The start of the 2017 Hants and Dorset Regatta season was finally upon us this weekend, as all 9 mainland Hants and Dorset ARA clubs made their way to the island for the Ryde/Shanklin double header!
Ryde Rowing Club, as it normally does, took charge of Saturdays proceedings at their base on Appley Beach. With a stiff breeze, it was clear to see from the onset that this would be a classic Ryde Regatta, with conditions near the buoy turns as turbulent as usual!
Shanklin Sandown Rowing Club took a strong entry of two fours, two pairs and three single scullers and were confident of a successful day.
The first event of the day would see the Ladies Junior Four take to the water in their straight final. The crew featured Stella Gamble, Lisa Robertson, Emily Andre, Sophie Atkin and cox Ethan Walters. A fantastic first race together from the crew saw them finish 5th, however due to a collision in the race, a re-row was called. With one of the crew members struggling with a slight injury, the decision was taken not to take part in the re-row and the crew therefore were classified as DNF. Despite this it was an excellent first race together for the crew and they will only go from strength to strength!
Following shortly after the women's four was the Men's Junior Four. Joe Robertson, Henry Mudge, Matt Miselbach, Harry Miselbach and cox Ethan Walters took to the water in an event that had already proven to be one of the most competitive this year. Despite this, the boys had an electric start and were well amongst the race for its entirety and although not quite in the sprint for the line will be very pleased to have finished third, just two lengths behind some very strong crews from Itchen and Bournemouth.
The next Shanklin to brave the conditions would be the Men's Senior Pair. In their first Hants and Dorset race together since August 2015, Alex Robertson and Joe Evans Murray faced a packed start line of 11 boats. Despite this, the boys also had a strong start, going clear of the field along with Itchen A. Turning together both crews were looking close at the buoys. Itchen however had the better of the duo on the return leg and finished three lengths clear of the returning combination, who were pleased with a strong performance to build on.
Harry Miselbach was featuring in the following race, the Men's Junior Sculls. In traditional style Harry flew off the start line and immediately put himself at the top of the race with Ryde and Christchurch. After rowing well through the terrible conditions at the turn, which had seen the home sculler capsize, Harry was well in contention for the win coming into the finish. Unfortunately however as the race leaders came in to the finish, it was only the leading Christchurch sculler who finished on the correct side of the outside marker post and Harry, who would have earned second place was disqualified along with two other scullers. A fantastic row nevertheless!
The single scull was quickly back out there as Alex Robertson lined up in the Men's Senior Sculls. The race would prove to be one of the more unusual of the day. After a lightning start from Ratcliffe of BTC the first race was stopped after Itchen Imperials James Foad's blade snapped. To the surprise of everyone, including Itchen all 5 rowers returned to the start line. In the re row it was Ratcliffe who lead out again, taking a couple of lengths out the field. Robertson and Foad were neck and neck at the turns and even decided to take the same buoy! Despite this confusion the duo were able to row through BTC on the return leg, with Foad stretching out his lead to beat Alex by three lengths.
As the end of the regatta approached, it was the turn of the Ladies Junior Pair to try out the conditions. Sisters Daisy and Emily Faithfull were confident ahead of their race, and rightly so. The duo flew off the start line and headed up towards the turns in the lead. Turning first, the pair were closely tailed by a strong Poole crew. With their Dorset based opponents forcing them to push the whole way back, the girls were able to take the win and first championship point of the 2017 season!
They say there's no rest for the wicked - Daisy certainly felt that way as she quickly launched for her Junior Sculls final. Despite having raced not long before Daisy flew out the starting blocks and never looked back, rowing so well in the difficult conditions that she'd be exiting her buoy turn before her opponents had even started theirs! Rowing comfortably back to the finish Daisy took a clear victory, the first point of the season in the event and a second win on the day!
The regatta was a strong start to the season with 5 podiums for the club amongst the stellar performances from every single member!
The club would like to thank Ryde for running an excellent regatta, as well as BTC who propped our club Bar in the evening!