STRATFORD Boat Club finished the 2018 season with squads testing their mettle and stamina against the clock as juniors took part in force in the season’s last time trial.
Stratford’s junior co-ordinator Steve Wellstead said: “December is a challenging month for training with many junior squad athletes taking important mock exams and the weather often restricts us to indoor and land training. To finish with the upstream time trials sets the mood for a great 2019 season!”
In complete contrast, Stratford’s Boxing Day Scratch Regatta has become a firm fixture on club’s and town’s calendar, allowing athletes to blow away the over indulgence of Christmas, have fun and set their sights firmly on serious training for the 2019 season.
More than 40 athletes from the club traditionally brave the cold and damp to take part in the Scratch Regatta, competing in fours and quads over a short sprint course from the Ferry to the club grounds on the Town stretch of the River Avon.
Oli Smith, Stratford’s captain of boats, said: “We pick club crews from names entered into a draw based on gender, age and ability so that all the crews are more or less equal, ranging from members of the junior squad right through to masters.”
To ensure fair play and safety, starters, umpires, spotters and the safety launch will all be in place whilst crowds can watch and cheer from the Recreation Ground, the Royal Shakespeare Terrace, Bancroft Gardens and the Tramway Bridge.
“The training schedule will be back on target the first weekend after the new year,” added Bill Sullivan, coach at Stratford Boat Club for the elite senior squad.
“2019 is going to be a great season for Stratford in all categories and we’re going for gold at next year’s Royal Henley Regatta!”
Come down to the river on Boxing Day to watch the action, which begins at 9.30am.
Stratford Boat Club also said goodbye to Jo Wyles, who has been an active club member for a number of years.
Until the end of last season, Jo was the club’s honorary secretary – a post she covered as a volunteer for over six years – and Jo has also acted as launch driver, regatta secretary and other voluntary positions in recent times.
One of the main tasks Jo will be remembered for is most ably supervising the setting up of the club’s marquees for the regatta season and she was seen each year with her partner Tony manning the race control station and radio allocations at the club’s own regatta events.
President Paul Stanton said: “Jo and Tony are relocating to their ‘home region’ of Kent and we will certainly miss them both, as well as the enthusiastic and willing support they have given our club over the years.
“Volunteering is the heart of Stratford Boat Club and Jo and Tony have certainly exemplified this ethos.”
Jo was presented with a leaving gift and token of the club’s appreciation – a travel bag with a specially engraved ‘Bon Voyage Jo Wyles – from your friends at SuABC’.