Category Archives: Regatta Updates

Dimboola Regatta and Head of the Wimmera

With regatta season gathering momentum Richmond Rowing Club saw themselves heading out to Dimboola for a Saturday of sprint racing followed by a Sunday of head races. Most made the 3.5 hour journey on Friday evening, rooms had been booked in Horsham for the majority and a few of us chose to brave camping near by in Dimboola. The campers had dinner in the Dimboola pub and I have to say it was the most ‘English Pub’ I have been to in Australia which was a great start to the weekend! We survived a night under canvas with the wildlife (kangaroos and emus a plenty and no, there weren’t any monkeys, they were kookaburras but plenty of other interesting noises.)

Anyway – Saturday morning was time for the 132nd Dimboola regatta. And we were ready! A few of us walked up the river to see the start and check the course. 3 lanes, not buoyed but well marked with a couple of bends (probably insignificant to anyone not steering), 750m.

The Female Masters 4x+ started the day by example winning their race, well done to the ladies of Richmond for getting the first medal of the day Christine Sullivan, Diana Vernon, Susanna Mullner, Anthea Amos, Cox: Aline Dejaegher. We hoped it was a sign of things to come. Unfortunately the Male Masters 4x+, Denis Henry, Philip Munson, Guy Ayres, Leigh Sullivan, Cox: Christine Sullivan didn’t follow the lead coming second in their race to Powerhouse.

Next up were the Mens Open 4+ with a crew of Jon Roberts, John Carey, Dennis Beck, Michael Gehling, Cox: Michael Calvert the boys didn’t quite manage to bring it home coming second to Melbourne RC in their final.

Shern Timmins was next up for the girls in the Masters 1x placing third.

The following round was the C Grade Male 1x and Dario Sportelli and Keith Wong were representing Richmond in 2 different draws. They both came through their heats first qualifying for the final and finished both their finals off in style (or did the final finish Keith off…) with a gold medal each. Well done boys!

The Female D Grade girls 1x were next with Lillian Van Oosterhout and Kirsty Fergie in 2 different heats. Both girls came through first in their heats to face each other in the final. It was a fun race for the girls managing to get a Richmond 1,2 with Kirsty just coming in front of Lilian.

Ally Dejaegher and Susanna Mullner were in the masters 2x placing third followed by Amy Catlin and Lily Innes-Irons coming third in their first race in a 2-.

Richard Verheyen, Steven Sheppard, Michael Calvert, Tim Evans, Cox: John Carey of the Male D Grade 4+ came down the course in third place in their heat followed by Denis Henry, Philip Munson, Leigh Sullivan, Guy Ayres, Cox: Christine Sullivan Male Masters 4+ also finishing third.

Male Open 4x+ Jon Roberts, Michael Calvert, John Carey, Michael Gehling, Cox: Aline Dejaegher finished third in their heat. It was now time for the Mixed 8+ to take to the river consisting of Christine Sullivan, Diana Vernon, Denis Henry, Philip Munson, Guy Ayres, Leigh Sullivan, Susanna Mullner, Anthea Amos, Cox: Imogen Smith. Finishing 2nd in the straight final but missing out on the win.

Keith and Dario were back in a boat together hoping to mirror their C Grade 1x success however the energy spent in the earlier 1x races took its toll and they came in second place.

Ally and Kirsty took to the river again for their D Grade 2x. Having won their heat they managed to narrowly push past Horsham City in the final later in the day to claim the win and another medal. Unfortunately they didn’t get out of the heat in the C Grade 2x, coming a respectable second.

The winning streak continued with the Female D Grade 4+ Shern Timmins, Amy Catlin, Lily Innes-Irons, Lilian Van Oosterhout, plus cox Keith Wong seeing off their competition to win another gold medal – well done girls!

With races coming in thick and fast boats continued to get on and off the water,

Richard Verheyen, Steven Sheppard, Dennis Beck, Tim Evans, Cox: Shern Timmins represented in the D Grade 4x+ managing a second place in their heat.

This was followed by Mike Gehling and Dario Sportelli back in a single for the Open. In different draws Mike came second in his heat followed by Dario coming first in his heat he then powered through to win the final.

