Richmond finds the going tough at Head of the Yarra

RRC Men's B Eight makes their final preparations prior to the start of this year's Head of the Yarra.

Head of the Yarra has lived up to its reputation as being one of the most competitive races on the rowing calendar and despite all our crews competing well, Richmond found the going tough in this year’s race.
The best result the club achieved in this year’s race was a third place by the Women’s D Eight stroked by Laura Schouten who finished the 8.6km race in a respectable time of 36 min 37 sec, 1 min 11 sec behind winner Yarra Yarra.
In possibly the most competitive division of this year’s race, the Richmond Women’s C Eight, stroked by Frances Crotty finished fourth in a time of 34 min 12 sec, 28 seconds adrift of first placed crew Powerhouse.
A mere 43 seconds was all that separated the first five places in this division making for some exciting duels on the winding Yarra River course.
The Mixed Masters D crew, stroked by Sally Allen finished 15th out of a field of 19 starters in an adjusted time of 36 min 30 sec in their first ever Head of The Yarra. The crew, coached by Head of Rowing Nicole Stupka, were extremely pleased with their preparation and their row.  Four seat Julie Hope was quoted as saying that she was glad the race was over and was very pleased to have completed such a gruelling race.
The men’s eight, stroked by Tim Foster rowed gallantly in the Men’s B Division to finish last in a field of six crews recording a time of 31 min 1 sec, 3 min 40 sec behind winner Melbourne University (27 min 21 sec).
The men’s crew, originally entered as a C Division crew, were a bit unfortunate as they had to compete in a higher division in this year’s race due to having to work around a clash in the program with the Richmond mixed master’s crew.
The time recorded by the men’s crew would have placed them equal forth (with Melbourne) in the C Division eights behind Melbourne University (27 min 29 sec), Torrens (SA) and Mercantile. The men’s eight coach and crew were extremely pleased with the result, as it demonstrates the crew is on track against their peers heading into the second half of the season.
Melbourne University again dominated this year’s event with the Melbourne University Open eight winning the much heralded University Challenge against interstate challengers Sydney and Queensland University’s. Melbourne University crews also won all of the men’s club divisions in fine style with their B and C division men’s crews recording the fifth and sixth overall fastest times for the regatta.
After the race, the Richmond tradition of donning outrageous costumes continued with the women’s crew resplendent in their fluro feather scarves while the men’s crew dressed decidedly down rowing back to the sheds in speedo’s and bow ties much to the delight of spectators along the bank.
The after party was again a major highlight with a strong Richmond contingent making to trip upstream to Powerhouse to celebrate the conclusion of another Head of the Yarra. As far as party’s go, the night was superb, with Alex Playsted’s sublime DJ skills keeping the crowd entertained well into the wee hours of the morning.
Well done to all crews and their coaches and thanks Peter Schouten for assisting with the towing of the trailer and to the organisers of the after party who put on a great night.
Simon Crunden