Head of Stour 2022
On Sunday 6th March, Christchurch Rowing Club were delighted to host the popular Head of the Stour race after a two-year hiatus. The conditions were set for a challenging day of racing, with temperatures remaining firmly in single digits and some biting gusts of wind making it feel rather colder! The water was not the millpond sometimes seen in previous years, the level of chop proving that Christchurch truly earns its place as a coastal club! It was a test of mettle for all athletes – perhaps particularly those braving the course in singles and river boats.
The wind, along with the receding tide during the second division of racing, presented an extra challenge to the coxswains and steerers. The afternoon saw a few close encounters with the sandbank but most mistakes were quickly rectified. A small number of crews opted to withdraw from racing and save their legs for a calmer day, but overall there was great participation from rowers eager to get back to racing and put all that lockdown training to good use.
Christchurch Men’s 8+ achieved the fastest time of the day, completing the course in 9 mins 30 second, over thirty seconds faster than the nearest contenders. This was an extremely impressive display by a crew largely made of up junior rowers. The second fastest spot was also claimed by Christchurch, with the Men’s River Open 4+ coming home in just over ten minutes, a formidable achievement in such tricky conditions.
Christchurch Women’s 8+ also earned victory in a tightly fought category, crossing the line just six seconds ahead of a powerful Lymington crew. However, the closest race of the day unfolded in the Women’s River J16 double, with the Coalporters A girls clinching the win ahead of Christchurch A by less than a second.
The honours for fastest crew in Division 2 went to Lymington A, racing in the Men’s River Masters double. Their adjusted time of 10 minutes 12 seconds placed them firmly at the top of the afternoon’s activities. The fastest coastal boat of the day was the Christchurch Men’s Masters quad. They were unchallenged in their category on this occasion but clearly saw this as no reason to take it easy, storming home in just under ten and a half minutes.
This event is well-positioned before the start of the main Hants and Dorset coastal season and saw good representation from many local clubs getting ready for the months ahead. There were many promising performances and, with every club who attended taking home at least one trophy, all the indicators are there for a very exciting, competitive season to come.