25 September 2018
By Göran R Buckhorn
HTBS’s editor heads south.
Last spring, I told Mrs B that I was going to Florida. With doubt in her voice, she said: ‘Why on earth are you going to Florida?’ Now, this is a very valid question, as to her, a born New Englander, Florida means incredible heat, snakes, alligators, hurricanes and crazy people with guns, none of which I care much about either.
‘I’m going to the World Rowing Master Regatta in Sarasota-Bradenton,’ I said. ‘You remember how much fun I had at “Masters” two years ago at Lake Bagsvaerd, outside of Copenhagen?’ Mrs B nodded. ‘When is the regatta in Florida?’ she asked. ‘Oh,’ I said, ‘between 27 and 30 September.’ Mrs B gave me a worried look. ‘But that’s during hurricane season,’ she said, ‘who would ever organise a rowing regatta in the middle of hurricane season?’
I had an answer. ‘FISA has a special schedule for the regattas during spring, summer and autumn,’ I said. ‘There are the World Cup regattas in May/June-July, European Championships in the beginning of August, World Junior Championships in August, World Championships in September and then World Rowing Master Regatta later in September – and a few FISA regattas in between.’
Looking at Mrs B I could see disbelief in her eyes. She didn’t say so, but I could tell that she was thinking of last year’s ‘Maria’.
‘It will be fine, dear, I promise,’ I said.
Googling ‘alligators in Florida’, I just found out that there are 1.3 million of them in Florida. The water at Nathan Benderson Park, which is the rowing venue for the 2018 World Rowing Master Regatta, is a 400-acre artificial lake. Are there alligators living in an artificial lake?
I will let you know when I get there.
There were indeed alligators living in the waters of NBP. At least that was the case when I was there to spectate when my son raced there in the USRowing Youth Nationals in 2015.
At the east end of the boathouse/finish line tower island is a small pond. It held several ‘gators when I was there. Upon questioning a local about the startling find I’d discovered, I was told (sort of nonchalantly in my view), “Yeah, they’re here. But we remove the big ones, like when they’re more than 12 feet long.”
Raoul Wertz (Marin Rowing Association) RaoulWertz@gmail.com