Over the Bounding Main
PITTSFIELD, Mass.--This one will have to go down in the record books with an asterisk. For the first time in its seven-year history, the Eastern Association of Women's Rowing Colleges Sprints which were to be held here yesterday had to be cancelled due to "unrowable" conditions."
Even to the hardy coxswains born and raised on the windy Charles, the winds gusting to 40 knots were rather intimidating. Rough conditions in the morning worsened during the day, and by the time the regatta was stopped in the early afternoon, three stake boats had blown off their moorings in the supposedly sheltered cove at the start.
The day started off inauspiciously as the first race went off two hours late due to multiple equipment problems--several broken riggers and rudders severed on the rocks.
The Radcliffe J.V. heavies successfully navigated the stormy waters, cruising in second behind their Princeton counterparts in a two-to-qualify heat for the afternoon finale. "We might as well have rowed on the Atlantic," said one Tiger in a post-race chat with the women in black at the finish line.
One of a Kind
The varsity heavies, however, didn't fare quite as well in the steadily worsening slop. Racing in the farthest lane from the sheltered shore, the Cliffe suffered a couple overhead crabs and a seat off its track that left the stroke without an oar for almost a third of the race, eventually limping in fifth in a field led by Princeton and UMass.
The Radcliffe varsity lights, who nipped Boston University by three-tenths of a second to cop last year's Sprints title, never got a chance to outclass the four-crew field in that event. The Terriers retreated to the safety of the fours event after their nine second loss to the women in black early in the season.
Back in the Berkshire Hilton awaiting the decision to postpone the races, Radcliffe, Princeton and Yale caroused around in interminably slow elevators, swapping shirts and "do-you-knows?"
But despite the unfinished business of the Sprints, Radcliffe finished off its season with a big splash, tossing struggling 6-ft. coach Carie Graves into the drink with somewhat less aplomb than if she were a winning coxswain.
And did the Radeliffe oarswomen win the 1978 Sprints? Well, no. But did they lose? Well, no. It takes an asterisk to explain that one.