A small, competitive group of HBRA Masters participated in the 2019 Head of the American Regatta on Lake Natoma, near Sacramento, on Saturday, October 26th.  Despite the raging Kincade fire to the south and a huge plume from a burning rice field north of Williams the air quality at the race course was good.

Race day Club early birds arrived at the course at 6:30am.  It was dark and cold.  Eric Weir gave an entertaining, instructional presentation at the coxswain meeting just as the sun was starting to warm the area.  This was followed by the Sacramento State Aquatic Center’s usual ceremonial opening of the Regatta; a launch displaying an American flag driven past the crowds with the National Anthem booming over the park’s loudspeakers.

It was a well attended event with 69 clubs, 662 entries comprised of Junior, Collegiate and Master participants.  Club member Laurel Condro began the day with the first of her three 5K races in a single finishing a respectable 5th of 8.  Two hours later the women’s quad with Laurel, Sara Traphagen, Jayne McGuire and Karen Sack rowed their boat to a 3rd place finish out of 10. This was particularly satisfying as it was Jayne’s Regatta debut. Next, Marty Kimble and Peter Daggett raced to a 2nd place in raw time and 2nd overall finish in age adjusted time in their double.  The final two boats were mixed doubles with Marty Kimble and Laurel Condro in one and Chris Dadd and Karen Sack in the other.  These boats finished 4th and 6th respectively out of 9.  All in all it was a very good showing for our little Club.

The trip home was uncertain as Public Safety Power Shutoffs, to prevent additional wildfires from starting, were forecast.  We were told that Casinos would have working gas pumps as the reservations had microgrids which could be activated in the event of a power interruption.  Happily we found gas available along Hwy 20 at other gas stations also as this area’s electricity was not shut down by PG&E.  We all made it back to Humboldt County safely with gas to spare before the blackout in Eureka began.  

By Karen Sack

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