Christchurch Regatta

The third regatta of the Hants & Dorset season was a home regatta for Christchurch, with all the crews pitching in early in the morning to get both the course and the various stalls ready for all the competitors that would be arriving from the rival clubs that same morning.

Racing commenced at 10am sharp with the novice ladies starting off the day’s racing. The Christchurch C crew of L Windash, A Bridgen, A Facer, H Eddicott (str) and O Gillingham (cox) took to the water and convincingly beat a Composite crew of Newport and Ryde before the D crew of D Corbin, D Smorezewska, E Fairclough, T Myring-McCullage (str) and F Stanley (cox) did the same against a strong BTC crew, winning by an impressive 3 ½ lengths. No more than 90 minutes later would the C crew have to return to face their next opponent in the quarter-final, this time with V Robinson as their cox. Unfortunately, luck was not on their side as no less than 500 meters into the race did the footplate in bow break, meaning that the crew had to stop, allowing BTC an automatic win. It was then the turn of the Christchurch B crew of E Cheetham, C Brad, M Campbell, F Howcroft (str) and O Gillingham (cox) to follow the lead of the A crew who had gone up to Junior status the previous week in Lymington. The verdict given following their race was an ‘easy’ victory over Poole’s A crew, providing a boost of confidence for their upcoming semi-final against the Christchurch D crew who had progressed from the qualifiers straight to the semi-final. Ultimately, the B crew were victorious over the D crew, moving them into the final against Coalporter’s A crew. A nerve-wracking final saw the crew perform an excellent buoy turn to come out on top by five boat lengths, pushing them up to Junior status for the upcoming double weekend of racing on the Isle of Wight.

The novice men entered two boats into the club’s regatta this year, with both crews hungry to do as well as they could and maybe even progress up to the next status. The first of the crews to race was the B crew of C Marshall, R Eddicott, F Canelas, L Callaghan (str) and M Grainger (cox) who produced a result which was potentially the closest of the day. The qualifying race against the Southsea A boat saw both crews giving everything they could, pushing themselves all the way to the line. In the end, the umpire decided it was a victory for the Christchurch crew by only half a boat length, something they were delighted with as it meant that they would progress to the quarter-finals. The Christchurch A crew of O Leat, W Tate, S Hewitt, N Clarke (str) and M Grainger (cox) bypassed the qualifiers and went straight into the quarter-finals against Itchen A crew. Unfortunately for them, their opponent was slightly stronger, beating them by only two boat lengths, providing a learning curve for future races. The B crew however cruised easily through both their quarter and semi-finals, making it all the way to final against Poole B crew. A hard race saw their opponent come out on top by three boat lengths which albeit was frustrating for the crew, showed them that they were next in contention to go up a status for their next regatta.

It was then the turn of the Junior Ladies, with four crews entered into the event. The B crew of A Fortt, A Pearson, L Campbell, L Fairweather (str) and V Robinson (cox) were first to race against Itchen’s B crew, unfortunately competing in a race that saw them narrowly lose to their rivals. The C crew of K Tate, J Eddicott, L Hardy, A Turner (str) and Ellie (cox) originally were due to race in the qualifiers but a cancellation meant that they progressed straight into the quarter-finals against Itchen’s A crew. A hard race saw them come out three and a half boat lengths behind their opponent but still pushing it all the way to the line. Newbies to the category, Christchurch’s newly appointed D crew of E Radford, K Browning, K Cherskova, J Draga (str) and E Erwin (cox) were eager to race in their first Junior race of the season after being promoted from Novice status at Milford. Their first race against BTC B crew was a breeze, beating them by three boat lengths. Their quarter-final against Bournemouth saw the opposition stray into their lane, resulting in a disqualification for the club situated just down the river from Christchurch’s boat house. This meant that they progressed to the semi-final against an eagerly-anticipated Coalporters crew who had not yet made an appearance this season. The race was a close one, with both crews racing their hardest. The Christchurch crew held on to stay within half a boat length of their opposition all the way up to the buoy turn. The stretch of water used for this regatta is often famed for being one of the shortest courses, yet the hardest for coxswains to navigate. This indeed proved true when Christchurch’s cox managed to negotiate a buoy turn the wrong way, leading to a disqualification for the crew. However, the positivity of the crew meant that they were not unhappy with their result and knew that they could transfer that into their performances next weekend. The last ladies junior crew was the A crew of L Woods, C Cole, K Burgess, L Hart (str) and O Gillingham (cox). With two championship points already behind them, they were eager to gain one more. An easy quarter and semi-final saw the crew straight into the final against the Coalporters crew. Both crews set off neck and neck at the start, bracing themselves into the strong headwind that had turned up for the finals. A slight advantage in the S-shape of the course for the Coalporters crew saw them go slightly ahead into the buoy turn. However, Christchurch were determined to fight back, producing a perfect buoy turn to soar out of the halfway point and return home. The Coalporters crew were not as lucky, getting caught on the buoy and contesting the umpire’s decision to carry on. However, the decision was not in their favour and it was ruled that the race would continue, meaning that Christchurch were able to power back down the course and gain a third point towards their championship.

