Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Randy Ring’s Boston Whaler

Randy Ring and his Boston Whaler

Since first arriving in Quidi Vidi I have been fascinated by the different kinds of water craft that can be found resting on the village’s slip, tied to it’s stages, and sitting on its banks. Of these, one old boat - painted with the colours of the Republic of Newfoundland and located in the tall grass beside two buildings along Barrows Road – especially peaked my curiously.  The vessel is fairly large and it is unlike any other that I have seen in the area. I had a sneaking suspicion that it may be a relic of an enterprise now long gone: the whaling industry. With this in mind I headed down for a closer look. Upon my arrival, I was fortunate enough to meet the vessel’s owner, Randy Ring, and I was even luckier in that Randy was friendly and willing to chat. I quickly learned that the boat was in fact a Boston Whaler and that it was last used by Randy and his kin while training for the famous Quidi Vidi Lake Regatta. Since such vessels are bigger and heavier than competition rowboats, Randy told me that the whaling boat could be used to gain extra physical strength while training. Obviously this method paid off: in 1981 they broke the race’s speed record, which had previously stood for around 80 years. During that race Randy’s father was the skipper and he himself was the lead stroke. Randy also told me that the buildings located beside the old Boston Whaler once served as the family’s rowing clubhouse. 

Randy Ring's property in Quidi Vidi 

Above the door of the larger of these two structures is a pair of crossed ores with a sign that read “Skipper Ring 09: 12: 04”, made by a friend to commemorate the victory. Bellow the ores hung a Hurley stick, and Randy told me that his family was so into Hurley that people used to say they rowed their boats over from Ireland with such sticks. The Quidi Vidi Lake Regatta is an important part of the areas past and it is a tradition that still exists. While Randy no longer participates in the sport he has an important place in its history and I look forward to hearing more about it over the next few weeks.

The entry way to Randy Ring's old rowing clubhouse. Note the crossed ores and Hurley stick. 

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