Weather delays crew’s attempt to row around L.I.

06/23/2011 2:00 PM |

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Crew members John Ward, Chris Cuddihy, Ryan Cuddihy and Brian Banks take their boat for a practice run in Moriches Bay Saturday.

Update: Due to weather concerns, Chris Cuddihy’s attempt to row around Long Island with friends to raise money for homeless veterans was delayed until Saturday.

The crew had planned to push off today, Thursday, from Mt. Sinai.

The updated story is below:

Riverside resident Chris Cuddihy is once again leading a crew in an attempt to row non-stop around Long Island to raise money for veterans.

The crew pushes off Saturday from Mount Sinai.

Last August, Mr. Cuddihy and his son, Ryan, were part of a four-man crew that raised about $5,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project, although they were unable to complete the row after two crew members became ill.

Mr. Cuddihy, a computer technician who has completed several endurance events for charity in recent years, and his team will be embark from the Mount Sinai Yacht Club about 2 p.m. Their goal is to raise money for Suffolk County United Veterans, based in Yaphank.

Mr. Cuddihy helped raised about $4,000 for that group in November, when he did a 24-hour run around downtown Riverhead.
“It’s just a really great group of people,” he said. “I gave them my word that we would do this.”

Joanne Massimo, assistant director of Suffolk County United Veterans, said Mr. Cuddihy is “an amazing guy. This is an ambitious project and we’re really excited about it.”

She said she’ll be there when the boat launches from Mount Sinai Saturday.

“I can’t wait to see it,” she said.

Suffolk County United Veterans helps homeless vets find work and assimilate back into society. The group operates a shelter in Yaphank, offers job training and college programs and runs food pantries for veterans in Yaphank and on Roanake Avenue in Riverhead.

Mr. Cuddihy said his website, roundislandrow.com, includes links that permit donations to go straight to the organization. “We don’t want to be handling the money,” he said.

Last year’s attempt attracted attention from Newsday and other newspaper and television outlets on Long Island and New York City.

Mr. Cuddihy has been planning for a six-man team to help him through the latest try.

Unfortunately, his son will be unable to participate. Ryan Cuddihy suffered a broken leg in a snowboarding accident over the winter.

But Brian Banks, the Jones Beach lifeguard who rowed out to see if the crew needed help last year and ended up joining them, will be on board from the beginning this time. He has participated in the Jones Beach Lifeguard’s competitive rowing team and is trained in water rescue.

Mr. Cuddihy’s longtime friend John Ward of East Islip will also participate. He has previously completed a full Iron Man Triathlon, a 7.5-mile nonstop swim across Long Island Sound, a 5.3-mile Great South Bay nonstop swim and multiple marathons.

Also on the crew is Aaron Williamson of California. He met Ryan Cuddihy in 2009, when both were hiking the Appalachian Trail, and was expected to arrive in New York from California this morning and get in the boat the afternoon.
Joseph Lindsay of New Mexico, a cousin of the Cuddihys, is also boarding a plane to make the boat, Chris said.

Mr. Cuddihy told the News-Review Saturday that a possible sixth crew member is a Riverhead resident who works locally as chef, although he didn’t give the man’s name.

Last year, Mr. Cuddihy and company rowed in a Whitehull rowboat on loan from Bay Shore High School. This year, they’ll use a rowing catamaran Mr. Cuddihy bought in Atlantic City for $300, which must be assembled before the men board it. The boat’s name, which they have decided to keep, is Bada-Bing.

Last year, the crew ran into a violent thunder and lightning storm at night as they approached the Rockaway Peninsula, and two crew members became seasick. This year, they hope to time the journey so they tide will bein their favor as they travel the East River. But weather is still an unknown.

“We’re ruled by the weather on this,” Mr. Cuddihy said.

In recent years, Mr. Cuddihy has rowed across the Atlantic Ocean, run seven ultra-marathons on seven continents in seven days, run 24 hours in downtown Riverhead, attempted to row non-stop around Long Island and run/biked from New York City to Washington, D.C.

tgannon@timesreview.com