Rowing club may find a home at Windjammer Park

Rowers of all ages may be coming to Windjammer Park in Oak Harbor, if a local club’s plans work out.

Sculls, racing shells and rowers of all ages may be coming to Windjammer Park in Oak Harbor, if a local club’s plans work out.

Rowing on Whidbey’s proposal includes a storage shed for its racing shells, the boats used by rowers, near the boat ramp. It would be fenced and city parks staff suggested it could have a look similar to the kitchen shelter at the waterfront park during the park board meeting on Monday.

The original full development plan included a shed structure in the nearby area, parks staff said, so there should already be some agreement within the city.

Rowing on Whidbey is a nonprofit that aims to get more rowers on the water. The spot is especially good for youth, the group’s president Cece Aguda said.

“There are so many opportunities, specifically in Pacific Northwest, for youth to have college scholarships and provide unique opportunities,” Aguda said.

Some kids may not want to play football or soccer or volleyball, and rowing can be the right outlet for them.

Aguda rowed in college and, after taking a break for a few decades, she rowed in the 2018 World Championships and other competitive races. She started Rowing on Whidbey in 2018 to bring more people into the sport.

The club received several boats from the Whatcom Rowing Association as a donation. Aguda said the longest boat is 62 feet.

In addition to racks and shed, the group’s proposal included a small weather station that could potentially be accessible to the public to check the tides.

The group originally considered a spot at the Oak Harbor Marina, but staff said it would be too crowded with boat traffic.

It would be best for the group’s equipment to be staged near the boat launch, and Aguda said launching a boat could take as little as a minute.

She said she hoped to bring her proposal to the city council at their June 30 workshop. She hopes to get kids out on the water in August.