Indeed, the joy was abundant.
First, Lake Barrington is a magnificent setting for a regatta – checkout Leonie Cluse’s photos (she spent more time jabbing at her new photo app than wielding oars). Plus it’s a world class, straight, buoyed course. Easy to forget just how far 2km is when you don’t often get to see its whole length!
Secondly, Michelle Joy snaffled wins in both her 1 km and 2km singles. In fact, the club picked up five wins for the weekend. In addition to Michelle, Karen Doggett and Amanda Sindon flogged the field in their coxless pair, even after deciding to give the other crews a fighting chance by pretending to catch a crab. Dennis Beck and Corinne Renshaw won their mixed double, and Karen Doggett (bow) and Julia Avis (cox) contributed to the Latrobe Uni win in the women’s coxed 4.
Which brings us to, thirdly, the generosity of (principally) St Patrick’s College, our Captain’s old school, Tamar, his old club, and Friends with equipment loans. Without these we would not have been racing at all. It is thank’s to Barry Campbell’s connections across the water – plus his dedication and hard work – that we did.
Fourthly, in our State a laid back rowing official is a misnomer. The Tasmanian variety are not just easy going they are positively jolly, cracking jokes on the start line! Yes you did read that correctly. Wrong oars, mismatching hats, no race uniform – no one batted an eyelid. Even a last minute entry into a race (2k single) was not a problem.
In fact, fifthly, everyone in the Tasmanian rowing community was very friendly and welcoming and we could not stop telling them. They asked us to pass this on to other clubs to encourage them to go too. If we were self- interested we might not, because that would just be more competition. Which the Tasmanians provide plenty of on their own. There were squadrons of singles everywhere. Club President Karen Doggett organised for the race announcer to do a shout-out on our behalf to thank everyone for their generosity and welcome.
Sixthly, the food and drink. The $10 all you can eat BBQ on Saturday night – with the scrummiest potato salad – was a big hit. And the coffee was better than just drinkable, impressive for a country regatta.
Seventhly, the weather was glorious, a tad on the warm side but we staked out a couple of picnic tables in the Rotunda for shady respite. The wind did come up a bit but nothing too dramatic. Good practice for Lake Wendouree.
Other memorable moments from the trip: Saturday night, under cover on the back veranda, admiring the stars, over nibbles and beers. Dave M showing off his star-gazer app ( point it at the night sky and it names the constellations apparently); “not sure what that one is” says Dave. “Tarp” quips Emily. (Well, it was funny at the time. Guess you had to be there); local place names: Lower Crackpot, just before the road to Nowhere Else were favourites. Nowhere Else actually lead to Barringwood Winery with delicious antipasti platters, ginger beer and elderflower drinks; plus wine of course; the wilderness: some local wildlife came to say hello during the star-gazing, in the shape of a pademelon, and Lindsey, Leonie and Julia discovered a not very recently used nature trail through 1000+ year old tree ferns, where Lindsey was relieved that the tiger snakes did not make their presence known.
Yes, a joy-full weekend for the start of February. A hearty thank you to Barry in particular for organising (and fixing) equipment, entries, accommodation, food and a multitude of other things. We should definitely keep it on the agenda for next year. All we need is to be able to fix the weather again.
By Julia Avis (Official photographer Leonie Cluse)
Indeed, the joy was abundant.