Milton Keynes Regatta 2011

May 23, 2011

Don’t know about anyone else but I thoroughly enjoyed the Regatta on Saturday. This was only our second ever Regatta and was slightly bigger than last year’s with three other clubs attending (Bedford RC joining Northampton and Oundle). I’m not going to try and write up every event – partly there were too many and (mainly) I was either marshalling or racing so didn’t see half of them.

So, I’m just going to pick out some of the highlights (for me) of the day and leave it to others to add their own thoughts. That way, maybe we’ll wind up with a full picture!

Unlike last year, held in a dead calm, we had very strong winds and this made for some very challenging conditions, especially at the start.Despite this, we only had a couple of capsizes and no clashes in races, showing a high standard of rowing and sculling by all taking part. I know some crews found the going very tough but everyone battled through. We had some incredibly close races, including a couple where the verdict was one foot! It was good to see the full spectrum of events as well, juniors, seniors and masters, and everything from singles through to eights.

We re-jigged a couple of things from last year, firstly the trailer parking, having the trailers in front of the club house. This proved fortuitous as, having parked three trailers neatly, a fourth then turned up – Oundle having so many boats they needed two trailers! We were able to slot them in where we parked the trailers last year, so no real panic. Got to say how impressed I was with the parking ability of the trailer drivers, just wish I was that good. Assuming we expand next year, we’ll have to really think about this one though.

Second change was to the boating pontoon – we moved this to the left of the slipway and this did help with congestion along the footpath, although it did mean most crews opted to go off here, leading to some delays. Again, one to think about for next year. The circulation pattern worked better, removing the need to have crews crossing the racing line.

Personally, it was an interesting day, staying upright and dry in my first Regatta single scull race (only finished two lengths down, which I was really pleased with), being well and truly thumped in the quad and then finally getting a win at our home event in the double with Steve.

For me, some of the highlights were the Open Eight between Bedford and Northampton, one of the closest races of the day, with Bedford shading it at the finish (by a foot) and the Northampton against NSB quad, again a foot in it (with NSB emerging as winners). It was nice to see the pots and medals being spread around as well, no one club dominating things, although our ladies seemed to be putting in strong showings all round. Special mentions for Paula and Lou – first time ever in a double and (despite a scenic route) winning their straight final and to the two beginners crews, who put up a serious fight with only half a length in it, credit to the coaches from both Bedford and MK for getting beginners to this standard!

Starts were very difficult and all credit to the Sea Cadets, who did a tremendous job hanging on to the sterns of boats against strong winds, waves and rowers trying to keep on station. Their arms must seriously ache today (and be a couple of inches longer). As an illustration of just how hard this was, one boat managed to dislodge one of the stake boats, casting it adrift (quickly rescued by the safety launch) and another managed to get wedged between the stake boat and the bank, being battered by cross-waves.

The wind also made it deceptively cool and there’s a lot of people (me included) nursing some serious sunburn as a result.It was a long and tiring day but thoroughly enjoyable and showed again that we can run a good event. Now for planning next year…

If you were there, do let me know your thoughts and memories!

Milton Keynes Regatta 2010

May 24, 2010

So, we finally managed it! After years of discussion and months of hard work we put on the first ever MKRC Regatta on Saturday 22nd May 2010. Helped by the glorious weather, this was a real success and enjoyed by everyone, competitors, organisers and spectators. This was the culmination of a big effort by many,many people – I’m not going to go into a big long list here but really have to say a big thank-you to Tim who was the driving force behind this.

Caldecotte Lake proved to be a wonderful venue for regatta racing, with the entire course visible from just about anywhere on the lake shore. Angling the racing lines across the lake gave us a 600m course, with the start line by the road bridge (useful vantage point for watching the start) and finish line just down from the club house.

As this was our first ever event, we ran it as an invitation only private match. This limited us to three other clubs; wanting to get clubs of similar size as ourselves, we invited Northampton, Oundle Town and Isle of Ely. Unfortunately, because of what seems to have been an utter foul up in internal communications, Isle of Ely told us on the Thursday before the Regatta that they we withdrawing. Having just two days notice to find a replacement was always going to be difficult, so we just had to scratch their entries. As well as a significant financial loss this caused a lot of problems with race scheduling and led to a staccato start to racing.

Despite this setback, everything went incredibly well. I’m not going to list out all the races and how all our crews did – there were so many of each (we wound up with around 80 races) – just pick out some of my highlights. Please feel free to add to these – that’s what the comments box is all about…..

So, my highlights of the day

John Cunningham – not only getting to race again but in the boat named after him. Not sure his grin could have got any wider even though we lost in both the MK Vet 8+ and the composite 8+ with Oundle. Well deserved John and great to see.

Jeff Pearce – started the club 15 years ago and this was a proud moment for him

Womens’ Novice 4+ – doubt they will remain Novice for long the way they went about winning this category; all the more pleasing as three of the crew were from last year’s learn to row intake

The only capsize of the day – a Northampton sculler who self-rescued – and then rolled over completely and capsized the other side!

Steph, who lived up to her Miss Chatterbox award by providing a really, really, really good commentary (you need to listen to the interview on BBC 3 Counties Radio).

The MKRC crew who were the only crew all day to get a warning (for failing to follow the circulation pattern)!

My most enjoyable race of the day (OK, I lost in all four, but it was all fun), sculling in a double with my younger daughter, Jo. First time we’d ever been in a double together, so losing by one length wasn’t too shabby at all.

I’m sure there’s loads more – please do chip in so we can build up more of a record of what was a really brilliant first ever MKRC regatta. On the feedback we’ve had so far, we’re now starting to think about next year’s event already, so watch this space

We’ve made the local papers too – see the MK Citizen article

The results from the day are now available hereĀ  MKRC Regatta 2010 Results