very valuable life skills for dealing with adversity (again).  Between last week’s electrical storm and this week’s high winds – these may be some of the toughest novices ever!  In both races it was our novice boats out on the water when all hell broke loose.  Some of the kids still have not actually gotten to race.
My novice boy? The one race early in the day was the only one he got to complete this time.
His novice eight team mates with their medals (he is far left with the black tobaggon on).  This was his second race ever.  

The whole team with Head Coach and his wife on the left and sculling coach on the right.  The boy is back there with one hand on the trophy in the very back, but he is too short and hidden by all the other boys – it was more important to him that he be touching a trophy than that he been seen I guess.  There are three trophies to be found if the picture is embiggened with a click.

Oh, and that panicked look in his eye when he was worried about his team mates in the water?  On the way home I learned why he was so frightened for them.  The night before, at dinner, he and I had shared a table with another boy’s family – this boy is a senior and has been on the team all four years since its founding.  Anyway, the father was telling us a story about a sculler last year who had rowed over a gator during a race flipping her boat and dumping her into the lake with the gator – a security launch instantly motored over to scare off the gator and collect the rower.  My boy thought that had happened at this same venue – so he thought those five kids were swimming with the gators.  But no, that was much further south.  Maybe next time he’ll listen better.  Ha.

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