‘Journée Nationale du Huit’ in France

Le Huit

Here is a special report from Hélène Rémond about a rowing event in France, Journée nationale du huit, the National Day of the Eight. Hélène writes,

In all regions of France, rowing clubs have highlighted the collective practice of the sport by taking part in the Journée nationale du huit, an event which was organized by the French Rowing Federation on Sunday, 18 November.

Among the participating clubs in yesterday’s events was the Société Nautique Châtellerault Aviron located in Poitou-Charentes, the capital of which is Poitiers, known for its Futuroscope theme park. The boat house of Châtellerault welcomed rowers from Angoulême, Cognac and Saintes to participate in this event. There were about 270 rowers gathered on the Vienne, one of the most important rivers in South-Western France.

With this fall event, the idea is also to offer activities during the calmer period before the winter season. Experienced rowers and beginners alike, whether sculling or sweep rowing, have put the eight, this iconic boat type, to the fore. All categories of people were represented: young and old, girls and boys, women and men, belonging to competitive or leisure groups, all of them rowing together in a good mix.

In a beautiful fall setting on the Vienne, races against the clock took place on a 2,500-metre distance in the morning, whereas for the finals, in the afternoon, sprint races were held on a 500-metre distance.

Vincent Defrance, who took part in many Coupe de France races in the 1980s (portrayed near his Carl Douglas wooden racing shell to the right), was among those who enhanced the performance of the less experienced rowers. 

Even though the sun did not show up, the day gave everyone an opportunity to enjoy the river atmosphere with numerous eights, that many perceive as being the most beautiful boat, showing that collective work can bring about a harmonious movement.

(Photographs © Hélène Rémond)

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