Piers and Cat rocked up with the trailer on Friday night and pitched camp on the banks of the River Wear. A big thank you to them for trailering!
Saturday began with the men's IM3 8+ shortly after 9am. The crew consisted of Piers Turnbull, Gareth Morris, Jamie Parker, Simon Coyne, Mike Luckham, Alex Bingle, David Marsh, Tom of Northumbria University and was coxed by Sally Jones. St. Chad's had a quick start, leaving Sheffield half a length behind after the first 100m. Despite a valiant effort they lost by that same half a length. The crew is endebted to Tom for filling in an empty seat at the last minute. The club would also like to say a MASSIVE thank you for Sally for coxing the crews on Saturday.
We walked the length of the course and checked out the vintage car rally and numberous. There were a number of very close races which were exhilarating to watch from Baths Bridge! We headed into Durham and had a quick wander round. Simon and Alex picked up some essential supplies (food and beer, but mostly beer). We then headed back to the river to watch some more racing.
Race order wasn't strictly adhered to and crews were paired up at the top of the river and raced as they found each other. This meant that although the day started 30 minutes behind, it was soon back on track.
At 1pm, Gareth and Piers raced in the first round of the Elite 2x. They managed to beat Durham ARC and went on to best St Peter's School in the semi final. However, they met their match in a closely contested final against Cambois RC, missing out by just half a length.
Those of us that stayed overnight camped out on the banks of the River Wear, just down from Durham ARC's boat club. After some well earned chill time back at the tents, Cat presented Sally with the finest bunch of flowers in the whole of County Durham for her fine coxing.
The women's IM3 8+ raced in the afternoon but didn't feel like they achieved their true potential. They felt that a bit more practice was needed. Regardless, it was great to see our guys giving it their all from the banks!
In the evening, we took the club out for the traditional meal at "La Spaghettata". We ate LOTS.
There was talk of going to "Klute", a legendary nightclub rumoured to be the worst in Europe. Since a number of us were racing the next morning some opted to head back to camp. The rest stayed out to sample Durham's finest night life. (They returned to camp a whole hour later.)
Sunday began with a win against Butler College BC by the men's Novice 4+. The four was crewed by Mike Luckham, Alex Hulse, Simon Coyne and John Johnson. Alice Kearse upheld her reputation as a first class cox. Unfortunately, despite another close race they were knocked out by Lancaster University in the semi final.
Piers and Gareth took part in the Championship 2x long course race soon after. The time trial took place at around 10am and they set a time they were both happy with. They went on to beat Stephenson College in the semi final but lost by around 2-3 lengths to another Cambois crew in the final.
In the afternoon we were treated to a historical reenactment. Durham Regatta was originally a commemoration of the Battle of Waterloo and this year marked the 200th anniversary of the battle. To celebrate this there was a procession of boats from centuries past steered by characters in fancy dress.
At 2.15pm, the women's IM2 8+ raced their time trial. The crew was: Karen Carey, Cat McDougall, Alice Kearsey, Ciara O'Hagan, Liz Brown, Vicky McDougall, Janet Vickers and Eli Turner, with Jo Richardson as the cox. The feeling throughout the boat was that it went much better than the previous day's racing. The final was an extremely close race. The rest of the Sheffield crews were stood on Baths Bridge, right before the finishing line, so we could see exactly how close it was! Unfortunately it wasn't their day, but as you can see, itdidn't dent their pride one bit!
Janet very kindly went and bought everyone in their crew a Durham Regatta t-shirt!
Despite some issues with race timing, everyone at the club enjoyed themselves. There were plenty of close races, and with some more preparation we feel like we could be coming home with pots next year!