VICTORIA – The annual Head and Tail of the Gorge Regatta saw both the Vikes men’s and women’s program make progress at home ahead of the Canadian University Rowing Championships from November 4-6.
The weather was overcast on Saturday before clearing up on Sunday, making for interesting conditions for the time trial event. A sunny day on Sunday allowed fans to watch as crews navigated the tough twists and turns of the Tail of the Gorge course, trying to catch each other as they leave in 10 second intervals.
Both the men’s and women’s teams used the event as an opportunity to learn before they take part in nationals next week. Head coach Rick Crawley spoke his team’s mindset post-event.
“We used the weekend to try some different combo’s for our top eight,” said Crawley. “We were missing one of our top lightweights to illness so we also rowed some other combo’s with the lightweight squad.
“Our best boats won their categories with some good times and some of the experimentation we did proved to be fruitful information. All crews progressed technically and we made some progress relative to our effective power.”
The Head of the Gorge, which took place on Saturday, runs on the Gorge waterway and through the Tillicum Narrows, starting at the Johnson Street Bridge. The Tail of the Gorge on Sunday begins back in the Portage Inlet with a big S-turn inside the basin before heading out onto the Gorge waterway. Saturday’s course is 4.5 km long while Sunday’s course is 3.5 km, allowing crews to up the tempo.
For many of the novice or new Vikes, the Head and Tail of the Gorge Regatta serves as the first chance to row in front of home fans under the University of Victoria banner.
With nationals coming up from November 4-6 in Welland, Ontario, the crews also used the event as a chance to gel, sporting different Halloween costumes on Saturday as part of an annual tradition.
Competition will ramp up to the next level in November as Victoria looks to regain its spot atop the Canadian university podium on Ontario water.