Victorian State Championships 2020

The majority of the club headed to Ballarat on Sunday for the Victorian State Championships. This was the culmination of many months of training and expectations were high as crews arrived early for the start of racing.
Dario had been competing on Saturday in the Lightweight Men’s Single, Lightweight Men’s Double and the Open Four. We heard about the great conditions and the unfortunate duck that got in the way of Dario’s oar as we rigged our boats. Unfortunately the conditions had deteriorated over the night with a strong cross wind causing issues from the start of racing.
Ally and Kirstie were first up for Richmond on Sunday in the C Grade double, rowing well and finishing 4th in their heat despite the conditions. They were quickly followed by Lily in the D Grade single, in the fastest of all the heats Lily finished third to just miss out on the final where the 2 rowers who finished before her in the heat took out the first two places in the final.
Allan and I made it through our heat in the C Grade pair, finishing 2nd to progress to the final. Keith started his D Grade Single heat well, but with the wind picking up through the second half of the race he was unable to progress to the final.
The women’s D grade 4+ of Amy, Chelsea, Pauline and Imogen, coxed by Pippa took to the course and finished 6th in their final as conditions continue to worsen, with gusts of up to 40km/hr recorded. Allan and I then raced our C grade pair final, finishing 6th while the commentator was heard to rowers surviving on the course.
The Men’s D grade 4+ of  Jack, Lachie, Richie and Pavel, coxed by Derek showed us how it’s done, powering through the conditions to pick up silver, our first medal for the day.

Michelle and Kate were next up in the Women’s A Grade Double, trying to retain their championship from 2019. In a very tight race impacted by the wind, they stormed home over the last 100 meters to push into first place and take out the win by 0.59 seconds.

Quickly following was Dario in the men’s B Grade single, leading for the majority of the race he was pushed hard over the closing stages but pushed on to win the gold by 1.7 seconds.

With conditions continuing to worsen, with white caps on the lake making getting to the start, racing and landing boats a real challenge for all crews RV called a one hour delay to the regatta. Unfortunately, with conditions set to deteriorate (winds of 50km/hr were recorded in the afternoon), the regatta was cancelled. Quick calls were made to the men’s 8+ who had yet to arrive to head back to Melbourne.
This was obviously disappointing for all competitors given the hard work training for the State Championships. Richmond picked up 2 gold medals and 1 silver on Sunday in 8 races before the regatta was cancelled. With many more medal chances in the afternoon this was looking to be a significant improvement on results from previous State Championships, but it wasn’t to be. Hopefully this will spur all the crews on to the remaining regatta’s for this season and start plans for next.
Those crews who didn’t get to race on the day were:
Female C Grade Quad – Michelle, Susanna, Dana, Sarah Houghton
Female D Grade Doubles – Ally and Kirsty, Shern and Sarah Hardy, Pippa and Kat, Lily and Gypsy
Male C Grade 4+ – Dennis, Dario, Allan and Jon, coxed by Derek
Male D Grade 8+ – Campbell, Alex Reid, Alex Pupko, Matt, Nathan, Hamish, Chen and Kim, coxed by Estelle
Female B Grade Double – Michelle and Kate
Female D Grade Pair – Amy and Chelsea
Female D Grade Quad – Pauline, Imogen, Sarah Hardy and Shern, Coxed by Stef
Female D Grade Quad – Ally, Kirsty, Gypsy and Lily, Coxed by Pippa
Male D grade Pair – Allan and Jon
Male C Grade Single – Keith
Male D Grade Quad – Jack, Lachie, Richie and Pavel, Coxed by Derek
Male A Grade Single – Dario
Congratulations all on a great season!!!
Jon Roberts

Nagambie Regatta 2020

Sunday February 9 saw the Richmond Rowing Club descend on Lake Nagambie once more for the annual Nagambie Regatta!
For most, it was an early start with cars filled with sleepy rowers departing Melbourne at 5am to make it for the beginning of a long day of races along a 1000 metre course. But other keener rowers took full advantage of the culinary, specifically brewery related, delights that Nagambie have to offer and arrived a day early.
The trusty Richmond tent was stationed along the last 200 metres of the course, perfect positioning for boosting the morale of the weary rower who has fallen victim to the dreaded ‘fly and die’.
Dana and Susanna delivered a strong performance in the Female C Grade Double Scull heat but missed out on making the final of the event. However, they had subsequent opportunities to compete in the C Grade Coxed quad scull with Mel Perkins and  Sarah Houghton joining in too, winning the second heat convincingly but just falling short by a few seconds in the final coming second against Melbourne.
Lily Innes-Irons and Mel Perkins came first in their D Grade Single Scull heats, coming an admiral second and third place in the final. Mel came second place by 0.45 seconds behind her opponent from Caulfield Grammar. A tremendous effort!
Rosie, Gypsie, Kirsty and Ally did us very proud coming second by an absolute whisker against Melbourne in the Female D Grade Coxed Four, reliably coxed by Derek, crossing the line only 1.92 seconds after the victors.
The hardworking dream team of Pavel, Lachie, Richie and Jack came second in the Male D Grade Coxed four defeating a newcomer crew comprised of Alex P, Nathan, Campbell and your’s truly, who had jumped in the boat together for the first time on the day of racing.
Rosie Dickson-Hoyle and Gypsy Shepherd have some more bling to add to their collection after their stunning victory in the Female D Grade Double Scull arriving at the finish line 2 seconds ahead of Rutherglen. Yet another tremendous effort and testament to both their hard work and the coaching brilliance of Dario Sportelli. Dario, who along with Jon Roberts, Allan Randall and Dennis Beck proved unstoppable in the C-Grade Men’s Four, boosting Richmond’s medal tally again.

After what Will Golding admits was an ‘interesting choice of steering’ over the first 100 metres of our race, the rag tag team of development and yellow squad rowers, claimed victory over Hawthorn in the final for the Men’s D-Grade eight. Once again, this was the first time this crew had rowed together. It was quite a surprise for the rest of the team including Campbell Mayne, Tim Evans, Nathan Brumley, Kim Begelhole, Alexander Reid, Matt Hardy, Alexander Pupko, myself and our fearless leader Will Golding all coming home with a gold medal.

Unperturbed by their second place in their previous race, Pavel, Lachie, Richie and Jack won gold in the Male D Grade Coxed Quad after a strong performance, finishing 11 seconds ahead of the other competitors. A brilliant result for one of the many hardworking Richmond crews that were out on Lake Nagambie.

Particular thanks should go towards all those who came to support us. Our spirits and energy levels were particularly bolstered by Lily Innes-Irons wonderful mother, Jill, who provided a metric tonne of honey joys for anxious rowers to nibble on ahead of their race. I put their sugary and buttery goodness down to our surprise victory.
I think most can agree that 2020’s Nagambie Regatta was one filled with highs and lows. While there may have been some personal disappointments following the regatta, all of our performances were testament to our hard work and determination and only spoke to our competitiveness for States and an exciting year of racing we can all look forward to.
Hamish Taylor

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.

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