Head of the Clarence River regatta draws top school crews
PUPILS from some of the most prestigious schools in the Southern Hemisphere will descend on Grafton this weekend for the annual Head of the Clarence River regatta - the biggest rowing event held outside Sydney.
The first time attendance of a team from Auckland's Hamilton Boys College in New Zealand, adds a trans-Tasman flavour to the event with regulars from around Australia returning.
Sydney's Newington College, The King's School, PLC, and Pymble Ladies College will be joined by southern counterparts Melbourne Grammar.
While from the north, Lourdes' Hill, Nudgee College, Brisbane State High School, Brisbane Boys College, Somerset College, Somerville House, Anglican Church Grammar School, Coomera Anglican, and The Southport School have all nominated teams.
Local rowers representing the Clarence Valley include students from McAuley College, Maclean, Grafton and South Grafton High Schools, with Lismore's Trinity College also competing for the first time this year.
"The 21 competing schools make up the 1150 seats and 355 athletes who will compete in the 74 races," Grafton Rowing Club president John Brien said.
"The first race is due to commence at 8am on Saturday, with rowing right through the day until the major event of the day, the Champion Schoolboy Eight, at around 4pm."
This regatta is organised by a dedicated committee of senior rowers, with all profits from the event used to assist the Clarence Valley's many promising Junior Rowers.
"An additional trophy this year is for the highest point score over the regatta," Brien said.
"It is a beautifully hand crafted red cedar trophy sourced from local timber."
Sunday sees the running of the Grafton Rowing Club's Annual Regatta.
With most of Saturday's competitors remaining for Sunday's races, and with the inclusion of Masters' events, there will be 367 athletes and 90 races to face the starter.
The first race due to start at 7.30am with the last race timed to commence at around 3.30pm.
"The boulevard at the end of Prince Street makes an ideal vantage point to view the weekend's racing," Brien said.
"Members of Grafton Rowing Club will run the barbecue, canteen and drinks stall from early morning on both days."