Racing in a Tailwind

flagsLake Bagsvaerd, Copenhagen, 9 September 2016

Göran R Buckhorn writes:

Thor, the Norse god of thunder and weather, was in a god mood when the 2016 World Rowing Master Regatta (WRMR2016) started yesterday on Lake Bagsvaerd, at least early in the morning, when only a light breeze swept across the lake. The previous day, Wednesday, when the rowers were training, it was a little warm and humid, but the lake was absolutely calm. However, during the day yesterday, the wind picked up, and with a strong tailwind, it was not always easy to row.

All around me, I heard different languages spoken, and according to the organisers 47 nations are present here, with rowers from as far away as Uruguay and Japan.

Everyone would like to take a souvenir home – especially a medal, of course – but for those unlucky, there are always the souvenirs and early in the morning the commerce was in full swing. Among the items for sale were key rings, hats, T-shirts, shirts, lycra in all kind of different colours and jewelries, etc. All things that a rower really needs.

It is quite impossible to write traditional race reports when it comes to WRMR, as each heat is a final – you win your heat and you get a medal. During the day there was a race every 4-5 minutes and a no-end string of rowers crossed the finish line from the first race, which started at 8 a.m. to the last race at 5.16 p.m. The winners are of course happy for their victories, while the ‘non-winners’ seem happy to just being here. After the races, it is fun to listen to the crews’ excuses why they did no win, or why they did not pass that special crew that they expected to beat. Well there is always next year, and with a little more training……

Bengt Nilsson - a happy Swede.
Bengt Nilsson – a happy Swede.

Swede Bengt Nilsson, of Landskrona RK, did not win his heat in the Men’s E singles sculls, but he was happy for his second place.

‘I like the tailwind, as I am normally rowing and training in rough waters,’ Nilsson said, ‘and it was a little tough out on the lake today.’ This is his eighth or ninth World Rowing Master Regatta, and he intends to carry on. ‘My club was generous enough to buy me a new boat, a Filippi, so now I have to continue,’ the 62-year-old Swede said with a smile. Two of his supporters, standing next to him, nodded in agreement.

Nilsson represented Sweden in the single sculls at the 1984 Olympic Games, where he ended up on a third place in the B-final. That year he also took the Swedish Championships in the single, which seems to please him more than competed at the Los Angeles Games. Why?

‘That year, I finally managed to beat Hasse Svensson, the famous Swedish star,’ Nilsson remarked. ‘I constantly came second year after year in the Swedish Championships, as it was impossible for me to beat Hasse. But finally, I did.’ Nilsson even managed to get his name mentioned in David Halberstam’s The Amateurs, one of the famous sport books on rowing and sculling.

Earlier during the day, Nilsson had raced in the double with Per Ekström, of Malmö RK. Unfortunately, it was hard and rough. On Saturady, Nilsson will row in the double with another Swede, Leif Brovall, of Ängelholm RK. ‘Hopefully, we will do better.’ Nillson said.

The HTBS team at Lake Bagsvaerd: photographer Jan Servin (left) and writer Göran R Buckhorn.

Photography© Jan Servin/Servin Design.

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