America's Oldest Rowing Club
Ever Since 1838

NBC Breaks All-Time Mileage Record; Brigid Takes Top Mileage and More; Other NBC’ers Won Awards, too!

Providence/February 17: With 103,401 miles as the total, the Narragansett Boat Club has rowed far beyond any of its previous 179 years. In addition, while 2015 was the first year that the women outdistanced the men; in 2016 the women swamped the men by 11,182.1 miles. Some of that was due to the youthful Brigid Kennedy, now a senior at Moses Brown, who has overhauled Richard Lownes’ 1989 record of 2,503 to become the individual all-time mileage champion with 3,535.6 miles. This translates into almost 9.7 miles per calendar day throughout the year. In addition, she did almost all of this rowing in a single, as did Richard. To top off this record, Brigid passed up this year’s CRASH-B Championships and decided in moment of physical boredom at the NBC boathouse to set the Concept 2 Certified 10K World Women’s Lightweight Record for 17-18 Year Olds with a time of 40:29.1. Coach Peter Wilhelm proudly presented Brigid with her official Concept 2 certificate.

Those were also many other laudable achievements of 2016 that were the highlight of NBC’s Annual Awards Party held in the Ira Garber’s spacious studio. Additional mileage makes received their medals: among the other women were Joan Martin, silver (2,234.9), and Amy Abbot, bronze (2017.1). For the men the mileage champions were Bjorn Sandstede, gold (2,208); Toby Satterthwaite, silver (2,169.6); and Mitch Berkson, bronze (1,878.2). It’s also important to note that 20 women rowed over 1000 miles versus 16 for the men…not that anyone is competing, of course.

The NBC Sculling Champions were Jack Luby for the men and Brigid Kennedy for the women. This is probably the first year that both awards were won by junior scullers. Luby is now a freshman at Harvard, so Peter Wilhelm, his coach, proudly accepted medal. Brigid very ably collected yet another award on her own. These two awards go to the man and woman who do the best in the top sculling events of the NBC two regattas (Mayor’s Cup; Sweeps and Sculls).

The Marguerite Chadwick Award is presented to the Outstanding Masters Sweeps Oarswoman who is selected by her peers because of her ability to contribute to her team's general enjoyment of rowing, her ability to consolidate and inspire her team's effort in competition, her individual effort and improvement, and her overall endeavor to strengthen her boat's teamwork. This year’s honoree is Susan Faase.

The C. P. Williamson Sculling Award is presented annually, by a Board of Governors’ vote, to the sculler who both successfully competed at the Head of the Charles and whose good sportsmanship embodies the spirit of C. P. Williamson, one of the key NBC members who helped keep it going through the 60’s and 70’s. Being fastest or first is not necessarily part of the criteria as noted above. This year’s honoree is John Duke.

The Moser Award is presented to the person who has provided outstanding service to the Boat Club. This award is also determined by the Board of Governors. This year’s honoree is Amy Abbot who, in addition to plying many miles on the Seekonk, and coaching various rowers and scullers, has successfully kept our fleet of boats in action through diligent maintenance and constant care. The mileage rowed by the members does not include the miles that are also accumulated through the development program.

The NBC Tool Man Award (a mounted faux sterling silver vice grip) is a special presentation and thank you given by Captain Eric Watne to Pete Evans. Pete is magnificent in finding ways to repair damage to boats that Amy can’t fix. Thanks to Pete numerous boats were repaired here in our boathouse or over at his plant. This reduced down time for the boats, but more importantly, Pete gives the boats the restoration they deserve.

President Chris Bardt could not be present for this event, but Dan Gorriaran ably stepped in to highlight the individual and collective achievements of the Boat Club. He was enthusiastically assisted by Carol Browning, who is now the longest running Vice President in NBC history. The climax for the evening, though, came when Dan showed his latent skill as an auctioneer by successfully parlaying the #2 oar slot in the boathouse as a spot worth more than just a modest one-year payment for the sculler who doesn’t want to search for his/her oars. The winner of that auction for the second year in a row was Daniela Roop.

But, the major achievement was the friendly, but earnest and captivating battle for the parking spot just to the right of the front gate. This required at least a 15-minute tussle of bids with Kit Wise as the winner. After all, as Dan said, this could be a historic year since, if the road is moved, the spot will no longer be available for parking that close to the boathouse. Who knows, we may even install a stone marker to memorialize forever the name of Kit Wise as the last owner of this highly valued parking space. 

Many thanks to Kim Worrell who organized this special event and to all the NBC members who contributed main meals, desserts, drinks, and their time who helped to make this a fun and very meaningful event.