A large contingent of Dover Rowing Club raced in the ‘Monster the Loch’ event over a 21 mile course on the East Side of Loch Ness. There were 6 full Dover crews and a composite crew of two Dover, 2 Folkestone Rowers and a cox. 94 human powered vessels including rowing boats, kayaks and rafts took part. The event kicked-off with a mass start of all 94 crews in good conditions from Fort Augustus aiming for the finish line at Dores. Each crew was required to enter an individual crew name.
From the start Chris Hall and Tom Stothart as the ‘Cox Blocked’ set off in a double scull with the leading vessels aiming for a top 10 finish. At half way ‘Cox Blocked’ was the leading rowing crew before dropping to 2nd around the 14 mile mark. Fighting the conditions nearing the finishing line they were passed by a quad scull to finish 3rd amongst rowing crews and 7th across all competitors, in a time of 2 hours 47 minutes 16 seconds.
Dovers Ladies double sculls featuring Jo Johnston and Maria West-Burrows, competing as ‘Two Birds in a Boat’, would be Dover’s second crew across the line. The ladies, who have rowed internationally in coastal competitions, had a good race maintaining a consistent pace that saw them finish 42nd in a time of 3 hours 20 minutes 40 seconds.
Quad Sculls of Gem McKie, Freya Emmerson, Emily Harvey, Ella Day coxed by James Hale, competing as ‘Tony’s Angels’, had a really good row coping well in the conditions. They finished tired but happy in 52nd place; 3 hours 31 minutes 21 seconds.
In the composite sweep four crew, Dover’s Jon Cook and Jamie Smith were joined by Folkestone’s Becky Pleasted, Zoe Mond and cox Maddy Pleasted. Competing as ‘Scull and Backbones and Yellow Perils’ they were unable to keep up with ‘Tony’s Angels’ after initially maintaining contact. It was another impressive performance from Jon Cook who would feel the effort at the end of the race. The crew had a good race coming across the line in 57th, 3 hours 38 minutes 15 seconds.
The next 2 boats home had been involved in a to and fro battle along course. The predominately family crews of The ‘Hollyatts’ (a Quad Sculls crew of Canelle Ulyatt, Kevin Ulyatt, Holly Hannington, Brendon Ulyatt coxed by Felicity Uylatt) and the ‘McSawks’ (a Quad Sculls featuring Emma Sawkins, Emmerline McArdle, Matt McArdle, Alex McArdle with Pete McArdle as Cox) would finish only 32 seconds apart. ‘Hollyatts’ took the bragging rights with a time of 3 hours 46 minutes 04 seconds finishing 61st and ”McSawks’ in 62nd with 3 hours 46 minutes 36 seconds. There was a particularly impressive performance from Alex McArdle believed to be the youngest rower in the event.
Dover RC’s very own band the Ratzkins were racing as ‘Water Ratz’ competing as a sweep four. Chris Wong, Damion Napier, Laine Napier was joined by guest performer and club captain Tony Burrows with Sara Scrivens as the rhythm section. The challenge was made harder with Damion Napier injuring his back during the race. He struggled on to help the team finish in 80th place in a time of 4 hours 06 minutes 24 seconds.
The club would like to thank the coxes Sara Scrivens, Pete McArdle, James Hale, Felicity Ulyatt and Maddy Pleasted without whom Dover could not have fielded so many crews. Thanks, are also due to Jacky Silk for organising Dover’s entries and travel, Tony Burrows for pulling the boat trailer, Folkestone RC for the loan of boats and crew and Herne Bay for the sculling blades, re-enforcing the community aspect of coastal rowing.