No. 4: 1901 Outer Cove Rowing Crew

Robin
Robin Short
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Record may be long since broken, but legend lives on

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.

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

Ten Best Teams -

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.




Top 10 best teams

1. TBA -May 23, 2009
2. TBA - May 16, 2009
3. TBA - May 9, 2009
4. 1901 Outer Cove Rowing Crew
5. Corner Brook Royals
6. St. Lawrence Laurentians
7. Jack MacDuff curling team
8. Conception Bay North CeeBees
9. 1966 Terra Novas junior baseball
10. Sue Anne Bartlett curling team




Selection criteria

The object: To select the 10 best teams Newfoundland and Labrador has produced. Six prominent individuals with an impressive sports background, together with Robin Short, Brendan McCarthy, John Browne and Kenn Oliver of The Telegram's sports department, were chosen to make the selections.
The criteria: Teams must have been primarily comprised of athletes from Newfoundland and Labrador, competed in or represented the province, or country, in athletic competition. The field was open to amateur and professional, and male and female athletes.
The selection panel
Jill Brewer: A long-time diving coach in St. John's, Brewer is head of the St. John's recreation department. A former Canada Games coach, she is a member of the St. John's Molson Athlete of the Year Committee.
Ian Campbell: A two-sport star (hockey and baseball) with the Guards in St. John's during the late 1950s and '60s, Campbell was the 1963 and '65 St. John's athlete of the year and is a member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Sports Hall of Fame.
George Faulkner: Newfoundland's 'Mr. Hockey', Faulkner was voted the No. 1 athlete on The Telegram's Top 10 list of athletes last year. He is a Newfoundland Sports and Newfoundland Hockey Hall of Famer.
Kathy Gosse: A long-time sports reporter at the Clarenville Packet, Gosse knows how to play the game, too. She was the 1972 St. John's Female Athlete of the Year.
Chris Green: A Corner Brook radio personality for over 30 years, Green has called play-by-play in hockey from the old Newfoundland Senior Hockey League to the American Hockey League (Cape Breton Oilers). Today, Green anchors the morning news for CFCB radio in Corner Brook.
Joe Wadden: A long-time baseball and basketball standout in St. John's, Wadden is a member of both the provincial hardball and hoops Halls of Fame. He is a 2009 inductee into the Newfoundland and Labrador Sports Hall of Fame.

Organizations: The Telegram, Red Cross, Boys and Girls Club Newfoundland and Labrador Sports Hall Canada Games Year Committee Newfoundland Senior Hockey League American Hockey League Cape Breton Oilers

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, St. John's, Torbay Canada Nova Scotia Quidi Vidi Lake Northeast Avalon Corner Brook Kelly Park Harvey Road

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Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Jim Pine
    May 31, 2012 - 19:00

    As a proud Newfoundlander and a Outer Cover, who left in 1977 to serve our country, the crew of 1981, most of whom I did'nt know,but did know most of the older siblings, I say thanks to Mike Power and the entire Outer Cove crew for doing what had to be done. You made me so proud on a cold night in the north Atlantic, when the news came in.

  • Robert
    July 02, 2010 - 13:29

    Nice choice. The only problem is Parfrey and his class of clowns are looking to be placed higher. And for a sport like rugby that is played by only a few cast offs who couldn't make real sport teams, and the fact that the rock only had to beat 3 teams to win the Nationals will be a crime if teams like Holy Cross, Team Gushue, Placentia Junior Softball, Volleyball, Basketball and several other teams loose a spot because Parfrey is connected to the big wigs.

  • Capture the Flag
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    Well great choice as you picked a particular team as opposed to an era for a particular CLUB This is a team who did extremely well, actually, outstanding during the 1901 Regatta and this particular 1901 team are rewarded for it with their induction to the various Halls of Fame. Other teams voted during the past few weeks consist various clubs during an era not a particular team. take for example the Conception Bay North CeeBees senior hockey team won four Herder Memorial Trophy championships in the 1960s. This is actually 4 different teams not one who did outstanding one particular year like the Outer Cove crew. This also goes for the St. Lawrence Laurentians soccer club. Three silvers, two bronze and 24 trips to nationals from three dynasties of Blueshirts what particular team are we talking about here? I can not figure out which St. Lawrence Laurentians soccer team the reference was to in making them the choice as the sixth best team Newfoundland and Labrador has produced. Also the Corner Brook Royals. thel criteria was Teams must have been primarily comprised of athletes from Newfoundland and Labrador, competed in or represented the province, or country, in athletic competition. the team was a bunch of non Nflders so how does count if you go against your own criteria that you set to chose the best Teams same goes for the #10 Sue Anne Bartlett team You made reference to many of her teams during an era. Will Cathy Cunningham, who also placed second in Canada. get a top ten team, I think not. The question I ask is, are we talking Teams or Dynasty's or Eras for our picks of the top 10 best teams Newfoundland and Labrador has produced? We must be consistent in our choices and have a fair playing field for all. Any thoughts.

