2011 Annual Meeting – draft minutes

Sound Rowers and Paddlers

Annual Meeting December 3, 2011


Draft Minutes


President Tyler Peterson opened the meeting at 10:00.


Present: Tyler Peterson, Steve Wells, Janice Oldenburg, Traci Cole, Michael Lampi, Steve Chapin, Otto Loggers, Jordan Hanssen, Vern and Janet Heikkila, Bill Jaquette, Shane Baker, Don Kiesling, Barbara Gronseth, Peter Turcan, Todd Silver, Howard Lee, Jeff Knakal, Greg Gilda, Debbie Natelson


  1. Draft Minutes from December 2010 were approved with one edit.
  2. Treasurer’s Report: Bill Jaquette handed out the current Statement of Accounts and highlighted that dues and race fee receipts are slightly down. However, expenses also are down. There was a net increase in our checking account of $1873. Bill also provided a spreadsheet showing trends in dues, race fees and expenses for each year since 2006. Dues are slightly down, and race fee income is more variable. Race expenses are largely permit costs, food and ribbons.


We discussed our state tax obligations, if any. Bill will research the question.

  1. Insurance report: Vadim was not present, and there are no known issues.
  2. Race Reports:

LaConner – the new post-race venue at Shelter Bay is less costly and works well.

Jetty Island – no incidents to report. Snohomish Search and Rescue are getting better prepared for shallow water assistance.

Lake Whatcom – great turnout.

Commencement Bay – no incidents.

Rat Island – smooth waters and no incidents. Local fees have gone up. The State Parks fee may be imposed this year. Steve plans to increase race registration for singles to $10. Providing blue ribbons for all participants in several eights is a cost driver. The date conflicts with Masters Regionals, but US Rowing sets the date after we set our calendar. Steve is hoping to coordinate the date with Bill Walker’s downwind race at Port Angeles on Sunday after Rat Island.

Manchester – numbers are down. This was the first race scheduled after the start of the State Parks fee.

Elk River – participation has been down for 2 years. 2012 will be the Heikkila’s 17th year as race directors. They are considering retirement as race directors after this year. They are considering a different course for the long course race.

Round Shaw – choppy waters caused several capsizes, though no incident reports were filed. Camping is now prohibited on the lawn. One option is to camp at the State Park on Lopez and paddle over to Shaw for the race.

Bainbridge Marathon – a Hudson quad was swamped by passing yacht wakes and their bilge pumps failed. We discussed if flat water shells should be allowed to race. We agreed that race directors should indicate on the club website which boats are or are not suitable. This will provide advance notice of possible disqualification.

GXS – race went well. No shirts were provided this year. The date had many conflicts so turnout was lower. The August date remains preferred to ensure good weather and water conditions.

Orca Challenge – did not happen. Last minute cancellation. Will be discontinued.

Budd Inlet – good race. Well managed. Race director made a wise decision to shift 4s and 8s to a short course. Peter Plimpton would like help with 2012 race.

Lake Samish – very big turnout. Some flat water racers were caught flat footed by the short time between the pre-race meeting and the race start. This could be avoided by starting the meeting earlier. There was no reference to Sound Rowers on the shirt (or any other place on the program and materials).Rather than drop the race from our calendar, we agreed to give the race directors our feedback and allow one more chance for them to acknowledge Sound Rowers. We might also set up our own tent adjacent to race registration to recruit memberships. The race directors have always been prompt in submitting results and race receipts.

Mercer Island – one elderly sea kayaker chose the long course and finished hours after all others. In the future, race directors may specify a minimum speed that must be maintained to be included in race results. This will allow results to be tabulated in a timely manner and impose less on race volunteers.


Given the swamped flat water quad at Bainbridge and the slow kayaks and SUPs, we will add a general note to our website about necessary sea worthiness of boats and maintaining a minimum speed. Traci will draft a note for Board review.


Lake Sammamish – the King County Marine Patrol lost our race permit and decided to remove turn buoys from the course. Next year, we may not place flags on existing buoys so additional buoys will be needed. LWRC can loan us buoys. Coordination with the Greenland kayakers went very well.


