STRATFORD-upon-Avon Boat Club’s Fun Regatta saw 16 crews with just three hours of training take to the water in blistering conditions on the Avon.
The event attracted competitors from local companies, villages and groups of friends who produced some quality rowing and were ably coxed by skilled members of Stratford Boat Club’s junior squad.
Large crowds and friends watched on from the club grounds and Bancroft Gardens with fancy dress another major part of the day.
Crews came dressed as Vikings, teachers equipped with motarboards, pirates, colourful tootoos and Hawaiian shirts, circus clowns and animals and the blue and yellow of Ukraine.
Thankfully, no crews capsized as Meander Club ran out eventual winners whilst Afro Circus took the fancy dress prize.
Fun Regatta joint organiser Simon Price said: “We were heartened by the huge numbers who came to watch, cheer the competitors on and enjoy the spectacle.
“It may not have been Henley Royal Regatta but we like to think that it was more fun to watch!”
Chris Belcher, joint organiser, added: “Through the hard work and all the efforts of club members, we have been able to raise funds for replacing equipment, repairs and maintenance.
“As always, we are especially grateful for the tolerance of those who make their living on the river and to our sponsor Crowne Plaza Stratford.”
Dawson Curnock, Boat Club Chairman, said: “The wait was worth it! A fun day was had by all and Stratford Boat Club was happy to contribute to the vitality and atmosphere of the town and give visitors and residents a cause for celebration!”
And there was some exhibition racing during the lunch break with juniors against juniors and then the winner of that race rowing a Masters’ four.
After a much disputed start decision, the Masters were given a five-second head start, despite the juniors having raced just before, and won by just one second.
Elsewhere, Stratford’s Jake Blatcher was competing at the Llandaff Regatta in Cardiff, Wales with many crews having to withdraw due to Covid.
The Men’s Singles event was the biggest of the day with twelve scullers taking part as Jake beat his opening round opponent from Hartpury College (Gloucester) by three and a half lengths.
In the quarter-final, Jake faced off against a sculler from Bristol Ariel and the speed of the race saw the Stratford rower catch up with the race that started before them.
However, despite Jake having to slow down in order to avoid a collision, the result was allowed to stand.
Mark Dewdney, Stratford’s Head Adaptive Coach, said: “Jake is showing signs of improvement as the season progresses.
“Circumstances conspired against him on this occasion and it was a tough draw. A win must be just around the corner!”
Stratford’s junior squads were also back on the water after coxing at the Fun Regatta, as they put in more training ahead of the British Rowing Junior Championships at The National Watersport Centre in Nottingham this coming weekend.
Steve Wellstead, Junior Co-ordinator, said: “The junior squad will be heavily represented with crews from J14, J15, J16 and J17/18 categories all there for their chance for glory against some of the best schools and clubs in the country, we wish them luck!”