Full course returns for Rochester Memorial Day Boat Race

Jun 1, 2021

ROCHESTER — The raining sky was not the only “reign” Rochester’s annual boat race saw on May 31.

The 87th annual Rochester Memorial Day Boat Race was able to return to something closer to normal this year, despite certain covid restrictions remaining in place.

Last year, the trail was shortened to end at Wolf Island Road in Mattapoisett. This year, the course was extended back to its normal route which ends at Mattapoisett Herring Weir at River Road and Route 6.

But there were still some casualties: The long standing tradition of the hot dog stand and awards ceremony were cancelled.

Art Benner, chairman of the race, was excited to see the new teams, “to see the young kids make a good effort.”

Still, he said the turnout for this year’s race was smaller than expected.

“This year's race has 34 teams, which is lower than what we’ve had in a long time,” Benner said.

And of those 34 teams, only 27 showed up to the start.

Benner added that “the last few years have been in the middle forties.” He thought that the turnout would be stronger because of the pandemic coming to an end and the restriction having been mostly lifted.

Nevertheless, racers and spectators had a good — and fast — time.

Reigning champions, Alyssa Watling and William D. Watling III, took home first place again this year. In addition, the duo set a new course record: 1:54:22 seconds, beating the 2013 record of 1:59:01.

Alyssa Watling also became the first woman to win first place overall for the full race along the Mattapoisett River.

Here are the medaling teams in all the race’s divisions:

1st place: Alyssa Watling and William D. Watling III of Rochester.
2nd place: Eli MacGregor of Rochester and Ian Macgregor of Mattapoisett.
3rd place: Jay Lawrence of Middleboro and Andy Weigel of Rochester.

First place: Alyssa Watling and William D. Watling III of Rochester.
Second place: Heather Veilleux of Rochester and C. J. Hedges IV of Marion.
Third place: Caitlin Stopka and Gary Stopka of Rochester.

First place: Henri Roy and Jonathan Roy of Rochester.
Second place: Wyatt Harding and Harrison Harding Jr of Rochester.

First: Chelsea Allen of Spencer and Megan Smith of New Bedford.
Second: Jodi Lynn Bauer and Shi Major of Mattapoisett.
Third: Marina Stephens of Mattapoisett and Lauren Eldridge of Rochester.