More Success for Yare at St Ives
Once again, sun cream and caps were very much the order of the day for the St Ives regatta. Held annually, the St Ives regatta is a head-to-head rowing race between crews from all over East Anglia along a 550m stretch of the river Great Ouse in the ancient market town of St Ives. Short, fast and dramatic, the regatta is a perfect introduction to head-to-head races for the less experienced crews and is easy for spectators to watch the action from start to finish.
The course itself is known for its deceptive bends; crews on the regatta side must avoid the trees in the first 100m while crews on the meadow side must avoid the reeds on the last 100m. The tactics of the race are generally to go fast early on, and many races were decided by the navigation around the first bend.
The W.Mas.B 2x quarter finals was the first event for Yare, and saw Vice-captain Manuela and Lisa aka “the mighty mice” lead from the start, eventually beating Deben RC by four lengths. They next faced the older SRC crew, who were given a 4 second advantage. Although Yare quickly reduced the deficit, they were caught out by the trees in the first bend. Yare could do little to stay the inevitable, and the sight of their older rivals disappearing into the distance was not a pretty picture for any Yare supporter.
Tom and Alex had previously rowed in a double at the Nottingham City Regatta. Both fought hard in the Open 2x semi-final, matching the pace of Sudbury RC right up to the first bend before their opponents took advantage of the straight. Both tried their best to limit the lead that Sudbury had gradually built and were eventually defeating by only one boat length.
Next up were YBC Captain Shelagh and Coach Rob in the Mx.MasC 2x, beating the SIV/PET double by four lengths in the semi-final. This was followed by a thrilling final against Broadland, with both crews catching crabs and narrowly avoiding collision. In the end, Broadland emerged the victors by only three feet.
Lisa, Katerina, Shelagh and Manuela formed an impressive W.Mas.B 4x. Their journey started off with an easy semi-final win against the Isle of Ely rowing club. The final would see Yare face their biggest rivals, Norwich RC. It’s interesting to note that Shelagh and Manuela had previously rowed for Norwich last season. The power and poise of the Yare crew was too much in the end for Norwich. Crossing the finish line, it was jubilation for the victorious Yare ladies who defeated Norwich ‘easily’.
The last event for Yare was the Op.Mas.C 4x with Alex, Rob, Chris and Tom facing off against Broadland. At 78, Chris Ford was the oldest to participate in the regatta, and proved to the young whippersnappers that age is just a number. Both crews got off to a strong start and successfully navigated the bend without incident. Slowly but surely, Broadland crept ahead, eventually crossing the finish line 1 ½ lengths ahead of Yare.
All in all, another successful regatta for Yare. We would like to thank coach Rob Kay and the launch drivers for their hard work and dedication. With their help, we will continue to produce competitive results in many more regattas to come. St Ives regatta were fantastic hosts, special thanks to the umpires and the many volunteers for organising and staffing the event.
Yare Boat Club at St Ives Regatta - My First Regatta experience (Katerina Melenaou)
I started in February 2019 joining in the quads and doubles in the coached sessions receiving intensive coaching from Rob in the group. When the club purchased the new freedom singles with a little help from Face 2 Face Finance, Rob pushed me to try them out (in his inimitable style) and no time he’d pushed me up to fine singles to pass my sculling test. Now, within two weeks of passing my sculling test, I was getting my first taste of real competitive rowing at St Ives regatta.
Saturday 22nd June was a long, but exciting day. We left Thorpe St Andrew at 6:30am and arrived in St Ives a couple of hours later. Being my first regatta, I was fascinated by the number of trailers, boats, and people, from across the East of England, and further afield. As soon as we got there, we started re-rigging the five Yare Boat Club boats. Yare entered the competition with a women’s 2x, a men’s 2x, a mixed 2x, a women’s 4x-, and a men’s 4x-. We set-up the gazebo, helped each other to boat, and cheered each other while racing, and in amongst shared some great food and banter.
I raced in the women’s 4x- with Manuela, Shelagh, and Lisa. First, we raced in the semi-final against four fun women from the Isle of Ely rowing club. While waiting for the start, we had a lot of chats and laughs between us, and wished each other luck for the race. During the race we were well ahead of them, and eventually won the race. We waited for them at the end of the course to congratulate them. The final was against Norwich rowing club, with which we share river Yare for our training. We had great fun with the Norwich crew while waiting to start, both saying that we will do our best to make it difficult for the other crew to win. Once we got the signal from the umpire to start, we followed our racing start routine, and were soon well ahead of them. The Umpires decision was that we beat them 'easily'. As their stroke said “You were leading all the way, I didn’t get a chance to see you.” Once we passed the finish line and realised the Norwich crew had a long time to go still, we decided to row a bit further and do some sightseeing. We went under an ancient-looking bridge and saw a different part of St Ives. Sightseeing from a rowing boat is really fun! We then returned to the finish line to congratulate each other for our rowing efforts. After all the rowing, it was time to replenish our energy stores! We gathered all under our club gazebo and enjoyed a shared picnic.
At the end of the day, and after we de-rigged all the boats and loaded them onto the trailer, we received our prizes from the Mayor of St Ives, Councillor Daniel Rowe. One of the first aiders then approached us to say how wonderful it is for such a small club like Yare Boat Club, to be producing such competitive crews and winning in regional rowing competitions. Her comment was very well-received, and now we are looking forward honing my sculling skills further with the Tuesday Night Singlers session and onwards to the next competition!