  1. Race Director’s Feedback:
    • Coast Guard permits have been emailed to Tyler. Tyler will contact Coast Guard for 2012 permits.
    • Tyler received an email from Wendy Becker at Snohomish County inviting applications for grant funds for outdoor recreation events which bring people to the county. Peter Turcan will apply.
    • We have a proposal from Peter Marcus for a new race at Bellingham. March 3 is proposed. Peter organized the race last year and had about 50 entries. Water conditions are possibly 3+ in difficulty. PFDs are to be worn by all. We approved this race for 2012 as a 3+ event.
    • Olympic Outdoor Center at Port Gamble has inquired about hosting a race event on Hood Canal. Tyler invited volunteers to serve as race director. If interested, Tyler will provide contact information.
  1. 2012 Race Calendar – the draft calendar circulated by Shane was adopted. The 2012 Annual Meeting will be December 1, 2012.
  2. OAR Northwest was represented by Jordan Hanssen and Otto Loggers. They thanked us for our generous sponsorship 5 years ago which was a club donation plus matching contributions from individual members. They described the evolution of their business model to a new emphasis on inspiration, education and data production (water quality, whale communication and sleep deprivation). OAR Northwest will now include annual expeditions. In April, they will circumnavigate Vancouver Island, and their departure from the Seattle Aquarium is an opportunity for Sound Rowers to paddle along side and gain visibility. In December, they will launch their row from Africa to Venezuela. Their 2012 goal is to reach 10,000 people. They will have the world’s most technologically advanced rowboat(!) capable of live video broadcasts to classrooms. Their expedition is also a fund raiser for Right To Play.

They proposed that Sound Rowers again provide a $1500 grant in return for which they commit to bring their ocean boat to three S/R races. We decided to award $2000 with the expectation they will attend four races with at least two of their team members in attendance. Payment is in advance if they agree to make the appearances. They agreed.

  1. Race Posters and Schedule Cards – JL Darling again volunteered to donate setup and printing of our race calendars. We will acknowledge Rite in the Rain paper on our website.
  2. Ribbons – the blue ribbons cost a lot and we hand out many (esp. to dragon boats, OC-6 and rowing 8s). We decided to abandon use of the blue florette ribbons and use simple blue ribbons to match the red and white style. We rejected the suggestion to switch to generic ribbons and will continue to print race-specific ribbons. We considered providing decals for wins comparable to decals on bombers for missions, fighters for kills and football helmets for whatever they do. No decision was made about this concept.
  3. We will renew our organizational membership in the Washington Water Trails Association. Our website is now linked on their site. We donated two club memberships for their online auction, and both were sold.
  4. Tyler presented a possible new logo for Sound Rowers and Paddlers. The design works well on stickers, clothing. We adopted the logo with added color (blue ring) and reduction in size of the central propeller. The word that comes at the lower part of the ring should be upright. Tyler will buy 200 4” decals at about $0.74 each, and decals will be handed out with membership payment. The deals will also show our club URL. No new banner will be ordered. The logo will be set up at JL Racing at club expense ($50), and individuals may then place orders for small quantities and not pay the setup cost for embroidery.
  5. WordPress Blog – there have been very few submissions and yet the site has over 3000 hits. People are encouraged to post articles about their experiences at races.
  6. Membership Roster – the roster of names is now online. It shows current memberships. Don Kiesling will maintain the membership roster, and $500 of the stipend previously paid to the blog editor will now be paid to Don. Membership will be calendar year only beginning in 2012. Those who joined for 2012 in 2011 are grandfathered.
  7. Club address – Tyler will check with Coast Guard and Secretary of State to ensure they have our current address on file. The club will use the Bay Shells LLC address. The website will be updated to show this address.
  8. Boat Classification – We had an OC2 paddled with kayak paddles rather than with a traditional single blade paddle. Question was raised about their classification. We decided that any hybrid craft that fails to meet the specs for an established class will be placed in another class. A note to this effect will be added to the boat classification page on our website.
  9. Facebook – Tyler was authorized to initiate a Sound Rowers page on Facebook.
  10. Tyler will ensure we are registered as a nonprofit with the Secretary of State. The deadline in the end of the year.
  11. Election of Officers

Treasurer – Bill Jaquette was recognized for many years of faithful and diligent service as club Treasurer. Jeff Knakal was elected to replace Bill.

President – Tyler Peterson was re-elected for another term.

VP for Racing – Shane Baker was re-elected for another term

VP of Technology – Traci Cole was re-elected. However, she will be incommunicado from the end of June to mid-August. Don Kiesling and debbie Natelson volunteered to cover for Traci.

VP for Legal – Vadim was re-elected.

At-Large Board Members – terms filled by Don Kiesling and Michael Lampi are expiring. Janet Heikkila and Don Kiesling were elected to fill these positions.

The Board will meet following the Commencement Bay race.


