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Gorriaran Strokes CBC Eight to Victory on the Amstel

Amsterdam/March 10-11: This is a recap from the Heineken Roeivierkamp on the Amstel. Right up until the day before the eight left for Amsterdam, there was still doubt that the entire 5K course would be free of ice. It was a very cold winter in Europe and for the first time since 2011, the inner canals of Amsterdam were thick enough for skating. Well, mostly thick enough. A Dutch friend of Dan Gorriaran's said that there were over 50 incidents of people falling through the ice. But, the Dutch are a hearty bunch and no one seemed to care all that much. The people who fell through just pulled themselves out and everyone else just skated on, no big deal.

The city was so excited about the prospect of skating again on the canals that some businesses declared “skating days” and people were given the day off work. All very exciting for the Dutch but not so much for the foreign rowers. Fortunately, it rained for 4 days up to race day and, of course, unfortunately it rained for 4 days up to race day so practice on Thursday and Friday was not as much fun as everyone would have hoped.  

NBC’s Dan Gorriaran rowed with the Cambridge “D” boat (ages 50-54) that had a significant lineup change for 2018 as three very large rowers were replaced with three lightweights so they were probably the lightest boat in the race and certainly the smallest. The good news is that all of the rowers are long distance specialists and everyone in the boat is a multiple time HOCR winner. The bad news was that they are a bunch of lightweights, so the 250M race into the headwind appeared would be a bit challenging for them.

After winning the 2500M race on Saturday morning fairly easily, this Cambridge boat lost the 250M by almost a second, so they had to win their 5K on Sunday by about 9 seconds. Dan learned a long time ago how cranky lightweight rowers are when they lose to heavies in short sprints. So, Saturday night meant teasing his boat mates about being behind boats they easily beat last year. This tactic seems to have it worked, as they came out to race on Sunday about as serious and focused as any masters rowers vacationing in Holland can be.

They raced in a beautiful Empacher this year but it was a starboard stroke, so Mike Smith, Dan’s Head of the Charles doubles partner, moved back to 3 seat and Dan took over at stroke. However, in a boat full of cranky scullers, there is always plenty of stroking coming from all seats. In other words, they were quickly racing at 35-36 spm for the first 2-3 minutes and it wasn’t until the 1K mark that they actually settled into their race plan and had a fantastic race for over 3K with Mesh, a Dutch “B” boat (ages 36-42). At about 1K remaining, the Americans actually started to move out of the from Mesh, and rowed through them. In the end they had enough left to win their event, finishing less than a second in front of the Moseley “C” (ages 43-49) boat.

Dan Reported that this is his "4th year and definitely the most competitive and certainly the most fun." The photo to the right is taken in the warm up area just before the 5K start. The most impressive part of this race is the reverse speed order seeding for the 5K as the Amstel is about 25% narrower than the HOCR. This requires nerves of steel on the part of the rowers and a very aggressive coxswain who can steer very well. 

The 2018 D Boat Lineup: B-Adam Balogh, 2-Sean Wolf, 3-Mike Smith, 4-Greg Myer, 5-Greg Benning, 6-Richard Kennelly, 7-Peter Morelli, S-Dan Gorriaran, C-Erin Driscoll.

Good times had by all!

Many thanks to Dan for providing the all of the text and results. There are numerous pictures and results that you can find on this website: http://roeivierkamp.com