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Seventy48 ’19

Updated: Feb 1, 2023

Ever a source of inspiration, the intrepid rowers of  Port Townsend (and Seattle) all entered (and finished!) this year’s SEVENTY48…Seventy miles from Tacoma to Port Townsend starting at 7pm the night of May 31, going through Friday night, into Saturday and as late as 7pm Sunday . Their journey was not without incident. Team 8oars sustained hull damage when their boat got rolled by a huge wake coming from a ghost ship passing in the night. Team Don’t Duet struggled with swamping, winning the race’s prestigious Ortlieb Most in Need of a Drybag award. In both cases, strangers gave up their race position to offer help, bailing pumps, and some makeshift patching goo that saved the day.

Here are their recollections – in order of finish. You can get a full recap of the race here

Team 8oars – finish 6/1/2019 5:15pm

Mari (bow), Barb, Sue, Ann, Sally (cox). Odyssey OW 4x+ “C U L8Oar” – Photo Jan Anderson

Another adventure with an amazing team. The 8oars showed remarkable staying power rowing thru the night. The luminescence from the oars going in the water was mesmerizing, and the falling stars were spectacular. Our rowing was flawless with great power and speed when we needed it most (PT Bay, home stretch.) Other then the Blake island incident where we spent 2 1/2 hours doing boat repair and cleaning sand out of seats and tracks, and nursing body parts, we continued on and beat our time from last year! Thankful for all our “Supportoars” at the start and finish. We live to tell another rowing story. – Ann Wiltshire

Team EitherOar – finish 6/1/2019 6:45pm

Jana, Nikki, Sandra, Trish, Peggy.  Pocock wherry 4+ “Mama Cass”

Loved almost every stroke of the race. The anticipation at the start. Almost running over the prone paddle board, who decided it would be a good idea to pass in front of our bow!!! Passing by the anchored tankers. Colvos Passage where a paddle boater passed us in the dark and looked as though he was skating on ice. Rowing in the dark. The misty morning. The sun coming out and warming us. How long were we in front of Port Ludlow and finally Port Townsend bay giving us all she had. And in the end all our friends and families greeting us at the finish. – Jana Filli

Team Don’t Duet – finish 6/1/2019 11:37pm

Frank and Linda Ward.  Pocock Wherry 2x “Duet”

There were some moments we were a little worried  but… with a great bilge pump, a pair of strong arms (Frank’s), and a lot of praying we made it through. We did get a new Ortlieb dry bag for the team who needed it most but they got the attendant story a bit wrong. Molly Parker and her friend Jesse did get soaked helping us get a totally swamped boat onto the shore just after they had changed into their dry clothes, which was sacrificial in my estimation and we couldn’t have done it without their help but they kinda jazzed it up a bit. Molly is our physician and she knew Frank was to avoid lifting due to a hernia that needs repair but I am not surprised that she looked a bit mystified by the version they related. The 8oars got an oar through their boat and Sally, Mari and Sue were banged up badly in the incident. Team Rampage (father/son rowers from California) stopped to help them patch the hole- more heroics. Always a great group of people out on the water! Frank is already planning next year’s race – Linda Ward

Team Sea Nymphs Kidnapped a Dude – finish 6/2/2019 1:37am

Holly, Julie, Grant, Zoe, Maggie.  Odyssey OW 4x+

Team Sea Nymphs Kidnapped a Dude definitely gained some open water experience during this race and epic experience. I would guess that between the 5 of us there is over 50 years (and 10 months…I’m a novice) of flat water, 2000 m rowing experience, yet, all are very new to open water rowing. The first 25 miles were easy, steady rowing, getting good at running the gunnels to switch out coxing, futzing with gear, but moving nicely at a 6-7 mph pace, taking full advantage of the constant north current in Colvos Pass. The next 10 miles were a drag, literally. Rowing against the flood at 3 mph at 2 am, simply just sucked precious energy and morale. We named this stretch of Bainbridge, The Doldrums. In hindsight this was the time to chill on the beach and eat sandwiches, or row very close to shore and hope to pick up some back eddy currents.  Miles 35-50 were fun, in the sun, and booking past ferries, other racers; high morale, laughter, and loving the weather we were given. Mile 50 we made it around Point No Point, found a back current and started booking toward Foul Weather Bluff. Until we hit a rip and got pulled nearly back to PNP and didn’t move for another 1-1/2 hours, going nowhere fast. The north wind picked up, kicking us out of the rip and we ended up on the beach a mile west of Hansville. Tired, hungry and getting swamped by a freighter wave on the beach, we took 4 hours to rest, eat, pump out the boat, dry gear, go to town and eat the best burgers and Coca Cola on the planet. We regrouped to take off at sunset with wind laying down nicely; spirits recovered from the afternoon’s lessons learned.  The crossing from Foul Weather Bluff to the portage canal was hard. The wind picked up, land that we pushed off from was pulling further and further away, the currents were wicked weird and interesting, and the sun was setting. With Super Zoe coxing us across the expanse, this is where I perfected cry rowing, Maggie count rowing, Grant grunt rowing and Julie stabilizing oars on water through big swell and coming up with contingency plans. Although we were all doing different things to pull through, we were unified in all the challenges this experience presented.  I believe this is the crucial moment where we finally became a team, and I became a rower. I felt the desire and need, not only to row for myself, but felt the shared responsibility to do this for the people in this boat, and I knew they felt the same. We put everything we had into every stroke, breath and tear running down our sunburnt faces to get across that expanse of wild water in the dark. It wasn’t anything that we were physically doing different, it was that we finally synced up in mind, body and experience; a subtle yet palpable shift. I believe it made all the difference in how we crossed the water and chose to finish the race.  We rested before the canal, had an unforgettable conversation with a Coast Guard vessel who was not fully convinced we were seaworthy any longer (see photo of all of us lying in the boat with our feet up), pulled it together for one last hard push through the canal against a 3.5 knot flood current, then headed home on a glassy bay.  I’m very proud of my team for seeing the challenges of this race through. When we all realized this was going to take twice as long and twice the effort, we rallied, with grace, humility and a new found respect for the Salish Sea and all she has to offer. We’ll be back next year, we’ll row smarter and shave off some time, and have another great experience to add to this year’s inaugural launching of Team Sea Nymphs Kidnapped a Dude.  -Holly Rasmussen


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