19. Race Profiles on Web – Traci asks all race directors to review and approve the page for their race. Please also provide a physical address for the race site, so folks can use mapping sites for specific directions.

20. Other Events – USAK Nationals will be at Green Lake on same day as GXS. Shane is hosting a fun race around Fox Island on New Year’s Eve.





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Budd from the back seat

Submitted by Peter Turcan

Scottish weather may have kept the entry light, 22 boats, but the competition was tough. With Juraj (pronounced Uri) in the front seat of the spectacularly well designed Fenn Mako double surf ski, and with me filling up the rear seat, we kept our warm up short in the rain. Thankfully the rain backed off and the clouds lifted for the race.


The start was a blast – our GPS recorded bursts of speed of 16.9 kph – so quick we had to back down to save blowing a gasket. This left us in fourth position, with the rowing double of Bob Maki and Richard Ramsey taking a slight lead over the mixed double of Peter Hirtle and Christy Mills, and the ever present Tyler Peterson lying third. We lost “ground” and gained it again surfing the swells out to the first turn. Our speed varied from 12.9 to 15.9 kph. Lying fourth but still in touch we gained a little on the turn – as kayaks usually do over rowing vessels – and slowly hauled passed Tyler. He was going well so I assume he stopped for tea soon after this to account for the five minute gap at the finish.


Both rowing doubles gained on us on the second leg across the sound, though we pulled a lot back on the second turn. Up to this point our style was a little choppy – recovering perhaps from the start. Following the second turn Juraj set the smoothest style of our race – perhaps because it was into a head-wind all too familiar to us at Green Lake. Keeping a bit more out to sea than the rowers (to stay in the deep water) we slowly gained about two inches per minute to pass both doubles, the mixed double of Peter and Christy trying very hard to close the gap on Bob and Richard. Being the strong competitors that they are neither double faded once they were passed, as so many do. We held a slight lead of a boat length maybe for a while, but then Bob and Richard in more sheltered water inched back passed us and took a lead of a few boat lengths. However our smooth run continued and within sight of the finish line, about a mile out, Juraj upped the pace from about 12 kph (still into a headwind but will calmer water) to about 13 kph. This meant burning calories at a fierce rate, controlling breathing and movement to avoid blowing up.


We inched up behind the double shell then pulled off to the side a bit to clear their wake. Keeping up this pace we inched passed the double shell and took a short lead – all within sight of the finish line crew and spectators now yelling support for one boat or the other! Bob and Richard did not seem to have a response to our sprint after being such tough competitors for most of the race. My guns started to complain at the pressure and my stroke suffered a bit, but we held the pace to the end for a time eight seconds under the hour. I stuffed my face with the chili and fruit pie served up by the volunteers to celebrate a rare first place.


Other sights of the race included Vern, Janet and crew in their wooden OC6, Mike Lampi’s fast and slim contraption of a pedal boat, the Johnston’s family double, and Rob O’Brien sticking his tongue out at Michal Lampi’s camera and screwing up his timing with Theresa, and some good paddling and rowing from the rest of the competitors. And unlike some previous years the attentive safety boats could watch rather than rescue.

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2011 Bainbridge Marathon

I didn’t row the race. Rather, I loaned my Maas 24 to Jennifer Devine and got to watch the fun. But from my perspective (and with my bias as a Maas dealer), this was one great, fun day in the best tradition of Sound Rowers. Here’s my experience.

Jennifer contacted the Maas Boat Company several weeks before the race, introduced herself as a former Olympian and competitor at the World Championships. She explained that she would be moving to Seattle later this Fall and wanted to try open water racing. She asked if a shell would be available for the Bainbridge Marathon. Maas put her in touch with me, and we began a fun correspondence to make arrangements and prep her shell. She had lots of great questions about preparing for the race. Some of them were the same questions everyone asks before their first Sound Rowers race, and some were pretty technical about rigging.


In the course of these emails, we shared thoughts about the culture of sprint racing in contrast with the spirit and soul of open water races. She wrote this:

“Though I wouldn’t presume to speak for anyone else on the issue, I’d say one of the draws of open water vs. flat water racing is the nature of the challenge.  Whereas flat water racing tries to control and optimize as many of the variables to performance as possible, open water racing forces you to work with all kinds of challenges simultaneously.  Which seems less contrived to me, and more like training for the rest of your life.  Some people like that it’s not clear-cut and that there isn’t a buoyed course for you to follow where you know at every second whether or not you’re winning.  And for some people, that would drive them nuts.  

