By Carol McCracken (Post # 832)
About 100 people gathered on the East End Beach late this gorgeous afternoon to cheer on family members and friends who launched 14 rowboats they’d built over the last several days at the Back Cove park. Late this afternoon a convey of vehicles, led by a firetruck, took the trip up to the beach where the boats were lined-up. Following a prayer, the crews got in their boats and rowed out shortly off the shore. None of the boats leaked nor sank! This was the culmination of the annual three day boat building fundraiser for the Compass Project.
For the first time, the event was moved to the Cove. “It was sort of like the seven year itch,”said Pat Ryan, executive director . “We wanted to try a new space and being on the water couldn’t have been better.” Much of the time there was a gusty wind blowing off the water which provided natural air-conditioning not available at the Monument Square location on previous years. Another delightful addition was the inclusion of a row-off between Crusher the mascot for the Maine Red Claws and Slugger of the Portland Sea Dogs; Slugger took home the gold medal – after a protracted and hard-fought race due to the gusty winds that reached 26 mph. at times.
Those were the more visible firsts and there was one less visible last time. As of the end of the day, Pat Ryan, executive director and founder of Compass Project retired. Ryan said yesterday that this is a good time to retire because the Project has an excellent staff and has been taken under the auspices of Spurwink. “I feel great,” she said this afternoon. “This is a wonderful way to go out.” Staff members gave her a bouquet of flowers on the beach while on-lookers applauded and wished her the best. Ryan is a Hill resident with an extensive maritime career behind her.