Ar­ran row­ers re­tain their Prest­wick re­gatta crown

The Arran Banner - - Sport -

Eigh­teen row­ers and two sup­port­ers made their way early Satur­day morn­ing across the wa­ter to Prest­wick for their last re­gatta of the sea­son, tak­ing with them two skiffs for the first time.

After win­ning the re­gatta last year, and with many months of train­ing be­hind them, ev­ery­one was ask­ing them­selves could Ar­ran Coastal Row­ing Club, (ACRC) suc­cess­fully de­fend their ti­tle against clubs from Troon, Maid­ens, Largs and, of course, the hosts Prest­wick?

Dur­ing the usual hus­tle and bus­tle of crews ar­riv­ing and catch­ing up with fa­mil­iar faces, the wind was whip­ping up the sea into white horses.

There weren’t go­ing to be easy con­di­tions to row in. Nev­er­the­less the mood was op­ti­mistic and ev­ery­one braced them­selves for a chal­leng­ing event in­volv­ing a 1.5km tri­an­gu­lar course with two star­board turns.

Eight races were planned: open women and men, nov- ice and open mixed, women 200+, men 240+ and two fun sprints, which were very much en­joyed last year. After the coxes’ brief­ing, the first race kicked off at 11am and the Ar­ran ladies fought valiantly in the wild waves: Ar­ran ‘A’ com­ing in sec­ond against a strong Maid­ens crew and Ar­ran ‘B’, with two row­ers who were at­tend­ing their first re­gatta, fought well to se­cure a fourth place. Al­to­gether a good start.

The wind was pick­ing up and the or­gan­is­ers chose to shorten the course to one turn rather than risk go­ing too far out to sea. This didn’t stop the men’s and novice crews in the next two races from con­tin­u­ing the suc­cess by com­ing in a very de­ci­sive first and third both times. Ar­ran were three points ahead of the next club, Largs, and feel­ing con­fi­dent.

A de­li­cious and well de­served lunch break fol­lowed, al­low­ing tired mus­cles to be rested and lots of friendly chat, dur­ing which the or­gan­is­ers de­cided to can­cel the last two races due to wors­en­ing weather con­di­tions, mean­ing that there were three more left to fight out.

Next came the open mixed (two women and two men) in rollers so big the spec­ta­tors could of­ten only see the heads of the row­ers above the top of the waves. Ar­ran ‘A’ bat­tled it out with Largs and, after a con­tro­ver­sial in­ci­dent at the turn, came a solid sec­ond. The gap had closed to two points.

The ladies in the women 200+ (com­bined ages of all row­ers had to be over 200) con­tin­ued the ster­ling ef­fort and notched up a sec­ond and third, bring­ing Ar­ran an­other step closer to vic­tory. With only a four­point lead – and seven points avail­able for a win – the over­all re­gatta cham­pion was still not de­cided. Ev­ery­thing hung on the last race.

The pres­sure on the row­ers in the men 240+ race was in­tense as they waited on the start­ing line. The ex­pe­ri­enced Ar­ran ‘A’ crew powered away, de­ter­mined to be first over the fin­ish­ing line. Tossed and turned by the waves, they bat­tled on, draw­ing away from the com­pe­ti­tion in no un­cer­tain man­ner and putting a large stretch of wa­ter be­tween them­selves and Maid­ens. And the vic­tory was sealed: Ar­ran ‘A’ win­ning the event for the sec­ond year in a row by a con­vinc­ing seven points while Ar­ran ‘B’ came a very re­spectable fourth.

The eight women and 10 men, tired but elated, thor­oughly en­joyed the prize­giv­ing cer­e­mony at which the row­ers in the win­ning crews re­ceived medals and the ACRC chair­man, An­gus Camp­bell, proudly ac­cepted two beau­ti­ful tro­phies, one to keep and one to take back next year and try to win again.

Ev­ery­one at the ACRC would like to thank Prest­wick for all their tremen­dous work in or­gan­is­ing a very suc­cess­ful re­gatta.

If you’d like to give coastal row­ing a try, please con­tact Friederike at sec­re­tary@ar­ran­coastal­row­ or visit the web­site.

Stu­art Turner

Row­ers line up for the start of the race.

ACRC chair­man An­gus Camp­bell re­ceives the tro­phies.

Men 240+ with cox Emma Ing­ham.

Open men with cox Emma Ing­ham.

Mixed novice team with cox Ce­cilia Paul.

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