The afternoon of racing was drawing to a close with Keith Wong, Michael Calvert, Jon Roberts, John Carey, Cox: Christine Sullivan in the Male C grade 4x+ coming second in their heat followed by Shern Timmins, Lilian Van Oosterhout, Lily Innes-Irons, Susanna Mullner, Cox: Denis Henry in the Female D Grade 4x+ winning their heat but being pipped to the medals in the final.

The masters mixed 4x+ were up for the penultimate race of the day (exc finals) with Christine Sullivan, Guy Ayres, Leigh Sullivan, Diana Vernon, Cox: Denis Henry Despite their handicap they came through strongly to take the win, seeing off E grade crews Wentworth and Warrnambool and another medal was theirs.

Finally was the mixed 4x+ Anthea Amos, Amy Catlin, Richard Verheyen, Dennis Beck, Cox: Aline Dejaegher who finished off the day coming third in their heat.

Overall it was a great day for Richmond with too many athletes to count taking part in 24 events.

Whilst people weren’t racing there was an awesome cheer squad at the tent with really good viewing. When we weren’t on the water it was equally fun watching other crews battle it out on the water and obviously prepare our vocal chords for when a Richmond boat was passing.

After the conclusion of the day the happy campers went back to the campsite for some fire cooked food (I tried a new Aussie delicacy of bananas stuffed with chocolate cooked on the fire in foil – YUM) and the other Richmond-ers headed back to the motel for some more civilised thai food.

And then it was Sunday and we were ready for the Head of the Wimmera. A 6.2km course finishing in the same place as the regatta. Special thanks to the coxes, some of whom I am sure would have preferred to row but enabled other crews to do so, it is always appreciated.

The Richmond crews were:

Male Open 4x+

Jon Roberts, John Carey, Dario Sportelli, Michael Gehling, Cox: Ka Ki Wong, Coach: Derek Begg

Female D Grade 4x+

Shern Timmins, Lilian Van Oosterhout, Kirsty Fergie, Aline Dejaegher, Cox: Dennis Beck, Coach: Dario Sportelli

 Mixed 4x+

Richard Verheyen, Steven Sheppard, Amy Catlin, Lily Innes-Irons, Cox: Michael Calvert, Coaches: Dario Sportelli, Ainsley Raggatt

Mixed Masters 8+

Christine Sullivan, Diana Vernon, Philip Munson, Tim Evens, Guy Ayres, Leigh Sullivan, Susanna Mullner, Anthea Amos, plus Denis Henry.

The row up the river was a great warm up however I’m sure I wasn’t the only one thinking, ‘I’m going to have to come back down here at race pace!’ With a couple of tricky bends on unfamiliar rivers the coxes all did a great job.

Congratulations to the Female D Grade 4x+ and Mixed Masters 8+ crews who both rounded off the weekend coming first in their categories and bringing back more bling.

With boats packed and the trailer loaded we then made a weary journey back to Melbourne, and for many a winning feeling inside!

A big thank you to Barry and Anthea for towing the trailer. Steve Sheppard for BRO’ing and to Shern for organising the accommodation and dinners. Not forgetting the coaches who constantly do a dedicated, fantastic job as well as all of those who work hard behind the scenes to make regattas happen. We all greatly appreciate it.

Kirsty Fergie

Head of Goulburn 2019

Following the great day we had at Bendigo last week, on Saturday Richmond Rowing Club was back on the racing scene for Head of the Goulburn, the best regatta of the year (in my completely biased opinion)! It starts from Nagambie Regatta Centre and follows down the beautiful Goulburn river for 7.2 km, meandering through gorgeous eucalypt forests populated with galahs and cockatoos, all the way to Tahbilk winery. As far as I know, it’s the only rowing race that finishes at a vineyard! Good incentive to get us there faster 🙂

Another nice thing about HOTG is that racing starts from 11am for everyone except school kids, a very gentlemanly schedule indeed, giving us plenty of time to drive up, load up on caffeine and get nervous. The forecast had announced a promising “14 degrees, 80% chance of showers, with possible hail storm and sustained 35km wind”, which turned out to be pretty much bang on, but it was the gusts that were particularly fierce. In fact while we were waiting around, an 8 and a 4 ended up going for a swim on the way to the start line.

