Humboldt Bay Rowing Association
HBRA wrapped up its fifth weekend of racing with a good medal haul this weekend. The Pacific Invite is the second regatta hosted by Pacific Rowing Club in San Francisco at Lake Merced. This time it was officially for both novice and varsity which lead to a much more packed venue. The course was also extended from 1500 meters to 1750 meters covering the entire lake. While the finish line is not quite as severe as the Shamrock course in Redwood City the boats do need to slam on the brakes right after crossing the finish line or risk putting their boats right into the reeds at the edge of the lake. Fortunately the penalty for ending up in the reeds is primarily a bruised ego and not an injured rower or damaged boat.
The weather started off with a slight, mist on a cool 60 degree morning that burned off with the mid day sun coming out to play that also brought a slight breeze by the end of the day. In all it was fantastic racing weather on a mostly calm lake disrupted only by the thrashing of the rowers oars.
In all HBRA brought home medals from seven of the 13 races they entered. Nearly all of the boats were in the pack and the team was very proud of what they accomplished this weekend. It was a very good showing. Full results can be found at row2k's results page. Special thanks to our photographers this weekend, Angela Crandall and Jennifer Johnston.
Stroke by Stroke
The day started with the Men's single and HBRA had both Isaac and Henry racing singles. Isaac came through with the win rowing nice and relaxed in front of two Artemas boats with Henry taking fourth just behind. Both boats said they got off to a nice start with Isaac pulling away after the first 500 and continuing to walk slowing on the Artemas boats. Henry hung with the two Artemas boats until the last 500 when everyone got a bit more spread out.
Women's Varsity Quad
The women's quad had a good row for the fourth time rowing together all year. They held with the pack for about the first 1k then started to slide back a bit. The team ended up in fourth and did not feel that it was their best row but they were right next to the pack which is a huge improvement for that boat and those were some pretty fast teams they went up against. There is definitely some serious power in that boat so hopefully they will get an opportunity to give it another try. The coaches feel that with some good practice this boat could move right into the front of the pack.
Boys Varsity Quad
There were two races for this event. The first was with all of the A boats and proved, as expected, to be a tight race. HBRA took the lead early in the race with what the rowers claimed was a lousy start. After about 500 meters Berkeley and Palo Alto started to pull ahead a couple of seats and Norcal was right their with in the mix. Artemis was just back a bit. The boats continued to jostle a bit all the way to the sprint with Berkeley getting about a boat length of a lead. At the sprint HBRA powered away from NorCal, through Palo Alto and started to walk back on Berkeley but fell 3 seconds short of a pass just 1.5 seconds ahead of Palo Alto. The cheering section, including their coach, was pretty excited when they saw that for the very first time in a long while HBRA had an actual sprint. The boys felt that they could and should have started the sprint earlier, which is a good sign for future races at the full 2k length. They also felt that their start was uncharacteristically bad and that disrupted the flow of the first 1k. All in all though it was a very good race all the way through. And how about that sprint!
The B Boat had just rowed together for the first time last Wednesday and featured one novice rower. They had a great start, had lots of power through the course and very good timing despite the limited practices but they were trailing a very seasoned Berkeley B Boat through the entire course. One thing rowers are always taught is to never give up because anything can happen, and it did. About 150 meter before the finish line the Berkeley boat, who was having some steering trouble, went out the far side of the course and into the reeds. Our boys rowed right past into first place across the line. It is not always the most rewarding way to win but the boys earned that one by keeping a straight course and rowing as hard as they could all of the way through. The Berkeley Coach, Chris Dadd even came over to congratulate the boys saying, "No, that was a great row by your team, ours messed up and HBRA deserves that win." Win or loose the boys where thrilled with the way they moved the boat. The rowers in this boat are all young on the team so they will back again in the future A boat.
Men's Novice Quad
The Novice 4x is another hotly contested event with a lot of fast boats. The boys had a slow start in this one but managed to crawl through the pack into second place behind Berkely who was developing a commanding lead. At the 500 meter to go mark HBRA was in a firm second position but the other boats where right on their tails. At the sprint the boys tried to bring up the rate in an ill fated sprint. Timing fell apart just enough to allow NorCal and North Bay to pass through and HBRA ended up in fourth 4 seconds behind North Bay. The boys were bummed with the results but may have understated how well they really did. All of the boats were in a pretty tight pack up to about 500 meters making for a very intense race. They got a bit too excited and tried to finish out the race too fast. A great learning experience and a simple problem to fix. This was a great result for these boys especially when you consider that or most of them it was their first race. It also showed how much power they have. This is another boat we hope to see again.
