Rowers retain regatta crown

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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. This wasn’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, novice 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 11 am 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 four point 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 ten 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@arrancoastalrowing.co.uk or visit the website.

                                                                                                                                             Stuart Turner

ACRC chairman Angus Campbell receives the trophies. No_B40regatta01

Rowers line up for the start of the race. No_B40regatta02

Men 240+ with cox Emma Ingham. No_B40regatta03

Mixed novice team with cox Cecilia Paul. No_B40regatta04

Open men with cox Emma Ingham. No_B40regatta05

As the day progressed sea conditions deteriorated for the rowers. No_B40regatta06

ACRC members are jubilant after their hard fought win. NOB40regatta07