September 14th dawned cloudy and cool with a hint of rain in the air, one of those days it would have been easy to stay at home and do chores, but we escaped to row and sail the beautiful Poquonock River which flows alongside Bluff Point State Park. It also flows along the Groton-New London Airport but the old Seaplane base is long closed and the few private planes joined in the fun with a wing wag or two. The sun came out. A sea breeze sprang up. Life was good; we would have missed all this if we had stayed home.
We used local knowledge (thanks Dan Nelson) and launched at the Calvin Burrows Baseball Field just off South Road before going under the railroad. It is the railroad bridge over the River that makes this place perfect for our type of boating. The sequence was: launch, row under the rail bridge, row on to pass through the old trolley line bridge abutments, beach on the airport side to raise sail and then sail to the barrier beach where the river meets the sea. It also helps that the chart shows depths ranging for 4 ft. to 2 ft. to 0 ft. - it keeps the motorboats at bay.
First, the Participants: Ellie Czarnowski with her Skeery and two sea-going puppy dogs, René Boelig, able crew on our Peapod, Brian Cooper with his fabric-on-frame Whitehall, John Hacunda with his bright yellow kayak made from traditional recycled soda bottles and myself, Bill Rutherford, Chief instigator.
The high point of the day was Ellie becoming comfortable sailing the Skeery. Given confidence by the group, Ellie sailed her home all the way upriver from the beach. That is what going out on the water with our group is all about; you do not have to be a stellar sailor, paddler or row with your oars feathered inches above the water to have a good time and perhaps learn a few new tricks from others. Mark your calendar for the the second Saturday in September, next, as the English say, and plan to join us for this relaxing, fun outing
It was a brisk and blustery day in the 50's, but with bright sun as we launched three dories and two double enders into the river back of Great Island near the mouth of the Mighty Connecticut River in Old Lyme. A thanks to Peter for recommending the location; it is a beautiful wildlife preserve marsh hosting nesting osprey. The waters are protected from the big waves of the Sound, but open to its great expanse.
Josh, Shirley, and John rowed the club Avery Point dories. They were surprised by the sail area they presented to the strong and gusty winds. Ellie and her friends Helen and John, plus Ellie's two adventuresome dogs, rowed her Skerry while Karen steered and I rowed the Natoma Skiff, also a double ender. At the waterline, at least, we were all double enders. Elle's friend Helen did most of the rowing in their boat; she really got into the rhythm of the oars and usually was out front.
Josh not only got further into rowing, but actually learned sculling, laying back and relaxing in the stern of the dory. John not only picked up and delivered the three dories, all stacked on the club trailer, but installed a trailer hitch on his pickup especially for the occasion. Thank goodness for Karen's sandwiches, for we got hungry before we got back, devouring them while hanging onto marsh grass hunkered in the lee of the brisk breeze.
We rowed up the Back River to Watch Rock, one of the many pocket parks in Old Lyme, turned, hung out in the reeds for a while and returned to the state launch site. We saved heading down to the sand spit for another time. The wind was strong but we dressed warmly so all enjoyed ourselves. Only one question remained: where shall we go for our spring row?
The Essex River Race is a 5.5+ mile open water event from the Essex River at Route 133 in Essex, MA out behind the barrier beaches of Ipswich and back. Participants row or paddle small boats through one of the most scenic tidal areas in New England. The race is sponsored by the Cape Ann Rowing Club. For details, see the Cape Ann Rowing Club website.
JGTSCA members Phil Behney, Sean Bercaw and John Hacunda participated in the 2009 race. They rowed Avery Point Dories that were designed and constructed by the JGTSCA.
The second annual Slocum River Regatta was held on September 15, 2007. The race follows a 2-mile closed loop course along the beautiful Slocum River Estuary in Dartmouth, MA. The short course makes this an ideal event for the recreational rower. JGTSCA was represented by Bill Armitage and John Hacunda who rowed doubles in the Last Chance and completed the course in a time of 19:39.
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