Weather key to Pla­cen­tia re­gatta

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

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.”

COM­PASS FILE PHOTO

Prepa­ra­tions for the 53rd Pla­cen­tia Re­gatta are go­ing well, ac­cord­ing to com­mit­tee pres­i­dent Gene Collins.

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