Collegiate Sailors, Rowers Get New $5 Million Boathouse on Chester River

Washington College, Chestertown’s liberal arts college, has stepped up its presence on the Chester River with a new, $5 million boathouse for its rowing and sailing teams.

Washington College’s president, student-athletes, coaches, and Chestertown community members dedicated the Hodson Boathouse Saturday, cutting the ribbon before a crowd of 300.

Athletics Director Thad Moore says the waterfront facility “establishes Washington College as a top Division III destination for first-class prospective rowing and sailing student athletes and ensures an exceptional future on the water.”

Moore notes that Washington College is one of only nine Division III institutions to sponsor men’s rowing, women’s rowing, and sailing all at the varsity level, taking advantage of its prime Chester River location.

“Few schools are lucky enough to have a river as beautiful and storied as the Chester as part of their history and fabric,” says WC President Kurt Landgraf.

 Washington College Women’s Rowing posted this shot of the new tank in action, in its Instagram page.
Washington College Women’s Rowing posted this shot of the new tank in action, in its Instagram page.

The new boathouse has been in the works since 2007, when former varsity rower-turned-waterfront director John Wagner sought a new facility. The Hodson Trust agreed to put up $2.5 million, and anothe former WC rower, Regis de Ramel, made a $1 million gift. In all, more than 150 donors made the project possible.

The 9,200 square foot boathouse includes about 3,600 square feet of wraparound deck with expansive views of the river for regattas and events. It also contains locker rooms and offices for the rowing and sailing teams, a classroom, and an ergonomics training room with 32 stationary rowing machines. The crew team can also use its state-of-the-art rowing tank to practice technique when the weather keeps them off the water.

The boathouse will also be a gathering place for the Chester River Rowing Club, a group of masters racers and recreational rowers.

-Meg Walburn Viviano