Everyone Loves A Gold Cup

Front cover of the 137th Regatta Programme.

23 February 2021

By Louis Petrin

Louis Petrin reports from the 137th Riverview Regatta in Australia.

On Saturday, 20 February, it was a significant day for the Riverview Gold Cup. It was the 137th Riverview Regatta held by St Ignatius College at Riverview.

I know… more than a 100 and less than 150, but in these days when other regattas are cancelled or postponed, it was a great day to see that the regatta went ahead, and 137 years of racing is not to be sneezed at.

Sadly, in these digital times, printed programmes are becoming a rare thing since everyone says, “it’s on the internet” or “click on the links”. Yet months later, you only find the dreaded Error 404 message!

In the early days, fours was the premier boat class and for St Ignatius’ College, their crews were a success from the beginning.

St Ignatius’ College crew, winners of the 1884 Mayor’s Grand Challenge Cup.

In 1890, the premier race was changed from fours to eights, and then three years for the current Gold Cup to be presented to the winners.

For more history on the College and the Gold Cup, click here.

On Saturday, there were 67 races on the program, with the majority being schoolboy events. In an abundance of caution to The Virus, there were no schoolgirl or grade racing and there was an absence of spectators who usually line the shores at the finish line. To urge on the crews, there was the usual and large flotilla of spectator boats instead cheering on.

To inspire and bless the college rowers, in the open area above the rowing shed used for sleepover the day before the regatta, there is a stone carving depicting St Brendan of Adfert and Clonfert; Brendan the Navigator is the patron saint of boatmen and travellers. The carving was taken from the Kilnaruane Pillar Stone which overlooks Bantry Bay in County Cork, Ireland.

Stone carving of St Brendan’s Boat (partially hidden by rows of bunk beds).

It was odd not to hear the shouts of encouragement from spectators and not have the multitudes of people gathering around the riverbank, but all the rowers seemed to have enjoyed the day.

The Rotunda on the banks of the Lane Cove River, about 200m from the finish, would normally be filled with spectators.

The course is famous for having a dog-leg turn just pass the 1km point, with Lanes 1 and 2 taking the inside line, and all the other crews having to go around the leaning pile; the sight of a crashing crew is for all to see.

The regatta course

As you can see from the map, it is an open water race with no Albano buoys, making it important to take a good lead before the pole when being on the outside can challenge coxes taking the slight turn.

Many regattas depend on volunteers and this one had the benefit of experience from the college rowing master. Ably supported by volunteers, coaches and staff, the regatta went smoothly.

The prizes were presented by Dr Paul Hine, principal of St. Ignatius’ College (left). Jim Busteed is Assistant Master-in-Charge for Rowing (right).
The Men’s and Women’s Gold Cups, and gold presentation oars given to the winning crews.

The Women’s Gold Cup

The penultimate race was the Women’s Open Eight. With five crews competing, it was going to be an exciting race to watch.

Women’s Sydney Rowing Club at the start line for the Gold Cup
Race 66 Final:  Women’s Open Eight


Place Crew Lane       1400M Margins
1st SYDNEY 2 4:24.91 0.00
2nd SYDNEY UNI 1 3 4:27.75 2.84 +2.84
3rd SYDNEY UNI 2 1 4:49.91 22.16 +25.00
4th PYMBLE LADIES’ 4 5:01.79 11.88 +36.88

The winning crew, Sydney, in seat order: Grace Sypher, India Thomson, Caitlin McManus-Barrett, Niamh Graham, Georgia Bradley, Isabelle Furrer, Lauren Graham, Evie Thomson, Cox: Hannah Cowap, Coaches: Lachlan Carter, Donovan Cech.

The Women’s Open Eight Gold Cup winners from Sydney.
The Women’s Gold Cup and their associated gold presentation oars.

The Men’s Gold Cup

Men’s SUBC 1 in the lead of the first heat for the Gold Cup.

The Men’s race had two heats with the five crews in each heat, with the fastest five qualifying for the final. Sadly, Riverview were late for their heat, so the crew did not participate.

The start was close with Sydney RC 2 crew at about 100m having to be moved across as they were squeezing in the two clashing first crews of Sydney RC and Sydney Uni. From there, as expected, the race was between Sydney and Sydney University, with both these crews having to go around the Leaning pile buoy. It was at this buoy that Sydney 1 confirmed their dominance.

Race 67 Final:  Men’s Open Eight


Place Crew Lane       1400M Margins
1st SYDNEY 1 3 3:53.50 0.00
2nd SYDNEY UNI 1 4 3:56.49 2.99 +2.99
3rd UTS 2 4:00.34 3.85 +6.84
4th SYDNEY 2 5 4:05.67 5.33 +12.17
5th NEWINGTON 1 4:08.30 2.63 +14.80

The winning crew, Sydney 1, in seat order: Shane Mulvaney, Henry Furrer, Andy Hoffmann, Harry Crouch, Bradley Graham, Alex Nichol, Alexander Potter, Torun Olsson, Cox: Harry Keenan, Coaches: Donovan Cech, Shane Mulvaney.

The Men’s Open Eight Gold Cup winners, Sidney 1.
Close up of the gold presentation oar.

The Sydney RC crews were very happy, given that last year the Sydney University BC had taken the double.

Everyone is looking forward to next year’s regatta, hopefully with spectators.

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