Windy and blustery conditions at Nagambie turned the first day of the 2010 National Championships into a time trial for positions in semis and repechages. In a repeat of the 2007 championships, races had to be abandoned and instead a steady stream of boats trialled down the centre lanes.
Considering what is known about the course and the prevailing winds at this time of the year one wonders what flawed decision- making process led to another attempt to hold our showcase event in what is basically a regularly windswept canal in a remote part of central Victoria.
Even most local Victorian rowers find themselves unable to support having National Championships at this location.
One major problem with the course is that the prevailing winds produce very unfair conditions if racing is allowed to continue in all but the most mild of breezes. Rowing Australia officials are left with little option under these circumstances but to run races as time trials.
One major issue in our sport is that the National Championships continue to be awarded as some sort of “prize” to state associations whose main objective is then to make as large a surplus as possible from running them.
At Nagambie 2010 – apart from what are often unmanageable conditions competitors and coaches have to contend with s shortage of boat racks and sub-standard working conditions in the boat park.
There have been improvements at Nagambie since 2007 but with the unfairness of the course seemingly unable to be addressed it is time to call a halt to having National Championships here – as long as they are held in the March – April period.
The development of the National Championships as a the flagship of Australian Rowing demands that this regatta no longer be the privilege of states to run and to milk for profit but that it be a truly National event – run by a National Committee on an annual basis and sited at the best available courses for both rowers and spectators.
The disappointment and annoyance of our outstanding rowers in having conditions like today foisted on them by lack of political will at a national level is evident in every look and expression.
The ROMS website compliments our rowers and officials for how they managed yet another difficult day at Nagambie. We all acknowledge that as an outdoor sport any venue can be subject to the vagaries of the weather. But we have to ask ourselves why we are putting our Championships at a location where we know from experience there is a close to 75% chance of disruption through weather and a 95% chance of unfair racing conditions even in mild winds.
It’s time for a change to a true National Championships held at the best locations for competitors and spectators and run by a National Committee.