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Our Regatta History

Regatta Crews:
1901 Outer Cove
1923-26 Outer Cove
1928 Breen's East End
1981 Outer Cove
1982 Outer Cove
1983 Outer Cove

1985 Outer Cove

1989 Outer Cove

2001 Outer Cove

2005 Canada Games






1901 Regatta Outer Cove Crew
Time 9:13 4/5

 

1901 Winning Crew: Walter Power, coxswain; John Whelan, stroke; Daniel McCarthy, No.5; Denis McCarthy, No. 4; Denis Croke, No. 3; John Nugent, No. 2; Martin Boland No. 1.

* The photo above may be the 1922 Outer Cove Crew

 

The finest crew to grace the waters of Quidi Vidi was, unquestionably, the Outer Cove fisherman who in 1901 rowed the Blue Peter to victory in the record time of 9.13 4/5.

Outer Cove's perennial foes, Torbay, had beaten them in the Fishermen's race rowed - in the morning of the 1901 Regatta - by the scantiest of margins. It was a foregone conclusion that both crews of titans would row to the stakes as qualifiers for the Championship race.

There is something exciting as well a majestic with the mere mention of the name Outer Cove and that community's association with the Day of the Races. Crews from the settlement were ever famous as top-notch oarsmen. Indeed, for the period 1873 to 1900 oarsmen from Outer Cove has mad Championship time in no less than eleven of our annual Regattas. In 1885, a crew from the community of Outer Cove, rowing in the Myrtle established a course record of 9.20. From 1883 to 1887 Outer Cove reigned as Regatta champions with times of 9.45 - 1013 - 9.20 - 9.35 and 9.40 respectively.

Over the years a keen rivalry developed between Outer Cove and the neighboring settlement of Torbay. Indeed Torbay, very definitely , was always a power to be reckoned with. Up to the Regatta of 1901 crews from that community had four Championships to their credit. All in truly impressive time , over the 1.6 mile course.

Thus it was that emboldened by their victory over Outer Cove in the Fishermen's race, rowed in the forenoon, the Torbay crew in the Red Cross moved confidently to the stakes late in the afternoon of Wednesday, August 7th, 1901. An equally determined Outer Cove Crew in the Blue Peter also took up its position to await the starter's gun. It was to be a two-boat Championship race. No other crews dared face off against those two magnificent crews. One jubilant, born of its victory in the forenoon and ready to prove its superiority, the other fiercely proud of community heritage, equally eager to prove its ability.

Source: Sport Newfoundland and Labrador


The below was printed in the St. John's "The Telegram" May 2nd 2009 as No. 4 of the Ten Best Teams series and has been reproduced here with their permission.
 

The 1901 Outer Cove crew set a 9:13 time in the St. John's Regatta, a record that would stand for 80 years. — Photo courtesy Jack Fitzgerald
 
The 1901 Outer Cove crew set a 9:13 time in the St. John's Regatta, a record that would stand for 80 years. — Photo courtesy Jack Fitzgerald
No. 4: 1901 Outer Cove Rowing Crew
Record may be long since broken, but legend lives on

TEN BEST TEAMS
ROBIN SHORT
The Telegram

 

It is the most famous of times recorded within the arena of Newfoundland sports, even after all these years. Is it our four-minute mile, our 10 seconds in the 100 metres.

Nine minutes, 13 and 4/5 seconds.

The 9:13.

Many a ballad has been written, much ink has been spilled on pages hailing the legend of the 9:13 and the six Outer Cove fishermen who made the time on Quidi Vidi Lake 108 years ago.

It is that record-breaking 1901 Outer Cove crew that holds down the No. 4 spot on The Telegram's list of Newfoundland and Labrador's 10 best teams.

