On a bright but blustery day at Islandbridge, Dublin, Limerick Boat Club made their long awaited return to the water at Phoenix regatta. As the distinctive black and white colours of LBC took to the water there was a realisation that we were truly back on the rowing scene. Phoenix regatta is aimed at the recreational (Rec) rowing category which allows people get a taste of the sport of rowing. We have been building our membership through a number of “Learn to row camps” and we are fortunate that a good percentage of the participants decided to join the club. They have been a breath of fresh air for the club and their enthusiasm is so infectious it has rubbed off on the seasoned members.
On Saturday morning we boarded the train at Colbert station like we did so many times for past regattas. The heads were slightly fragile due to the previous nights celebrations where the club celebrated with Tony Tynne, on his 80th birthday. While celebrations continued into the wee hours, the rec rowers and coaches retired at a relatively respectable hour.
As the first Whats app started to “ding”, word had got out that one of our rec rowers (Eileen) was preparing Hi-energy breakfast sandwiches. We assembled at the station where Maria “mammy” worked her magic with the automation ticket machines to assist the older (Peter/Alan) crew members. With the Hi-energy sandwiches dished out and seats secured we quickly rocked our way up to Dublin. Before we knew it we had arrived in Heuston station, Dublin.
You can’t be too early
Arriving at Heuston at bang on 11’oclock gave us ample time to get our strategy right, like how to kill 2½ hours. With blue skies above we headed to the phoenix park via the criminal courts (picture opportunity) for a leisurely walk about. As we turned in the direction of Chapelizod where the Boat clubs reside, we couldn’t resist another quick picture at the Wellington testi-monial. (It wouldn’t be the last time we heard of testi)
As we approached the boat clubs, the final member of the crew swiftly arrived by chauffeur at exactly the right time (even though no time was given). Bride, using her mind reading skills. With a full crew, we made our way to Garda Boat Club, passing by the host club Phoenix where we positioned ourselves along 2 sturdy benches that would look great on our own pier head. While we felt “very safe” at Garda boat club, the auld pot of tea/ lemon drizzle cake and brownies was enough to entice the group over to Phoenix Rowing club. 10 euro got you race registration and more importantly access to all the BBQ.
Flying Start :- Attention ……Gooo
So the trick with a flying start is 1) to be ahead of the other crew at the start 2) to be positioned on the more favourable station 3) have an aggressive lightweight cox (hint Peter) to keep the crew motivated and lastly “GO” on the “A” of Attention. I’m not exactly sure if we ticked all those boxes.
Our Recreational rowers were first up. They were split up into 2 quads with Bride/Susanna in 1 boat and Noreen/Maria in the other. The former combination edged it by a length but the technique shown by all crew members in each boat was impressive. The Club quad battled strongly against the eventual winners and the Novice quad performed with great composure only for the course to “run out when they were gaining with every stroke. Its hard to believe that these crew members have only been rowing a couple of months and only formed semi formal crews in the last 3/4 weeks. A mixed “experienced” quad took to the water with Hannah/Alan/Peter/Cathie and were pitted against a very fancied Phoenix quad. We lost out by length probably due to not having our own cox. wink wink.
Our rec rowers did us proud in representing the club and mingled with the other crews at the club BBQ. Phoenix R.C were great hosts and couldn’t have been more welcoming. There was plenty of food and the salad spread was incredible.
After helping ourselves to refreshments Noreen was called upon to row one last time. She jumped at the chance and “pushed through the pain” and Eileen to have a great row in a mixed quad.
The long stroll back in the direction of Heuston station was halted abruptly when someone asked “where’s Maria?” Mammy was lost, only to be found 2mins later, dawdling up the road after us. We jumped into Nancy Hands Bar for some refreshments before the train journey home where the chat was all about the days racing. After debating the races in detail and taking all the variables into consideration, we nearly convinced ourselves that we actually won a couple of races. On boarding the train to Limerick, it wasn’t long until the group started singing. A rendition of the boat club song was sung with great gusto with a few word changes thanks to Peter, inspired by Noreen – a totally new version that I never heard before and not sure if I want to hear it again!!….but the crew were in stitches.
City of The Tribes
While we didn’t return with medals this time, there was more than enough to suggest that this band of rec rowers are not finished and have more to give on and off the water. The real characters of our rec rowers emerged and reflected the Boat Club spirit. Onward and upwards to the Tribesmen regatta. Sept 2nd 2017. For the Captain (Hannah) and Vice Captains (Peter & Alan) it was a great privilege to witness the Black & White