Narragansett Boat Club Celebrates its 175th Anniversary
The evening of March 2nd was a historic night for the Narragansett Boat Club. Two-hundred plus guests gathered at the Agawam Hunt Club in East Providence, Rhode Island to celebrate the founding of the club 175 years ago, when certainly its original members could only have dreamed of the success of the club today.
Guests of all ages arrived in style for the black tie optional event; some sporting evening gowns and tuxedos, while others took a more creative approach to the dress code. A display of old NBC photographs and memorabilia arranged by Peter Wilhelm adorned the entry way and set the tone for this historic event. Guests mingled and enjoyed a raw bar and hors d'oeuvres as the evening got underway.
The event officially began with a toast made by Albin Moser, Director of Rowing at NBC: “Each of us has played a very special role in developing an organization that follows the precept of 1838: “The encouragement of amateur rowing and the general promotion of physical culture.” When it comes to teaching the public how to row, the Narragansett Boat Club has extended that effort from 1971 to the present... When it comes to competition, our juniors and masters stand ready to take on the nation. They have many men’s and women’s national championship medals to show for it. As an organization, the Boat Club has a sound and very experienced Board of Governors who have guided it throughout these years of outstanding growth and development...We've had 175 years of rowing, camaraderie, and competition. Here's to the Narragansett Boat Club. May it continue with even greater success for another 175 years!” Click on the following link for the full version of Mr. Moser’s speech: Albin Moser's 175 Gala Speech (doc)
Kim Worrell, organizer of the event, then said a few words acknowledging the great contributions Mr. Moser has made to the club and its programs. She then unveiled a gift to Mr. Moser, a painting of the NBC docks by Jim Bush, an award-winning artist, member of the Providence Art Club and noted editorial cartoonist for the Providence Journal.
Phineas Sprague, Captain in 1968, Vice President in 1969 and 1970 and President in 1971, attending the Gala from Port Elizabeth, Maine, then took the microphone to retell the story of how he flipped into the water at the Head of the Charles when an NBC eight brushed his single after his race. To the rowers in that eight, some of whom were in attendance, Mr. Sprague offered his forgiveness. Once everyone assembled had toasted to the continued prosperity of the club, they adjourned to their tables to dig in to a delicious meal, topped off with NBC themed cupcakes.
After dessert, a three-piece live band began playing and it only took a few notes before guests hit the dance floor and the dancing did not stop until past the midnight hour. Mid-way through the evening, much to the amusement of fellow partiers, NBC member John Ryan shed his formal trousers for a pair of rowing trou.
Other notable guests were Leah White, representing USRowing; Bob Seiple, former Athletic Director of Brown University; and Ken Foote, 1976 Montreal Olympian and NBC Life Member. Six former NBC Presidents attended the event including, Dan Gorriaran, Elizabeth Head, Judy Jamieson, Jaime Reavis, Albin Moser, and Phin Sprague. Medhat and Nabila Toukhy, members from the early 1970s, made the drive up from New Jersey.
There is no doubt that a good time was had by all, and the evening will go down in history as an anniversary celebrated in style. Rumor has it that plans for the 200th anniversary are already in the works.