Aberystwyth Regatta 2014

Sunday July 20th, Aberystwyth Rowing Club held their Annual Longboat Rowing Regatta. It was round 8 of the 2014 league calendar and the second joint league event of the year (where all the northern and southern clubs meet for the Welsh Championship).

28 July 2014

5 minutes into the race and the ladies crews pass castle point

From the off it was clear it was going to be a big event, with nearly 400 rowers registering. With all the support crews this meant over 500 rowers and supporters in attendance at the harbour-side.

Racing started promptly at 1.00 with 25 boats starting the Ladies Race. The field quickly spread out with the cream of the teams; Aberporth, Wisemans Bridge and New Quay, battling it out for the lead. At the first buoy turn, Aberporth Ladies had edged a small lead. But throughout the field there were close battles being fought out. As the race progressed, Aberporth built on their lead winning the ladies race by an eventual margin of nearly 30 seconds. The veterans category was won by Solva who finished in 9th place overall. The supavets won by Porthmadog finishing in 18th place. The battle of the race though was between the last 4 boats - Aberaeron, Porthmadog, Borth and Aberystwyth all coming across the line together within 4 seconds of each other.

Next up the men, with a field of 27 boats entering. The race proved to be very close between the front runners with 4 boats battling fiercely to lead around the first buoy - Solva, Aberdovery, Italia FICSF and Aberystwyth. As the race progressed Solva's class came through - but they were pushed all the way and had to fight hard for first place. As all the boats came across the line category positions became clearer. The Aberystwyth Veterans securing their category and Ynys Mon Super vets winning their category in 7th place overall - a position which belies there advanced years!

Next came the future stars of our sport - the juniors and novices. This race included two invitational junior teams from Italy. From the start their class showed and they ended up coming across the line 1st and 2nd well clear of the competition. Throughout the field the rowers fared well. The Newport U18 mixed crew edged Ynys Mon U18 boys overall, but both winning their categories. The Aberystwyth U16 girls crew maintained their seasons good form, once again winning their category. Special mention must go to the Llangrannog Under 14 boys and New Quay Under 14 girls crews. With conditions at sea picking up it was decided to run their race inside the harbour. Both teams rowed superbly showing their potential for the future - two teams to look out for - Well done boys and girls, bendigedig.

The final race of the day was the mixed race. A huge field of 32 boats taking part - testament to the growing popularity of the sport. Once again it was a race that had lots of closely fought 'races within the race'. Competition within the mixed being very close throughout the field. The PYC veterans boat once again dominated and continued their superb form of the season turning out as overall race winners - not bad for a boat of over 40's. Senior category winners were Cardigan Rowing club and Fishguard Jemima winning the supervets category.

Aberystwyth U18 boys in the foreground during the Juniors/Novice race Aberystwyth, Aberporth & New Quay mixed crews battling on a buoy turn Aberystwyth U16 girls - class winners

All in all a superb days rowing - and a day where Aberystwyth hospitality and community was at its best.

During the event, the Club hosted 3 teams from the Italian Fixed Seat Rowing Federation (FICSF).

Italian mens crew, U18boys, U18 girls & officials with the Aberystwyth coaching team & organisers

Three teams, coaches and officials from the Italian Federation arrived in Aberystwyth on Thursday evening. Friday and Saturday mornings they took part in training sessions to familiarise themselves with Celtic Longboats and racing technique. The Italian boats and style of racing is very different from Celtic Longboat Rowing. Immediately, we saw the potential in all 3 crews to do extremely well in the Regatta (and how right we proved to be). Friday evening we held a joint training session with the Aberystwyth Junior Crews - this was followed by a BBQ for the rowers, officials and representatives of the Welsh Sea Rowing League.

Onto Sunday and race day itself - the whole purpose of their visit. First up for the Italians was the Mens Race. As they lined up alongside 30 other boats the determination to do well was etched on their faces for everyone to see. As the starters flag dropped, the Italians shot out to join the race leaders. Almost immediately there was chaos, as one of the oars got damaged at the start. Undettered, they rowed on and made the best of the damage to continue rowing. Throughout the race they kept with the leaders, and ended up finishing third behind two very fast Solva and Aberdyfi Crews. Considering the damaged oar, a bronze finish was commendable.

Next up were the two junior crews; a boys under 18 and girls under 18 crew. Their race was certainly mixed ability as they were racing against under 16 crews and novice crews - 22 boats in total. As the flag dropped, once again the Italian class showed. They immediately gained a commanding lead over the other boats which grew and grew as the race progressed. The under 18 boys came in first followed by the under 18 girls, nearly a minute ahead of their nearest rivals.

Three podium finishes, two gold one bronze, was an excellent result for their first time rowing in this type of race and had it not been for a damaged oar it could well have been a clean sweep.

Italian U18 boys surge to the front of the field Italian visitors Awaiting results U18 girls receive winners medals from the Aberystwyth coaching team & organisers U18 boys receive their medals from the Aber Coaching team & organisers

Monday Morning saw the crew making the long journey back to Italy. They left with fond memories of Aberystwyth hospitality. They now look forward to coming back again in the future with the aim to go at least one better.