“When I was competing, I had a theory that top athletes come in two very distinct flavors.  The first are the people who use sports as a forum in which to prove to themselves or the rest of the world that they can be the the best at something.  These are the ones who could just as easily be rowers as they could be runners or swimmers or fencers or weightlifters, if they were born with a different body type.   For them, the accomplishment isn’t their mastery of the sport itself so much as their domination over everyone else in that particular sport.  Then there’s the second kind of athletes — the ones who get really good at their sport because something in them clicks with a particular sport, so they spend time practicing and learning all about it, and get good mostly as a byproduct of their interest in it.  When you get to the Olympic level, the vast majority of the people competing are of the first variety.  Because for athletes of the first variety, every chance to race is a chance to be better than someone else.  And also because, for most athletes of the second variety, having to spend so much time and energy on the BS associated with making it that far competitively simply detracts from how much time and energy can be spent at mastering the sport, which is what they’re actually in it for.  For athletes of the first variety, the main goal is to win, and in order to win, they have to practice and train.  For athletes of the second variety, the main goal is to master the sport, and to do that, they have to practice and race.  There is overlap, but the underlying goals are different.  I’ve come over the last few years to the realization that I’ve always been of that second group, and that being a hyper competitive person was never part of what drove me to want to row fast.  But since most of the people I worked with — coaches and athletes — were all from that first group, I often felt like I simply didn’t belong in that environment.  Even if, speed-wise, I clearly deserved to be there.  It seems like open water racing offers a lot more to athletes of that second variety because there are any number of challenges happening simultaneously.  Doing well feels more like mastery than winning. I did my first master’s sprint regatta last weekend in RI and commented to people at how weird it was to be doing a race where only the winner got a medal.  Ever since the Olympics, pretty much all the racing I’ve done has been the kind where just finishing is a big enough deal that they give you a medal — marathons, long-distance open water swims, that sort of thing. “
Well, Jennifer did the Marathon and had a great time. She loved the boat. She picked a great course (and I feel she picked the best direction around the island, though most went the other way). The weather was great, so there were many pleasure boats motoring on the Sound and no rhythm nor consistency to the wave action. The wind picked up from the North to between 10 and 15 knots. Not an easy day to be sculling.  Those who chose counter-clockwise had the leg home up the East side of the island into a stiff quartering wind.
In addition to Jennifer’s adventure, we were joined by four men with a Hudson quad borrowed from Pocock Rowing Center. These guys were from Boston where at least three row with Union Boat Club. One, Jeb Besser, holds the current course record for this race with Grant Dull. Another, Aleks Zosuls, has been the overall winner in the North American Open Water Championships (with Steve Tucker). Their shell took off (clock wise) and soon left everyone in their wake. We fully expected them to set a new record and perhaps break three hours for the first time. But it was not to be. They anticipated the need to bail water, so they rigged four small electric pumps; however, coming through Agate Passage, their pumps failed and their shell filled to the gunnels. The last leg into the finish was painfully slow. Not only did they fail to break the record, but they were beaten across the line by Peter Hirtle and Conal Groom in a Maas Double (which has self-bailers) and who had chosen the counter-clockwise route.
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Jetty Island Race

4-23-11 Everett WA.  The weather at this year’s Jetty Island race was spectacular. It seemed more spectacular because the sun had not made a significant showing for what seemed like months.

We unloaded our equipment and went to sign up for the race. I noticed a group of Snohomish County Sheriff’s looking at our double rowing shell. As I approached with my race number, they looked up and asked, “is this yours?” I nodded. “You know there is a speed limit in the channel?” I stared back, trying to gage seriousness. I pointed at Tyler Peterson.  “You should keep an eye on that guy”

Race Director Peter Turcan went over the rules and other bits of wisdom, and 50 boats launched into the channel.  After a wild crisscrossing warm up, we started lining up to the sound of the starting horn. The pack slowly drifted past the start line together, hoping that Peter was not too particular on the actual location of the start. The long horn sounded and we were off.

The pack spread out on the run to the first turn which was negotiated without incident.  Everyone looked for lines close to the island, but far enough out to avoid the shallow sand shelf. The north end of Jetty island is also the outlet of the Snohomish River and we used that knowledge to stay close to the island and out of the current to make up time on Rainer and Adrian Storb, and Tyler Peterson.  We entered the final channel together and enjoyed a mad sprint to the finish.

It was a great day for a great race. Thanks to the Snohomish County Sheriff and Search and Rescue for keeping an eye on us.

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Thurgood at LaConner

Submitted by Bill Jaquette. 

