Rowing in the Rain

The wet weather on Monday, May 30, had participants in the 2016 Rochester Memorial Day Boat Race going with the flow, and what a flow it turned out to be with the intermittent torrential downpours that followed a dry spell that had brought area rivers down to a mere trickle over the past week.

The race, now in its 82nd year, always draws a crowd to the banks of the Mattapoisett River, and this year was no different, even with the heavy rain.

“Rain or shine,” said Art Benner, Boat Race Committee chairman in an email about the yearly event. “And it did rain a lot for part of the morning. I don’t believe the weather kept anyone away, only had one team that didn’t start and that was from an injury.”

There were 49 teams of two competing this year and a new winner in the Open Division.

Jake Goyette, Rochester, and Ian MacGregor, Acushnet, sailed into the first place spot with a time of 1:52:14, beating three-year winning streakers Dan Lawrence, Rochester, and William D. Watling III, Rochester, who came in second place at 1:54:35.

In third place in the Open Division was Jay Lawrence, Rochester, and Andy Weigel, Rochester, with a time of 1:55:00.

In the Women’s Division, Kasandra Gonet, Rochester, and Amanda Eldridge, Rochester, took first place for the third year in a row, and each received a plaque to commemorate the third-year win along with the first-place trophies. The plaques are in memory of Bill Watling, an avid supporter and organizer for the event.

For the Co-Ed Division, Lucy Milde and Alex Milde of Mattapoisett took first place with a time of 2:03:11.

Son C.J. Hedges V and dad C.J. Hedges IV, Hamden, Connecticut, took first place in the Parent/Child Division, finishing at 2:13:16.

The race starts at Grandma Hartley’s Pond in Rochester with the first boat hitting the water at 8:30 am and finishes at the Mattapoisett Herring Weir.

For a complete list of race results, please visit

By Jean Perry



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