Christchurch had two Junior men’s crews entered in the event, with the A crew especially looking to earn another point on top of the one that they had already gained. The B crew of C Silverwood, S Cannon, M Smith, G Hazeldine (str) and O Gillingham (cox) were up first, unfortunately just losing a hard-fought race against a tough BTC crew by two and a half lengths. The A crew of S Erwin, M Durward, S Cooney, E Patton (str) and H Pearson (cox) soared easily into the final after beating both Coalporters and Southsea in the quarter and semi-finals, before racing BTC’s A crew. They had come up against them in previous finals of the past two regattas and knew that the race would be tough. Despite a near perfect run, the crew were beaten by 3 lengths over the short course. However, they knew that there was potential for them to beat the crew next weekend so congratulated their opponents and held their heads high.

Christchurch held both J16 boys and girls fours events at their regatta, with lots of interest in both events as there was opportunity to gain a second place mug at the event. In the boys event, there was the same crew that had previously been the men’s novice A crew. After narrowly losing in their novice event, the boys were eager to win in this event. After an easy quarter final against Ryde’s B crew, as well as an equally easy semi against Itchen, the boys found themselves in the final with Ryde A crew. With brave faces, the boys gave it their all, coming second by only three boat lengths, something they should be immensely proud of. The girls had an equally good run, with the crew consisting of M Morris, A Donaldson, I Langridge, A Bridgen (str) and O Gillingham (cox). After easily beating Southsea in their semi-final, the girls were up against Bournemouth in the final. With a race that went all the way to the end, the girls were beaten to the line by only one boat length by the opposition. The girls remained positive and used the experience to look forward to future J16 races.

In the Senior Ladies event, Christchurch’s crew of S Percival-Foy, J Fabrizi, S Ponsford, R Williams (str) and Anna (str) worked to try and beat a tough Southampton crew. Unfortunately for the ladies, a victory of two boat lengths saw them knocked out, however they would be given a chance at redemption in the Masters Ladies event. The Masters Ladies B crew of J Edicott, S Glen, E Kelly, F Standley (str) and V Robinson (cox) first claimed easy victory in their semi-final over BTC before coming face to face with the A crew in the final. It was a hard fought battle and a scrap with the buoy at the turn for the A crew saw the B crew come out victorious in one of the last races of the day.

Lastly, the Senior Mens event saw two Christchurch crews entered to try and gain a championship point. The B crew of G-L Angiloni, T Horsburgh, J McKenna, L Steele (str) and V Robinson (cox) were up first into the semi-final, only narrowly missing out on a spot in the final by less than two boat lengths. Following them, the A crew of J Rose, M Joscelyne, I Gaston, J Gaston (str) and S Erwin (cox) battled against Coalporters A crew. Considering a handful of the men within the crew had not sat in a coastal boat, let alone done a buoy turn, for just under a year, the result the produced was outstanding.

After a hard day’s racing, the prize giving commenced, with each winning crew earning a tankard each, as well as a trophy to take home and place in their cabinets for the rest of the season. Unsurprisingly, the overall Victor Ludorum went to Christchurch, with all the crews happy to retain the title.

For a complete look at photos from the day please click here.

Next weekend will see the crews head over to the Isle of Wight for a jam-packed schedule as both Ryde and Shanklin host their regattas on Saturday and Sunday respectively. Rougher water than previously found on their home stretch, Christchurch will have to battle the waves and the tide if they want to earn those all important championship points.

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