This year the World Masters Rowing Regatta will be held in Bled, Slovenia.
There have been 6,300 entries at this regatta from over 120 countries. This is a huge event in every sense of the word. Racing starts at 8 am every day except Wednesday and ends at 7 pm. Races start every 3 minutes, so the organisation must be excellent to have this run smoothly. The regatta is run under FISA rules and the rules are strictly upheld.
The World Masters starts on Wednesday afternoon 6th September, and racing will continue until Saturday evening.
Overall, there will be over 100 participants from Ireland ranging from 1st timers to seasoned competitors taking part in the event. This is a huge increase over the last number of years where normally there would be about 40 people travelling from Ireland. As Masters rowing goes from strength to strength in Ireland, so too is it increasing in prominence on a world level. All countries now have masters championships and Ireland is no exception to this. With the co-operation of Rowing Ireland this is having major impact on the numbers returning to the sport in Ireland.
Over the last number of years Irish crews have competed with limited success. There have been some great wins from the composite Irish 8+ over the last 2 years, as well as Commercial RC, Belfast BC, Cappoquinn RC and Carlow RC also adding to the mix in the smaller boats. So while wins have been limited, it is certainly growing and starting to become an achievable goal every year rather than aspirational.
For last number of months there have been several composite sessions in Dublin, Limerick, Galway and Belfast where the composite eights would take to the water and engage in pacing sessions against each other. Overall there will be 4 composite eights racing and also a number of club crews racing in eights. It is expected that the total number of women’s and men’s eights will be 12 crews. The eights will be made up of competitors that will also compete in the smaller boat categories of fours, pairs and singles. Typically there would be 2 races per day for each individual – any more would cause burnout over the 4 days.
Overall it will be a very competitive regatta, with most winning eights made up of composites from countries world wide. So here’s hoping for an increase in the 5 wins last year in Denmark, and we can take more than 1 scalp from the dominant Russians and Germans!