South Coast Championships 2017

On Saturday 2nd of September Southsea Rowing Club attended the 61st South Coast Championships, where the best of the coastal rowing clubs from WEARA, HDARA and CARA compete against each other for championship and open events.

Second place finishes for the men and women open senior crews and a third place for the novice men finished off a season nicely for Southsea Rowing Club.

Held at Dorney Lake, the venue of the 2012 Olympic rowing regatta, the course was easily the flattest the crews have rowed on all year.

The senior women of the club put together a crew that had only raced once before, and that was over a year ago - coming second in the open was a fantastic achievement.

The senior men likewise had not had the chance to row together throughout the season and had put the crew together only three weeks before the championships. Not only did they come second in the open, but their time put them sixth fastest of the entire day.

The regatta also saw the debut of the novice men and women who both qualified through their respective heats, with the men finishing in third in their final, a great result!

Tough "Coastal" conditions at Southsea lead to cancelled regatta

With only half the heats, and very few finals raced, many clubs left Southsea disappointed on Saturday 15th July. Conditions looked as rough as they were going to get mid-afternoon when the race officials made the decision to postpone, and then cancel the regatta. Racing was difficult however with coastal rowing such things happen and thankfully there were no injuries or incidents in the difficult water.

Many thanks to all volunteers, officials and rowers for their efforts and patience throughout the day!

A few images below of Southsea Crews battling the elements, we look forward to holding a more complete regatta next year!

Mid-Season Racing Updates

A brief account of a great seasons racing so far:

Ryde & Shanklin

With horror stories abounding of past regatta crews having to bow-launch into 5ft waves every race, this is the third year in a row that serene calmness prevailed over the entire Isle of Wight weekend.

At Ryde, an overcast day on Saturday saw a first place finish for the men’s pair of Guy Elder and Pete Clarke, the second first place finish with this combination and the second point for Guy meaning he will no longer be a Junior Oarsman starting from next season. Congratulations!

Slight miscommunication ended in the unfortunate disqualification of the Ladies Pair of Rose Barrand and Emily Smith after they finished outside of the start line after battling a Southampton pair right up to the line for second place.

The women’s novice, Amanda, Jaynali, Lauren and Alice, and the men’s four of Guy, Pete, Andy Stewart, and Tarek Fergani, both finished a little off the podium, but rowed well together and show encouraging signs of improvement.

For the last race of the day in very little water, the open double scull race gave a chance for a bit of light-hearted argy-bargy with Pete and Rose fighting a very experienced Lymington double for second place behind Shanklin, with the Lymo boat coming up trumps, and almost crashing into the finishing post!

On Sunday, after some epic sized portions of food at a local in Shanklin the night before, the squad, minus the ladies novice crew were refreshed for another calm day on the water. Club Captain Pete Clarke made his debut in the Novice Men’s Sculls, finishing 2nd in the 12 boat final.

Another first followed for Pete and Guy in the Junior Pair, a third for Rose and Emily in the Ladies Junior Pair and a fourth for the Men’s Junior 4 rounded off a relaxed and fruitful weekend.

Lymington & Brighton

What a difference a week makes!  From the calm waters of the Isle of Wight, the racing crews of SRC turned their attention to a double weekend, a day in each association, with massive offshore winds.

Starting with Lymington regatta on Saturday another late entry in the Novice Single Sculls put Pete Clarke in the outside lane ending in a respectable 3rd place out of 11 entries. The return of Tom Purnell to the men’s squad saw a very stressful start, with Tom stuck in New Forest traffic minutes before the start of the race.

Luckily the men’s 4 started in the nick of time, and without a warm-up performed admirably, holding off a Westover crew and coming in 3rd behind a thus-far indomitable Christchurch crew and a strong Poole crew.

The ladies Novice crew, Lauren, Jaynali, Alice and newcomer Rachel again upped their performance, improving week on week from the start of the season but not quite, on this occasion, making the final.

In the pairs racing, Pete and Tom took away the only 1st of the day, and the ladies pair coming in a confusing 3rd, after rowing past the apparent 2nd place finishers Southampton (entangled with another crew) in a joined race of Seniors and Juniors.

Sunday involved a trip to Brighton & Hove regatta, hosted by Shoreham, with offshore winds that topped the day before. And it was a day of outside lanes, which meant all crews struggled to stay on track and to not stray too close to France!

A 3rd place in the Ladies Junior Pair of Emily and Rose, another 3rd in the Men’s Junior 4 with Tarek Fergani in for Tom Purnell and a 4th in the single sculls for Pete all showed good form in challenging conditions.

Last race of the day, the Men’s Junior Pairs had Guy step in for Tom in his first CARA pairs race of the year. A clean start, leading to the buoys and a sprint away they looked to be clear for victory, until a clash of other crews at the turn forced a re-row, enabling a Bexhill crew in lane 2 to get ahead of the Southsea crew in better water, finishing a boat-length ahead.

