SRWC had a relatively quiet but very successful season in 2017. Once again one of our crews entered the race Cork Ocean to City in Ireland which I understand was cut to a shortened course due to adverse weather, however this meant a prolonged visit to the bar afterwards – Guinness all round! Mike Miles also coxed a ladies team in the London Great River Race posting a very respectable finish time of 3hrs 2 minutes, considering there were some first timers rowing a very well done to all involved.
The main event for the Club though was the Ramsey Island Race. After several attempts the race finally took place on 17th September. The race involved an 8-mile row through the legendary Ramsey Sound. 12 clubs took part and it was a fantastic day with some exceptional rowing. The winners were Solva Men’s Team Ben Phillips, Craig Young, Mark Price and Richard Lewis, coxed by Robert Richards. They completed the race in an impressive 1 hr 11 mins. I hope they will be back this year to defend their title.
I have to truly thank everyone from the club who helped on the day to get the event ready and organise everything needed to make it such a success. Also I extend my thanks to all the commercial boat operators / boat charters and private safety boat drivers and crews who gave up their time to provide the excellent on-water support and safety, particular thanks to Derek Rees for his wealth of knowledge of Ramsey and providing the lead boat. Thanks also to Porth Mawr Surf Lifesaving club for allowing us to use their facilities, the lifeguard team on duty that day for their help with marshalling, Peter Lavin for organising Whitesands car parking so well and St Davids City Council for allowing us to host the event with the free parking provided.
I am pleased to report that the WSRA want the club to run this race again in 2018 – it will hopefully take place on 28 July at 4pm. I am really looking forward to it.
Membership remained buoyant throughout the year and we also had some Junior members show some interest with rowing, hopefully we can nurture and encourage them this season. Our 100 Club continues to grow thanks to the steady work from Rhian Evans. I am pleased she has agreed to carry on with it this year.
We received a very generous donation from The Edge Festival, the sum of £500 will greatly help towards the maintenance costs of the 3 longboats and trailers and for renewal of safety equipment. I must thank all the members who turned out on a very beautiful and sunny Sunday morning in February to give the boats a clean. They will be starting the season looking clean and polished ready for rowing. Also I would like to thank Piers Beckett for the work he has done on the boats to keep them operational, especially just in time for the annual winter Frostbite race on 25th February. It was a short course with boats just poking their noses out of the Harbour in a bitter easterly wind, after 3 hard fought races it was the Royal George team who rowed to victory and defended their title for another year. Thanks to everyone who took part and helped with safety on the day. Also a thank you to Solva Sailing Club who allowed us to use the brand new sail training room in Kelvin’s shed for our briefing and post-race de-brief, a brilliant addition to the Quay and an asset for both Clubs.
Looking ahead to this season, we should have an exciting one ahead. We hope to hold a ‘taster session’ afternoon in April or May to try and encourage new members or just allow people with an interest in rowing to have a go. We are currently in the process of arranging a coxes training workshop run by the WSRA, any budding coxes who actually want to get officially qualified please express your interest to myself or Josie. We have the Ramsey race in July and Great River Race in September. It is worth mentioning that we will start forming plans for next year’s Celtic Challenge from September, this will allow members to start training in good time and pay the expenses for the race over a longer period.
Finally, I would like to personally thank everyone on the SRWC committee for their help and enthusiasm in running the club in the last year. I especially want to thank Mike Miles for accompanying me several times at very early o’clock to help make the race decision for the Ramsey race, calling a race off is not an easy decision and I was glad to have his input. Thanks also to Josie for all her help and guidance over the last 12 months. I think we have a strong committee and I look forward to working with you all again in 2018.
Here’s looking forward to a busy season of rowing.