Rowers battled through rainy weather at last September’s Head of the River regatta at Blackie Spit.

Rowers battled through rainy weather at last September’s Head of the River regatta at Blackie Spit.

Rowers ready for Head of Nicomekl regatta

Nicomekl Rowing Club to host competitors from across B.C. and Washington this weekend.

The Nicomekl Rowing Club’s annual regatta has a new name, new medals for winners – and the same high-level of competition that rowers have come to expect.

This year’s event at Blackie Spit, now in its 22nd year, has been rebranded as the Head of the Nicomekl – as opposed to the former, less-specific name, the Head of the River – with racing set to begin Saturday at 11:30 a.m., with a second slate of races, in various divisions, set for 2:30 p.m.

Rowers will begin the 5.7-km course at a dock near the Nicomekl River dam, and traverse the winding route all the way to the Crescent Beach pier.

“The rowers really enjoy the challenge of the race, and the (winding) course,” said regatta chair Cathy Cotter, adding that interest in the event has grown in recent years.

“We’ve really had some growing numbers.”

This year, competitors from 14 different clubs are registered, with rowers coming from the Lower Mainland, as well as from Vancouver Island, the B.C. Interior and as far south as Seattle.

The Saturday event – which the Nicomekl club is trying to grow into something of a community celebration, Cotter said – also coincides with a second regatta the following day, held by the Delta Deas Rowing Club.

With the two events held in such close proximity to each other, many rowers will double-dip and compete in both, Cotter added.

The Nicomekl event will feature races in various classes and divisions, organized by number of rowers, age, gender and boat-type – and at the end of the day, a weighted points system will determine who wins the coveted Head of the Nicomekl title.

Last year’s title was claimed by Whistler Rowing Club’s Maureen Harriman, who will be back this year to defend her crown.

Cotter said she hoped this weekend’s weather will be better than at last year’s regatta – in which rowers competed in heavy rain – but regardless, expected to see plenty of competitive races this time around.

“Once you get out there and you’re rowing, you don’t even notice the rain.” she said.

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