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Boston Weather: 68.0°F | Fog

Heavyweight Crew Wages Battle With Cold in Annual Snow Row

By Chris Putnam
team member

On Saturday, the varsity heavyweight crew returned to the water for their most unique event of the year. The crew members experienced first-hand how their predecessors rowed prior to the advent of motorized vessels, and, more importantly, sliding seats, as they joined an assortment of boats for the annual snow row in Boston Harbor.

Crews have represented MIT at the special event for the past several years and have been quite successful. "I've been looking forward to this every since I returned from winter training in Florida," said Jared Cottrell '97 when the crew arrived at Hull for the event.

Rowing in a replica of a 1797 Captain's Gig which was assigned to a French man-of-war sailing vessel, the crew of 10 oarsmen, one coxswain, and the captain, Coach Gordon Hamilton, placed fairly well against their competition, as they finished in fourth overall and in their division.

The event was very well attended this year and a veritable armada of boats could be seen trailing MIT as they pressed to catch the lead crews.

The event started as usual with the crews assembled on the beach and the bows of their boats pulled ashore. At the sound of a horn, which only recently replaced a gun, the oarsmen scurried down the beach and jumped into their boats to start the race.

The lucky bowmen of each shell were given the honor of shoving off and trying to get in the boat without getting too wet. MIT was a little bit slow to turn around and start because of the massiveness of the boat they were rowing. Once the crew headed in the right direction, they quickly overtook all but the fastest of their competitors.

At the halfway point in the race, it looked like the crew might benefit from a tight turn around the island, but unfortunately the crew was forced to stop rowing to untangle their oars from a clash with one of the competitors.

After clearing that problem, the crew deftly drew away from the field and fought hard to catch the lead crews. Unfortunately, the race course ran out before MIT was able to pass the final three crews ahead of them.

Although disappointed that they could not throw their coxswain, Jen Lykens '99, into the ice cold water after winning the race, the crew was fairly satisfied with a good row. They will return next year to fight for the coveted first place and humble the "old salty" fixed seat rowers.