World Masters Regatta 2017

DARC surpassed all previous records taking a party of 36 rowers, some accompanied by non-rowing partners, to Slovenia for the World Rowing Masters Regatta held on Lake Bled over 5 days between September 6th and 10th 2017. Crews entered a total of 69 races, more than twice the number entered by the club at any previous championships. With such an expansion in the number of Masters wishing to compete it was necessary for the first time to take 2 trailers to transport the required fleet of boats on the 1900-mile round trip, a major challenge for the 5 drivers involved.

To accommodate the 4700 athletes and 6000 boat entries competing in over 900 races the organisers had to start a race every 3 minutes from 7am to 7pm over the four and a half days of competition, a remarkable feat of organisation, and an even greater achievement given the fluctuating weather conditions during the week, with sun, wind and rain in equal measure. All who travelled agreed that whatever the outcome it was a wonderful experience in a magnificent setting with races over the 1000 metre 8-lane course finishing in the shadow of Bled Castle.

For many of the party it was their first experience of the World Masters, while others have risen to the challenge many times, some virtually every year since 1996. The club has only once failed to return with a victory.

Fortunes were mixed, with 5 wins, 7 second place finishes and 6 third places. The first win came on Thursday for the men’s Masters G eight (above) of Derek Gordon, John Appleby, John Watkinson, Clive Cooper (Upper Thames RC), David Walker, Martin Judson, Micky Stevens and Paul Stanley, coxed by Emma Hocking, then on Friday there was a victory for the men’s G double (below) of John Appleby and Micky Stevens. Three further wins came on Sunday in the Mixed G double (Eva Rankin and John Appleby), then for Martin Judson, Paul Stanley and David Walker in a composite Mixed G eight including Colin Barratt of Ardingly RC and representatives from Hungary, Germany and USA, again coxed by Emma Hocking, and finally another victory for John Appleby, his 4th of the regatta, this time with a composite Mixed F quad including Tom Bishop of Quintin BC, Hilary Cook of Mortlake and Ailie Ord of Strathclyde Park.

John Appleby enjoyed the best return securing 4 second places – the F single scull on Wednesday, F double scull with Micky Stevens and G quad scull with Micky Stevens, David Walker and John Watkinson on Thursday, and the F eight with Tim Baker of Abingdon RC, John Watkinson, Paul Rutter, David Walker, Martin Judson, Micky Stevens and Paul Stanley, coxed by Emma Hocking on Friday.

The Judson, Walker, Stanley and Baker combination started day 1 of the regatta on Wednesday with a 4th place finish in the Masters E 4+. Several crews had their first experience of World Masters racing on Wednesday – Clare Woodward and Jacki Patrickson were 7th in the Women’s Masters D double while Kim Forster and Gabrielle Moore were 5th in the same event. Another 5th place came for the women’s E8+ (Sarah Rutter, Kim Forster, Hazel Stainforth, Gabrielle Moore, Helen Adair, June Davison, Susan Jackson and Angela Lund, coxed by Nigel van Zwanenberg). Susan Jackson, June Davison, Jacki Patrickson, Clare Woodward and cox Helen Adair had their best result of the week with a third place finish in the women’s Masters C coxed four. Andy Jaggard also finished 3rd in the F single scull, then partnered David Muse to a 6th place in the D 2x.

Thursday saw a 4th place finish for Hazel Stainforth, Helen Adair, Gabrielle Moore and Angela Lund in the women’s E 4x-. Joyce Collett had the first of three 4th place finishes in single sculls, the F on Thursday followed by G and E on Saturday, June Davison finishing 7th in the F 1x. Paul Rutter and David Oliver were 7th in the E pair. Julian Ringer and Paul Freeman of Cambois were 8th in the F 2x, Clare Woodward and Kim Forster were 6th and 8th respectively in the women’s C 1x, and Gerry Sharpe, Michael Seed, David Oliver, George Adair were 7th in the F 4-.

Hazel Stainforth, Gabrielle Moore and Angela Lund went one better than the previous day in the women’s F 4x- on Friday, a third place, this time with Joyce Collett completing the line-up. Paul Rutter was 5th in the E single scull, and Clare Woodward and Ray Dominy were 5th and 7th in the women’s D single. Gerry Sharpe, Michael Seed, David Oliver and George Adair again came 7th, this time in the F 4x-, Paul Rutter, Martin Judson, David Walker and John Watkinson finishing 5th in the same event. John Lund and Andy Jaggard were 4th in the G 2x, and Susan Jackson, June Davison, Jacki Patrickson and Clare Woodward were 4th in the women’s C 4x-.

Saturday was the busiest day. Results included 3rd for Paul Rutter in a composite D coxless quad, 8th in the same event for John Lyons, Julian Ringer, David Muse and Paul Freeman, 3rd in the G4+ for Micky Stevens, Paul Stanley, David Walker, John Appleby and cox Emma Hocking, 6th in the women’s F 2x for Hazel Stainforth and Angela Lund, 6th in the B 1x for David Muse, 7th in the C 2x for John Lyons and David Muse, another 7th in the F 4+ for Gerry Sharpe, Michael Seed, David Oliver and George Adair, this time coxed by Helen Adair, 4th in the F4+ for John Watkinson, Martin Judson, David Walker, Paul Stanley and cox Emma Hocking, 7th in the women’s C 2x for Clare Woodward and Susan Jackson, 2nd, 4th and 8th respectively in the G 1x for Andy Jaggard, John Appleby and Julian Ringer, 8th in the E 2x for Julian Ringer and Paul Freeman, 6th on the women’s D 4x- for Susan Jackson, June Davison, Jacki Patrickson and Clare Woodward, 5th for David Walker and Martin Judson in the F pair, and a 2nd place for Derek Gordon in a composite Masters H eight.

Sunday of the World Masters is reserved for mixed events drawn during the regatta, and is a further opportunity for competitors to form composite crews with other clubs. As well as the three wins there was a 5th place for Hazel Stainforth, Roger Stainforth, John Lund and Angela Lund in the mixed G 4x-, 7th for Paul Rutter and Sarah Rutter in the mixed E 2x, 2nd for Hazel Stanforth and Micky Stevens in the mixed G 2x, 7th for Kim Forster, John Lyons, Clare Woodward and David Muse in the mixed C 4x-, 5th for Kim Forster and David Muse in the mixed B 2x. 6th for Paul Rutter, Sarah Rutter and an Abingdon composite in the mixed E 4x-, and 8th in the same event for Clare Woodward, June Davison, John Lyons and Paul Freeman.

Full results are available here.

Official photos from Sport Graphics

Videos of G8+, G4x and F8+.

Explanation of Masters age categories – a crew can be entered in the age category corresponding to the age attained during the current year or in any younger category.

Age categories: A Minimum age 27 years or more
  B Average age 36 years or more
  C Average age 43 years or more
  D Average age 50 years or more
  E Average age 55 years or more
  F Average age 60 years or more
  G Average age 65 years or more
  H Average age 70 years or more
  I Average age 75 years or more
  J Average age 80 years or more
  K Average age 85 years or more

There is no progression system so a medal is awarded to the winner of each race.