Euro Masters Regatta success at Munich

Many British rowing clubs travelled to Munich for the Euro Masters Regatta in late July. Masters rower Pete Spivey spoke to Exeter Rowing Club about their experiences


Exeter Rowers at the Munich Olympic course (c) Natascha Kral Donaubund Ruderclub, Vienna

Held from 26-29 July, the three-day 2018 Euro Masters Regatta attracted hundreds of competitors and spectators as the sun shone on the historic Munich course, the setting for the 1972 Olympic Games. Raced over 1,000m, this year’s regatta packed in 569 races for the masters rowers, aged from 27 years through to 80 years old and above.

Former Pangbourne College and City of Oxford rower, Pete Spivey, lives in the Austrian Lake District and rows at Ruder Club Mondsee, located on the beautiful Lake Mondsee, a half hour journey from Salzburg. Spivey raced at the Euro Masters Regatta in the single and double sculls – and his crew successfully defended their title in the quadruple sculls, after first winning their category in 2014.

For Spivey, it‘s a mere two-hour journey to the Munich regatta course but for the many British master rowers it is a different story. In between his own racing, he talked to rowers from Exeter Rowing Club to get an insight into their experiences.

Racing at the Euro Masters

Seven rowers from Exeter had decided to enter because of the chance to race at the Olympic rowing venue, joining many other British rowers there from clubs such as Ardingly, Llandaff, Minerva Bath, Twickenham and Weybridge.

Exeter had loaded their boats onto the Dart Totnes club trailer, which also carried boats from Upper Thames. Seventeen boats in total and according to driver, Pete Atkinson, the 3,000km drive and Calais ferry crossing was, “Nice, easy and smooth”.

Reunited with their boats at the venue, Eleanor Burke, Dave Byrnes, Lisa Cocks, Helen Ellison, Dan Rowse, Lucinda Sanders and Julia Wood all entered a lot of races, really taking advantage of the opportunity to get onto the stake-boats. They teamed up with other clubs such as Kingston, Leeds and Monmouth.

Burke and Ellison even ended up racing each other in one heat, finishing within 0.2 seconds of each other – a long way to go for a head-to-head!

Racing was all about the quality of the rowing, not the luck of the lane draw!

With the racing done, they all had their favourite memories with Byrnes saying: “I think lining up for the Munich Trophy in my E [average age 55] single sculler category made my regatta.

“I enjoyed all of the races and the camaraderie in larger boats, but to qualify for the championship event and come second out of the total field of 96 was a dream come true!

“The course was as advertised – great water, fair and well-appointed for competitors and supporters. Racing was all about the quality of the rowing, not the luck of the lane draw!”

Summing up, he added: “The hospitality of Munich, from our Airbnb hosts to the proprietors of the bars and restaurants, and the many other people involved, made the regatta the unmitigated success that it was. It will make a return journey to Bavaria an essential part of our rowing calendar.”

World Rowing Masters Championships

For masters rowers keen to plan well ahead, the 2019 World Rowing Masters is on Lake Velence, near Budapest, Hungary from 11-15 September, and the 2020 World Rowing Masters is at the Austrian course of Linz Ottensheim from 2-6 September.

Anyone requiring a place to stop off on the way, please get in touch with Pete Spivey at [email protected] . His clubs, Ruder Club Mondsee near Salzburg, Austria and Ruder Club Wolfgangsee in St Gilgen, Austria, are accommodating and located along the motorway to these locations.

The clubs can also facilitate training camps for masters, so please get in touch if you are interested in a European adventure!