Roving Report from Chris Spavins

A cool fresh morning greeted the paddlers for the DBACT regatta number  5. The blue and white brigade all rolled in at the somewhat ungodly hour of 6:42, all keeping a beady eye out for the coffee truck. The lethargy was quickly thrown off however with the call to warm up. We were greeted with some interesting musical selections, normally reserved for grandchildren but that somehow seemed to work well with this crowd of grown up children. The warm up seemed to consist of a lot of pointing at the sky and the ground as everyone started waking up. One up, two down, or was it three down and two up? Nutbush City Limits has nothing on us. 

Back to the tent and everyone was standing around trying to feign indifference to the configs that were about to be posted. Once again, the coaching team did not disappoint and we were greeted by a good selection of well balanced boats (how do they do it).

There was of course the usual grumbling from the fat boys who were once again passed over for positions in the front stroke seat or a place on the drum for the woman’s boat. Maybe after hunger games… 

The other fun aspect of this season is waiting for the naming of the crews that has created some discussion. Our high(ish) expectations were met with the mixed boats entered as Blossom, Buttercup, and Bubbles. Taking up the theme of world domination, the open’s teams paddled as Pinky and the Brain.

The regatta itself was 10s racing over 500m. Probably as good as it gets. Enough distance to have a proper run and nowhere to hide in a 10s crew. Wonderful or, to quote Hoff, “Good!”.  

The opening races were kicked off in beautiful, almost calm conditions. Reasonable times were posted and there was some good racing. The womens and open’s boats went out early with some good times being posted, the various mixed boats went off after that for their first heats and all acquitted themselves well.

There was some good chat in one of the mixed races when Kim squeezed some of the engine room into the back bench of the sprint room. All good fun and we were assured that this was not to be within easy reach of the cat o’ nine tails.  Of course, all bets were off after a quiet start, and the sprint room got the mandatory (and deserved) nudge to lift with only about 450m to go. We had a good laugh about this afterwards, when we could breathe again. 

At this point in the proceedings, the wind picked up and all races were met with really strong headwinds. Good character building stuff. The finish times rapidly dropped by 10 to 15 seconds for each boat. The end result was a bit of a lottery in terms of selection for the finals. The women’s boat was the most affected as they ended up missing the A-Final after placing 1st in both their heats (yes, that is weirdly possible). The B-final ended up feeling their wrath as they smashed that race to take a comfortable win.

The open’s boats had a great result with Pinky and the Braining winning the A and B finals respectively. 

The mixed racing also acquitted themselves well. Absolutely remarkable that Komodo could field 3 strong boats. Buttercup took 3rd in the minor final and Bubbles beat out Blossom (I can’t believe that I wrote that) to take the win in the A-final. Not that anyone is over competitive but…the hurt in that Blossom boat was real. Rematch? Best of 3? 

That is enough about the actual racing, let’s rather discuss the amazing volunteers. Komodo provided their fair share this time and they were simply wonderful. Angela managed to get us all lined up before every race. She even got us to figure out how to line up alphabetically by surname (yes, even the open’s boats)!  No easy task. And how awesome to have Christine and Michelle guiding us in with lane numbers like the best landing signal officers at the busiest airports. Sorry to see them and the other volunteers not on the water but it is so appreciated. The net result was a regatta that even ran ahead of schedule. No mean feat when you consider the wind at the startline.

Unfortunately nothing lasts forever (except for multiple 2km runs, they never end) and the day was wrapped up with some discussion about the channeling of your spirit animal. There does not appear to be too much debate about the role of hippo. A few other ideas were proposed and the suggestion of “honey badger” was shot down as quickly as it was proposed (and hence, no names mentioned here to protect the innocent).

A good conversation to have over a well deserved beer at the end of a day of racing. A big thank you to everyone involved with all the behind the scenes work in getting everyone there and on the water in configured boats and, not least, for providing the beer and BBQ, what a perfect way to close out a wonderful day! 

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