STRATFORD-upon-Avon Boat Club hosted a successful Fun Regatta as the annual event returned to the River Avon.
The regatta attracted competitors from local companies, villages and groups of friends as 24 crews with just three hours’ training produced some quality rowing,
Skilled members of Stratford Boat Club’s junior squad acted as able coxes for the crews as crowds and friends watched on in support from the club’s grounds, the Bancroft Gardens and the Rec.
Fun Regatta organiser, Chris Belcher, said: “We were heartened by the huge numbers who came to watch, cheer the competitors on and enjoy the spectacle even though the weather wasn’t ideal.
“It may not have been Henley Royal Regatta but we like to think that it was more fun to watch.
“Through the hard work and all the efforts of club members, we have been able to raise funds for replacing equipment, repairs and maintenance.
“As always, we are especially grateful for the tolerance of those who make their living on the river and to our sponsor Crowne Plaza Stratford.”
Boat Club chairman, Dawson Curnock, added: “The wait was worth it. A fun day was had by all and Stratford Boat Club was happy to contribute to the vitality and atmosphere of the town and give visitors and residents a cause for celebration.”
Club president, Paul Stanton, said: “We were so grateful that Stratford-upon-Avon’s Mayor Coun Kate Rolfe and her Consort visited us and presented prizes to the winners.
“Stratford-upon-Avon Town Council’s support is essential for the encouragement for sport and recreation in the Warwickshire area and community. Thanks also to Sip ‘n’ Swig, Stratford Boat Club’s regatta bar contractors, for filling the winners’ tankards with beer: that made their day.”
In addition to the racing, fancy dress was also a major part of the day as crews wore outfits which included Roman legionnaires, colourful Hawaiian shirts, the blue and yellow of Ukraine, swans, colourful hippies, mohican hairstyles, pink flamingos and King Charles III.
The eventual winners were Meander Club with Never Mind The Rollocks runners up while Oarsome 4 Some won the fancy dress prize.
Elsewhere, the club’s masters’ squad were competing in a fantastic two days of racing at Henley Masters Regatta with another win for the masters women from Stratford Boat Club.
Suzie Radley and Amanda Bowden joined forces with other clubs to form two composite eights, racing in heats, a semi-final and the finals.
Fast starts and lengthy powerful rowing strokes were too strong for the opponents, resulting in two winning eights, beating a crew from USA and Marlow Rowing Club, respectively.
Further down the country, in Llandaff near Cardiff, Stratford Boat Club’s adaptive squad enjoyed their latest outing.
Stratford loaned boats to Runcorn and Fishguard on the day so that all teams could compete with honours shared between the five adaptive clubs that attended while Stratford came away with the most wins.
Andy Morris in the Open PR3 Singles beat his rival from Runcorn by little more than a length and then teamed up with his young colleague, 13-year-old Isaac Clarkson, to take the Band 2 Doubles event and the latter’s first pot.
To complete his day, Morris then partnered the Runcorn sculler in the Band 1 Doubles event against a Stratford/Ross double, winning by three lengths.
Jess Dowdewell continued the close rivalry with Rob Pedley in the PR1 Singles, another epic battle in the final saw Dowdewell overcome Pedley for the first time by just under a length.
Stratford’s head adaptive coach, Mark Dewdney, said: “The best bit about the day was seeing new faces on the circuit, we have some new friends who are all interested in taking adaptive and para rowing forward.”
Further afield in Lucerne, Switzerland, Stratford Boat Club’s alumnae of Camilla Hadland and Esme Booth were both performing at the World Rowing Cup III.
Hadland was doing an excellent job in the commentary box and Booth rowing in the GB Women’s Eight collecting an excellent gold medal.