This year’s regatta was largely dry but again overcast with some light showers in the mornings, favouring the competitors rather than spectators. Flow rates were modest at 26 and 23 m3/s and the stake-boats for the traditional 1500 m course on Saturday were set up with a differential of 2.5 m to compensate the Berkshire station for the reduced stream in that race-lane and reduced to 1 m for the shorter course on the Sunday. Races were at three-minute intervals throughout each day, with few short intervals. Each day the regatta finished on time.
The announcement of Senior British Rowing Championships at Nottingham plus the relocation of the Masters Rowing Championships to Strathclyde posed a significant additional complication, with diversion of both crews and umpires. The RAR committee thus decided on a number of changes, including improvements to the marketing of the event, splitting each day into two divisions and offering Masters events for those crews not wishing to travel the additional distance to Strathclyde. An early and full entry resulted, while the weekend before RAR (after our entries had closed) it was announced that the Senior Championships had been cancelled due to lack of entries.
This year we were pleased to welcome overseas crews from New Zealand, Ireland and the USA.
The distributions of wins between stations were similar (47% on Berkshire on Saturday, 46% on Sunday), compared to a 7-year mean of 50% for Saturday and 45% on Sunday. The slightly lower mean on Sunday can be attributed to the higher proportion of less experienced crews combined with the possibility to steer wide on the Berkshire station. Cards bearing images of the prizes were given to winners to enhance the prizegiving experience and a new trophy for Open Schools and Junior 16 Coxed Fours was donated by Jane Club (UK).
One of the objectives of introducing the Ranking Index in 2018 was to aid closer racing between better-matched entrants but, as in previous years, close races were in the minority. On Saturday 27% of races had winning margins <18 m with 10% <6 m while on Sunday the verdicts were similar at 29% and 10 % respectively. Two of the closest races of the weekend came in the Masters G/H quadruple sculls on Sunday, when a dead heat was followed by a verdict of less than a metre in the re-row. Winners were presented with their prizes following the end of each of the four divisions over the weekend.
Small changes were made for the Victor Ludorum trophies. The Saunders Cup, now for the most successful club over the weekend in the Senior and Masters events, was awarded to the University of Reading Boat Club; while Reading Rowing Club won the Radley Cup for the most successful club at the Junior level.