Replacing Aging Fleet Becomes Top Priority

Vashon Island Rowing Club has created an intriguing contest for the right to name some of its’ rowing shells.  “This is a great opportunity for businesses to associate themselves with a popular local sport, or for families to honor a friend or relative” said Marianne Metz Lipe, a junior crew parent and contest organizer.  The club is executing a series of fundraising efforts specifically to purchase new equipment.  The naming effort is intended to raise $11,000 toward the overall goal of $60,000.

Currently there are two unnamed boats in the fleet:  a single and a double.   The naming rights for the single shell will be offered in a raffle.  When a business or family donates $200, their name goes into a pool of a maximum of 20 participants.  A drawing will be held publicly and the winner will be announced online through the club’s website, Facebook page and Twitter feed. Adding another incentive, the club will include a 60 day 250×250 rotating sponsorship banner on the website for the first five participants that donate.  The remaining 15 donors will receive a 30 day 125×125 banner.

For the double shell, the club is accepting straight donations with a goal of $7,000.  The largest donor wins, not only the naming rights, but also a one year sponsorship banner on both the crew website and the site for the club’s locally infamous bike ride fundraiser Passport2Pain.

The single shell was acquired earlier this year after a cable snapped and two single shells fell from their overhead storage area. No one was hurt but the boats were completely destroyed.  Some significant wins have been accomplished in the boat this past spring.  Junior rower Gus Magnuson won a gold medal at the prestigious Brentwood Regatta in Canada and a bronze at the NW Regional Championships and junior rower Anne Gaspers raced in it at regionals and qualified for the junior national championships. Master rower Mark Ripley won the silver at the Masters NW Regional Championships.

Two other double shells were also purchased this year, one via a private donation from a generous crew family, the other by the 2013 graduating rower families and Vashon Windermere Real Estate.

Many local rowing clubs replace their boats after two or three years of use.  The oldest in the fleet is 15 years old and the average age 10 years.  Coach Richard Parr, who has coached for over 20 years at all levels, says, “Great boats can’t win you a race, but an aged boat can definitely cause you to lose.”  Club president Colby Atwood adds, “Our junior program is at capacity.  With older boats out for repair more often, it means less time on the water for the kids.”

Vashon Island Rowing Club is a non-profit 501(3)(c) organization.  All donations are tax deductible.

For more information please contact Marianne Metz Lipe at

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