Weybridge Community Regatta
Following the success of the inaugural Weybridge Community Regatta held in April 2014 Weybridge RC hosted this year’s regatta on 24 July, hoping for better weather than last year when it poured down. This proved not to be the case – more than the average rainfall for the whole of July fell in just one day! However this did not dampen the overall enthusiasm of all those involved.
The event offers local businesses a chance to meet and compete. It is the first experience of competitive rowing for many participants, who have trained for weeks in order to take on their local business rivals on the River Thames.
The day started with breakfast at the Shepperton Holiday Inn, where British Rowing’s CEO Andy Parkinson gave an introductory speech.
Competitors were then transferred by coach to the regatta marquee at Elmbridge Canoe Club. The morning’s programme included 500m time trials and a team ergo contest for all 17 crews followed by lunch, courtesy of Cappadocia from Walton.
Then it was back out for the knockout races where the teams were divided into two categories. The first included at least one experienced rower while the second were all beginners.
“We were just in front when I caught a massive crab which put the brakes on big time,” explained Neil Jones of Lusso Homes, on returning to the marquee.
“At least we don’t have to go back out in the rain again,” he added, with a smile.
Weybridge & Walton Physiotherapy, also regular supporters of the host club, suffered the same fate in the final which was won by Mundays, based in Cobham. This local law firm also sponsored the two teams from The Prince’s Trust, which helps disadvantaged young people.
One of the teams went on to reach the final of the beginners’ category, though just missed out to victors Weybridge Health Club on this occasion.
Afterwards Weybridge Rowing Club Captain Rachel Kornberg said, “I was especially pleased to see nine companies who took part last year return for more. Also a further three could not take part so generously sponsored other teams.
“We are also indebted to Dom Vincent and the Rowing Centre (UK) Ltd for lending us three Swift touring boats and our neighbours from Molesey and Weyfarers for providing the other three.”
Reflecting on the day, Andy Parkinson said, “It was great to see a club taking the initiative to do something different within their community. The format worked very well and everyone clearly enjoyed the local competition and rivalries.”
Special mention must also be given to the experienced local coxswains who were brilliant, encouraging all the competitors and remaining good humoured despite the weather.
“It’s great to see so many people from our community coming out to experience our great sport – it makes it all worthwhile,” exclaimed a rather damp Emily Westland, a regular cox from the host club.
The day concluded back in the marquee with the prizegiving followed by dinner, courtesy of the Holiday Inn.
Further information, including the final results of all challenges, can be found at
Report by Maggie Phillips
Photos from David Gaylard