THE BANKS of the River Avon should have been thronged with visitors and spectators all cheering on their athletes and squads during last Saturday’s scheduled Stratford Boat Club annual regatta.
The Rec would have been full of boat trailers from visiting clubs and the club’s grounds heaving with guests enjoying the barbecue, tea tent and bar.
However, this was not to be as the pandemic has put paid to the regatta and July’s Fun Regatta (see https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/regattas-cancelled-but-summer-camps-are-on).
Club president Paul Stanton said: “It is very rare for the club to have to cancel or postpone the regatta, as this has only happened a handful of times in the club’s 146-year history.
“Cancellations have only occurred because of floods in the past, such as last year’s June regatta. Stratford has been badly hit this year with the cancellation of many sporting and charity events such as the Shakespeare Rotary Marathon, the Shakespeare Hospice Dragon Boat event, the Rotary Duck Race, the Shakespeare Open Water Swim and many others.
“Fortunately, our junior summer camps scheduled for late July/August are currently still happening and places are booking up well.”
However, there is no doom and gloom at Stratford Boat Club. Some of the adult members have been allowed back on to the water in singles or family doubles and pairs.”
Club chairman Dawson Curnock said: “Sadly, crew boats, the junior and adaptive squads have not been allowed on to the water yet because of the challenges of social distancing, coaching and safety provision.
“However, all squads have kept up their training regimes with home exercising, ‘virtual’ Zoom circuit sessions and most recently some members have taken part in ‘virtual’ regattas as far away as Cork and Chester!
“The squads have also kept their social interaction up with online quizzes, meetings and training videos.”
Stratford Boat Club has adhered to instructions sent out by British Rowing and also advice and recommendations from the Government for the country’s slow, phased return to sport.
There are weekly updates from the club’s senior management team to the members on what is lawful and allowed and a new boat session booking system has been implemented to ensure those going on to and leaving the water do not meet.
Equipment is available for sanitising boats, oars, touch points and equipment. The club’s training room, kitchen and club Room remain firmly closed and the other areas are sanitised on a regular basis.