Crews finally return to the water after lengthy hiatus

DOMESTIC rowing is back after a tough dry spell brought about by weather woes.

Last weekend’s Andrew Mahy Memorial ended a month-long hoodoo for Guernsey rowers, who have endured three consecutive postponements amid adverse conditions and guard boat shortages.

In fact, the few races that have gone ahead since late June – the Herm and Sark weekends, and a Sark to Jersey with landing restrictions – have all been bigger commitments, requiring inter-island travel in some form.

So even if the 8.3km Andrew Mahy Memorial attracted only 15 crews, it was a welcome occasion for the Guernsey Rowing Club.

And winners TPA had more to celebrate than most.

That powerhouse men’s double of Simon Johns and James Coquelin posted a fast 38min. 44sec. to win by more than 2min. from James Briggs and Paul Pearce.

Notable for being a mass-start race, the course runs from Salerie Corner and takes an indirect route to Alligande beacon before a long, straight push to the finish near Havelet.

Just Stroke It coped well with the changeable conditions on that homeward stretch to win the men’s quads class and finish third overall in 43-51.

Before that, it was surprisingly tight between them and the next two men’s quads, with Siteweld Slumdogs eventually clocking 49-15 and Dogs of Oar 50-11.

The dominant Le Mont Saint women’s quad nipped in-between the men’s crews with a 48-20 – enough to make almost 4min. on improving class rivals Ravenscroft, who held a similar margin on Oars 4 A Cause.

Sark to Jersey mixed doubles champions Marc Isabelle and Dani Barnett produced another decent class victory, rowing 50-27.

Ravenscroft women's quad battle with mixed double Marc & Dani. (Picture by Martin Gray, 29875834)

‘It’s really nice to be back out on the water,’ GRC vice-captain Ben Vaudin said.

‘It has been tricky enough with the weather recently, because there’s been a lot of wind and that.’

The unfortunate run with poor weather has been partly counteracted by a couple additions to the GRC calendar, which continues tomorrow with a handicap variant of Course B.

The Havelet-based Course B featured earlier in the season as a championship race but a second rendition will allow competitors to compare times.

Although the season was originally due to conclude with the RAFA handicap on 4 September, organisers have now pencilled in a short-but-sharp Course A outing two weeks later.

‘It’s coming to a close, but we are fortunate enough to be able to get nearly a full season in,’ Vaudin added.

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