Saturday (14 May) saw the club’s first coastal regatta of the year take place in Deal. The weather couldn’t have been better and the choppy waves made for some exciting coastal racing. To top it all off the Perry-French brothers won the senior men’s pair race, which meant that Herne Bay will host the Viking Shield regatta in 2023.

This regatta was the annual Viking Shield, which holds a long history: the shield, presented by two Danish oarsmen rowed across the North Sea and were guests of the Kent rowing clubs in 1925. The shield is awarded to the fastest coastal pair in the annual competition between the Kent Rowing Clubs and the winning club has to honour hosting the regatta the following year.

The day started off on a high with the first race being won by our junior 16s. John Cox coxed Isaac Wright, Jaden Short, Tom and George Blunt and soon after our newly formed mixed junior 14 quad including Sophia Pattinson, Amelie Ward, Teddy Wright and Christopher Short, also coxed by John Cox, achieved second place in their race.

Then the waves started to appear and racing became tougher. With every stroke moving the boats became harder and capsizes occurred, especially in the sculls event.

Not long after the junior 16 race did the boys have to go out again but this time in the novice four. With John Cox steering the way again the boys came a sturdy third.

Next up were our junior ladies who raced against the Deal senior ladies in the pair event, due to a lack of other crews in these events, so by default Scarlett Bates and Georgia Shelton came first in their junior category. And then keeping with the ladies’ events, both Bates and Shelton had to race once again in the junior four. This time they came second along with Briony Care and Natasha Tricks with John Cox coxing in his last race of the day.

The men’s novice sculls had quite a few entries from both Deal and Dover competing. From Herne Bay Manuel Marques and Lewis Perry-French took their places. Lewis headed to the second turn in second place and managed a really good turn to gain a few lengths ahead of the other rower getting a well deserved first place.

Our next men’s event was the junior/senior four, which included Tony Burrows, Darren White, John Cox and Stuart Webb coxed by George Blunt. They had a really quick start, taking the lead and took a strong finish by coming first.

The final event Herne Bay entered was the men’s senior pair: the event that matters and determines which Kent club hosts the Viking Shield regatta the following year. Deal had a few entries, Dover and Folkestone also competed but it was Lewis and Bradley Perry-French who took the trophy home and did Herne Bay proud.

The season has now started with a bang and we look forward to seeing all clubs on the South East beaches throughout the 2022 racing season. For more information on dates, look at the regatta calendar on our website.

Thank you to Deal for hosting this year’s Viking Shield and we’ll see you all in Bexhill and Hastings on the 28th and 29th of May.