The weekend of the 2nd and 3rd June saw Christchurch hop on the ferry and head over the sea to the Isle of Wight for an action-packed double regatta weekend. The weather forecast looked promising in the build-up to the regattas and all crews were eager to get onto the water to get some championship points under their belts.
Saturday saw Ryde host the fourth regatta of the coastal season, with the Ladies Junior Fours setting out on the water first in the second race of the day. Recent progression to Junior status for two Christchurch crews meant the club had four women’s boats in the straight final. The newly promoted D crew of E Cheetham, C Brad, M Campbell, F Howcroft (str) and T Myring-McCullage (cox) anticipated a hard fight in their first Junior race of the season. A valiant effort saw them place sixth in the final, an impressive start to their journey in a hard status. The A crew of L Woods, E Moran, C Cole, L Hart (str) and O Gillingham (cox) were looking to add another point to their undefeated run so far this season, though knew that they would be up against the C crew of E Radford, K Browning, K Cherskova, J Draga (str) and E Erwin (cox) in a race that promised to last right up to the line. It was in fact one of the closest races of the day, with less than a second separating the first two crews. It was in fact the C crew who had just won at the line, meaning that they had broken the winning streak of the A crew. Following this, the B crew of A Fortt, A Pearson, L Campbell, L Fairweather (str) and V Robinson (cox) fought against a strong Itchen crew to place 4th in the same event.
It was then the turn of the Junior Men to try and follow on from their success at Milford and bag another championship point. Knowing that their main opposition would be the championship leaders BTC, the crew of S Erwin, E Patton, C Silverwood, G Hazeldine (str) and H Pearson (cox) were ready to face the choppy waters as the tide came in. Staying with their opposition all the way up to the buoy turn, the boys couldn’t quite manage to hold on to BTC’s lead and crossed the line second.
The Ladies Masters were up next and were eager to try and regain their lead in the championship. S Percival-Foy, J Fabrizi, S Ponsford, R Williams (str) and F Standley (cox) raced with poise and control, cruising past the line in first place ahead of Coalporters and BTC.
The nine boat race of the Men’s Novice Fours was up next and saw Christchurch’s A crew of C Marshall, R Eddicott, T Pearson, L Callaghan (str) and H Pearson (cox) determined to gain promotion to Junior status. After an impressive buoy turn and return leg home, the crew passed the line first, immediately celebrating their win as they crossed the line, all signs of fatigue replaced with elation! A well deserved win would mean the boys would compete in the next category up the following day at Shanklin, something they knew would be difficult.
It was then the ladies turn to race at novice status. The Christchurch crew of T Myring-McCullage, E Fairclough, K Fabrizi, P Taylor (str) and F Standley (cox) were the club’s only boat in the event after recent promotion for the other crews. This meant the crew were looking to get as close to first place as possible in hopes that they would too go up to Junior in the coming weeks. A close race saw the ladies in the outside lane place third, a result they were rightly delighted with.
The day then progressed on to the small boat events, with the Ladies Junior Pairs up first. A late entry from the B crew of K Cherskova and K Browning would worry the A crew of L Hart and S Glen, though the race would go on to be comfortably won by the A crew, adding to their tally of championship points.
Lastly, the women’s junior and novice sculls were up next. R Williams was up against three other crews from the south coast and raced valiantly. However, a large wave would see her thrown off balance and ultimately end in a capsize! J Eddicott and C Brad would then race in the Novice sculls event towards the end of the day, with the water growing choppier by the minute. In her first singles race of the season, C Brad earned a 3rd place victory over her compatriot J Eddicott who fought right to the end of the race.
The racing then moved down to the east coast of the island on Sunday, with all crews taking their experience of the previous day with them down to Shanklin. Many who had raced at the venue before remarked that the water was the calmest they had ever seen it, with not a wave in sight and the sun shining down all day.
This day, it would be the small boats turn to race sooner rather than later, with the Ladies Junior pair of L Hart and S Glen up first. A quick start saw them fly past their opposition right at the beginning of their race, something that was maintained throughout. After winding down only halfway down the course, the pair retained their lead and crossed the line well ahead of their competition.
S Erwin would then race in the Men’s Novice sculls, knowing that he would have to place in the top three in his heat in order to progress to the final later on in the day. Cruising to a victory over his opposition in his heat gave him confidence for the upcoming final. However, a mishap at the buoy turn would mean that he would have to back down in order to get round the buoy, meaning that he would finish in fourth place, still ahead of two other crews despite him having to stop for around 5 seconds!
The Ladies Masters Fours would then look to replicate the previous days victory, with the same crew as at Ryde passing all their opposition to cross the line first.
The same result as the previous day would also come in the Men’s Junior Fours final, with the A crew battling valiantly to cross the line second behind BTC. In their first race as Junior, the previously novice crew would gain some confidence after beating several experienced Junior crews across the line in the 10 boat final. The Ladies Novice Fours would again have the same crew which would see them cross the line 4th, pushing themselves all the way to the line.
The Ladies Junior Fours Final would promise to be a close one again. The A crew would remain the same, though the C crew would now be made up of a scratch crew of S Percival-Foy, F Howcroft, A Turner, J Draga (str) and E Erwin (cox). Despite never racing together, with some even racing on a side they had not done before, the crew would test the A boat all the way until the finish. With yet another race that separated first and second place by less than a second, the A crew would this time come out on top, earning their 5th point of the season as a crew.
Both J Edicott and R Williams would take to the water again in the Ladies Novice and Junior Sculls finals respectively. Undeterred by her dip the previous day, R Williams finished the course, battling against the same three boats she had raced the previous day. J Edicott would then do the same, this time coming 5th in her 7 boat final.
With multiple wins in various different categories, Christchurch will take this experience with them to Southampton where Itchen host their regatta on the river next weekend in an event that promises to be exciting and fast-paced.