The majority of us made the Friday escape up to Rutherglen and we all congregated between our accommodation in nearby Chiltern and, naturally, the pub for the first regatta of 2019. Great ‘country’ hospitality was enjoyed on the Friday evening before heads turned to the regatta and Saturday morning was upon us.
Personally I was not sure what I had let myself in for as we arrived at Rutherglen after a short drive at 0700 to mid 20 degree heat – and it was only going to get hotter! Trailer unloading, rigging and racing then commenced.
The Saturday comprised of an 800m course on Lake Moodemere and on Sunday the majority of entries were the same for the 500m course. In total Richmond entered 63 boats (inc finals) and 34 clubs were being represented over the weekend making for some good competition.
The Richmond Saturday performance was strong, with many scratch crews there was a lot of positivity as to what could be achieved over the rest of the coming regatta season. Special mentions and congratulations to those that brought home the medals for the club on the Saturday over 800m: Sarah Houghton Female C Grade Single Scull Michael Calvert, Michael Gehling, Jon Roberts, John Carey, Cox: Charlotte North-Coombes Male D Grade Coxed 4 Male Masters Coxed Quad Philip Munson, Tim Evans, Guy Ayres, Leigh Sullivan, Cox: Christine Sullivan Male Masters D Grade Coxed Quad
As the day progressed the temperatures increased with close attention being made to the heat policy and the reminders to keep hydrated! The new RRC tent looked amazing and provided some much needed shade. Thankfully the lake was on hand to cool off in. By c.1600 Level 3 of the heat policy had been instigated (over 38 degrees) and the final few races were shortened to 500m.
Once the day was over and the boats had been racked the Richmond team made their way back to Chiltern via the off licence. A quick dip in the pool was enjoyed by many and with a couple of beers having been consumed we all headed back to the local pub for dinner. With good food on the menu it was perfect for a group of hungry rowers (and here I enjoyed my first Chicken Parmi, and a few glasses of a local red). The racing and heat had taken its toll on the group and we then made our way back to the motel to get some sleep before the Sunday began.
Again, it was a hot day with enjoyable racing. Congratulations to Gypsy Shepherd who brought home the gold in the Female D Grade Single Scull over 500m on Sunday morning. Aside from the rowing the local winerys were a feature for some over the weekend whether it was between early and late races depending on the draw or on the way home!
For me it was a weekend of many Aussie firsts – first Australian regatta, first Chicken Parmi, first plus 40 degree experience (who knew rowing was even possible at that temp?!) and first, and definitely not last, experience of the Richmond hospitality!
I am sure there are too many people to thank, so at risk of forgetting those who deserve a mention (apologies), thank you to Tim Evans for the organisation, Matt Wilson for the coaching, Leigh and Christine Sullivan for towing the trailer, Shern Timmins for organising the accommodation and Michael Gehling for the photos of the regatta and, of course, all the cox volunteers!
With the first regatta of the season down I am sure many feel inspired to build on their successes and get back on the ergs – I know I do and are very much looking forward to Barwon Regatta on Sunday 27th Jan.