Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Exeter Regatta 2013

Exeter Regatta Saturday 13th July 2013 – we should have known… it was the 13th.
It was a beautiful summer morning and the Minerva Circus rolls into Exeter town, and round the round-about a few times and then promptly rolls out again, the good people of Exeter should really put up some signage for the regatta.

The regatta is held on the historic quay side which still has the big old market stand near the race finish – an ideal building to provide the  perfect shady place for  rowers with no side walls and a lofty ceiling.  But, alas the good people of Exeter had decided to hold a ceramics sale there and allow the rowers to be fired instead - in the 30C heat.  This decision had serious consequences for the sale of said ceramics... and some rowers on the day who developed heat stroke.  (HS’s Top Tip #1– always drink at least 2 litres of water the day before the regatta, drink all day long at the regatta - at least 3 litres with some electrolytes in the water too e.g. a very very small amount of sugar and salt will help (without going too medical … your pee should be clear/pale yellow if you are drinking enough), sit in the shade and keep as cool as possible and wear a hat which covers the back of your neck too).

Relaxing in the shade whilst gazebo is assembled
The Minerva Garrison found a spot on the very narrow stone quay side by the finish and promptly set up camp.  Many thanks to Mark Melbourne for bringing his enormous gazebo!  Like a good Roman garrison we surrounded ourselves with an impenetrable wall of boats, blades and riggers - which to be honest was also impenetrable to us due to lack of space!  This arrangement made it rather tricky to rig the boats – there is no photographic record lest Dr Wallis never allows us to attend a regatta unaccompanied again…

Fortunately the vicus (ask the roman historians for explanation…) provided ample ice creams, and teas and even a few antiques to look at – no jokes about the veteran rowers here please!
The positives about the regatta were that it ran to time and, as usual, Minerva would have won the Victor Ludorum (if only there was one) for supporting each other and shouting the loudest and having the biggest gazebo in town!

The negatives were;  a lack of identifiable marshals, the marshals at the start could not be heard, the marshals forgot one of our crews at the start and all crews had to compete with a line of pedalos to boat until the good people of Exeter realised this minor operational issue and asked for the pedalos to be moved… but not until mid afternoon!

The results were as follows.
W Nov 4+ (Sarah, Kat, Liz and Laura C - cox Mark) - won their heat, then got disqualified as we didn't get to start for next race - some confusion over the time of next race!

W Nov 4+ (Annika, Eleanor, Hannah, Siobhan - cox Kayleigh - race debut as cox) - won their first heat, lost second, went through to repercharge but were forgotten by marshalls! Went through to the final and faced tough opposition from two Exeter crews.  Coming 3rd overall!

Vet Sen C 4+ - Minerva A (Yolanda, Ang, Jules and Claire) v Minerva B (Hayley, Elaine, Heather and Hilary) – a win for Minerva B – Hurrah!

Vet Sen C 8+ (Yolanda, Ange, Hayley, Elaine, Heather, Claire, Jules, Hilary) - narrowly lost to Exeter.

Men Nov 4+ (Anthony, Giles, Simon, Dave S) - Unfortunately we had a bad start and lost easily. Not much else to be said, as we understand from the commentator on the day the other crew had a very good low/long rating.

Men Mas 4+ (Glen, Andy R, Ian, James) - Masters 4+ excellent race - opposition had 7 sec head start which was significant – this gave them about a length and half on us, they recovered the whole head start pretty much and lost by a canvass, nothing in it.

Sen C 8+ (Anthony, Giles, Simon, Dave, Glen, Andy R, Ian, James) - last race of the day - they lost. Racing up a category as they were a novice crew. Two other eights both raced at Henley recently , scratch 8 from us and first time in an 8 for all us for months. The other two were in a race of their own.

Sen A 1x (Steve Lister) - got cut up and boxed in, appealled to marshalls but overrulled.

Sen C 1 x (James Camp) - again unlucky as got cut up and had wash from a launch

W Sen C 2x  (Elaine & Helen) - the dynamic duo back in action after a short break (due to the Minerva wedding of the year) had an amusing race, trying hard to beat the competition, unfortunately is wasn't to be...  Plans are afoot to regain the winning form.

W Nov 2x (Annika & Eleanor) - Minerva's newest double act were up against hard competition, pushing hard but unfortunately it wasn't enough.  All valuable race experience to learn from.

W Sen C 8+ (Helen, Elaine, Daz, Ange, Sarah, Kat, Liz, Laura) - great warm up and race but narrowly lost to Exeter

As well as enjoying the racing the garrison amused themselves by looking at a Pandora’s box of old Minerva photos that had been gifted to us by a former member; Hilary Brown.  One more recent member – quoted that it looked like there were a lot more shenanigans in those days  - I could not possibly comment minister…

All hands on for rigging the 8!
At the end of the day we played our favourite game at Minerva – boat trailer Sudoku – there are 9 spaces and 9 boats or parts thereof, these all need to be placed in the 9 spaces in a particular order … some time later, the Minerva circus rolled out of town again.

HS’s Top Tip #2 – next regatta how about a laminated trailer boat loading plan?
As the sun set on a long hot day we trundled back to base camp, but we were not down hearted - we had had a lovely club day out and we had Sunday to look forward to - a day of filming and knew that even though we may not have won any pots … we were at least… all lookers!

Hayley Sewell

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