The La Conner race as become for me an opportunity to row my classic 17 foot by 4 foot boat, Thurgood.  In comparison to those modern plastic wonders, Thurgood is a bit slow.  Under easy pressure, she will go about 3.2 miles per hour; when pushed hard, I can get her up to 4.

In four of the races we went considerably faster when Rob O’Brien, Steve Wells, Jeff Knakal ,and this year Sue Dandridge each joined on as second crew.  But other times, it was just Thurgood and I, arriving at the finish line to find most of the other racers packed up and ready for hot soup.

It is a bit discouraging to be left behind in the wake of the other competitors as they speed away and it gets frustrating to see the GPS reading less than 2 mph when the current we fought going out has switched and we are fighting it again on the return.

So why?  I have one of those plastic wonders too.  In the back of my mind I am remembering 2003, when several boats capsized, many turned around, and I spent much of the race telling myself how stupid I was for not having turned around too.  Thurgood could have handled anything that February the northwest could deliver.

However, my reasons are more positive than negative and it has to do with what Thurgood represents.  She is a wooden boat built on the lines of the Whitehall design that was used for water taxies on the east coast beginning in the 1850s.  Boating historians preserved these lines in a table of offset numbers which define the outside hull dimensions at defined points on a three dimensional grid.

My joy in being on the water in Thurgood comes because I took that table of offsets from the book Building Classic Small Craft by John Gardner, lofted full sized plans on two pieces of plywood, built a mold, spiled the rectangular planks into shapes that formed the curves of the Whitehall, and steamed oak ribs to give the hull strength. All with the aid, I will admit, of lots of epoxy glue.

Bill Jaquette and Sue Dandridge chase the pack at LaConner

Some of that joy is simple pride. But another part of it is the connection I get with an earlier stage in human history when making things, especially boats, involved very sophisticated craftsmanship that was so valued that the workers who learned these crafts couldn’t be treated as commodities to be hired and fired with the ebb and flow of corporate need as workers are today.

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LaConner 2011

2-5-11 LaConner Washington.  While the rest of the country was forced to sit on shore by frozen water covered by feet of snow, the northwest rowers and paddlers came out of hibernation to temperate rainforest conditions for the first race of the Sound Rowers season. The rain held off until after the race and conditions were relatively calm as 76 boats made their first charge out into open water.

Newly elected club president Tyler Peterson (single rowing shell) led the pack down the channel where we played traffic jam with a large pleasure boat just before the turn to open water.  He outpaced everyone, finishing the 7 miles in 48:49.

The out-and-back course made everyone watch their course carefully, and there were a few near misses between in and outbound racers, but no reported collisions.

Rainer and Adrian Storb finished second in a strong performance.  The most highly populated class were the Men’s HPK’s, led by Erik Borgnes finishing 4th in 52:58. The Men’s OC1 class had 9 entries, won by Joe Ferguson in 1:03:44.

The annual soup feed was held at the Shelter Bay Community Clubhouse. Thanks to Shelter Bay, the Town of LaConner and all the volunteers for a great start to the open water racing season.

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NAOWRC 6 in 2011



The Blackburn Challenge, to be held on July 23 this year, is the premier human-powered open-water event on the east coast of North America. In 2011 the event will be especially exciting. Not only is it the silver anniversary running of the event, but is also the 6th annual North American Open Water Rowing Championship (NAOWRC).


One of the reasons why this event has been recognized as one of the best open water races in America is due to the venue – a 20 mile circumnavigation of Cape Ann Massachusetts – a course that inevitably serves up a wide variety of conditions on the water. The first three or so miles of the race are along the protected and tidal Annisquam River, resulting in something akin to a head race, but with plenty more interesting obstacles to avoid (mooring and navigation buoys, boats, docks, etc.) and a 17 mile open water race after it. Once the river empties into the open waters of Ipswich Bay, the wind strength and direction play a decisive role in determining the conditions of the day, which range from relative calm (it’s never a flat water event) to very rough (staying upright and afloat trump the idea of competition). The last couple of miles from the Dogbar Breakwater at the entrance of Gloucester Harbor to Pavillion Beach, are usually plagued by confused boat wakes from numerous fishing, whale watch and pleasure boats going in all directions. Each year at the Blackburn brings us a very different story, making the event so interesting for open-water aficionados. One thing that thankfully remains the same each year is the fun time after finishing – cold beer, massages, good music and food and the inevitable harrowing stories from the event. This is an event not to be missed!


All event information may be found at the event website: www.blackburnchallenge.com


Rich Klajnscek

President, Cape Ann Rowing Club




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