M5, which came within two seconds of the half-course record in the first female race of the day, captured the women’s championship and the Kim Stirling Memorial Trophy, clocking in at 5:05.22.
The crew of coxswain Mark Hayward, stroke Katie Wadden, Heather Stone, Ashley Peach, Amanda Hancock, Alison Peach and Kim Oates, finished ahead of Smith Stockley (5:11.46), Lamb’s Rum (5:17.00), JAC (5:17.57) and Proactive Physiotherapy (5:54.15).
“It’s only a five minute race and anything can happen, so we just pushed it every stroke and tried to make sure we kept a lead,” said Wadden about her crew’s impressive win.
M5 posted a time of 4:58.60 in winning their first race of the day which was just off the record of 4:56.70 set by OZ/FM in 2003.
Conditions on Quidi Vidi Lake were just about perfect until the final two races of the day when the wind picked up, but the warm weather and sunny skies helped attract an estimated crowd of 35,000 during the day.
Wadden said the wind conditions in the championshp race prevented the crew from taking a real shot at the course record.
“As soon as we came out of the turn, a gust of wind hit the boat and slowed it down,” Wadden said.
But overall, the crew was more than pleased with its effort.
“Our time was the third fastest ever rowed by a women’s crew, so we’ll take that,” said Hayward, who credited Smith Stockley for pushing them to th<t-5>e limit.
“I’m sure that without (coxswain) Paul Ring’s crew pushing us, we wouldn’t have gotten that (female amateur race) time,” said the m5 coxswain.
Rogers Bussey Lawyers claimed the men’s title and the Molson Gerry Angel Memorial Trophy in a time of 9:32.76, giving veteran coxswain Ronnie Brennan his first male championship.
The men’s crew, which also included stroke James Cadigan, Chris Neary, Ronnie Whitten, Daniel Cadigan, Craig Whittle and Matthew Manning, beat OZ/FM (9:56.03), Marco (10.08.67), RNC Masters (10.07.98) and Carew Services (10:30.53) for the title.
“I’m pretty happy about this,” said an awestruck Brennan as a crowd gathered to watch the awards ceremony chanted his name.
Brennan collected his first championship in 2006 — a women’s crown — and has added two more ladies’ titles since.<\p>But in numerous shots at a male crown, he seemed destined to settle for second and third place.
But not Wednesday.
“It was pretty special to see him cross the line,” Whittle said. “You could see the look on his face coming in the fourth quarter. He was lit up.”
After flirting with going under nine minutes in their morning heat (9:03.98), and coupled with wins at both Placentia and Harbour Grace in recent weeks, all indications were Rogers Bussey would be hard to beat on Regatta Day.
“It’s only a five minute race and anything can happen, so we just pushed it every stroke and tried to make sure we kept a lead,” - Katie Wadden
In the championship, Rogers Bussey started strong and finished well ahead of the competition, thanks in large part to a great turn from<\p>the experienced Brennan.
“In that wind, it’s tough to make a good turn, but Ronnie did a good job down there,” said James Cadigan.
“It was a tough row back in a stiff wind, so we had to really work to push through.”
Whitten, who was part of a championship boat for the seventh time, said when they arrived for the evening championship, any hope of going under nine was lost.
“The pond wasn’t there to go really fast this evening. When you get conditions like that, there’s not much you can do other than just go out, row hard.”
After 47 years, and a male championship in his pocket, one would assume a 64-year-old Brennan would be ready to pack it in.
“I’ll be back,” he said. “For a lot of years yet. I’ll be here for the 200th Regatta. You wait and see.”