Clydesdale’s 129th Summer Regatta – A commentator’s perspective

Well, having set-up the PA system for more than a few years it was a pleasure not be drenched with rain and blown over by a fierce-some wind although it was a little cool. This in itself wasn’t too bad a thing as it made for good rowing conditions and the little wind there was, it was coming from the east, so a tail wind to be thankful for!

The major change to this year’s regatta was the shortened course due to the demolition works at Polmadie Bridge that had restricted rowing on the Clyde to a measly 1500m stretch with two formidable bends. So to allow a marshaling area the race distance was reduced to 1000m, or if you were unfortunate to be a Vet increased from 500m. Oh to make life easy for the worthy group of umpires, without whom the regatta wouldn’t run.

Since all racing was to finish at Clydesdale then this called for a staggered start to account for the bend at the Kings Bridge, and this would play a major part in the day’s racing. It was determined (apparently by an architect so there may be some dubiety regarding the techniques used, have you ever seen a house that’s fits together perfectly?) that the north bank would have an approximate 2 lengths start and that both competitors would need to use the centre arch to ensure a fair race over the correct distance.

As racing commenced it was apparent that the competitive spirit of a number of competitor’s seek to take advantage by using the South arch only to be spotted by the eagle eyed umpires situated at the East Boathouse, home of GUBC, SUBC and Glasgow Schools. This saw the said competitors continue to charge down to the finish only to find themselves disqualified resulting in much gnashing of teeth and various gesticulations, all to no avail.

The bend at the East Boathouse provided much of the entertainment for the day with crews over shooting the turn and losing considerable advantage to their opposition, which would then inevitably lead to the same crew heading right over to the south bank on the home handing even more of an advantage. Conversely the north bank crew would hold too tight a line on the buoys as they came round the corner and transgress into their opponent’s water much to the displeasure of the umpires and a small number of crews were disqualified for going over the said buoys.

Once race in particular seemed to capture all of the above misdemeanors, the final of the J18 single sculls between two boys from Glasgow Schools. The south bank sculler nipped through the south arch and the north bank sculler crossed the buoys but both boys were so engaged in the race they didn’t hear the umpires and charged down the river much to the amusement of those who knew they had transgressed. Much radio communication took place about who did what first and whether there had been sufficient distance for the disqualification to be disallowed, however common sense prevailed and the race was re-run without incidence and the same result was achieved for the South Bank.

There was some exceptional racing throughout the day, most notably the mixed quads and the R1 coxed fours. It was lucky that the finish alignment box was in place otherwise a photo-finish would have been necessary, the crews where that close.

It was a grand day on the Clyde, a well organised regatta in great conditions with a wide range of clubs winning wonderful etched whisky glasses. The MacNaughton’s of Clydesdale would be the most pleased as they won a full set between Daughter and Dad, with them also winning together in the Vet Coxed fours.  Obviously with Kirstie at cox as Alastair wouldn’t fit in the bow loader!

Ken Diamond


Note from regatta organiser: A huge thankyou to everyone who helped out before and on the day, it was a great team effort – c’mon the dale!

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.