1. Dario and Stef sheltering before the race

2. A Wentworth crew getting swamped by brutal wind and waves on the way to the start line

3. Bit too heavy to row now 🙁

 Finally the wait was over and it was time to go. First up were Susanna, Christine, Diana, Anthea, Charlie, Phil, Guy and Leigh in the mixed 8 event, coxed by Dianne. They powered down the course in a great time of 35:05.

4. The XM8+ crew coming in after the race

Next was the D grade male 8 with Rob, John Hellerstedt, Steven, Pavel, Nathan, Lachlan, Alex, and Garret, coxed by returning member Sarah Houghton who had only just returned from the USA the night before. Thanks Sarah for jumping in despite the jetlag! The lads had a great row and were so close to winning the event, only just a few seconds behind the Argonauts crew, bringing them in second place

5. The boys ready to rock!

6. MD8+ at the finish, tired but happy

After the eights came the quads, and our first was the men’s B grade quad with Jon Roberts, Allan Randall, Mike Gehling and Dennis Beck, steered by superstar cox Derek Begg. They were looking very clean and powerful throughout, and despite the gusts managed to get a brilliant time of 31:20. This brought the first win for Richmond, well done boys!

7. The MB4X+ looking strong on the finish line

8. Winners are grinners! Medals all around

We then had two mixed quads competing: The first in the Masters category consisting of Shern, Tim, Mike Calvert and Sarah Hardy, coxed by Kathy, who came third of their event with a very respectable time of 36.05.

The second mixed quad was up next with Dario, Kirsty, Keith and Ally, expertly coxed by Lilian for her first time at HOTG, well done! Despite a few windy wobbles, the row was strong and got us a win for the event. Celebrations and wine were in order!

9. Lilian getting the cox treatment 🙂

10. X4X+ between rowing and wine tasting

The final Richmond crew to head off was the Women’s D grade 4 with Amy, Imogen, Lily and Stef, coxed by the lovely Laurent Demay. They had an excellent row, but the competition was too fierce and they came in second.

After all the exertion, it was time to join the rest of the Richmond gang at the cellar door, to refuel and hydrate among all the goodies Tahbilk had on offer. We could also admire the lovely old buildings, huge wine barrels and vineyard equipment that gives this old winery all its charm and character. Even the medals reflect this heritage, featuring the famous Chinaman’s bridge and the iconic 3-tiered farm building. They’re really pretty.

11. Tahbilk winery looking sharp

12. Pretty medals

13. Time for some food, hot sauce dribbling into blisters

Well done everyone for another brilliant regatta! All in all it was great craic despite the weather, and Richmond took full advantage of it all. In fact we were the last to leave, as usual 🙂

14. Obligatory shot in the vines before leaving

Big thanks to Steve Sheppard for his duties as BRO Level 2 during the regatta.

Thank you also to Chris and Leigh for towing the trailer, and Barry for bringing the trailer from the Regatta Centre to Tahbilk.

And Finally, massive thanks to all the coxswains who made the trip up to Nagambie and allowed a crew to race: Dianne, Sarah H, Derek, Kathy, Lilian, and Laurent. You guys are legends!

Ally

Bendigo Sprint Regatta 2019

Last Saturday the Bendigo Sprint Regatta took place, a 480-meter race event on Lake Weeroona in Bendigo. The day started very early for some of the single scull rowers, which is the reason why some of us spend the day before in Bendigo as well. A very good Italian dinner cooked by Dario and a good night sleep made all of us ready for the next day full of races! For us, Lilian and Dieuwke, it was the second event we joined as a Richmond rower and we were proud to be part of the team. Richmond was well represented and the day was full of fun, cheering, mugs and we are happy and proud that we could be part of the Richmond rowers!

Keith and Lilian started of the day in the male open single scull and female c grade single scull fields and they both did a great job! Unfortunately, the competition was high, and they did not reach the finals, but they set the bar high for the other Richmond rowers. Dario’s first race as a Richmond rower was the next event, in the male c grade single scull in which he showed his great rowing skills and finished first in his heat and later first in the final with a time of 1:38.56: the first mug for Richmond!

Next, it was the turn for the d grade female quads and male fours. The quad with Gypsy, Ally, Dieuwke, Kirsty and Derek as a cox, finished first and therefore placed themselves in the final where they won with a time of 1:42.90! Also, the male four with Alex Pupko, Richard, Lachlan, Pavel and Derek coxing placed themselves in the final, but the opponents were very strong so unfortunately they were not able to beat them in the finals.