  • Troy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    The laurentions should be place higher then rowing.

  • Edgar
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Holy Cross soccer team went to the nationals one year and didn't allow a goal, not one single goal. Even St. Lawrence couldn't accomplish this.

    How can you omit the great Shamrocks baseball teams of the 80's? Surely Joe Wadden will interject as he was thrown out of many a game vs. the Shamrocks while with HOly Cross.

    There are already two curling teams mentioned, now rest assured Gushue will be amongst the mix. Are you kidding, three curling teams in the top 10?

    That Corner Brook hockey team was surely an awesome group, but two newfoundlanders on the team? HOw can this be one of newfoundland's best teams? At least Mike's Shamrocks (a bunch of rag-tag players) was made up of newfoundlanders.

    Does this mean the women's mun seahawks will be on the list, even though it featured mainlanders as well? I m sure John Browne (I only report on basketball) will have his say.

    I know all teams chosen are up for debate and some great teams will be left off the list, but some the picks already are out to lunch. Honestly, who remembered Jack Macduff?

    Three teams remaining:
    1. HOly Cross Soccer
    2. Brad Gushue Curling
    3. Sailor White (Moondog King) and Moondog Rex (Tag Team Champions)

  • Robert
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    Nice choice. The only problem is Parfrey and his class of clowns are looking to be placed higher. And for a sport like rugby that is played by only a few cast offs who couldn't make real sport teams, and the fact that the rock only had to beat 3 teams to win the Nationals will be a crime if teams like Holy Cross, Team Gushue, Placentia Junior Softball, Volleyball, Basketball and several other teams loose a spot because Parfrey is connected to the big wigs.

  • Capture the Flag
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    Well great choice as you picked a particular team as opposed to an era for a particular CLUB This is a team who did extremely well, actually, outstanding during the 1901 Regatta and this particular 1901 team are rewarded for it with their induction to the various Halls of Fame. Other teams voted during the past few weeks consist various clubs during an era not a particular team. take for example the Conception Bay North CeeBees senior hockey team won four Herder Memorial Trophy championships in the 1960s. This is actually 4 different teams not one who did outstanding one particular year like the Outer Cove crew. This also goes for the St. Lawrence Laurentians soccer club. Three silvers, two bronze and 24 trips to nationals from three dynasties of Blueshirts what particular team are we talking about here? I can not figure out which St. Lawrence Laurentians soccer team the reference was to in making them the choice as the sixth best team Newfoundland and Labrador has produced. Also the Corner Brook Royals. thel criteria was Teams must have been primarily comprised of athletes from Newfoundland and Labrador, competed in or represented the province, or country, in athletic competition. the team was a bunch of non Nflders so how does count if you go against your own criteria that you set to chose the best Teams same goes for the #10 Sue Anne Bartlett team You made reference to many of her teams during an era. Will Cathy Cunningham, who also placed second in Canada. get a top ten team, I think not. The question I ask is, are we talking Teams or Dynasty's or Eras for our picks of the top 10 best teams Newfoundland and Labrador has produced? We must be consistent in our choices and have a fair playing field for all. Any thoughts.

  • Troy
    July 01, 2010 - 19:57

    The laurentions should be place higher then rowing.

  • Edgar
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    Holy Cross soccer team went to the nationals one year and didn't allow a goal, not one single goal. Even St. Lawrence couldn't accomplish this.

    How can you omit the great Shamrocks baseball teams of the 80's? Surely Joe Wadden will interject as he was thrown out of many a game vs. the Shamrocks while with HOly Cross.

    There are already two curling teams mentioned, now rest assured Gushue will be amongst the mix. Are you kidding, three curling teams in the top 10?

    That Corner Brook hockey team was surely an awesome group, but two newfoundlanders on the team? HOw can this be one of newfoundland's best teams? At least Mike's Shamrocks (a bunch of rag-tag players) was made up of newfoundlanders.

    Does this mean the women's mun seahawks will be on the list, even though it featured mainlanders as well? I m sure John Browne (I only report on basketball) will have his say.

    I know all teams chosen are up for debate and some great teams will be left off the list, but some the picks already are out to lunch. Honestly, who remembered Jack Macduff?

    Three teams remaining:
    1. HOly Cross Soccer
    2. Brad Gushue Curling
    3. Sailor White (Moondog King) and Moondog Rex (Tag Team Champions)