APSM Regatta – Staggered starts that sound ridiculous but deliver a great finish

Albert Park South Melbourne (APSM) Regatta demonstrated to me, and probably to others, that as ridiculous as handicaps sometimes sound they often make for a great race:
Imagine sitting there as one of three mixed eights: you are enlightened to the fact that crew A has zero handicap, crew B has 9 seconds and that you have 13 seconds – now, on a 1000m course, that sounded nuts. However, with 20 metres to go all boats were neck and neck, with less than a canvas between the first and last – it was all to play for. A photo finish resulted in our crew, despite a 13 second handicap and catching a crab in the first 20 strokes, emerging victorious. A thriller to take part in from start to finish.

A selection of the victorious mixed masters eight
A selection of the victorious mixed masters eight


As many are aware, Albert Park South Melbourne Regatta marks the end of the Masters season regattas we will be competing at as a club until the next head season begins. To say we went out with a bang is an understatement – competing in 11 events across the morning, we achieved at least five gold medals and four further silver medals. Well done to everyone involved.
Firstly, some thanks are needed:
· Thanks to Barry for leading on all boat loading, unloading, reloading and re-unloading – with lots of events come lots of boats of different weights, shapes and sizes. To say the trailer was full is an understatement.
· Thanks to Justin for being BRO – always a pleasure to see his excited face and hear his enthusiastic tones as you came of the water exhausted. No seriously, having him bouncing off the walls because we had won another medal or run a really tight race was a real added bonus.
· Finally, thanks to Amanda Sinden and Amy Williamson as last minute super subs due to rower sickness. Without you guys we wouldn’t have achieved what we did – so we all thank you.
Now, before I get in to the nitty gritty and the funny stories it is important to announce one particular thing:
Massive congratulations to Jon who, in his racing debut for the club, scored two gold medals one of which was in sculling – something he has barely done before! An outstanding effort, well done mate!
So, who won what?
· Geraldine Goss in both the female masters single and double scull
· Caroline, Jemma, Elizabeth & Virginie in the Female masters novice coxed four, coxed by Karin
· Amanda, Karen, Micheal, Dave, Matt, Jon, Cat & Amy in the Mixed masters coxed eight, coxed By Bec
· Mike, Barry, Jon & Matt in the Male masters coxed quad scull, coxed by Bec
M4X+ APSM photo finish
Photo finish to the male masters coxed quad scull

· Cat, Karen, Amanda Sinden and Amy in the Female masters coxed four, coxed by Derek
· Caroline, Elaine, Jemma, Virginie, Shern, Leah, Amanda Shaw & Vanessa in the Female masters coxed eight, coxed by Ainsley
· Caroline, Elizabeth, Sarah & Elaine in the Female masters coxed four, coxed by Karin
· Micheal, Dennis, Charlie & Dave in the Male masters quad scull
WM4+ rowing through the ducks

Now for the interesting bit – the funny stories. Sorry, but these stories are mostly ones that the guilty would rather remain anonymous but funny nonetheless:
Firstly a story about a gold medal Female masters novice coxed four stroke-seat who was so busy watching that their neighbouring crew didn’t get too close she missed the fact that they should have started rowing. #Smooth
Next to an eight in the process of de-rigging and a few middle bolts that were missed – at least no one was murdered. #Lucky
That moment when you are rowing up to the start of your male masters coxed eight race and you realise that being awarded a yellow card for tardiness is a blessing as you look at the other crews who are patiently waiting, at front stops in the cold and rain. #Warmth
And finally, the realisation that being at the pub drinking twinned rounds (shot and a pint) from 14:30 until 21:30 was never going to result in a clear head the next morning. #Hanging
Thanks to everyone who helped, took part and coached the crews that did. We had a great day and were really happy to get out there and clear up a fair few of the medals. Long may it continue?
Author: Matt Crouch