After this, some double scull races took place, where all the male open double scullers found their way into the finals. Also, the mixed double scull of Dario and Gypsy, the d grade double scull of Ally and Kirsty and the d grade single scull of Gypsy made it to the finals. One of the last races was the female novice quad, with Lilian, Lea, Pauline, Dieuwke and Pippa as a cox: they also made it to the finals where they won with a time of 1:43.89.

Halfway the day, more finals started. All of us were standing close to the waterfront to have a good look at the race and cheer them to the finish line. The finals of the male c grade and female d grade pairs were very exciting, with Stef and Lea finishing first: they did an amazing job! The four with Lily, Imogen, Stef, Pauline and Pippa as a cox also did an amazing job by finishing first with at time of 1:49.18. Keith and Dario, c grade double scull, took the first place in the finals as well with a time of 1:27.69. Next up were the finals of the male, female and mixed eights, which all showed great rowing skills, but unfortunately the opponents were too strong to beat them.

All in all, it was a great day for the Richmond rowers. Together with the rest of the female yellow squad, we celebrated the end of a very successful day by taking a photo with the mugs and all went back to Melbourne with a very proud feeling. Especially for us, it was a great opportunity to experience this Australian rowing race since we are exchange students leaving back to the Netherlands soon. The experience we had with the whole squad and the enthusiasm of our coach Dario, made us eager to continue rowing once we are back home! Thanks everyone for making it an amazing day!

Lilian and Dieuwke

Saltwater Challenge 2019

Richmond were out in force for the first regatta of the season, the 2019 Saltwater Challenge, with 34 rowers and coxswains involved across ten crews. The weather was against us, with cold temperatures, periods of rain and strong winds, but we still had an enjoyable day on the Maribyrnong.

The first event for Richmond was the Male Master’s quad, in which we had two crews: Jon, John Michael and Dennis, coxed by Derek, and Richie, Steve, Alex and Kim, coxed by Keith. Both crews performed strongly in a highly competitive field of 20 boats. The first of these crews was also the fastest Richmond boat of the day, with an impressive time of 17:10.

The Female D grade quad was the next event, with three Richmond crews ensuring that Dario was kept very busy as he attempted to follow all three boats on his bike. Dieuwke, Gypsy, Kirsty and Ally with cox Rosie were first out, followed by Sarah, Shern, Amy and Susanna with cox Anthea and finally Imogen, Lilian, Pauline and myself, coxed by Wendy. For many of us it was the first time competing in the Salty and it was my first race ever, so nerves were high in the marshalling area – not helped by the long wait in the cold. Once we were off, however, we warmed up quickly and the 4500m race flew by. We were happy with our placings of 4th, 9th and 5th respectively out of 12 boats and look forward to putting our training to the test at the next race!

At the conclusion of these races, many had to row back up to the start with minimal break while those of us not rowing or coxing again sought warmth and shelter from the elements inside the Essendon rowing club, a perfect place to watch the finish. The first Richmond crew in the final bracket of the day was the Male C grade quad of Keith, John, Red and Dennis, coxed by Derek, closely followed by the Mixed Master’s quad of Diana, Charlie, Michael and Anthea with cox Wendy.

Many of the women from the D grade competed again in the master’s event (Shern, Sarah, Ally and Amy with cox Kathy) and C grade quad (Kirsty, Rosie, Gypsy and Dieuwke with cox Lilian), performing valiantly at the end of a big day with 18km of rowing! Finally, the Male D grade quad of Lachlan, Amir, Duyao and Alex, coxed by Imogen, rounded out the competition with another strong performance.

While unfortunately there were no medals for Richmond, there were many excellent performances and it was a fun day, especially in hindsight after a hot shower! Many thanks to all of the coaches, coxes and supporters and everyone who worked behind the scenes to ensure the smooth running of the day.

Pippa Trevella

Time to think about the Winter Sculling season…..

Whilst many will be thinking its the end of the rowing season, of turning towards the lighted inn, their evening rest and sleep to meet.  Other hardy souls at RRC will be following the row that goes on and on, pursuing it with eager oars where many boats and paddlers will meet.  (Apologies to JRR Tolkein.)

