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.
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.
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-.
Full results are available here.
Official photos from Sport Graphics
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.