New Boats, New Adventures

GDRA added two team boats to our racing fleet this summer—a new 2023 Fluidesign lightweight quad and a 2022 Hudson lightweight double. Just in time for the head race season, and much welcomed by the lighter rowers on our competitive team!

The boats were put to good use when GDRA traveled to the Secret City Head Race in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, on October 14 and 15, 2023. This regatta has a downstream course on Saturday and an upstream course on Sunday. In the new quad’s maiden voyage, Paula Sideras, Michael McCarty, Denise Heuser, and Ed Walz won the bronze medal in Saturday’s Mixed Masters 4x. The quad had another successful outing when Meg Evans, Deb Taylor, Brian Elwell, and Brian White took silver in Sunday’s Mixed Masters 4x. Ben Boehm won silver in the Men’s Masters 1x on Sunday. We had four crews in the mixed double race on Saturday, two crews in the men’s double on Saturday, one crew in the women’s double on Sunday, one crew in the men’s double on Sunday, and two competitors in the Saturday men’s single. A composite women’s crew also raced the quad on Saturday. A good time was had by all!

The following week, a small contingent from GDRA traveled to Boston to row in the legendary Head of the Charles regatta. Brian White rowed his single on Friday, October 20. Then, racing the new quad on Sunday, October 22, were Meg Evans, Deb Taylor, Brian Elwell, and Brian White. Rowing under the narrow bridges of the Charles River makes it a challenging course; it was also great fun, with crowds cheering from the bridges and making noise with cowbells and kazoos.

GDRA’s next trip was closer to home, with rowers competing in the Speakmon Memorial Regatta in Columbus, Ohio, on Sunday, October 29. Richard Pierce took first place in the Men’s Masters 1x. Two of our crews placed in the Mixed Masters 4x; Ed Walz, Denise Heuser, Paula Sideras, and Michael McCarty took the silver medal, and Eric Lathrop, Connie Howe, Deb Taylor, and William Turner got bronze. Ed Walz and Denise Heuser were first in the Mixed Masters 2x, in which two other GDRA crews—Deb Taylor and William Turner, and Paula Sideras and Michael McCarty—also competed.

We traveled to the Head of the Hooch in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on November 4 and 5, 2023. This regatta always has been a club favorite. The Hooch is one of the larger regattas, so medals are hard to win, but we always enjoy the competition anyway. The Mixed Masters 2x is usually the most popular with our club, and that was true this year—we had four crews racing in this event. GDRA rowers also competed in the Mixed Masters 4x, the Men’s Masters 2x, the Women’s Masters 2x, the Women’s Masters Lightweight 1x, the Men’s Masters Lightweight 1x, and the Mixed Open 2x.

GDRA was represented in several other races this season:
– the Chicago River Half-Marathon;
– the Head of the Ohio, in Pittsburgh;
– the Hoover Fall Classic, in Columbus, in which Richard Pierce won the gold medal in his single;
– and the Head of the South, in Augusta, Georgia, where bronze medals went to Brian White and Meg Evans in the mixed double and Meg Evans in the single.

Our season ended with the annual Jingle Bell Row, in which eight reindeer-costumed sweep rowers bring joy to all the good people along the Great Miami River, with Santa Claus as coxswain.

Wishing a happy holiday season to all!