Sunday, Oct. 9 was a perfect Indian summer day, with bright sunshine and unseasonably warm air bathing Maine and the rest of New England. And for 12 strong rowers from Come Boating!, Belfast’s community boating organization, it was a wonderful day for participating in the East Coast Open Water Rowing Championships.

The organization’s two pilot gigs, Belle Fast and Selkie, were among 32 boats in several classes that competed in a 4.1-mile course in Plymouth Harbor. The day proved to be a winner in more than weather for Belfast’s rowers as the crew of men and women in Belle Fast took first place overall as well as in the Pilot Gig-Mixed class, and the women’s team in Selkie placed first in the Women’s Pilot Gig class and seventh overall.

Contenders included pilot gigs from Plymouth, Buzzard’s Bay, Martha’s Vineyard and Gloucester, Mass., in addition to Belfast, as well sliding seat rowing boats, whale boats, dories and kayaks.

The race course was a mile longer than it had been billed, and a headwind from the northeast and choppy water on the two-mile second leg of the course challenged racers.

The Belle Fast crew took the lead in the first mile of its heat and maintained it, crossing the finish line with a time of 40:05, followed by a sliding seat rowing boat in second place at 41:33, and the mixed crew pilot gig Real McCoy from Buzzard’s Bay with a time of 42:08 in third.

In a heat dense with boats in various classes, the Come Boating! women in Selkie powered ahead of the women in the Gloucester gig Gannett, which tailed them for much of the race. Selkie crossed the finish line in 47:39, 43 seconds ahead of the Gloucester women.

The Come Boating! mixed team was made up of Tracy Cunning, Wes Reddick, Greg Stafford, Ethan Shaw, Wiola Wos and Dan Waldron, with Rick Fitzsimmons as cox. The women’s crew included Sally Faulkner, Amy Grant, Linda Hurley, Monica Piccinini, Willy Reddick and Marnie Reeve, with Chris Gordon as cox.

Belfast teams will travel to Hull, Mass. Saturday, Oct. 29 for the 5-mile Head of the Weir river race. Although Come Boating!’s community rowing program has ended for the season, members of the racing team will continue to train through the winter, weather permitting

Information about Come Boating!’s rowing and sailing programs can be viewed online at

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