A Head Start to Head of the Lake
by Katie Franco
10 people traveled to Seattle today (10/26/14) to check out the course before the Head of the Lake next Sunday. We went to the boathouse where 2 rowers were coming back with their singles. They told us not to go out, that it was way too rough. We went anyway. No other rowers were heading out, which should have meant something to us, but we were steeped in denial. After all, we were used to “our water”, which gets pretty rough on some of our rows. Besides, we had gotten up so early and gone so far to get there.
On the way toward Lake Washington it was rough, indeed, but not the roughest water any of us had been in (oops, I mean “on”) so we continued. We formed two coxed boats with Micaela (clearly not dressed warm enough to be coxswain) with Ted, Beth, Karsten, and Jeanne in bow; and cox’n Mari (dressed appropriately) leading Katie, Larry, Dave McWethy, and Ed in bow.
With those strong winds out on “our water” we never would have made it, but it is somewhat more protected there, so we thought it was still ok, and so onward we rowed.
On the way back, though, the winds picked up to a steady 15 knots, with gusts to 22. There were whitecaps and waves just pouring over the gunwales. The two cox’ns, Mari and Micaela, bailed the whole way: Mari with a paper cup she had grabbed before getting in; Micaela, with her soaked sweater she had taken off despite being freezing cold.
Everyone rowed very hard and really well all the way back. We bailed more at the dock, then got drenched even more as we lifted the shells overhead.
We ended our adventures (after hot showers in the boathouse) with lunch at Pam and Dave McWethy’s house before heading home amidst rainbows and sunshine, lots of laughter and a new story to share. Another memorable and fun time was had by all, and I am pretty sure we all feel quite prepared for whatever kind of water we may get at the HOTL.