Women's Novice Quad
Up next was the women's quad and one of the most exciting races of the day as the HBRA girls pulled out from the pack at the 1000 meter mark and walked away to the finish to win by thirteen seconds over second place Palo Alto. At the dock after the finish the girls were laughing that all but one of them caught at least one crab (got their oar stuck in the water). The spectators even got to see one right in front of the finish, but the girls recovered and held their lead. Not your typical story for a first place boat and a sign that there is a whole lot of strength in this boat. Super fun to watch these girls race!
Men's Lightweight Double
The lightweight boys had a good race sticking with the pack till 1k then doing battle with Pacific and Palo Alto for fourth place. With another great sprint at the finish the they came just 1 second off of Palo Alto for the fifth place finish. It was a good row for the boy who are getting faster in every race. With two years left for both of these boys watch to see what they can do in a year or two.
The B Lightweight Double race was a it of a blowout with Berkeley with a 31 second over second place HBRA with another 43 second lead over Palo Alto in third. Still the boys had a great row and felt very comfortable in their boat (the oldest and heaviest boat of the fleet too). A great job by all of the ultra-lightweights on the team.
Men's Heavyweight Double
This event looked on paper to be the most exciting event of the day for HBRA, and it might have been just that. The boys started off well but behind everyone else's very fast start. The first 500 meters was used up just catching the boats. By 1000 meters they had pulled ahead of Artemas, and even with NorCal. Serra and Upper Natoma where about two seats ahead. Upper Natoma pulled up a little more just before 250 meters and NorCal fell back. At 250 HBRA unleashed an even bigger sprint then in the quad. They pulled a seat ahead of Serra and with ten strokes to go walked right through Upper Natoma. Just when it looked like they were going to squeeze out a win Serra took two last big strokes and slid just ahead of the boys to take a .98 second lead over HBRA. Upper Natoma came in 2.61 seconds later in third. The sprint was the best part of the race and had everyone on the shore talking about how big it was. Again, head coach Scott was impressed to see that the team even had a sprint, "We have been working on that a long time but nothing ever seemed to work." It looked like they got it right this weekend and despite the loss the boy were very excited about the results. Watch for this boat to attempt to make it into Nations. It should be an extremely exciting regional event with a lot of closely matched teams.
Women's Openweight Double
These girls just love to row and are happy to just be out on the course. They had a good row despite some steering issues with the boat and came down the course in fifth place. All smiles and giggles as they came to the dock.
Men's Novice Four
This was a pretty mismatched boat from the start and the boys had a rough time with this one. They came down the course pretty out of sync and in last place just over a minute behind the sixth place boat. It's not a boat that is practiced and it is a sweep event, but despite the many reasons for complaint the boy came off the water wanting more. While they were not exclaiming how great the row was, they were not disappointed in rowing the boat and had some good idea on where they can improve for next time. The best comment was made by Finn Frye who said, "I just love competition, just put me in a boat." Its a good attitude to have when your learning the sport.
Women's Lightweight Double
On Wednesday before the weekend there was a decision that the lightweight lineup needed to be changed and Emma needed another lightweight partner so a novice was asked to row in the boat. The type of novice that would say, sure "I'll do whatever you need coach." Ariel was a good strong lightweight and was even suggested by the Novice coach for the seat, but it was not until 30 minutes before launching the boat that Head Coach Scott found out that she had never rowed a double before. Ohh, well today is a good day to start, ooops. What's even better then all of that? Coming in first with a four second lead over NorCal who is known to have a very fast boat. They had a fantastic row looking very good and holding a strong pace. They had a solid start, pulled ahead around the 500 meter mark and kept on walking to the finish. They even had a sprint at the finish and watching it all happen even coach Scott could not tell that they had not rowed together at all before. Ariel had never raced before Saturday and had two races and two gold medals to show for it. So now the question is should the team practice this boat or just leave it alone as a race only boat? Don't want to jynx anything.
Women's Novice Four
Ohh goodness, not another fours race! No worries this one went a bit better and the girls had some closely matched competition with Oregon Tech and Upper Natoma all fighting for 5th. Humboldt got it in the end with a solid finish and a nice straight course to the line. Whew! No more fours today.
In fact that wrapped up all the racing for the day. It was a very good day and a very good first day of racing for many of the novice rowers. The team is looking forward to a weekend off and then coming back down to the bay area for the 510 sprints on April 2nd.
Team works hard to get the boats ready before the race.
Varsity Girls 4x
Isaac in first place with quite the lead
B Lightweight double pulling hard
Boys quad in second behind Berkeley
Quad takes a big sprint to the line
Girls quad bring it back in
Humboldt Bay Rowing Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the sport of rowing for community members of all ages and abilities. HBRA is located in the Adorni Center and the HSU Boathouse on the Eureka Waterfront. Please call 707.677.3214 for further information.