Southsea regatta hangs in balance

The sun shone on the regatta last year. Picture: Malcolm Wells (112460-5336)
The sun shone on the regatta last year. Picture: Malcolm Wells (112460-5336)
Plymouth Argyle's Remi Matthews. Picture: PA Images

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The Southsea rowing regatta is in the balance.

Organisers will make a late call tomorrow to decide whether the prestigious event will take place.

With more wind and rain forecast, the safety of competitors in the biggest one-day coastal regatta in the south of England is paramount.

So Southsea Rowing Club members will gather early tomorrow to make a definitive decision whether the 123rd regatta will go ahead.

Southsea captain Graham Baggaley is keeping his fingers crossed the conditions will allow it to take place.

Baggaley said: ‘We have got people coming as far east as Dover and west as Christchurch.

‘It’s a long distance for them to travel.

‘We are conscious of the weather.

‘It’s going to be choppy, so we will find out tomorrow morning whether we can run it.

‘It’s very much in the balance. It’s a big decision to make.

‘We will go out at 6am, take a look and go from there.

‘We are hoping for the best.’

If it gets the green light, the regatta is set to see around 550 rowers come to Southsea to battle it out for the honours.

There will be 21 clubs vying for the 20 different events that take place across the day. The most prestigious honour will be when the men’s senior fours battle it out for the Portsmouth Grand Challenge Cup.

Southsea rowers will be involved in seven of the race categories and will be aiming to pick up enough aggregate points to win the Arthur Stansfield Aggregate Cup or Scott Paine Trophy.

The junior men’s team will be one to look out for, along with the ladies’ novice four team of Karen Kenney (stroke), Anya Loynes, Lucy Gross, Clare Larvan and Patricia Verrier (cox).

They will look to build on making the final at the Woolston Regatta last weekend in the second race of the day.

There will be a decent amount of experience in the men’s novice fours, too, as they look for their first win at Southsea.

Baggaley said: ‘If it’s on it’s going to be a good day – it is every year.

‘We’ve got a lot of clubs turning up. There’s everything from single skulls to doubles, pairs and fours.

‘We’ve all been working really hard at the club this year.

‘So it will be marvellous to see everyone get some results.

‘It’s a long running event we all look forward to.’

The rowing is due to get under way at 10.30am tomorrow and run until 7pm at Lumps Fort.