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Aggregate win makes for a special home regatta!

Following on from the first regatta of the season at Ryde, the fellow islanders passed the baton over to Shanklin Sandown Rowing Club for day two of the IOW regatta weekend.

Club members swarmed the boathouse at 7.30am on the Sunday to ensure all final preparations were put in place for our home event! From making the extraordinary amount of food required to laying the buoys, clubs members combined admirably on the morning and in the days, weeks and months prior to ensure the regatta ran without a hitch!

Being the home club, Shanklin had entered a strong compliment of three fours, two pairs, ten (Yes, TEN) single scullers and quad!

The first event of the day was for the J16 Mixed Quad, including Scarlett Phelan, Rachael Debenham, Sophie Atkin, Mia Phelan and cox Ethan Walters. The crew faced crews from fellow island club Newport and Itchen Imperial. With both Rachael and Scarlett making their Shanklin debuts the crew did exceptionally well to finish third but well in contention on the 800 metre half distance course!

The club would feature in all of the following three races as the events came thick and fast. Events 2 and 4 saw the clubs Mens Novice Scullers take on the deteriorating 1600 metre course. In the first heat, Joe Robertson and Henry Mudge both had excellent starts and quickly put themselves at the front of the race. As they reached the turns Joe took control of the race, with Henry battling it out for third place. Joe held his nerve and sat on his lead to take an excellent win, despite Henry pushing to the line he narrowly and agonisingly missed out on a place in the final. Jamie Gamble was then in the spotlight for the second heat. A lightning fast start saw Jamie take control of his race early on. Still in the leading group at the turns, Jamie had a solid turn and looked in good shape to earn place in the final. However on the return leg Jamie struggled with cramp his forearms and his place in the final cruely slipped away from him.

In the final, Joe had a confident start and placed himself well amongst the finalists. Despite losing time due to a longer course into his turn, Joe had a flyer on the return leg that saw him take several lengths out the field and he deservidly took a fourth place rowing through Christchurch in the final two hundred metres.

Slotting in between the Mens Novice Scullers was the Ladies Junior Pair Final. After winning in a close race yesterday, Daisy and Emily Faithfull were searching for home regatta victory. After a strong start from both the Shanklin pair and the Poole crew that had finished second the day before, it quickly became a two boat race. With both crews turning within a length of one another, the Shanklin girls held a narrow lead as they began the return leg. The race remained tight for the entirety of the row back to the finish, with Shanklin edging out Poole again by two lengths to take their second win of the weekend!

The Mens Junior Four had earned a very strong third place finish the day before at Ryde and were hoping to close the gap on the leading crews from Bournemouth and Itchen. The crew featured Jamie Gamble, Henry Mudge, Matt Miselbach, Harry Miselbach and cox Ethan Walters. With a powerful start the crew put themselves up with the leaders early on. As the race reached the turns the crew had dropped off marginally and were sat in third place. A strong return leg saw them hold the gap as they took the final step on the podium.

The Mens Senior Pair would head out for their heat a short while afterwards, hoping to carry the momentum of the clubs early success. In the heat, a powerful start saw the Alex Robertson and Joe Evans Murray take an early lead. Slowly easing thier lead out further, the duo had a solid turn and despite a close race with Christchurch to the line, took the heat victory. In the final, Alex and Joe had another good start, putting themselves at the top of the race. In an extremely spread out race, the pair slipped away from the outside race leaders Christchurch and Itchen. A solid turn and return row saw them row away from the rest of the field and close the gap on second placed Itchen to only a couple of lengths by the finish, but Christchurch were run away winners in this event with a very good race.

The senior pair would head back out on to the water in the next event to feature Shanklin crews, however this time they'd be racing each other! In the Men's Senior Sculls final Joe and Alex lined up against five other scullers. Joe had the faster of the starts, joining James Foad and Adam Ratcliffe at the top of the race as Alex struggled to find his feet early on. The race came back together towards the turns and all four scullers turned within a length of one another. With Foad taking a slender lead out the turns, it looked as though he might earn his second win of the weekend. There was a twist to the race however as Foad capsized, leaving the battle for the win to be fought between the Shanklin scullers and Ratcliffe of BTC. It was Ratcliffe who managed to find the speed as he sculled away from the field. In the final one hundred metres it was a sprint to the line between the pair who are so used to working together, with Alex just taking second place.

As the scullers came over the line, the Ladies Junior Four were sat behind the start waiting for their race. The crew featured Lisa Robertson, Stella Gamble, Emily Andre, Sophie Atkin and cox Emily Faithfull. After the Shanklin crew quickly established a good rythem and put themselves onto the tails of the leaders. As the race hit the bad water towwards the turns four slipped away from the leaders of the race and battled it out with Christchurch for fifth place. A strong row back and the crew burying themselves at the finish wasn't quite enough as they finished sixth having put in a very strong performance!

Emily Andre was then back out onto the water, rowing in the Ladies Novice Sculls Final. The context behind Emily's entry is that she has only in the last month taken the outrigger pontoons off when sculling. On the day, she faced conditions that had felled an Olympic Bronze medalist, despite this Emily rowed a phenominal race to not only finish and stay upright, but take third place and earn points towards the aggregate! Certainly the gutsiest performance of the day!

Shortly after Emily's race, Daisy Faithfull was on the water for the fourth and final time of the weekend and hoping to make it a clean sweep of wins. An excellent start put Daisy in a good position to do just that. Daisy only further extended her lead towards the buoys and after navigating her turn without incident rowed her return leg with the same confidence to take a commanding victory and make it four wins from four across the two days!

After a jam packed day of racing that had seen at least one Shanklin boat out on the water for almost the entirity of the day, it was time for the final race of the day. Ethan Walters and Riley Horrix faced a sculler from BTC in the Boys J16 Sculls final. The conditions at this point were extremely difficult and just going afloat was impressive in itself from all three scullers. Unphased by the traditional Shanklin regatta conditions, both Ethan and Riley had great starts and were quickly battling it out in the race lead. In arguably the closest finish of the day both boys came into the final one hundred metres neck and neck. With one big final push it was Ethan who just managed to take the win over his doubles partner! Both scullers capping off an amazing day for the club.

Every single Shanklin rower on the day excelled themselves in front of the home crowd and the results supported this fact; three wins, two second places and four third place finishes saw the club earn it's first regatta aggregate win in many years! Shanklin always struggle to compete in this competition due to traditionally lower entry numbers from our small club - this feat therefore is further evidence of the fantastic achievements of our rowers and coaches! We would however like to extend our apologies and thanks to Poole ARC who have been very understanding after being awarded the prize on the day only for the recount to highlight our error.

Results, fantastic as they are, tell only half the story of the regattas success. An endless list of volunteers were critical to ensuring the regatta would go ahead and the club would like to extend their thanks to every member who helped on the day.

A final word of thank you goes to Sandown & Shanklin Indepedant Lifeboat, Scott Gardner at Wight Waters and Newport Rowing Club for providing safety launches on the day, as well as Ed Blake and Ventnor Haven Fishery for providing the umpires boat.

The clubs next regatta will be at Itchen next weekend!

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