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