Rumson’s efforts to attract big-time crew competition may have ended up on a sandbar last year. But there will be collegiate sculling in the Navesink River, says Mayor John Ekdahl.
And he doesn’t mean at some indeterminate date in the distant future. He means, like, ten days from now.
Nine months after watching the Dad Vail Regatta make a u-turn back to Philadelphia without so much as putting an oar in the water off Victory Park, as planned, the borough will host the Rumson Boat Race on Saturday, September 25, Ekdahl announced today.
While this one won’t match the Dad Vail in scale, it will mark “the return of prestigious college crew racing” to Rumson after several decades’ absence, says Ekdahl.
Teams from Army, Drexel University, University of Delaware, Villanova University and Rutgers University will vie for cups, he says. It will mark the first time Rutgers will compete in the Navesink since, well, the inaugural Dad Vail of 1939, Ekdahl said in a prepared announcement.
The event is being organized by the Organizing Committee of the Rumson Boat Race in association with the New Jersey Scholastic Rowing Championship.
According to organizing committee co-chair Dan Edwards, all the towns along the Navesink will have a role in the event. Crews will launch from Victory Park at Lafayette Street and River Road, warm up by rowing west along the Fair Haven shore to Red Bank, cross to the Middletown side for marhalling at the start line near the Red Bank-Fair Haven border, and race approximately two miles almost to the Oceanic Bridge near the park.
The itinerary, Edwards tells redbankgreen, is a form of “thank you” to those towns, which he said eagerly anticipated and offered to help in the planning for the Dad Vail.
“The people in the community have been incredibly supportive, but many of them have probably never seen a boat race,” he says.
But it’s also a “baby step” toward a possible return of regular collegiate rowing on the river, and perhaps even the introduction of high school races. Rumson’s rec department has a team, called Rumson Rowing, for high school students from Rumson and Fair Haven, but they’ve yet to compete against another school on the Navesink, he says.
Meantime, “We want the kids in the community to see what big-time collegiate rowing looks like,” he says.
Race time is 8:30a.