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A Short History of the Regatta

The 1958 Empire (as it was then) Games Regatta was held at Lake Padarn. The first eights race was between England, (N) Ireland, Scotland and Wales. This was thought to be something to be continued and in 1962 the first Home Countries International
Match was held, as part of the Serpentine Regatta in London. The team consisted of 9 men — an eight and a sculler. The events were 80, 4+, 1x, and then a relay race starting with the sculler, followed by two coxed fours. The course was 4 lanes wide and about 650 m. long — a start and 20 and then wind it up for the finish! I think the result was England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland. The Match ended with a Dinner, given by the sponsor, in a hotel near the regatta and then everyone went off to a disco at Thames R. C. at Putney. I still see friends from other countries that I made at that regatta.

After 3 years on the Serpentine the event went to other regattas, trying to find longer courses. Many stories are told of the adventures of team trailers and buses finding their way round country roads to obscure regatta venues. The venues eventually settled on Strathclyde in Scotland, Nottingham in England, lnniscara in Ireland, and Cardiff Bay. All the courses are at least 4 lanes wide and 2000 m. long (except Cardiff, 1500 m.) Junior men were introduced to the Match in 1967, A Women in 1969 and Junior Women in 1984. The events contested have changed over the years to reflect the increase in participation in the sport and the greater emphasis on sculling. So we now have coxed and coxless fours, pairs, 3 sculling events, as well as lightweight events. Adaptive races have been added, but not to count towards the team trophies.

The Home International has been, for some, the pinnacle of their rowing career; for others a first step on the road to World and Olympic Championships. Racing is always very hard fought, but after the race crews get together and many friendships are made. I know of one English man who was ‘kidnapped’ by his Irish opposition in the coxed fours and taken from Dublin to Belfast. l saw him later and all he would say was that he had the time of his life, but it took them 3 days to travel the 100 miles!

In 2012 we celebrated the 50"‘ anniversary of the first Match and there are some of us left who rowed in it.

David Porteus (Capt. Irish team 1962)
Secretary Home International Management Committee

More info from 1978 Programme

Click here to read more history of the event in the 1978 programme.