Rowing club boat set adrift, dock ropes severed

Gary Kean
Published on June 18, 2014
Mandi Hulan, president of the Humber Valley Rowing Club, stands near the damaged rowing boat that was cut free from the club’s floating dock in Brake’s Cove.

Star photo by Geraldine Brophy

The Humber Valley Rowing Club is always eager to get a boat in the water, but it usually likes to have rowers aboard.

The club had to call in the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary after someone apparently cut one of the sculls free from the club’s floating dock in Brake’s Cove.

Whoever was responsible also cut three of the four ropes that hold the floating dock in place, so it’s fortunate the dock itself didn’t float away.

The lone boat that had been tied to the dock didn’t fare so well. It was found washed up on the rocky shores clear across the bay towards Hughes Brook.

Mandi Hulan, the club’s president, said the damage must have been done between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Monday.

“One of the club members had been down by the dock around 3 p.m. and the boat was still there everything was fine,” Hulan told The Western Star Tuesday morning. “It was around 4 o’clock when we got the call from someone who had noticed the boat out in the bay.”

The loose boat was damaged after it was thrust upon the rocks in an uncontrolled fashion.

“Four people went over and it took them a while to get the boat off the rocks,” said Hulan. “They finally managed tow it back across the bay.”

There was a hole in the bottom of the boat and it was damaged more during the retrieval. The club is not sure if it can be salvaged, but is holding out hope it can be repaired and put back in use.

The club owns four racing boats, but two of them are already in fairly rough shape and not usable at the moment. The third scull was being prepared for use and Hulan said it should be ready soon.

“We’re a little worried now about putting that one out,” said Hulan, who noted club members are in disbelief someone would do this in broad daylight.

The rowing club notified the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, which is investigating the vandalism.

“Apparently, one of the buildings nearby has a surveillance camera, so they are going to check that and see if there is anything on it,” said Hulan.

The weather and water conditions were calm at the time and Hulan said there was evidence of clean cuts through the ropes.

“Even throughout windy days, the dock stays tied on,” said Hulan. “Last year, our regatta didn’t go ahead because there was a hurricane and the docks were still fine after that.”

Const. Scott Mosher, the RNC’s media relations officer, confirmed the police received a complaint late Monday afternoon and that acquiring and reviewing potential surveillance footage is part of the ongoing investigation.

Mosher could not confirm if the ropes that had been used to secure the boat and the dock had been sliced or if they had snapped as that would also be a matter for the investigation to determine.

The club had the boat on the water since late May. It had been getting plenty of use as the club has been spending a lot of time training a new coxswain.

Hulan said the club is not aware of anyone who might hold any grudge toward it and there was no indication.

Mosher said investigators will likely want to speak with anyone working in the commercial buildings located in Brake’s Cove to see if anyone saw anything untoward. The police would also like to speak with anyone else who happened to be in the area around mid- to late afternoon Monday.