The Pambula masters women had an exhilarating finish; their winning streak was unbreakable to retain the competition crown.
But crew members said it was an unshakable bond that got them over the line. Kirsty Byrne and Amanda Rafferty were amazed by their crew “Pambula Power on’s” effort.
“It is the best team sport ever; out of all the sports there is nothing like it because you all have to be one unit,” said Rafferty.
“When someone was down we would all pick them up again; when someone is angry we make them happy,” she said.
With some new entries and revised rosters, Byrne said the defending champions were unsure what they might face and quickly realised it would not be a pushover.
“Torquay and the Broulee Bats were really pushing us, so it was a great feeling to win each day” Byrne said.
“Chris [Briggs] just pushed us the whole way, he still had us racing even as we turned that last corner in to Snug Cove.”
“It was not an easy race,” Briggs adds, “If they weren’t in front of us they were right behind and they pushed us all the way.”
Byrne and the sweep both agree it’s a phenomenal feeling to hit your home beach with a massive crowd of family, friends and supporters waiting eagerly at Pambula Beach.
“It’s absolutely sesnational to row into your home beach, we had line honours so to row in and see everyone there was unreal,” Briggs said.
“Just to have everyone their welcoming you in is hard to top it’s definitely the best feeling,” Byrne said, adding the Tathra leg was also a great finish. “The crowd at Tathra was amazing as well,” she said.
The crew claimed line honours as well in Eden to finish: “the elation that washes over you,” Briggs said. “You put in a year of work and then seven days in the boat and it’s all just come to fruition.”
Byrne said there was also a huge family atmosphere with plenty of partners and kids included in the camps and part of the preparations and support even if they weren’t rowing in the boat.
“Everyone is involved, they’re not excluded,” she said.
Briggs echoed the sentiment, adding that “you back up day after day for seven days, but you meet everyone along the way, the crews, the camping and presentations – I reckon everyone should join a club and get involved”.
“It’s just such a great event.”
He said it was almost a shame to finish and that he and his wife were “honestly feeling a little flat” the excitement had come to an end and Byrne felt similarly.
“You train for 6-12 months and then it’s all over,” she said, “But it’s a great feeling to finish and you have so many people congratulate you.
“We just want to say thank you to all our support crews, the followers and everyone in our clubs at home who cover our patrols as well.”