Regatta set to be sunny Southsea spectacle

Southsea's Alec Bennett will be in contention for honours this weekend
Southsea's Alec Bennett will be in contention for honours this weekend
Dion Donohue. Picture: Colin Farmery

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The Southsea Rowing Regatta is back for the 124th time tomorrow as the event cements its place as the largest one-day coastal rowing event in the south.

And the fine weather looks set to ensure organisers avoid the challenges the conditions have provided in years gone by.

With the regatta taking place in the Solent at Lumps Fort, winds can often prove a challenge to those taking part.

But forecasts look set to allow a long day of competitions as Southsea Rowing Club host the occasion.

Around 550 rowers from 19 different clubs will contest the 19 events making up the programme.

Southsea have a new captain for this year’s regatta, Jeff Watling, and he is expecting it to be an impressive occasion.

Watling said: ‘We’re very confident we’re going to have a regatta because the weather forecast is so good.

‘The chances of cancellation are very small with the forecast very benign.

‘We’ve got a good, strong entry from right across the two associations.

‘So we are looking forward to a good day that people will enjoy.’

Southsea’s hopes will focus on the novice categories after an influx of new members.

After their win at the Worthing Regatta last weekend, the men’s novice four crew go into their home event in confident mood.

Jordan Duwa, Alec Bennett, Peter Cleary, Andy Stewart and Patricia Verrier are the five who will be aiming to secure victory.

It’s a similar story in the novice ladies’ four, with the club having three crews involved – all in with a shout of success.

Watling said: ‘The only crews we’ve had racing regularly are the ladies and men’s novice crews.

‘They’ve had a win and a couple of second places, so we’d be hopeful of having another win in those events.

‘Most of our crews are wildcards really, though, so we have to see how they go on the day.

‘We picked up a lot of new members at the end of last year, so that is where we’ve been concentrating our efforts. We’re looking forward to seeing how they go.’