Guardian story about Rowing P.E.I. fundraising campaign

Island rowing club begins fundraising campaign to replace sculls

Published on April 21, 2015
P.E.I.’s only rowing club is racing against time to replace four of its sculls.

They were destroyed when heavy snow caused a barn roof to collapse in March in Stratford.

Rowing P.E.I. has launched acrowdfunding campaign through Indiegogo to help pay expenses not covered by insurance.

Rowing P.E.I. president Mike Gibson said the club’s insurance provider, Cooke Insurance, and FirstOnSite Restoration have been a huge help.

“We’re probably looking at a loss . . . in the $50,000 range for replacement but we were insured and the insurance is a great step in helping us to rebuild,” he said. 

Gibson said a shipment of coastal boats was already headed to Quebec from Europe, so the club has been able to place an order. He is hopeful the replacement sculls arrive before the season begins at the end of May.

Rowing P.E.I. is hoping to raise $5,000 through the campaign. It would cover the $1,000 insurance deductible, temporary storage costs of $500, transportation costs of $500 to get the new sculls from Quebec to P.E.I. and $3,000 of the $7,000 scull replacement cost.

As of Tuesday, $550 – or 11 per cent of the goal – had been raised.

Following the roof collapse, Rowing P.E.I. officials got together to look at options. When Gibson asked, was it time to sell the remaining assets, the answer was overwhelming.

“Everyone kind of looked at me like, ‘Well, we’re not going to do that,'” Gibson said. “That really wasn’t an option.”

Four of the club’s nine key sculls were crushed beyond repair. Two of them were racing boats, used for training youth. The other two were coastal boats, specially designed for the wind and waves on the Charlottetown Harbour.

The group’s new custom trailer, purchased in 2014, was also damaged and will be repaired by Linkletter Welding.

The club will have more coastal boats following the new purchases, as it refocuses a bit of its efforts. Rowing P.E.I. officials have had positive talks with Canadian and American officials about a competitive North American coastal program as they look to grow the sport.

“There is really great potential there,” Gibson said.

Rowing P.E.I. will hold its club registration on Saturday, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., at the House of Sport Royalty Centre in Charlottetown.

The club trained 30 new rowers last year, which boosted membership to more than 60.