Twice a year, the Port Vila Rowing Club (PVRC) holds a Corporate Regatta. A “regatta” is a rowing race and of course “corporate” refers to private sector companies.

Usually the Corporate Regattas see various business houses in Port Vila putting in one or two teams, undertaking a two month intensive training program with the support of the Rowing Club’s Ni-Vanuatu coaches in the Club’s gym and on the water of the Second Lagoon. On the morning of Saturday 29th October, the Club is holding its second regatta for this year – this time with a bit of a difference.

“This Regatta will see us trying a different approach,” explains Nik Regenvanu, the Club’s President. “We will have the corporate teams in one division competing for the Corporate Regatta trophy but also our own Masters teams and elite rowers competing in another section. We wanted this regatta to be a great spectating experience and so have added a few extras to create a newer look for the Retatta.”

So that teams can bring their families and fellow workers from the business, large marquee at the Rowing Club will provide sheltered spectating space. Hamburgers, a sausage sizzle and cold drinks will be sold. Spectators will need to bring is a chair or mat to watch the Regatta which starts at around 8am and runs through to lunch. There’s plenty of parking space and buses are available because the Club is just below the Holiday Inn on the Lagoon.

Greg Pechan, himself a ex-rower with international experience, coordinates the elite rowing training programs comments, “Both elite and Masters teams really need the challenge of racing conditions to set a target, hone skills and build fitness. Currently our elite male and female rowers are building fitness before selection to go away to the New Zealand championships in December.

They’re doing over 20 kilometres a day of rowing plus gym and cross training. So the opportunity of the Regatta just gives them an interim goal and a chance to showcase their skills to the spectators coming to the Corporate Regatta.”

“We have Masters rowing every Tuesday and Thursday mornings for rower over 28 years old some of whom rowed at school, but many are just new to the sport, courtesy of our Learn to Row Programs.

The World Masters Games is in New Zealand in April next year and some of us hope to compete,” explains Terry Moloney who puts together the regular weekly Masters training Program, “This Regatta gives us race conditions experience.”

“The rules of the Corporate Regatta is that each four member team must have at least one woman. In the past, some teams found this hard to do. However, with our women’s program really attracting more female rowers week by week, we are seeing the situation where some Corporate Regatta teams have more than one woman,” remarks Margaret Macfarlane. “The JICA crew for example has several women.”

And if you were a betting man, which teams are hot odds to win the day?

Informed bets on who will be the winning team are strongly favouring ANZ Bank’s team (especially as they are defending the trophy!) but the Aon team is very strong.

Then you can’t disregard the good prospects of the AJC team who have now rowed in several regattas and have really put in the hours with training.

The National Bank of Vanuatu is the Club’s major sponsor and always fields a competent team.

The Pacific Bank has rowers who are Club members, so brings that longer term training and fitness with them. However, the newcomers to the competition — Poppys on the Lagoon and a JICA team – can’t be disregarded either. Lucas Wade of Poppy’s was a rower at school and has put together a committed team of employees from the resort.

“The JICA rowers joined us in one of the Learn to Row Programs we ran this year and their coach Charles Andrews has continued to row with them every weekend. It’s a fantastic outcome for the Club to see them move onto membership and now competition,” comments Margaret Macfarlane.

“We have such a fantastic facility here at the Club – membership is so inexpensive, so we really want to grow our membership base by running inclusive events like this Regatta, encouraging rowers, their families, fellow workers and friends to come down, participate and enjoy the physical and social benefits of rowing.”

Raymond Nasse

Sports Editor

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