Where will they row?

Will next weekend’s Lubbers Cup be a go or will ice prohibit the row?
Marie Havenga
Apr 5, 2014

Organizers say the 19th annual collegiate and high school rowing event will go on.

“We’re praying for a little warm rain, warm weather — and, hopefully, the ice breaks up by next Friday,” said Grand Valley State University head rowing coach John Bancheri. “If it doesn’t, maybe we could talk to somebody with a steel hull to take one lap to open it up for us and help Mother Nature speed up the process.”

Right now, there is still 12-14 inches of ice capping the water in front of the Spring Lake Yacht Club in Ferrysburg, where the race is staged, according to Willis Kerridge, owner of Fish On Bait & Tackle in Crockery Township. Kerridge said there’s about a 50/50 chance the ice will clear before next week’s events, which include a free “learn to row” clinic on Friday and collegiate and high school races on Saturday and Sunday.

“If we keep getting these cold nights, that middle ice isn’t going to deteriorate, but rain and wind will eat the ice up pretty fast,” Kerridge said. “They’ve got a shot, but I’ve got to believe it’s going to be a little iffy at best.”

Bancheri — speaking Friday from a hotel room in California, where the GVSU women’s team is competing in the San Diego Classic — said if Spring Lake ice continues to cling, the Lubbers Cup will move to the Grand River channel in Grand Haven, with staging at Harbor Island. But the problem with that is, there’s not enough space for the full 2,000-meter race.

“If God doesn’t will it and we can’t find somebody with a steel hull to do us a favor, then we’ll run the course downtown right along the boardwalk, going upstream,” Bancheri said.

But that stretch of water only affords a 1,400-foot straight-line course from the Coast Guard station past Chinook Pier.

“All the coaches want to go 2,000 meters because that’s what the kids are trained for,” Bancheri explained. “But the show will go on. These kids are trained in perseverance. You learn to respect the elements first, then to deal with them as best you can with the resources and abilities that you have.”

Last year’s event tested that endurance and perseverance. Cold temperatures, high winds and rough seas forced organizers to shorten the course midway through the event.

If Spring Lake does accommodate the race, but seas grow rough, Bancheri said rowers will run out of Smith’s Bayou, west of the Spring Lake Yacht Club.

To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

Visit www.grandvalleyrowing.com for more information about the Lubbers Cup.

Comments

CaptainDave

After reading this article I wonder how much thought was given by the GVSU coach on the liability the university will assume if they bring boats into Spring Lake to try to break up and move ice. Any large section of ice even 6" in thickness has enough mass and weight that if it gets pushed with any momentum will break a telephone pole thickness piling where it enters the bottom. We lost a brand new 40 ft. piling buried in the bottom 13 ft. one of the first years the race was run. Cost to replace close to $1 grand. All boats should be kept off lake until ice is just a thin layer.

dbwheeler

CapDave, It would appear Coach's 33 year record no longer speaks for itself. He went in and modified his paragraph lecture to you down to a less blustery single sentence. That is both strange and funny. lol

Coach B

Hope to see you all at another great regatta on SL or on the Grand.

Barry Soetoro

Nice reply. You come across as a real level headed type of guy, Coach. I wished you coached my team. I hope you don't wreck any more of Capt. D's pilings.

Barry Soetoro

dbwheeler

CaptainDave, Unfortunately, your concerns are valid. The 33 year record must not include this year when they cracked a hull on ice in the Grand upon return from Spring Break. Anyone hearing this asks the same question. Why were they on the Grand, they watch the news? Must also not include the half dozen freshman rowers who had their belongings stolen in Florida in spite of their well-being and safety being paramount. Sounds good though. lol

Barry Soetoro

Thanks for posting DB. Pretty much the opposite of what Coach lectured Capt D on. Coach represents the University well. He must be a joy to travel with through airports and on planes.

Sitandpush

Coach has done tremendous things for the university, took the program from loosing to similar club teams to beating programs like Texas (who get 2 million, yes, millions a year in funding) on the women's side and WINNING the collegiate cal cup in San Diego on the mens side. His crews travel the nation, from east to west, and occasionally make it to England! This not only makes a name for the university but also teaches the athletes how to travel and take care of themselves as adults. His tactics may sometime seem a bit unorthodox but in the end, his rowers come out to be independent competent adults. No need to throw mud at someone trying to make a name for grand valley and continue to host a growing regatta

Barry Soetoro

That sums it up pretty good.

dbwheeler

Wow, those are some fine accomplishments, but aren't really the point. A reader asked a very valid question about the safety of people and property on the lake with 6" of ice currently there. The response was a snarky lecture the coach later felt the need to change. (Why?) Before changing, I pointed out some very valid facts that were relevant around the very safety of both people and property. Nothing I stated was inaccurate. So where is the mud? In other words, the Coach's accomplishments are the response to valid concerns about safety??? It would appear coach isn't used to being questioned by adults. A more mature and respectful answer on his part was prudent.

CaptainDave

You can't fix stupid, especially when a person is so bullheaded and apparently thinks he knows it all. This afternoon a 17-19' aluminum bass boat was out on Spring Lake running around moving ice bergs trying to break up the ice. He achieved getting large icebergs to enter dock and pilings that have had bubblers running all winter to prevent damage. After warning the guy of all the potential damage he may be causing he continued to proceed until he hit some ice that caused his boat to break down. Last I saw him he was trying to paddle to SLYC. Called the Sheriff to make sure he was all right as he had no preserver when I saw him.

Barry Soetoro

Maybe Coach is back in town? I would have skipped the call to the Sheriff but that's just me.

Coach B

Capt. Dave and all, Have a great weekend and I hope you come see our young athletes race. Wherever that is. John

Barry Soetoro

Am I good or what? Another swing and a miss for Darwin.

dbwheeler

CapDave> Wow. Unbelievable. Looks like you were asking the right questions after all in spite of all the pontification. The visual alone was worth a laugh. Thanks.

Barry Soetoro

Too bad you missed Coach's "original" reply. Another classic. When I get back in town I'm thinking of picking up a case of Milwaukee's Best and heading over to Spring Lake to help Coach break up the ice. Any takers???

Coach B

Barry, No need to help break the ice as there is none. Thanks for the offer to help! Hey, as for the MB you offered, in being true to my Sicilian heritage, I kind of prefer a good red wine (after work hours of course). Giovanni
p.s. to all: Whatever your opinions in this thread, I hope you all get to come out and see the races. I expect a few very close ones this year.

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