Looking at the international calendar for the year 2000, we have plenty in store. We pick out the major highlights below. In due course we will cover more of the venues for this big rowing bonanzas.
The winter thaws in the northern hemisphere, and while the southern countries are starting their selection process, the CRASH-B's (aka the World Indoor Rowing Championships) kick off the competitive spirit in Boston, USA. Meanwhile Europe sees the first FISA regatta of the new millennium, with the FISA Cup in Seville.
With a late Easter, this year the Gent International Regatta in Belgium, first of the northern world rowing season, is much earlier than usual.
May is the busy month, everyone getting in as much side-by-side practice as possible. As the world rowing season wakes up, the big regattas are pretty well all in the north, including Munich Juniors, Duisberg International, and Mannheim International.
June sees the beginning of the Zurich Rowing World Cup 2000, with the first two regattas in Munich and in Vienna this year. Winners of each regatta get medals, and those leading on points in between are awarded the yellow jersey. Right at the end of the month the five-day Henley Royal Regatta begins.
Henley Royal finishes off, and two weeks later Lucerne Regatta takes over the Rotsee Lake, ending the run of three World Cup regattas, when the overall trophies are presented in each of the Olympic boat classes. For those interested in rowing sight-seeing, Lucerne is popularly suggested to be the best regatta to watch: top-class international racing in a beautiful setting, and quite frequently more records broken than a World Championships. July also has the regattas for younger international competitors, including the Nations Cup (in Copenhagen this year), Coupe de la Jeunesse (Sempach, Switzerland), and the GB Home International, this year likely to be in Gent, Belgium. For the traditionalists, the Doggetts Coat and Badge race between apprentice watermen takes place in July, a test of skill and tactics on the Tideway.
'Tis the season to be up mountains: the Olympians all finish their altitude training and get ready for the jamboree ahead, while the non-Olympic boat classes and Juniors race at the World Championships, this year in Zagreb, Croatia. Another feast of rowing: the Worlds in an Olympic year are always huge due to the combination of two regattas, and with plenty of time before the big Five-Rings-Party, headlines are waiting to be made. At the end of the month, the FISA Masters, this year in Hazewinkel (Belgium) are a bit earlier than usual.
Probably the only rowing news you'll get this month is going to be about the Olympics, taking over the Penrith course at Sydney during the first week of the Games. This is when the hard work of the last four years comes to a head for the top oarsmen and women in the world, and heroes and heroines will be made every day. Be warned - tickets started selling like hot cakes many months ago, and being more than just a rowing regatta, the Olympics is not the kind of event where you will be able to walk in and help out as a volunteer unless you've already arranged it. We suggest go and camp out beside your telly, preferably with your body clock on Australian time.
Phew! All over for another Olympiad, but of course the rowing calendar carries on. This month we have the Great River Race in London, the Head of the Charles in Boston (USA) and late on, the Armada Cup in Berne, Switzerland. And as the colder northern countries get iced off their lakes, the southern continents are the place to be, for some warm-weather rowing.