With the mix between HDARA regattas and CARA regattas, the Men’s Pairs championships currently stands in CARA at 2 to Southsea, 2 to Shoreham and 1 to Bexhill. Definitely an interesting weekend of racing against the conditions!

Christchurch

A short regatta for the Club, fielding only the men’s Junior 4, who drawn against championship leaders Christchurch in their home waters were unfortunately knocked out after the first round.

Poole

Poole regatta continued the theme of distinctly un-coastal conditions, with mill-pond flat water that enabled those with better technique to show their form. With Louis Oldfield added into the men’s team after finishing his first year at University, along with Pete Clarke and Will Mahoney, the club fielded 3 in the Novice Men’s Sculls to start the day.

Will bested 5 others in his heat to be entered into the final, and Louis stormed away from the rest of the competition, including Pete to cross the line first, unfortunately for Louis and the Club instead of turning at the buoy he ran over it which wasn’t considered within the rules by the Umpires at the turns.

This meant that only 2 SRC scullers made in through to the final, with Will finishing 2nd in his debut sculling race and Pete coming in 5th. The ladies Novice, of Rachel Smillie, Amanda, Alice and Lauren, performed well, but with limited practice in this combination unfortunately didn’t make the final.

The men were up to race again next, and the crew of Pete, Tom Purnell, Will and Guy Elder in stroke, put in an incredible performance, putting a lot of pressure on the Champ leaders Christchurch, narrowing their lead on the return leg to less than a boat of clear water, and beating rivals Poole and Westover to come in 2nd place.

This was a great achievement from a previously untested combination.  Also coming in 2nd were the indefatigable ladies pair, who after having issues at the buoy turn, rowed through a Southampton pair to achieve a 2nd behind Lymington.

As well as fielding 3 men’s novice sculls, 2 Junior men’s pairs were also battling it out in the final, with Will Mahoney and Guy Elder’s first teaming up to come in 4th behind Poole and Christchurch and 1st place SRC pair Tom and Pete.

A fantastic and busy month of racing has sped by, and we look forward to next weekend where the club travels east to battle it out in Folkestone.

First, second, and third at Coalporters

A small contingent of Southsea Rowing Club members headed to Southampton for the first HDARA regatta of the season, with all coming away with podium finishes. With only three lanes, there were heats and semi-finals for some races, and with very flat non-coastal water and little wind it was a completely different day of racing to Worthing the weekend before.

The ladies Junior Pair; Rose Barrand and Emily Smith (str), stormed away from the start in a tough heat, drawn against a Lymington Pair that had taken the win at the Head of the Stour before the season began.  In lane 3, a difficult lane with a line of yachts and buoys to navigate, without a clear line to the turning mark, they tucked in behind the Lymington pair to follow them across the line a close second with a time ensuring their well-deserved spot in the final.

In the 3 boat final, it was much the same result with Lymington taking home the pots and points with our ladies just a few seconds behind.  The ladies are learning a lot and there should be some close battles between these two pairs in the months to come.

The Junior Men’s Coxed Four, drawn against Poole and home-team Coalporters in the semi-final had a hesitant start being caught slightly off-guard with the new start procedure.  Andy Stewart at stroke got the boat of Tarek Fergani, Guy Elder and Peter Clarke into a good rhythm soon after and kept up the pace throughout coming in behind a strong Poole team and qualifying for the final with their time.

In the final, up against a slick Christchurch crew and the Poole crew from the semis, the men came across the line in 3rd.  With strong competition this year, the Junior Men have a big job ahead of them to climb higher in the medal table.

Last up for SRC was the Junior Men’s Pair. A slightly different and un-tried combination of Peter Clarke and Guy Elder (str) took to the water in a straight final up against Ryde and Itchen.  First into the buoys, with a bit of a sketchy line, the pair powered away from both opponents to win by a convincing margin.  Bringing home the wins from both associations, the Southsea Men’s Junior Pair look very strong this year, and there is a lot more to come.

So with the first of the Hants and Dorset regattas down and a 1st 2nd and 3rd finish, we are now into the bulk of the season.  With exams finishing and crews returning, and some more novices getting race ready week by week, SRC will be putting out more crews as the summer goes on.  If they can follow the great results achieved so far, it will be a very exciting season!

Thanks to Jane Maxwell for permission to use a great photo of the Ladies Junior Pair in action; find more at https://www.facebook.com/racingsnapsfromjane!

Winning weekend for Southsea Rowing Club at Worthing!

Worthing Rowing Club was host to the opening weekend of the CARA regatta season, with Worthing Regatta on Saturday and Worthing Town Regatta on Sunday. There were some fantastic results for Southsea as the hard work over the winter months paid off.

