Please click on the photos in the text to enlarge them
For our last regatta of the season 2017, eighteen of our Arran rowers:
Cil, Corinna, Emma, Fritzi, Helen, Sarah, Sherie, Tracy, Angus, Charlie, Colin, Dave, John, Matt, Ronnie, Rory, Stephen, Stuart and our two supporters Geoff and Carol made their way early Saturday morning across the water to Prestwick.
As the Arran Coastal Rowing Club (ACRC) has had a good increase in members over the year who were making good progress, for the first time we were taking with us our two skiffs Seabhag (Arran “A”) and Iolair (Arran “B”). After winning the Prestwick regatta last year and with many months of training behind us everyone was asking themselves could we successfully defend our 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. Especially as we are spoilt here in Lamlash Bay with good weather and sea conditions. 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 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.
Getting into the skiffs and changing crews between the races proved to be a difficult, cold and very wet affair. Everybody involved was completely drenched by the breakers along the shoreline while trying to hold the skiffs steady standing in the surf and swell and once in the skiffs the breaking waves showered the crews mercilessly. But with the adrenalin flowing and the effort to row the skiffs, which behaved like bucking broncos, everybody kept warm during the races.
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 (2 women and 2 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 on the way to the turn and 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 would like to thank Prestwick for all their tremendous work in organising a very successful regatta.
Winning crews and chairman with trophies
Our shoremaster and loyal supporter Geoff shot some tremendous action photos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/ejiXnmNsDbjJVhE83
And as always Dave (Arran Photography) managed to take some magnificant photos between racing and coxing: https://photos.app.goo.gl/h54Le9MtpCXnlHLu1
Please click on the photos to enlarge them