Sea rowing’s competitive spirit returns to Swanage

Leading the way, Swanage Sea Rowing Club hosted the Jurassic regatta competition and is now looking forward to the Super Vets event for the over 50s.

Despite the interruption to the sporting calendar by the pandemic, a trimmed down regatta for local sea rowing clubs, hence called the Jurassic regatta, went ahead in September 2021, replacing the usual annual June regatta in Swanage.


Now the club based just off Marshall Row near Swanage Pier, is getting ready for the annual Super Vets event on Saturday 16th October 2021 for the over 50s.

Dan Bennett, chair of Swanage Rowing Club, said:

“We are one of the first clubs to open up and push things on. Swanage has always had a good reputation for leading the way.”

Swanage mixed team

Back on the water – Swanage leads the way

“Keen to get back”

The smaller than usual Jurassic regatta brought together Cornish pilot gig boats with crews from Dorset, including Poole and Weymouth, as well as Langstone in Hampshire and Lyme Regis on the Dorset/Devon border. Cornish clubs were absent.

Caroline Bates, membership secretary, said:

“Members were keen to get back into competitive rowing. So we said ‘let’s do something that is smaller and safe’, and it proved a great success.”

Sea rowing competition at Swanage
Timothy Crabb

The small-scale Jurassic regatta was a great success

“Training has been limited”

The last year and a half has been difficult for the club. Not many events have taken place, so it has been hard to keep up enthusiasm and fitness.

Dan said: 

“We have been going out on the boats, following all the protocols set out – like the cox, for instance, being asked to wear a mask because they face the crew.

“But training has been limited and then it was socially distanced. We are fortunate because we are surrounded by countryside for people to train in.”

Winning Poole team

The Poole crew celebrate their victory in the mixed race

“Year of uncertainty”

Mark Blanchard, the men’s captain, said: 

“After a year of uncertainty, we have dusted the oars off and surpassed every expectation.

“Entering a crew in the national ‘Five Mile Back’ series, running ‘learn to row’ courses, racing in the first regatta held in 18 months at Paignton, are all solid foundations for going forward.”

Winning men's B team

The victorious Swanage B crew

“Realistic chance”

The club also hosted the ‘Doombar Challenge’ and the men’s B crew picked up gold at the club’s mini Jurassic regatta in September.

The upcoming super veterans regatta has been capped at 28 clubs who will compete in three heats.

Dan Bennett said he was optimistic about Swanage’s prospects:

“We’ve got good crews and if they train well they have a realistic chance of getting in the top five.”

Sea rowing competition at Swanage
Timothy Crabb

After September’s competition, October will see the popular super vets regatta

“Brilliant to be back”

Boats will take over the beach along Shore Road and spectators should have a good view.

He said:

“Spectators will have a clear view of the final leg of the races. The boats will row across the water back from The Grand and finish at The Mowlem.

“It’s been brilliant to be back. It’s been very positive. We try to involve ourselves in the community as much as possible to raise money and provide services to local people. So that we’re not just on the water, we’re very much a part of the things that go on in the town.”

Rowing club

Competitive spirit returns to Swanage

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