Mid Season Racing Update
A brief account of a great seasons racing so far:
Ryde & Shanklin
With horror stories abounding of past regatta crews having to bow-launch into 5 foot waves every race, this is the third year in a row that serene calmness prevailed over the entire Isle of Wight weekend. At Ryde, an overcast day on Saturday saw a first place finish for the men’s pair of Guy Elder and Pete Clarke, the second first place finish with this combination and the second point for Guy meaning he will no longer be a Junior Oarsman starting from next season. Congratulations! Slight mis-communication ended in the unfortunate disqualification of the Ladies Pair of Rose Barrand and Emily Smith after they finished outside of the start line after battling a Southampton pair right up to the line for second place. The women’s novice, Amanda, Jaynali, Lauren and Alice, and the men’s four of Guy, Pete, Andy Stewart and Tarek Fergani, both finished a little off the podium, but rowed well together and show encouraging signs of improvement. For the last race of the day in very little water, the open double scull race gave a chance for a bit of light-hearted argy-bargy with Pete and Rose fighting a very experienced Lymington double for 2nd place behind Shanklin, with the Lymo boat coming up trumps, and almost crashing into the finishing post!
On Sunday, after some epic sized portions of food at a local in Shanklin the night before, the squad, minus the ladies novice crew were refreshed for another calm day on the water. Club Captain Pete Clarke made his debut in the Novice Men’s Sculls, finishing 2nd in the 12 boat final. Another first followed for Pete and Guy in the Junior Pair, a 3rd for Rose and Emily in the Ladies Junior Pair and a 4th for the Men’s Junior 4 rounded off a relaxed and fruitful weekend.
Lymington & Brighton
What a difference a week makes! From the calm waters of the Isle of Wight, the racing crews of SRC turned their attention to a double weekend, a day in each association, with massive offshore winds. Starting with Lymington regatta on Saturday another late entry in the Novice Single Sculls put Pete Clarke in the outside lane ending in a respectable 3rd place out of 11 entries. The return of Tom Purnell to the men’s squad saw a very stressful start, with Tom stuck in New Forest traffic minutes before the start of the race. Luckily the men’s 4 started in the nick of time, and without a warm-up performed admirably, holding off a Westover crew and coming in 3rd behind a thus-far indomitable Christchurch crew and a strong Poole crew. The ladies Novice crew, Lauren, Jaynali, Alice and newcomer Rachel again upped their performance, improving week on week from the start of the season but not quite, on this occasion, making the final. In the pairs racing, Pete and Tom took away the only 1st of the day, and the ladies pair coming in a confusing 3rd, after rowing past the apparent 2nd place finishers Southampton (entangled with another crew) in a joined race of Seniors and Juniors.
Sunday involved a trip to Brighton & Hove regatta, hosted by Shoreham, with offshore winds that topped the day before. And it was a day of outside lanes, which meant all crews struggled to stay on track and to not stray too close to France! A 3rd place in the Ladies Junior Pair of Emily and Rose, another 3rd in the Men’s Junior 4 with Tarek Fergani in for Tom Purnell and a 4th in the single sculls for Pete all showed good form in challenging conditions. Last race of the day, the Men’s Junior Pairs had Guy step in for Tom in his first CARA pairs race of the year. A clean start, leading to the buoys and a sprint away they looked to be clear for victory, until a clash of other crews at the turn forced a re-row, enabling a Bexhill crew in lane 2 to get ahead of the Southsea crew in better water, finishing a boat-length ahead. With the mix between HDARA regattas and CARA regattas, the Men’s Pairs championships currently stands in CARA at 2 to Southsea, 2 to Shoreham and 1 to Bexhill. Definitely an interesting weekend of racing against the conditions!
A short regatta for the Club, fielding only the men’s Junior 4, who drawn against championship leaders Christchurch in their home waters were unfortunately knocked out after the first round.
Poole regatta continued the theme of distinctly un-coastal conditions, with mill-pond flat water that enabled those with better technique to show their form. With Louis Oldfield added into the men’s team after finishing his first year at University, along with Pete Clarke and Will Mahoney, the club fielded 3 in the Novice Men’s Sculls to start the day. Will bested 5 others in his heat to be entered into the final, and Louis stormed away from the rest of the competition, including Pete to cross the line first, unfortunately for Louis and the Club instead of turning at the buoy he ran over it which wasn’t considered within the rules by the Umpires at the turns. This meant that only 2 SRC scullers made in through to the final, with Will finishing 2nd in his debut sculling race and Pete coming in 5th. The ladies Novice, of Rachel Smillie, Amanda, Alice and Lauren, performed well, but with limited practice in this combination unfortunately didn’t make the final. The men were up to race again next, and the crew of Pete, Tom Purnell, Will and Guy Elder in stroke, put in an incredible performance, putting a lot of pressure on the Champ leaders Christchurch, narrowing their lead on the return leg to less than a boat of clear water, and beating rivals Poole and Westover to come in 2nd place. This was a great achievement from a previously untested combination. Also coming in 2nd were the indefatigable ladies pair, who after having issues at the buoy turn, rowed through a Southampton pair to achieve a 2nd behind Lymington. As well as fielding 3 men’s novice sculls, 2 Junior men’s pairs were also battling it out in the final, with Will Mahoney and Guy Elder’s first teaming up to come in 4th behind Poole and Christchurch and 1st place SRC pair Tom and Pete.
A fantastic and busy month of racing has sped by, and we look forward to next weekend where the club travels east to battle it out in Folkestone.