Life alongside the water edge is where tradition and technology routinely crash, clash or harmoniously coexist. In the world of sailing, the basic technology is centuries old, but the modern modifications borrow from all sorts of technologies, most notably space technology.

On Saturday, November 11th, the “Head of the Marina” rowing competition, held in the main channel of Marina del Rey, illuminated this notion of “old meets new” in spades. The harbor was teeming with slender carbon fiber shells with long oars sliding across the top of the morning’s calm water. Only one person powered some shells, while others had two, four or eight rowers, all pulling in harmony.

The activity of rowing predates history, but it’s thought that the first rowing race happened sometime in the late 1700s on the river Thames, according to Thomas E. Wei, a rowing historian. Today the sport is a major collegiate and junior sport, with regattas held in every part of the country, with the recently held Head of the Charles in Boston being the granddaddy of them all.

Here in the Marina, the “Head of the Marina” is a well-attended event that attracts rowers from around California, Arizona and occasionally other states such as Utah and Connecticut.

Hundreds of rowers lined up in the area outside of host California Yacht Club to compete in the various classes. There were 86 entries, with our local college ranks among them. Boats from LMU, UCLA, UC-Irvine and USC were all in attendance and the UCLA ramp and LMU dock were full of students screaming encouragement to their respective teams.

The LMU team finished its season strong with the men’s and women’s open eights both taking wins in their classes and “the men’s boat finished 29 seconds ahead of the second place team, San Diego Rowing Club, and 32 seconds ahead of third place USC,” LMU reported.

In the women’s Open Eight race, LMU won by 41 seconds over UC-Irvine and they were almost two minutes ahead of the A and B boats from Arizona State.

The UCLA contingent was also proud, as the women’s novice team took first over LMU.

On the heels of some high-level sailboat races such as the Laser Radial World Championships, the Star Olympic Pre-Trials, and the Catalina Crossing rowing competition, throw in the impending Olympic Trials for the Star Class, and it’s plain to see that the California Yacht Club is clearly one of the most adept yacht clubs in the country for organizing and running major events.

For complete results information for the “Head of the Marina,” log onto www.calyachtclub.com

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