Yes it’s nearly time for the Winter Sculling 2019 series.  If you are not familiar with how it works, check out the website for race details, times  (Saturday mornings through June, July and August), distances, rules and locations .

If you might be interested and need some inspiration, speak to Charlotte North-Coombes who won the Ramsbottom Trophy last year or Aline Dejaegher who was fastest female around the island in a tub last year.

RRC has a limited number of sculls available for members to use in the Winter Sculling Series including three Regulation (tub) sculls. It is possible to share fleet across events and the organisers will stagger entries where participants indicate they are sharing a boat with another rower entered.

Please advise the Captain via email (captain@richmondrowing.com.au) before 20 May if you are considering entering the Winter Sculling series so that fleet can be allocated or where necessary sourced from other clubs or schools.  For example anyone wishing to use the Tiger Shark for Winter Sculling will be sharing the boat with the Captain.

Those members with their own boats should also advise the Captain if they are entering the series as we may be required to provide a trailer to away events if we have a high number of participants from RRC.

The Winter Sculling season also needs help from volunteers to act as marshalls and help out. So if you don’t feel like rowing every week, how about volunteering one week. Check out the details here:

Thanks

Barry Campbell

Footscray and Essendon Regattas 2019

Some of us started the day of Footscray thinking, ‘What on earth have I gotten myself into, this is my first regatta with Richmond I definitely can’t make a fool of myself,’ and desperately hoped that the piece of toast I was slowing working my way through contained enough energy to help the team cross the finish line at least.

When I arrived, it was comforting to hear that the other members of the team were also nervous, so at least we were all in the same boat- pun intended. We were on the water, having a warm up as the heavens opened and we were faced with the fact that the first few races of the day were going to be in the rain. Even with the questionable conditions, all squads managed to complete their first heats successfully, with many going through to the finals.

The day was an overall success with 3 third places taken out by Charlotte North-Coombes, Imogen Aitken, Kirsty Fergie, Louise Roberts-Bailey with Christine Sullivan as Cox (Female D Grade Coxed Quad Scull), Jon Roberts, Allan Randall, John Carey and Dennis Beck Coxed by Ainsley Raggatt (Male Open Coxed Four) and finally Charlotte North-Coombes in the Female D Grade Single Scull.

5 second places went to Alexander Pupko, Oliver Paterson, Cristian Udovicich and Lachlan Stewart Coxed by Ainsley Raggatt (Male D Grade Coxed Four), Sarah Houghton and Geraldine Goss (Female Open Double Scull), Charlie Burke, Michael Gehling, Kim Begelhole, Richard Healy, Allan Randall, Jon Roberts, John Carey and Dennis Beck Coxed by Christine Sullivan (Male C Grade Eight), Allan Randall, Jon Roberts, John Carey and Dennis Beck Coxed by Christine Sullivan (Male C Grade Coxed Four), and finally to Shern Timmins, Imogen Aitken, Kirsty Fergie and Louise Roberts-Bailey Coxed by Christine Sullivan (Female D Grade Coxed Four).

Sarah Houghton came away with a win in the female D grade Single Scull.

Alexander Pupko, Oliver Paterson, Cristian Udovicich, Lachlan Stewart, Diana Vernon, Sarah Hardy, Saloni Dikshit and Alysia Draper with Christine Sullivan as cox celebrated a row over in the Mixed Coxed Eight.

The crews I was a part of started and finished strong, coming second in the ladies D Coxed Quad Scull heat and winning the Mixed Coxed Eight, which was a fantastic achievement for our first race together as a team. I was pleasantly surprised in my abilities as I hadn’t competed in over three years and was very happy to find such a lovely and supportive group of teammates.

The weather cleared up and we joined the rest of the club at the tent to watch Richmond start their next race. We cheered for the black and yellow crews all the way through to the finish line for the rest of the afternoon. Even if I had only been in the club for a short while, I was very grateful for the opportunity of being a part of the team.

The final race of the day was soon upon us as we carried the coxed eight down to the water. Another successful race completed as we finished first in our category, and we hoped to bring the good luck into the next day further up the river at Essendon.

Another early start, but this time it was filled with a bit more confidence that I wasn’t going to catch a crab and that wearing the club Zootie actually looked quite cool.