Consider this: of the 500 or so members of Canada's Sports Hall of Fame, only nine are from this province - a jockey from Conception Bay South named Nick Wall, who moved to Nova Scotia at an early age; the great Regatta coxswain Levi (Shotty) Rogers and the seven Outer Cove men who propelled the Blue Peter across Quidi Vidi Lake in record time 1901 - cox Walter Power, John Whelan, Daniel McCarthy, Denis McCarthy, Denis Croke, John Nugent and Martin Boland.

Oh sure, the course has probably changed quite a bit in the past 100 years, but nothing takes away the feat of the Outer Cove seven.

Presumably, there was no training involved in rowing the regattas at the turn of the 20th century. For these men, their training was all in a day's work, rowing their dories around the fishing grounds.

Record-shattering performances at the annual "Day at the races" was nothing new to crews from Outer Cove. Teams from the tight-knit Northeast Avalon community had established several 19th-century records, including posting the fastest time of the day for five straight years in the late 1800s.

And it was a team from Outer Cove that had owned the course record of 9:20, established in 1885, prior to '01.

The weather on that Aug. 8 day in 1901 was, according to The Evening Telegram, "all that could be desired."

"Not a cloud was visible in the blue canopy of the heavens and the sun shone so hot that one could scarcely turn his eyes towards the skies for its dazzling brightness.

"Just a slight breeze was blowing which covered the lake with gentle ripples and added fourfold to its great natural beauty."

As had been the case for previous regattas, many of the citizens of St. John's had convened on Quidi Vidi for the races.

"All business was suspended and the town itself," the newspaper reported, "looked as if it had been deserted pending a great catastrophe."

In the morning Fishermen's Race, Outer Cove had lost to its nearby rivals from Torbay by a slim margin in a preview of what was sure to be a two-boat race for the championship in the afternoon.

In the final race, Torbay was rowing in the Red Cross, Outer Cove in the Blue Peter. The famed Blue Peter had been constructed by the great boatbuilder Bob Sexton.

According to reports, Outer Cove and Torbay were neck and neck as each boat made its way up the pond. But it was Outer Cove that emerged first from the turning of the buoys.

As the band struck up a chord to the "Banks of Newfoundland," Outer Cove rowed with poise and purpose to the finish line, no doubt encouraged by a large crowd unaware that history was about to be made.

When the gunshot rang out to end the race, it was Outer Cove in the remarkable time of 9:13 4/5. Torbay was just a half-boatlength behind.

The time would stand for 80 years.

Some of the Regatta's finest - the great William Summers Jr. crews come to mind - lined up for their crack at it, and failed.

And then, in 1981, Skipper Jim Ring and his Smith Stockley (St. John's Boys and Girls Club) team did the unthinkable.

In the early afternoon of Wednesday, Aug. 5, 1981, Skipper Ring, stroke Randy Ring, John Barrington, Tom Power, Brian Cranford, Bill Holwell and Paul Ring hauled the Native around Quidi Vidi in the amazing time of 9:12.04.

Outer Cove mourned. It had lost the record, but not for long.

The year after Stockley did the unthinkable, Mike Power assembled a crew of eager young men determined to bring the record back to Outer Cove.

Andrew Boland, Bert Hickey, Campbell Feehan, Gerard Ryan, Jim Hibbs and Owen Devereaux didn't disappoint.

In the men's amateur race, the first race of the day in the '82 derby, Outer Cove gave what had been up to that point in time the most dominant performance in a single race, covering the course in an astounding 9:03.48.

After re-establishing the record and winning the men's championship race later that day, pride was restored in Outer Cove.

As for the men of 1901, a plaque in their honour sits in Kelly Park in Outer Cove. The Blue Peter, the only tangible reminder of that glorious crew, rested for years in the CLB Armory, until the big Harvey Road fire in 1992 destroyed it.

Needless to say, the 1901 Outer Cove crew were among the first inductees into the Royal St. John's Regatta Hall of Fame when it was established in 1987.

