Sunday, December 13, 2009

Adventures of the "Lead Boat" - the First Night

photo by Phil Arroyo
As I mentioned in a previous post, last night was the first night of boat parade in Huntington Harbour. The weather hasn't really been, shall we say "welcoming" lately, but that didn't stand in the way of the four gondoliers who were lucky enough to lead the parade. It was the 46th anniversary of the parade and the first time in the parade's history that a gondola has taken the lead position. In fact I believe it's the first time a gondola has taken any position in the procession of this great parade.

Tim Reinard, Chris "Rotto Sorriso", Phil Arroyo and Jesse Kuntz rowed Sunset Gondola's first boat, "Michela" (built by Roberto dei Rossi) in a four-man configuration, leading the column of 60 plus boats through the entire route. I talked with Tim on the phone not long before they were scheduled to leave the dock - the rain was falling, but they were raring to go (Tim in rain gear, the three other guys had plastic bags under their stripes). The whole adventure lasted three hours and proved to be a great workout for the four guys.

Riding as a passenger, french horn player Adam Ho kept his balance while saluting revelers both on land and aboard other boats. The last quarter-mile turned out to be a real fight, with a fierce headwind whistling right down the channel and rain pelting the four guys and their passenger in the face.

Tonight I get to climb aboard and row with them. I've done a lot of rowing in different places, but after the practice run we did on November 29th, and after hearing about the adventure they had last night, I'm looking forward to this as much as I look forward to an expedition.

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