Cool weather, fast times at Memorial Day Boat Race

By Andrea Ray | May 28, 2018
Photo by: Andrea Ray A well-deserved hug at the finish line!

Rochester — Last year's Memorial Day Boat Race winners William Watling III and Dan Lawrence took their second win in a row on May 28, finishing the race in 1:50:03.

Watling and Lawrence finished with an overall time of 1:48:14—this win brings their total number of wins in the race to five overall.

Jay Lawrence of Middleboro and Andy Weigel of Rochester took second place with a time of 1:53:31, while Jake Goyette of Rochester and Ian McGregor of Acushnet took third place, clocking in at 1:54:09.

The race began at 8:30 a.m. at Grandma Hartley's Reservoir on Snipatuit Road in Rochester; 39 competitors left the pond spaced one minute apart, following the crack of the starter's gun.

Unlike last year's deluge, competitors didn't have to contend with buckets of pouring rain. This year, they competed under cool, gray skies.

Competitor Matt Buckley of Mattapoisett drew stares as he approached the finish line; having gashed his scalp earlier in the race, he was covered in blood from head to toe, and crouched in a boat filled with bloody water. The injury was more bark than bite, though. While Buckley was treated by EMTs at the finish line and received stitches, the wound wasn't serious.

Samantha and Ethan Hathaway, of Acushnet and Rochester respectively, won the co-ed division in a time of 2:04:55. Kendell Hedges and C.J. Hedges IV, of Marion, swept the parent/child division in 2:10:26.

Caitlin Stopka of Rochester and Emma Knox of Mattapoisett won the women's division in 2:26:17, while Tucker Roy of Rochester and Cliff Hedges V of Marion stopped the clock in 2:42:37 to win the junior boys' division.

This year's Old Man River award, for the oldest person to compete in the race, went to 62-year-old David Gagne of Plainville, who raced down the river with his son, Blake. The competitors who traveled furthest to be in the race were Kylie and Christina Beam, of Buffalo, New York.

This year marks the 84th running of the race, a timed race down the stretch of the Mattapoisett River, from Grandma Hartley's Reservoir in Rochester to the Herring Weir at River Road in Mattapoisett.

Matt Buckley of Mattapoisett gave some cause for concern when he showed up at the finish line covered in blood. His scalp injury was superficial (if bloody) however, and after stitches he was good to go. (Photo by: Andrea Ray)
C.J. Hedges IV and daughter Kendall can almost feel the approaching finish line—just feet away at this stage. (Photo by: Andrea Ray)
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