INDIANOLA — Kitsap County’s newest rowing club is on the move — again.
The club is relocating to Poulsbo’s Liberty Bay in December and changing its name to Kitsap Rowing Association to reflect a broader geographical reach. It recently wound up a successful first season, after a string of strong showings at regattas across the Northwest.
The club started with one boat and a handful of new rowers last fall on Miller Bay in Indianola, then rowed through the summer and fall on Port Gamble Bay.
“I am glad that this has come together,” Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson said in a message to the club. “There should be rowing on Liberty Bay.”
The club’s new rowing venue, near Poulsbo’s Marine Science Center, will include dock space for launching 40-foot and 60-foot four- and eight-oared rowing shells, making it ideal for winter and spring rowing.
“We’ve had a lot of good feedback and support this year from Indianola and Port Gamble and we wanted to broaden that interest to include more of north Kitsap,” association president Kirsten Jewell said.
The club built its fleet of boats to five four-oared shells and an eight-oared shell donated by the Port Townsend Rowing Club. The successful initial rowing season has drawn interest from new and experienced rowers across the county, Jewell said.
“We plan on building on our first season and we expect we’ll have an even stronger crew and larger membership in the coming year,” Jewell said.
“Rowing on Liberty Bay should give us more geographic reach and excellent year-round rowing water.”
The club’s name change, from Indianola Rowing Association to Kitsap Rowing Association, reflects that broader interest, Jewell said.
In its first full racing season, the association’s men’s and women’s crews participated at several large regional regattas, winning and placing at the Green Lake summer and fall regattas in Seattle and the Covered Bridge Regatta in Eugene, Ore. The club also took part in the Row for the Cure regatta on Lake Union in Seattle and raced in Everett and Port Townsend.
Earlier this month, the association’s heavyweight men’s crew outrowed four other crews from Washington and Oregon to win the Green Lake Frostbite Regatta, then finished fourth out of 11 crews the next day at Head of the Lake Regatta, a three-mile race that draws hundreds of top club and college competitors from across the U.S. and Canada.
Under its orange and blue flag, the Kitsap Rowing Association (www.kitsaprowing.org) will begin a winter indoor and outdoor fitness program for new and experienced rowers later this month. The club expects to launch its 2013 season at Green Lake in March, competing against crews from across the Northwest and Canada.