Re­gatta sea­son con­tin­ues in Har­bour Grace

155th edi­tion of an­nual sport­ing event this Satur­day at Lady Lake

The Compass - - Front page - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON ed­i­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

It wouldn’t be sum­mer in Har­bour Grace with­out the stag­ing of the town’s his­toric re­gatta. The 155th edi­tion of the boat­ing ex­trav­a­ganza takes place this week­end. Or­ga­niz­ers are ac­tively en­cour­ag­ing youth to get in­volved in the sport to help en­sure there’s a steady stream of lo­cal crews ready and will­ing to par­tic­i­pate for decades to come.

HAR­BOUR GRACE, NL — Prior to last Wed­nes­day, wind con­di­tions made it dif­fi­cult for lo­cal crews look­ing to take a boat out on Lady Lake in Har­bour Grace for a prac­tice row.

But on this calm night, row­ers had no trou­ble tak­ing a boat out for a spin around the lake, get­ting set for the 155th edi­tion of the an­nual Har­bour Grace Re­gatta, which takes place Satur­day, July 29.

It was mostly young row­ers work­ing Wed­nes­day as teams to im­prove their prac­tice times and get their rhythm in sync with one an­other. Ac­cord­ing to Amy Durn­ford, a mem­ber of the re­gatta’s or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee, get­ting the next gen­er­a­tion of row­ers en­gaged in the sport is an im­por­tant part of the event.

“We’ve got a new kids pro­gram here this sum­mer that we’ve never done be­fore — get­ting lots of pos­i­tive feed­back on that,” said Durn­ford, who is also an ex­pe­ri­enced rower and coxswain.

On Mon­days and Fri­days, youth ages eight-to-15 gather at the lake for three hours and learn the ba­sics of row­ing, free of charge. A cou­ple of sum­mer stu­dents are help­ing out, along with vol­un­teers like Chris Lilly, who was out last Wed­nes­day serv­ing as the coxswain for a young crew.

“I cox three other teams,” Lilly ex­plained, “and my son Peter, he said he wanted to row, and he said, ‘Dad, can we put a team in?’”

A team came to­gether in less than two days, and de­spite only be­ing able to take a boat out on the wa­ter a hand­ful of times this sum­mer, Lilly said they were do­ing re­ally well.

“When I first put them in a boat, they were like a spi­der go­ing up the pond. It was oars all like this, all dif­fer­ent ways, and now they’re 85 per cent there. An­other three-or-four prac­tices be­fore re­gatta, and they’ll be a dif­fer­ent team come re­gatta day,” said Lilly, adding that stay­ing in stroke as a team is the hard­est part for be­gin­ners.

This year’s re­gatta will fea­ture 48 crews com­pet­ing, in­clud­ing 26 lo­cal teams (16 youth and 10 adult).

“It’s al­ways re­ally busy in here, and even if we don’t get out on the wa­ter when it’s windy, it’s still busy with the kids run­ning around and stuff, be­cause ev­ery­one is just wait­ing for the wind to break,” said Durn­ford.

Denicka Baker, Brooke Hig­don, Emma Keats, Kyla Mercer and Rachel Snow formed a new youth team for this year’s re­gatta. All five girls hail from Car­bon­ear, ex­clud­ing Mercer, who is from Har­bour Grace.

“Our friend wanted to make a team, so she texted us all, and she was like, ‘Do you guys want to make a team?’ And we were like, ‘Sure.’” said Snow.

Baker said it was hard at the start get­ting used to row­ing as a team. Hig­don found learn­ing to turn the boat dif­fi­cult, and the act of row­ing with oars was painful on Snow’s hands be­fore she started de­vel­op­ing cal­luses.

De­spite some ini­tial strug­gles, they’ve quickly be­come fond of row­ing and have im­proved con­sid­er­ably over time. For the 1.22-kilo­me­tre race, they started at the be­gin­ning of July with a time of eight-anda-half min­utes, but have since brought it down to six-and-ahalf min­utes.

“I just kind of like the ex­pe­ri­ence of row­ing,” said Baker. And their goal for this year? “To fin­ish,” Snow joked as her team­mates laughed along with her heartily.

For a full race-day sched­ule, re­gatta fans can visit the event’s Face­book page at https://www. face­book.com/har­bour­grac­ere­gatta/.

PHO­TOS BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON/THE COM­PASS

This young crew man­aged to get some valu­able prac­tice time in on Lady Lake last Wed­nes­day. Pic­tured, left to right, are Ryan Snow, Noah Mercer, Pear­son Babb, Gavin Dob­bin, Brae­den Sul­li­van, Kyla Mercer (fill­ing in for Kolby Noel, who couldn’t at­tend the prac­tice) and coxswain Nicole Men­chions.

A young crew re­turns to land fol­low­ing a prac­tice run on Lady Lake in Har­bour Grace. From the left is coxswain Chris Lilly, stroke Neal But­ton, Kas­sidy Far­rell, Matthew Fol­lett, Tyler Kennedy, Peter Samp­son and Michael Cole.

These row­ers formed a crew for the first time in ad­vance of the 2017 Har­bour Grace Re­gatta. From the left are Brooke Hig­don, Denicka Baker, Emma Keats and Rachel Snow. Miss­ing from the photo is fel­low team­mate Kyla Mercer, who was out in a boat prac­tic­ing with an­other crew.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.