Caernarfon Races, Sunday, August 5th
read Ian's report....


Race Report Caernarfon, Sunday 5th August 2012

For a whole variety of reasons it was hard to get crews for this race, the last official Northern League race this year.

We had a ladies side set to go, but unfortunately due to illness we were one down that morning and so set off with just 2 ladies, Kathy Iffla and Nicky Burgess, to compete in the mixed race.
The men took four rowers who were seasoned enough to enter as super vets and easily win that race, but chose to enter as men’s team so as to take on the tougher challenge of defending a slender lead in the men’s league title race. The team consisted of Dave Chapman, Dave Seabourne, Nigel Pearson and Ian Andrews.

The races took place on the Menai Straights in front of the impressive castle walls of Caernarfon where the host club uses the Royal Welsh Yacht Club, located in one of the castle towers complete with cannons and incredible views across the straights to Anglesey.

We did not have a crew in the first race (Ladies) so we looked for a view point from which to watch and Dave Chapman found a hidden stone spiral staircase near the top of the tower, so we all followed despite the mutterings from one of the Yachty types of “You shouldn’t go up there! If you go, it’s at your own risk!”  It was well worth it though as the sun came out and the views were spectacular.

The men’s race started with a cannon firing from the castle ramparts. We headed towards the first buoy turn against the tide in amongst a strong fleet of 12 crews. We knew we did not have the power to beat the bigger crews at the start but hoped our better technique and mental toughness would bring us through the fleet later on in the race.

And so it proved as we overtook boat after boat to finish a very credible 4th place with our main rivals for the league title, Ynys mon, finishing in 2nd place. The significance of that huge effort by the guys will, if my maths is correct, mean we now top the Northern League men’s table by 1  point!
The race was won by NewQuay with Aberystwyth in 3rd place. All the crew pushed themselves to get into a league winning position and special mention should go to Dave Seabourne, who rowed despite having a painful back. Thanks to Kathy for coxing us.

The mixed race started in great confusion with 4 or 5 boats well ahead of the start line and 2 or 3 way behind the line. (We were on the line!)

The tide had now turned and we all charged down to the first mark with the tide aiding our progress. This meant a hugely congested first buoy turn with our cox Nigel steering us on a safe course around the outside of the fleet.
Our mixed vets crew of Kathy, Ian, Dave C and Nicky started the return leg against the current in 9th place. But with Nigel spotting a good line and a hugely determined effort from the crew with Kathy tapping out an efficient rhythm at stroke and the whole crew putting total commitment into each stroke, we began to overtake boat after boat, eventually crawling up to the leading vets crew Aberystwyth. It seemed to take an age to get on level terms with them as they clearly were not going to give in easily. But with a secretive call for a big effort we forced a lead and as soon as we went past their eye line we broke them, pulling away and starting to put pressure on the next boat ahead - Aberystwyth mixed. They just managed to keep us at bay so we finished 4 th overall and 1st in the vets Class - a great result!      Newquay won the race overall with Ynys Mon in second.

After the races we enjoyed a drink, great food and good company in the sunshine on the balcony of the Royal Welsh Yacht Club. Everyone was tired but delighted with the day’s efforts!

Attached photos of Nicky getting the Mixed Vets winners award, Dave & Dave relaxing and Nigel, Kathy, Ian & Nicky enjoying a well earned drink & meal.

Posted: 09:33:54 - 07/08/2012

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