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Labrador West Regatta 2018: ready to row

Harold Clarke dockside in front of boathouse at Jean Lake, Wabush.
Harold Clarke dockside in front of boathouse at Jean Lake, Wabush. - Mike Power

LABRADOR WEST, N.L. — Friday, July 27 is closer than you think. That’s regatta day in Labrador West, marking the 46th annual event.
As time closes in, Harold Clarke, along with a bevy of volunteers and executive members of both the Labrador West Rowing association and the Labrador West Coxswains association are busy preparing for the big day.
Clarke, who is the Rowing West Association’s treasurer, has been involved with the Regatta ever since it began in 1976 (as a rower) and then a volunteer and a member of the executive.

He says, along with Rowing association president Ashley Strang and Sonia Pritchett of the Coxswains association, their plans are going well for this years event.
“We were about 10 days later than usual getting the dock in place this year because of the weather,” Clarke told the Aurora. “The wind has been a factor this year.”

He said about 50 per cent of the plans for rowing had to be cancelled or shortened because of wind conditions.
Clarke explained that wind is a big safety issue and one of the few reasons races could be cancelled or postponed on race day. Thunder and lightning and extremely heavy rain is another.
Safety is foremost, and on race day there will be rescue boats on Jean Lake from the RNC, Ground Search and Rescue, Wildlife and Forestry.
As for the number of teams this year, right now there are 26 registered as of The Aurora deadline, the same number as last year. Clarke says, however, that there could be several more by the time registration closes.
Again this year the women dominate the event, with 22 ladies teams and four men’s teams. This year the men managed to get just two masters and two seniors’ teams, he said and the ladies teams are also comprised of masters and senior’s rowers.

“This year there are no younger rowers at all, none in the Juvenile category. It’s a bit of a disappointment, as it would be nice to see some younger rowers who would follow the tradition of the Regatta and spark interest in the younger residents,” said Clarke.

That means there are no participants under 21 competing.
Races will start on the 27th at 8 a.m. A lunch break is planned for noon, and championship races right now are planned for 4 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
It takes a lot of volunteer work to put off the regatta.
“We still need volunteers,” Clarke said. “Some of our regulars won’t be in town this year, some have moved away, but we could always use some help and some new blood.”

Anyone interested can drop by the boathouse, from 5 a.m.-9 p.m., contact any member of the executive, or Clarke says to contact him at 944-0365.
Regatta day will have the usual attractions lakeside. There will be food, music, games and things for the younger set. For those 19 and up the beer tent will be in operation.
Clarke noted something new this year is that a number of businesses will be operating at the field and that profits they make from the day will go to groups like Air Daffodil, the food bank, and Daffodil Place.
So all that’s needed is the weather to co-operate and its looking like Regatta 2018 should be the mod summer favorite its been for 46 years.
See you at Jean Lake in Wabush.

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