Get ready to row at the South West Regatta

GO: Tristan Forster, Pat Shanahan, Noel Middleton, Pat Groot and Alan Northey in FAST Messenger on the Hopkins River. The Victorian St Ayles Skiff Championships or the Australian Whale Boat Racing Championships is on February 24 and 25.
GO: Tristan Forster, Pat Shanahan, Noel Middleton, Pat Groot and Alan Northey in FAST Messenger on the Hopkins River. The Victorian St Ayles Skiff Championships or the Australian Whale Boat Racing Championships is on February 24 and 25.

GATHER a group of mates and get training for the 2018 South West Regatta.

Boats will be available for training from October 1 on the Hopkins River.

The regatta includes the Victorian St Ayles Skiff Championships and the Australian Whale Boat Racing Championships.

The event will take place on February 24 and 25.

Whale boat teams consist of six people – five rowers and a sweep.

Skiffs are smaller and lighter than whale boats and require four rowers and a coxswain.

Warrnambool St Ayles Skiff Club president Pat Groot encouraged people to get out on the river and have a go.

“We are actively trying to promote uptake,” he said.

“We want teams to register and get involved in a great activity.”

The Warrnambool club built its skiff, named FAST Messenger, over 11 months. 

The club mostly worked on Saturday mornings to complete the project. 

The boat aims to raise awareness about stroke.

FAST is an acronym used to help detect and enhance responsiveness to people who are having a stroke.

The acronym stands for facial drooping, arm weakness, speech difficulties and time to call emergency services. 

Mr Groot said rowing was a great way to stay fit and healthy, while enjoying time with friends.

“We are always on the lookout for new members,” he said.

“The skiff movement is taking off nationally.” 

Information sessions for team captains are being held on Monday and October 2 from 6-7pm (only one session needs to be attended) and whale boats and skiffs will be available for teams to use from October 1.

Mr Groot said for those who weren’t sure if rowing was for them, there was a come-and-try day on October 15 at Proudfoots Boathouse with experienced rowers available to show people the ropes.

No previous boating or rowing experience is necessary.