 


Kelly Park


 
The finest crew to grace the waters of Quidi Vidi is unquestionably the Outer Cove fishermen who, in 1901, rowed the Blue Peter to victory in the record time of 9:13 4/5.

Outer Cove's perennial foes, Torbay, had beaten them in the Fisherman's race rowed in the morning of the 1901 Regatta by the scantiest of margins. It was a foregone conclusion that both crews of titans would row to the stakes as qualifiers for the Championship race.

There is something exciting as well as majestic with the mere mention of the name Outer Cove and that community's association with the Day of the Races. Crews from that settlement were ever famous as top-notch oarsmen. Indeed, for the period 1873 to 1900, oarsmen form Outer Cove had made Championship time in no less thank of our annual Regattas. In 1885, a crew from the community of Outer Cove, rowing in the Myrtle, established a course record of 9.20. From 1883 to 1887, Outer Cove reigned as Regatta champions with times of 9.45, 10.13, 9.20, 9.35 and 9.40 respectively.

Over the years, a keen rivalry developed between Outer Cove and the neighbouring settlement of Torbay. Indeed, Torbay was always a power to be reckoned with. Up to the Regatta of 1901, crews from that community had four Championships to their credit. All in truly impressive times over the 1.6 mile course.

Thus it was that emboldened by their victory over Outer Cove in the Fisherman's race, rowed in the forenoon, the Torbay crew in the Red Cross moved confidently to the stakes late in the afternoon of Wednesday, August 7th, 1901. An equally determined Outer Cove crew in the Blue Peter also took up its position to await the starter's gun. It was to be a two boat Championship Race. No others dared face off against those two magnificent crews. One jubilant, born of its victory in the forenoon and ready prove its superiority, the other fiercely proud of community heritage, equally eager to prove its ability.

Ideal conditions prevailed. A newspaper of that era states that
"the closing contest for the Championship was rowed on a surface untouched by the least sign of wind or motion."

In an elegant turn of a phrase the item adds:
"a painted lake could be no smoother."

Such favourable conditions seemed to heighten the sense of drama and capture the emotions of the crowd. Excitement was at fever pitch as the two crews got away from the stakes. The race itself became a battle of giants as Outer Cove in the Blue Peter and Torbay in the Red Cross fought bow-to-bow as each sought to gain an advantage. The break came at the buoys. There, Walter Power, coxswain for Outer Cove, gained half a length over Torbay. He doggedly and determinedly maintained that advantage as he exhorted his superbly conditioned crew to hold fast in the battle up the Pond.

Thousands of wildly cheering, excited fans lined the shores of Quidi Vidi Lake, creating a din which all but drowned out the band's rendition of "The Banks of Newfoundland." Few in the crowd realized that racing history was being made. Outer Cove's lead stood up. The Blue Peter crossed the finish line in the astounding time of 9:13 4/5. One half a boat length separated the victorious Outer Cover crew from Torbay. Both victor and vanquished were vociferously acclaimed. Both had beaten the course record. While Time's effacing fingers has little respect for records, it seems powerless to erase the mark of 9.13 4/5 set by the Outer Cover fisherman in the Blue Peter at the Regatta of 1901.

Having withstood the assault of over seventy years the record seems destined to endure forever. So too will the names and the memory of the Outer Cove Crew. Theirs was indeed a proud, memorable and glorious achievement.

The following are the members of the Outer Cove crew who rowed the Blue Peter to victory in the record time of 9.13 4/5 in our annual Regatta in 1901:

Walter Power, coxswain; John Whelan, stroke; Daniel McCarthy, No.5; Denis McCarthy, No. 4; Denis Croke, No. 3; John Nugent, No. 2; Martin Boland No. 1.

All members of the Outer Cove Crew have long since passed to their reward.

In 1987 the 1901 Outer Cove Crew was Inducted into the Royal St. John's Regatta Hall of Fame.

Source: Industry Canada

 

 


Original content is Copyright©2004-17 by Kevin Elliott.
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