Sunday, August 12, 2012

Bird Island Challenge 2012

Things didn't look very promising for the Gleason Family YMCA's Tenth Annual Bird Island Challenge early this morning.  The day opened with low dark clouds and intermittant downpours of a tropical nature.  This combined with a busy breeze out of the south left the event's organizers little choice but to have a one hour delay and shorten the longer of three scheduled races from thirteen miles down to six.  The fact that Bird Island would not be circumnavigated disappointed many participants.  Most, however, were happy to have any course available (rather than a cancellation) and all participants completed either the six or three mile courses.

According to event organizers "The Bird Island Challenge has grown each year and this year is no exception.  This event benefits the financial aid program at the YMCA.  The Gleason Family YMCA's mission is to provide memberships, camp and programs to those who simply cannot pay for the YMCA experience.  The Bird Island Challenge is a big part of that mission."

Shortly after 9 am racers in a variety of human powered vessels began heading off from the start line at Zecco Marine, Wareham, MA into a sloppy chop being pushed into their bows by the southerly wind.  The trip out to the respective turnaround points was a bit of a slog.  Once around their marker buoys however, paddlers and rowers now enjoyed having that same wind at their back and the same sloppy chop now afforded some brief bursts of speed on the way back in.  I guess you could say Buzzards Bay was stern but forgiving today.

Once back on solid ground, all particpants were presented the coveted golden scallop shell before enjoying a fine meal and awards ceremony inside the boat hanger at Zecco Marine.

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