New Bedford Rowing Center hosts demonstration of new eight-oared racing shells (Video)

When the coaches of Hingham High School’s varsity rowing team and the principles at Resolute Racing Shells of Bristol (RI) were recently looking for the best place on the South Coast to try out and demonstrate a pair of brand new eight-oared Resolute racing shells, it came as no surprise that they chose the placid waters of New Bedford Harbor’s upstream reaches, where the New Bedford Rowing Center has been providing access the sport of rowing on the Acushnet River for the past five years, to members of Massachusetts South Coast communities, regardless of anyone’s ability to pay.

Operating out of a new Quonset-style boathouse erected by the City of New Bedford on the far eastern end of Popes Island, across from the former Fairhaven Hardware complex, the Rowing Center’s expert coaches and a growing cadre of hard-working volunteers have been purposefully building a program that offers high quality rowing, mainly upstream from the hustle and bustle of the harbor’s commercial activities. Head of the Charles Regatta founder and current sculling instructor at the Rowing Center, D’Arcy MacMahon, recalls the excitement several years ago when space for a full 2,000-meter six-lane racing course was revealed upstream by representatives of Boston’s highly regarded Community Rowing Incorporated (“CRI”) and USRowng, the national governing body of the sport, in the U.S. A.

While eventual plans still call for the erection of a permanent boathouse as part of a multi-use complex on the former Fairhaven Mills site near Market Basket, at what is known as “Riverside Landing”, today rowers and parents of kids learning to row are just grateful for what the City has already done to bring first-class rowing to the South Coast, and hopefully, eventually to local high school students and perhaps even to UMass Dartmouth.