Weather key to Placentia regatta
As preparations for the Placentia Regatta enter the home stretch this week, committee president Gene Collins can’t help put keep an eye on the weather.
And, he’s encouraged by what he is seeing on the long-range forecast.
The 53rd running of the regatta is set for July 22-23 and, there’s plenty to get excited about for fans and crews alike according to Collins.
“Right now, it’s looking pretty good,” he told The Compass last week. “Seems to be a lot of clears days in the forecast leading up to the 23rd and even after the 23rd. There’s no rain in the forecast whatsoever.”
From Tuesday to Saturday ¬¬— the day of the event — the average temperature hovers around 19C with nary a drop of rain in sight. That means favourable conditions for local crews looking to get that all-important last minute training session in place before the big show, as well as those highpowered rowing teams from St. John’s who have eyes on the Triple Crown on race day.
The big thing for Collins and his committee is the wind at the Placentia Regatta Site in Southeast Arm.
“If we get a southwest wind, the hills sort of block the wind a bit and you don’t get that much wind on the pond,” said Collins. “But, if you get an easterly wind or a northernly wind, it could make things difficult if there’s anything more than 30 kilometres (an hour).
“Early 20s not so bad, but if we get into the 30s this year, it could be on hold.”
The regatta’s opening ceremonies will take place at the boathouse and dock site July 22. Then, it’s time for the main event on the 23rd as crews from around the region vie for the top spot.
Plenty of interest
Collins said preparations for the event are “going really well.”
With the help of some ACOA funding, the committee has been able to make improvements to their boat launch and dock facilities, which is something he’s looking forward to showcasing.
That coupled with consistent presence of local crews getting their training in on the pond means things are shaping up nicely.
“There’s a lot more interest this year,” said Collins.
He pointed to the numerous St John’s and Harbour Grace crews already registered for the regatta, as well as the 10 local crews eyeing a successful showing. That number is up from eight last year.
Triple Crown stop
Along with the Harbour Grace Regatta and the Royal St. John’s Regatta, Placentia forms the pillars of this province’s Triple Crown for senior men and women crews.
In fact, it’s the first stop followed by Harbour Grace (July 29-30) and St. John’s (Aug. 3).
“We take pride in being a Triple Crown stop,” said Collins.
The town has a Triple Crown winner itself. The Placentia Lions turned the trick in 1976 and 1977.
Rowing, like any sport, is dependent on growing at the grassroots level. To that end, Collins said the committee hopes to get into the area schools this fall to hopefully attract some new young athletes to the sport.
They’ve also started a squirt program, which is considered to be a successful one. Between St. John’s and Placentia, there are 8-10 squirt rowing crews participating.
“We’d like to get them while they’re young,” said Collins. “You have to have that young base.”
Preparations for the 53rd Placentia Regatta are going well, according to committee president Gene Collins.