October seems a long time away but for the new rowing teams entered in the October Regatta, the next 10 weeks will pass very quickly as new skills out on the waters of the Second Lagoon are learned, fitness and endurance is built in the Port Vila Rowing Club’s gym and kilos are dropped from waistlines! But there are bottom line business returns too.

The Corporate Rowing Regatta is held two times a year with training for the second Regatta – to be held on Saturday 7th October – about to start. Various Vila business houses enter a team for the program which ends in a rowing competition called a “regatta.” The rivalry should be friendly but it has becoming more serious over the years with regular team entries from diverse institutions such as the NBV, ANZ, AON, AJC, Fletchers, Unelco, Intraco, Poppy’s, VCH and VTO

Whilst there are new teams who have never rowed before, several of these teams have regularly competed in the Corporate Regattas in the past years. With 10 weeks of training, from the start of August to 7th October, access to the Club’s gym and an allocated coach, these teams really improve their skills. Some have titles to defend – or old scores to settle! We expect to see continued rivalry from Aon, ANZ and AJC. In the last Regatta held in May, the Fletchers as the “new kid on the block” really pushed some of the more experienced teams and their repeat performance in October will be watched with interest.

Several rowers from these corporate teams have since become full time Vanuatu Rowing Club members and row all year around. Hence their fitness and skill levels are high. The rules are that in the “quad,” there must be a gender mix from the company ie three men and at least one woman. One member can be an associate of the company staff such as a wife, daughter, husband or boyfriend. Some years ago, we had an all female team but mostly it’s an even gender split.

New rowers are given a ground up training program. Learning to row only takes a session or so to get to a basic level. Some businesses organise a bus or a company truck to pick up their rowers. Some row at dawn, others at dusk; still others throughout the working day. With a shower and toilet at the Club, rowers can wash and change and get back to work. Then its time spent on the Concept Rowing machines in the gym, out onto water learning new technical skills, applying themselves to the set targets, dedication to schedules, working together as a team and commitment — turning up to row at the agreed time. These are business skills and work ethics being developed at the same time as rowing.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll showcase the various teams and follow their progress to better fitness, team work, technical skills – and that elusive Corporate Rowing Regatta Trophy!

Raymond Nasse

Sports Editor

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