July 23, 1978

Kennebecasis Wins Renforth Trophy

Click here to see full size. WIN TROPHY - This crew from the Kennebecasis Rowing Club took home the Renforth Trophy at the Renforth Regatta Saturday for winning the big race of the day, the open men's four. From left are Henry Flood, Brian Flood, John Allan and Rick Cassidy.

The fog has only begun to clear Saturday morning when a cry of "Here they come!" ran out on Renforth Wharf and the first rowing competition kicked off the final day of the Renforth Regatta. Saturday's rowing event highlighted the week-long regatta's final day, which began at. 9 a.m. with children's swimming races and ended at 9 p.m. with a dance at the Renforth Community Centre.

In between were field sports, helicopter rides, a biergarten, sailing races between the Royal Kennebecasis Yacht Club and the Rothesay Yacht Club and canoe tilting.

The Mic Mac Rowing Club of Dartmouth, N.S. was the overall winner of the Renforth events, but on Sunday the same crews competed in Fredericton and the Kennebecasis Rowing Club was the overall winner of Sunday's events by a large margin.

At Renforth, the Mic Mac Club won the lightweight four with cox, the men's open four with cox, women's pair, women's eight and the men's open eight with cox.

The Kennebecasis Club was second over-all at Renforth with wins in the men's lightweight four, the open men's four and the men's open pair. The Kennebecasis Club captured the Renforth Trophy as open four winner which had gone to the North Star Rowing Club of Dartmouth last year. The open four is the big event.

The North Star Club came in the third overall at Renforth with a win in the women's four with cox. The Fredericton Rowing Club did not win any races Saturday and placed fourth over-all.

In Fredericton, the Kennebccasis Club won the light four with cox, men's open pair, straight four men's race, and the men's eight to take a commanding over-all lead.

The Mic Mac Club slipped into second with wins in the women's pair, and women's eight-dash.

North Star was third overall with wins in the women's four with cox and the eight-dash.

The Fredericton Club was again in fourth place with no wins.

In sailing races Saturday at the Renforth Regatta, the Royal Kennebecasis Yacht Club cleaned up in the over-21 foot classes and the Rothesay Yacht Club took all the awards for smaller craft.

In Class A (over 30 feet) skipper Gordon Cobham piloted Abacana to first place followed by Myah skippered by Dr. Herman Sullivan and Marissa skippered by Ken Holt.

In Class B (21 to 30 feet) Squid skippered by D. Morgan led the field followed by Aquarius skippered by Mike Flewelling and Inferno skippered by Bill Shaw.

The fastest Hobie Catamaran was Sweet Sixteen skippered by Jeremy Fry of the Rothesay Club followed by No. 2237 skippered by A. Von and Fujimo skippered by A. Chapman.

In the under 21 foot class, Charles Fawcett skippered the fastest boat followed by boats skippered by K. Hunt and D. Regan.

The fastest cadet boat was skippered by Jim Mowatt with crew John Mowatt. Skipper Nora Grant and crew Marg Jones placed second and third place went to skipper Christine Tanas and Jim Ellis. All are from the Rothesay Club.

Hardly anyone noticed when the first rowing race began 1,000 metres up river from the wharf. Suddenly the four five-man shells were in plain sight, and as the black signet jerseys of the Kennebecasis team began to edge ahead, a crowd of spectators poured to the end of the wharf for a closer look.

But eager shouts of "C'mon, pull it up!" and "Beat Mic Mac!" turned out to be in vain. The home team lost its lead at the very last moment, and the red signet Dartmouth, N.S., team swept across the finish line first.

Undaunted were the six members of the Kennebecasis Rowing Club Inc. novice women's team who watched from the wharf. This is their first year with the eight-year-old club and now they were preparing to take part in what is believed to be the oldest continuing rowing event in Canada.

In fact, the Village of Renforth was named after James Renforth, a British rowing team member who suffered a fatal seizure at Renforth while rowing in competition with the famous Paris Team of Saint John, in 1867.

Their average age of 16 1/2 made these girls the youngest team in the water Saturday and they were preparing to meet in open competition with older, heavier and more experienced women's teams from the Mic Mac and North Star rowing clubs in Dartmouth, the Fredericton rowing club and the Kennebecasis club itself. Their coach had told them this is how to gain experience, if not victories.

Brenda Ahern, 18, her sister Connie, 16, Susan Kilpatrick, 17, Patricia Kempton, 16, Karen Colpitts, 16, and cox Theresa Sleigh, 16, all agreed their competitors had advantages in their greater strength. But there are advantages too in having less weight to pull through the water, and this is what these young women hoped to exploit.

The girls, all but one students at Kennebecasis Valley High School, started in February with weight lifting and jogging, and then took to the racing shells as soon as the ice left the Kcnnebecasis River.

Saturday's was the girls' third race. They came third early this summer at a competition in Dartmouth, beating out the Fredericton team. "That makes us the best in New Brunswick," said Miss Sleigh amid laughter from her teammates.

Their coach, Lorne Kilpatrick, was described as "a tough coach" by Miss Kempton. "But he's alright," added Miss Sleigh. They spoke admiringly of club captain Serge Bergeron, who they said had put in long hours of coaching.

The most important part of racing? "Getting the start," said Miss Sleigh. "You get a good start and you're ahead of everybody."

Mark Allen, 21, a graduate biology student at the University of New Brunswick, is in his sixth year with the Kennebecasis Club. He and his brother David have competed internationally, winning the national title at Montreal in 1977 in Pairs - and Straight Four classes. The also won the Junior Heavy Pair competition at the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta. He says dedication, discipline and endurance are what makes a good oarsman. Also timing and teamwork.

"You're only as good as the worst man on the boat," he said. "All team members have to be dedicated and all have to have the desire to win. And you have to be right together."