Milton and Toronto Women’s Regattas (Part 1/2)

The summer’s barely started (technically it’s not even summer yet) and we’ve already had two regattas in one weekend with a third this past weekend (post about Pickering coming up eventually, probably). Going to be busy!

Last weekend was a moderately successful weekend. Iron Dragons participated in Milton, where I drummed and coached, and NDRC Women participated in the Toronto Women’s Regatta, where I steered (I was content not to paddle since paddling is really too much work).

Iron Dragons has three teams this year: Blue, Gold, and Purple. Blue is still competitive, coached by yours truly and André with occasional assistance from Chris and Jeff, but both Gold and Purple are more recreational, coached by Edmond, Marissa, Desmond, and occasionally Lucky. Milton was a nice set of firsts for a lot of people: Dez’s first time steering, James’ first time steering (and possibly drumming Blue), Marissa’s first time steering, and Edmond’s first time steering and drumming.

Milton is kind of a weird regatta in that they do things differently from a lot of other competitions. It could also be because it’s a bit less competitive and more recreational than other regattas such as Pickering, but it could just be a Lively Dragons thing, I’m not really sure. For example, in the 2 km race, every other organization that I know of takes off the dragon heads and tails of the boats to prevent them from getting damaged in the case of collisions. Lively Dragons apparently likes to keep them on, supposedly to create more space and force steers to be safer (not too sure how that works). This year’s 500 m race course also consisted of a 450 m race course due to weeds around the start line, resulting in very fast times. They also have a bit of an odd ranking system. Most competitions place teams into semi-finals by time after the heats. However, Milton does it by placement, which essentially means teams hope to be in a slow heat. One example of it being a weird system is that Iron Dragons Gold had a faster time than Iron Dragons Purple in the prelims, but due to Gold being in a very fast heat and Purple being in a slower heat, Purple was ranked higher than Gold for the semis. Very confusing.

Iron Dragons Blue won the university cup, which was the first goal of the season that we had set out. I was quite happy about it since we had won it last year and it would have been sad to have had to give it up. We lost the CURL final to New College Green (congratulations, Ben), which was unfortunate, but things happen. We also accomplished our next big goal, which was to win Milton! Iron Dragons Blue (first) and New College Green (second) both beat Jetstart in the community 500 m final, which was a sweet victory, particularly since Jetstart has won Milton every year from who knows how long (something like 5+ years straight). Excellent job to both university teams!

Iron Dragons and New College have a bit of a friendly rivalry going on, which is really nice to have because it pushes both teams. Friendly competition is sometimes nice and sometimes stressful. In some cases, it brings out the worst in people. Ben, for example, is a dirty rotten cheater. He steered New College’s second boat (Yellow) and I’m pretty sure they were all afraid they were going to crash (though they didn’t). He wash-rode off of us in our first 500 m preliminary heat and basically took every  other opportunity he could get to wash-ride off of everybody else (I think Danny was nice and let him, though).

Milton is a popular first competition for recreational/school teams with new steers so a lot of interesting steering happened. Edmond lost control of his boat in a semi and T-boned another team that had been waiting to dock. I believe he also veered out of his lane, though got back in during another race. And finally, just before the 2 km started, he leaned out a bit too much while holding on the drum, which wasn’t as secured as it probably should have been, and both he and the drum plopped into the water. I’m going to go ahead and assume it was an interesting first regatta for him as a coach. Edmond set a really good example for other new steers, however, by bouncing back from every incident every time and not letting it affect him or the team. It’s hard for a first-time steer to do that if they mess up, so kudos to him. A few other incidents occurred as well. Danny apparently wasn’t paying attention during a Water Vipers race and ended up crashing them into another boat, giving Water Vipers a penalty and bumping them down into a lower division for the final (they had originally been seeded first). After an appeal and a vote of all concerned captains, they were allowed to race in the A final with the caveat that if they won, they would not get any medals. Lastly, in one of our semis, the Liquid Assets steer (in lane 5) got sucked into Western’s wash (lane 6) off the start and started veering toward them, pushing them out. Desmond with Iron Dragons (lane 4) got confused with the lane markings and ended up following Liquid Assets’ lead and veered left. Liquid Assets made a sharp right almost into our boat and to prevent a crash both boats ended up switching lanes and Desmond went a little further so as not to be in their way (Liquid Assets finished in lane 4 and Iron Dragons finished in lane 6). It was a rather confusing race.

What a day. Nice start to the season, though. Milton’s the first regatta for most of us, so it’s the place where we really see where we stand compared to other teams and sets the tone for the rest of the season.

To be cont’d…

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