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Rowing fleet wrecked without leaving dry land

Nearly every one of the Portland Community Rowing Association's fleet of row boats at their storage site was damaged in a microburst on Tuesday

PORTLAND (NEWS CENTER Maine) -- Even removed from shoals and breakers, a rowing fleet wasn't safe from danger during an intense summer storm.

“Basically every single one of our boats were broken beyond repair and it was pretty horrifying,” said Jacob Green, as he sifted through the rubble on the lawn of Portland Paddle. “The only thing we can do is clean up and take anything salvageable off these boats so that we can use them in the future and trash the rest of them. The next thing we need to get is a rack built and put it up there where the other one was.”

Green, the head coach of the Portland Community Rowing Association (PCRA) wasn’t sure what to expect after Tuesday’s microburst storm rolled through the East End Beach area, damaging nearly every one of the crew’s fleet of row boats at their storage site. Wednesday was clean-up day.

“Even if we repair the holes in these boats, that is still going to affect the speed and the balance of the boats. If you have any sort of defect on one side of the boat, it will affect the other side of the boat,” he said.

The fierce storm swept boats off their racks, and the high winds pushed them several hundred feet across the lawn, breaking them into pieces. Some of the boats were even wrapped around poles. All of the boats, with the exception of three, will have to be thrown away.

“The design of these boats are meant to be super dynamic through the water, and they are made to such a perfect shape that really any minor damage to it can affect the speed of the boat. Rowing shells like this aren’t just for sale at the yacht club. It’s going to be difficult to find replacements,” said Green.

PCRA estimates its fleet damage at $100,000.

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