I had two more races to compete in, one in a Female D Grade Coxed Quad Scull and one in the Female D Grade Coxed Four. It took us a bit to get used to coxed Four but after a few strokes our boat was well into the race. Even if we didn’t finish first in our final race of the day, there was a big sense of achievement at the end of the weekend regattas.

A second place went to Diana Vernon, Dianna Angus, Anthea Amos, Christine Sullivan, Charlie Burke, Philip Munson, Guy Ayres and Leigh Sullivan Coxed by Ainsley Raggatt in the Mixed Coxed Eight.

The crew that came away with a winner’s medal on the day was the Female Masters Coxed Four with a crew of Diana Vernon, Dianna Angus, Anthea Amos and Christine Sullivan Coxed by Charlotte North-Coombes.

Another brilliant day concluded with having a few beers after the boat unloading. I have made a lot of happy memories by being a part Richmond Rowing Club, and it has made my placement experience even more special. I hope that I can enter another regatta with the team in the future when I eventually travel back down to Melbourne.

Alysia Draper

Victorian State Championships 2019

After a long season of training, the Victorian State Championships were held on 3 and 4 March 2019. Richmond were well represented across the day. With temperatures pushing 37 in the afternoon, the new tent was greatly appreciated and looked the envy of all clubs. However the heat was accompanied with strong winds in the morning making conditions tricky, especially for the smaller boats.

The heats of the women’s D grade singles were Richmond’s first events of the day. Competition was strong with 28 entries across 4 heats. Kate Riley, Rosie Dickson-Hoyle and Gypsy Shepherd were all competitive in their races with Rosie progressing from her heat to the final. As a recently joined member it was great to see Kate also backing this up later in the day in the C grade single.

As the morning progressed Dana Hill, Sarah Houghton, Geraldine Goss, Zoe Maxwell and cox Charlotte North-Coombes, took out Richmond’s first win of the day in the D grade women’s 4. A great effort in tough conditions with them leading throughout.

The men’s crews were up next with Alan Randall and Jon Roberts stepping up to compete in the men’s C grade pair. Competitive throughout they finished 4th in a strong field.

The men’s D grade 4 were up next, after a restart Andrew Yuile, Dennis Beck, Michael Calvert and John Carey, coxed by Derek Begg, finished strongly but just outside the medals in 4th place.

Michelle Joy and Kate Dyball finished Richmond’s involvement in the morning session in the A grade women’s double. Leading throughout in the 2km event Michelle and Kate brought home gold with a outstanding performance in this high quality event.

After a well-earned lunch break we were back in action with the events coming thick and fast. Sarah Houghton, Geraldine Goss, Zoe Maxwell, Kate Dyball and cox Michelle Joy represented the club in the heat of the highly competitive C Grade quad.

This was quickly followed by the D grade double with 2 crews of Gypsy and Rosie and Dana Hill and Louise Roberts-Bailey representing Richmond. Gypsy and Rosie won their heat, finishing just outside the medals with a 4th place finish in the final.

Allan Randall, John Carey, Dennis Beck, Andrew Yuile, and cox Charlotte North-Coombes were up next in the C Grade Four. Another strong field saw the crew finish just outside the medals again in 4th place.

The D grade women’s quad was up next Louise Roberts-Bailey, Dana Hill, Rosie Dickson-Hoyle, Gypsy Shepherd and cox: Charlotte North-Coombes made it through their heat into the final. In what felt like a theme for the day, the crew rowed well, but finished just outside the medals in fourth place.

Andrew Yuile and John Carey faced off against a Power House crew in the D Grade pair, taking out the gold medal by just under a second in a close race.

Dennis Beck was back in action in a single, competing in the C grade single late in the day.

The final medal for the day went to Sarah Houghton, Geraldine Goss, Kate Dyball, Michelle Joy and cox Derek Begg, in the B grade quad. Progressing well through their heat, they finished third in the final to pick up the bronze.

Overall a great performance by all involved, with huge thanks to our supporters and coaches that turned up on the day.

Rutherglen Regatta 2019 Review

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.

