Seattle boaters and rowers get ready for opening day festivities | KUOW News and Information

Seattle boaters and rowers get ready for opening day festivities

May 5, 2016

Hundreds of boaters will converge at Seattle’s Montlake Cut Saturday for opening day of the boating season.

The Windermere Cup rowing regatta is a chance to see the national champion University of Washington crew in action.

Rowers of all ages compete every year in the annual Windermere Cup. But the marquee races feature the Husky crew. 

The UW men will compete against teams from Stanford and San Diego. This year, they also face a Russian team.

These races offer spectators a rare chance to see rowing close up. UW head coach Michael Callahan says you don’t need to know anything about the sport to enjoy it.

Callahan: “If you know rivalry, competition, then you can understand rowing. There’s nothing like winning a rowing race, it’s so exhilarating!”

Thousands of people, including the Husky Marching Band, line the Montlake Cut for the races. Hundreds more tie up boats to a log boom in Union Bay.

They ring cow bells, blow horns and make the kind of commotion you’d hear at a soccer match or a football game.

UW rower Ezra Carlson says the Huskies don’t usually draw that kind of crowd.

Carlson: “In terms of being a rower, there’s nothing else like it. It’s the closest you’ll get to rowing in a stadium and it’s a surreal experience.”

Carlson and his teammates want to row their fastest for the hometown crowd. But opening day has no bearing on the national standings. The Huskies will try to earn their sixth consecutive championship in June in New Jersey.

Opening day racing starts at 10 a.m. at Seattle’s Montlake Cut.