Saturday looked to be a glorious day, with a nice summer South Easterly wind, and a bit of cloud cover from the sun, conditions couldn't have been better. First on the water were the J16 quad crew of Jamie Mellor, James McCarthy, Seb Hiller, and a substitute from the home club. On a shortened course of 1000m, the boys, coxed by long-standing SRC maestro Jeff Watling, were well within striking distance of the leaders for the whole race, pushing the home club Worthing into third place in the last 100m of the race and taking the second place medal for themselves. With the notably absent Ewan Elder added back into the line-up in a few weeks’ time, the boys look very capable and we are expecting great things.

The J16 crew reformed later in the day to race at Novice sweep status, with a new men's squad member, the SRC bar manager Alex Horton making his debut appearance in an SRC vest. The Novice men finished a respectable 5th out of 9 crews in a highly-competitive field with Herne Bay taking the win.

The men’s Junior Four, coxed again by Jeff Watling Andrew Stewart, Keighton Moore, Ryan Mellor and Will Mahoney showed good form, kept with the pack and inched out 2 other crews across the line to come in a respectable third place.  The men have a lot of potential and we look forward to seeing them progress throughout the season.

The ladies Junior Pair were next on the water, Emily Smith in stroke set a great rhythm and Rose Barrand in bow steered brilliantly to keep the whole field in sight behind them.  With a great start and buoy-turn that left the other competitors in their wake, the ladies pair rowed on to win by a clear margin in a competitive field, receiving well deserved praise from the commentator and a shield to add to the trophy cabinet.

Next up were the Novice Women, Amanda Matthews, Alice Newman and Lauren Dellar, with a Shoreham substitute, who stormed away at the start to lead into the buoy turns with a lot of clear water between them and the next crew.  This gave them a chance to relax on the home straight and savour a well-earned victory.  Congratulations especially to Lauren who, with her second CARA win under her belt has now been promoted to Junior status!

The men’s Junior Pair of Tom Purnell (Str) and SRC Captain Pete Clarke repeated their winning performance from the Viking Shield last month, with a quick start out of the blocks and first round the buoy, holding off crews from Shoreham and Deal and crossing the line with water to spare.  There was a lot to learn however, as the finesse and grace seen in training never materialised, and the boat was forced with brute strength rather than any amount of skill!

Returning to Worthing on Sunday, with a depleted squad of just the two Junior Pairs, SRC arrived at a decidedly windier course than the day before.  With the temperature rising and spirits high, the ladies Junior Pair were up first.  The headwind was particularly strong going into the turns and the ladies were unable to keep the same pressure on the fleet as the day before.  A pair from Shoreham took the win with the ladies not far behind in second place.  A few lessons to be learnt in very challenging conditions and some lovely silver medals meant the girls came away from the weekend with a smile (and plenty of ice-cream) on their faces.

The men’s pair looked like a different boat from the day before.  Cool and collected, keeping plenty in reserve and riding the tailwind home, they took their second win of the weekend ahead of Shoreham and Deal.  Good advice on the day from coach Jeff Watling re-focussed the pair and we hope to see more of this throughout the season.

The weekend was fantastic opening gambit for the Club especially after a particularly tough winter, having little or no water time due to the weather.  Next weekend is the first regatta in the Hants and Dorset rowing season, hosted by Coalporters on the Itchen.  We wish the crews the very best against the new competition!

Southsea Rowing Club rowathon fundraiser aims for £2,000!

As those of you who were at the club over the last weekend will know, members of Southsea Rowing Club, along with family and friends, successfully completed a 24-hour ‘rowathon’, organised by Junior Captains Chelsea Armstrong and Will Mahoney, raising money for our boat fund and for Rowan's Hospice.

The participants succeeded in rowing an ergo continuously for the target of 24 hours, and by the time the 'rowathon' was completed on Saturday evening, they had covered a total distance of 339,469 metres in the 24 hours, at an average split time a fraction over 2:07 per 500m.

By my reckoning, that's a little over four times round the Isle of Wight — a fantastic achievement — and I am sure that you will all want to join me in congratulating those involved on their efforts. You may also want to support them in their fundraising if you haven't already done so.

Southsea Rowing Club have set up a JustGiving page for the junior boat fund and a page for donating to Rowan's Hospice here. All money raised will be split 50/50 between the two causes. The Rowan's Hospice is a registered charity (No. 299731).

If you prefer, you can make a donation directly to the main club account. Please use the reference ‘rowathon’ if you donate this way.

Finally, a very big, congratulations and thank-you to all involved, especially to those who stayed before or after their allotted rowing time to help out, worked the bake sale in the cold on Saturday, were stuck with particularly unsociable rowing times, and those who were drafted in to do second slots less than 12 hours after their first!

With this sort of dedication from our Juniors,  we can be optimistic about the prospects for our Club in the future.