Kirsty Fergie

Dimboola Regatta and the Head of the Wimmera 2018

Having missed the Dimboola regatta and the Head of the Wimmera last year I was excited to be on the road for the long trip late on Friday afternoon. For those who don’t know Dimboola is a small country town almost halfway to Adelaide. The Richmond contingent of 13 made it to Horsham on Friday night for some food and refreshment allowing us to bring those who hadn’t been to Dimboola before up to speed with the regatta format.

The Dimboola regatta is a 750m sprint on the almost straight section of the Wimmera River that runs up to the Dimboola rowing club. It is only wide enough for 3 lanes and no transit lanes. The regatta is broken up into brackets of 5 or 6 races at a time every 20 minutes. Crews get on water and assemble just past the finish line, when the previous bracket is complete all crews row up past the start line and wait for their race to be called. Typical of country regattas there is a toggle system for stroke seat to hold to asset lining up boats at the start. With a bend just after the start and one just after the finish it make for an interesting row in singles, double and pairs.

We woke early in Horsham on Saturday morning for our 30 minutes’ drive to Dimboola to rig boats and get ready for the day. We had great conditions all weekend, 25 degrees on Saturday and 29 degree on Sunday, no rain and little wind.

Shern was first up in her single, the locals from Dimboola knowledge of the river allowed them to get away to a good start which although closing this over the race, not enough to win. The Mike’s (Gehling and Calvert) were next up successfully winning their heat in the D grade double with some tidy rowing, they came a close second to a powerful Argonauts crew in the final.

Next up was the Men’s Open 4, with Andrew Yuile unfortunately injured, myself, Allan and John Carey we were joined by our Head of Rowing Tim Evans. I was slightly concerned by Tim’s stretching and complaints of his sore back as we pushed off from the landing, but he said he would be fine. We lined up against an experienced Argonauts crew, with Stef coxing we flew off the start finding ourselves a quarter of a boat length ahead. Extending this slightly by half way, the other crew pushed for home reducing our lead, but with the encouragement of the crowd we lifted to take it home and win by 1.05 seconds.

With the unusual arrangements to get on and off water we decided to stay in the boat for the next 40 minutes until our race in the D grade 4. This time we were up against Argonauts and Melbourne crews. The previous race showed as we let Melbourne get away to a half boat lead, but regaining our composure we pushed through the last 250 meters to win by 4.77 seconds.

The races were coming thick and fast now, with Leigh, Denis, Guy and Phil, coxed by Christine up next in the Male Masters four, but unable to beat a fast Powerhouse crew.

After a quick lunch break and some more rigging of boats we could hear the local brass band starting their residency by the river for all the spectators. Up first was Shern and Stef in the double. After a strong start, they edged into the lead, only to be crashed into by one of their competition. The restart saw their competition again come towards them, with a clash of oars the Hamilton and Alexandra crew capsized their boat, but the third crew in the race had already took advantage and went on to win.

Next up was the men’s D grade 8, the scratch crew of Leigh, Guy, Tim, John C, Mike G, Mike C, Allan and myself, coxed by Christine made it comfortably through the heat with some composed and relaxed rowing. In the final we were up against Melbourne in one of the closest races of the day. Richmond getting a solid start and leading by almost half a length, both crews dug deep with Richmond holding off the fast finishing Melbourne boat by 0.85 seconds.

Mike G had a quick turnaround from the 8 into his single (which required a quick bit of rigging), in a close race he came in second. Myself and Allan zig zagged the unbuoyed course in the pair, beating Melbourne but unable to overcome the experienced Wentworth crew.

Last up for the day Denis, Guy, Phil and Leigh were joined by Wentworth in a composite male masters 8, coxed by Christine. Unfortunately they were not able to claw back enough time to beat the older Powerhouse crew.

After picking up our medals we headed back to Horsham for dinner where we recounted the successes of the day and make sure we were well hydrated for the head race the next day.

We were back to Dimboola the next day for the Head of the Wimmera, a 6.2km head race through the most picturesque area. For this race, all crew are required to get on water and row the 6.2km to the start, line up in order and then race back. It’s a real coxswain’s race, with lots of corners, including 2 very tight no overtaking bends where the right line can save vital seconds.

Richmond had 2 crews competing and one cox helping out another club at short notice. Allan, John C, Mike C and myself were coxed by Stef in the D Grade 4. Through some brilliant coxing from Stef we had an excellent line throughout, overtaking our competition in the first kilometer we pushed on to pass a number of boats and pick up the winners medals at the end.

