Hastings Rowing Club celebrates its 150th anniversary this weekend with the return from Bexhill of the town’s famous rowing regatta.
This will be the first Coast Amateur Rowing Association regatta of the year. There will be 21 races that will pit several hundred rowers from ten clubs across the south east against each other on a course that runs between the pier and the harbour arm.
Ladies and men will row in single sculls, pairs and fours in under 14, under 16, under 18, novice, senior and veteran races.
As well as individual race winners the club with the highest number of points at the end of the regatta will be awarded the Jack Hall Plate.
Weather permitting, teams competing against the home squad from Bexhill will include crews from Deal, Dover, Eastbourne, Folkestone, Herne Bay, Shoreham, Southsea and Worthing.
Paul Knight, from the club, said: “We’re all crossing our fingers for a light northerly breeze rather than the often disruptive prevailing south-westerly winds that can make the course too treacherous by stirring up large waves. Some of our more experienced rowers can deal with pretty rough conditions, but big seas are our big enemy. Luckily the forecast right now looks ideal, so I think we are for some really exciting racing.”
All being well the first race will start at 11.30am, about an hour and a half before high tide. The competition will continue until mid-afternoon, and spectators watching from the pier or the seafront around the Source Park should have a great view of the action.
Founded on October 6, 1868, the club had an early home in Claremont, in the basement of the Brassey Institute, which recently re-opened its doors as the town library.
The club HQ is now to be found hidden beneath the promenade next door to the Source Park, and work is currently underway to refurbish the space as a new generation of kayakers and paddle-boarders have begun to see membership increase.
John Bownas, from the Hastings Business Improvement District, said: “It’s brilliant to see the return of the regatta a century and a half after the club was formed. Events like this are great for the town, they bring in hundreds of competitors, supporters, and spectators, and local shops and should really benefit from the extra trade.”