Come Boating!, Belfast’s community boating organization, sent crews to the annual Snow Row competition March 2, and both came home with awards.

The men’s crew took first place overall in the Pilot Gig class and may well have set a new course record for the race. The women’s crew took first place among women and third place in the Pilot Gig class.

This was the third year that a Come Boating! team has come in first.

The morning was sunny and Boston Harbor was calm as 82 rowing boats from several states were unloaded on Windmill Beach near the Hull Lifesaving Museum, sponsor of the race.

Rowers for 19 pilot gigs plus coxed 4s, whaleboats, workboats, livery boats, ocean shells, kayaks, and surfskis readied their boats for the 3.5-mile race. At the sound of the cannon, 30 seconds after a flag is raised, rowers run down the beach, push their boats off the beach into the water, and turn them around to begin the course.

A mad scramble inevitably occurs as oars tangle and boats collide. The course takes rowers around a small island and back past Peddocks Island to Windmill Point.

The Belfast men in Belle Fast got a clean start and powered strongly through the course, becoming the first boat of any kind to cross the finish line. Their time was 30:59.

Come Boating!’s women’s crew in Selkie had a messier start and had to contend with an impenetrable barrier of boats at one point before gaining the lead of most. Selkie crossed the finish line in third place, with a time of 33:18 — 34 seconds behind second-place Mike Jenness from Plymouth, Mass. and more than a minute ahead of 15 other pilot gigs. The Selkie women were the first women’s crew across the line.

Belle Fast was rowed by John Dillenbeck, Kiffyn Dolliver, Jonathan Fulford, Greg Stafford, Ethan Shaw, and Dick Fishbeck, with Malcolm Gater as cox. Monica Piccinini Sarah Mattox, Marnie Reeve, Amy Grant, Sally Faulkner, and Leigh Dorsey were the Selkie crew, with Chris Gordon as cox.

Come Boating! will add a third rowing boat to its fleet this spring with the launch of its new custom-built wooden pilot gig. Launch day will be Saturday, May 4 at 11 a.m., with festivities at the Come Boating! boatshed near the public boat launch in Belfast.

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