Leigh, Guy, Denis, and Phil were again joined by Wentworth in the Open 8 coxed by Christine, with a good performed against some stiff competition on the day.

Shern was asked at short notice to cox the Argonauts C Grade 8, who came a close second in their grade and thirst fastest of all crews on the day.

A huge thank you to all those who made it a great weekend in the country, Leigh for towing the trailer, Mike G for being our official photographer. Most of all thank you to Stephen Shepherd who made the long trip for the weekend to BRO on Saturday, completing all requirements he is now a level 1 BRO!!! It’s great to see our new members getting involved like this, we always need to people to help out as BRO’s as we are required to provide a BRO (Boat Race Official) for virtually every regatta we attend. Thank you Stephen.

This really is a great regatta, an opportunity to see part of Victoria you may not otherwise visit and support the country rowing clubs who go to great lengths to organise. Hopefully we will see even more members attending next year.

Jon Roberts

Bendigo Sprint Regatta 2018

On Friday night, Kim, Alex, Dennis and Nick drove up to Bendigo with the boat trailer and arrived at Lakeside Motel on a balmy warm evening. Then up early to discover quite a different Bendigo with howling winds and lashing rain.

Richmond Rowing Club had a pretty good showing at Bendigo with over 26 members plus friends and partners competing in 18 races.

For the novices it was quite new so we met up early and once boats were rigged and checked, we stood around shivering in the cold under the RRC tent.  The first Male Novice Coxed Four race was at 11.24am and the crew was Lachlan Stewart, Weijie Weng, Amir Mahdavia, Nick Mercer and coxed by Ally Dejaegher. In the row up to the start we did a couple of wobbly race starts and before we knew it we were under race start orders. Knowing the distance was only 480m we knew we had to start well but given our lack of experience we decided to keep the rating a bit lower and find our boat balance. We were up against the local club novice crew from Bendigo but we rowed home winners by 4 seconds.

The second novice race was the Male Novice Coxed Quad Scull and saw us drop out Amir and bring in Red Skelton with our cox being Michelle Joy. In this race we were up against Dimboola and the ‘fancied’ Melbourne Argonauts. Again, we practiced a couple of race starts and got ourselves ready for the start. This time due to the cross winds the starter held us a bit longer and you could feel a few nerves in the boat. But under the skilled guidance of Michelle we took off with a nice start and flew past Dimboola but in the middle of the race the Argonauts came level. Upping the rating we managed to get our bows level and finished together. Though to be honest we thought we’d blown it but we’d snuck in the win by 0.46 seconds.

The senior teams all performed pretty well and in all, RRC walked away winning six races; The Female D coxed quad scull won their final in a time of 1.40:99 comprised of Sara Houghton, Dana Hill, Karen Doggett, Ally Dejaegher. Coxed by Stef Dudczig and coached by Matt & Derek. In the Male D grade coxed four final, Richmond 1 had the better of Richmond 2 and took out their final in 1.29:80. The winning crew comprised of Jon Roberts, Allan Randall, John Carey, Andrew Yuile, coxed by Shern Timmins and coached by Matt and Derek.

In the Male D grade pair final, Jon Roberts and Allan Randall won their race quite easily. And then we had the final race which saw the fastest time recorded that day by a Richmond crew. The mixed coxed eight looked fantastic on the course and romped home in 1.23:07. This crew comprised of Sara Houghton, Dana Hill, Jon Roberts, Allan Randall, John Carey, Andrew Yuile, Karen Doggett and Michelle Joy. Coxed beautifully by Stef Dudczig and coached by Matt and Derek.

The visit to Bendigo was also quite memorable for a couple of other reasons. Firstly, the committee who had already bought a new tent must have known about the howling winds in Bendigo as during the day a huge gust literally blew away our old tent which may not be repairable? And finally, an un-official protest has been lodged by Red Skelton and Mikey G who complained the sound of the finishing bell was way below their audible hearing, necessitating a most spectacular stop into the bank. Gladly there were no injuries to crew or boat.

All in all, despite the poor weather a great day was had by many and RRC won on a number of levels coming away with a total of twenty-six rather nice local pottery mugs, five coxs medals and a better rowing score for many.

Nick Mercer