GLOUCESTER — Following yesterday's championship seine boat race at Pavilion Beach, Kaos coxswain Joe Novello jumped up on the bow of the boat and yelled, "We're back."
Novello and Kaos were the cream of the crop in the seine boat world in the early part of the decade winning titles in 2000 and 2002. Recently, however, Kaos has been close, but hasn't been able to find a third title, falling on Sunday in five of the last six years. But yesterday the two time champions were truly back, as Kaos outmuscled two-time defending champion Seize the Moment, who was attempting to become the fourth crew in history to win three straight titles. Kaos captured a 1.5-boat win to earn the 2009 men's seine boat championship. Breakaway (Paul Giacalone's crew) finished in third.
"This is an indescribable feeling," Novello said. "These guys put everything they had into every part of every stroke, they deserve this win."
The race began as a dead lock without any crew gaining a significant advantage. Seize the Moment, who were rowing in the Nina, took the early lead, jumping out to a quarter-boat advantage half way out to the flag, which sits a half-mile off of Pavilion Beach. The two-time champs extended their lead to three quarters of a boat as they were approaching the flag, but Kaos made a push, evening things out just as the two crews began to turn.
Seize the Moment once again grabbed a small lead with a perfectly executed turn from scuttler Joe Balbo Sr. Kaos, however, grabbed the lead right back thanks to a perfect transition out of the turn. When the boats turn, one side takes their oars out of the water while the other side keeps rowing, According to Novello, his crew's non-turning side jumped back into stroke perfectly.
"We were even at the turn but we jumped back into stroke and grabbed the lead," Novello said. "And we just inched them from there on in. (Seize the Moment) is so tough, they gave us everything we could handle from start to finish."
Kaos held on to their quarter-boat lead half way home. Their lead eventually grew to a half-boat, then a full-boat, finally they led by a boat and a half by the time they hit the beach.
"I can't explain this feeling right now," Novello said. "I'm so happy for these guys."
While the senior seine boat race wasn't close, the junior race literally came down to the last stroke.
In the end it was Relentless and coxswain Jeff Muise that edged out Do Oar Die and coxswain Gerald MacKillop by a seat in a furious fight to the finish to capture the 2009 men's junior seine boat championship. Rising Tide finished in third, two boats behind the pack.
Do Oar Die raced out to an early lead thanks to a flawless start, and held on to it for three quarters of the race. After all three boats turned the flag virtually at the same time, Do Oar Die came out slightly ahead of Relentless. Half way to the beach, Do or Die was still nursing a small lead with Relentless a quarter-boat behind and Rising Tide just a half-boat off the lead.
Relentless pulled even just before the crews hit the greasy pole which prompted a furious sprint to the finish line that saw both crews gain and relinquish a slight edge. Do Oar Die actually led with a mere 30 feet to go, but Relentless was able to pull out a win by the slimmest of margins.