Last weekend, some of our rowers had a taste of coastal rowing in the shores of Bexhill-on-Sea, courtesy of our friends at Herne Bay ARC. We were meant to race at their home regatta on the Saturday, but unfortunately it got cancelled due to the uncertain weather conditions. Instead, our rowers made their way in the following day to Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex to make their coastal debut in Bexhill Regatta 2021.
Some of our rowers are no strangers to the coastal rowing scene, spending half of their rowing time with salt water beneath their hulls – junior rowers Lewis and Bradley Perry-French, as well as captain Manuel “Manny” Marques, all have a few coastal rowing seasons under their AIOs. But for long-time Spitfire sculler Mark Latymer and enthusiastic new sculler George Matthews, racing in the sea was a totally new experience. Not only that, it was Latymer’s second race following his debut at Henley Masters Regatta, and Matthews’ first ever one (no, we don’t count your indoor ergometer race as a “proper” race, George! ?).
Mark and George integrated a four-man crew with other two Herne Bay oarsmen, Tom Self and Dan Lauder, racing in the junior four event. They did exceedingly well for their very first race with an effectively scratch crew (they had never rowed with Self and Lauder until race day!), coming 3rd hot on Bexhill’s tail, in a dramatic finish.
Our very experienced junior rowers, twins Bradley and Lewis Perry-French impressed us all with the amount of events they’ve raced, both doing a total of four events over the course of the day – racing senior pair (and coming 4th amid a very experienced pool of rowers, and after suffering a crash from another crew at the turn), junior sculls (with Lewis coming 2nd, and Brad unfortunately getting held back in 5th position due to a collision at the turn), and two coxed four events, junior/senior (winning it!!) and senior (coming 4th, again amid a very experienced pool, certainly punching above their weight there!).
Captain Manuel Marques enjoyed his “nice day out on the beach” by only doing two events, coming 6th in senior pairs with his trusty strokeman HB rower Luke Taylor (who also stroke the twins’ four) and 4th in the junior/senior coxed four race.
We thank Herne Bay ARC for the possibility to race with them at Bexhill Regatta, and hope we can do that again soon, with a few more of us!