The Royal St. John's Regatta - 1982 - 2003 Era Summary
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1982 - 2003: Era Summary
The Era from 1982 - 2003, like all others before, has its highs and lows.

The record returns to Outer Cove

In an amazing display of athletics, the crew of Coxswain Mike Power, Andrew Boland, Bert Hickey, Campbell Feehan, Gerard Ryan, Jim Hibbs and Owen Deveraux shattered the newly set record of 9:12.04 by coming in at 9:03.48. This prompted spectators and officials to wonder - when will the nine minute barrier fall?

In women's competition of 1982, the General Hospital crew consisting of Daurreen McGruer, Susan Greene, Jennifer Ryan, Corinne Gillespie, Janet Preston, Linda Preston and Coxswain Mike Summer Jr., took their third championship race. They set a new course record of 5:29.11. By this time, the women's races were dominating the Regatta.

In 1583, Sir Humphrey Gilbert made his now famous claim on Newfoundland as Britain's first colony. The Regatta of 1983 was named the "Gilbert" Regatta in honor of this historical claim from 400 years ago.

First female committee member

Another testimony to the contribution of women in the Regatta came when Ms. Gail Malone became the first woman elected to the Regatta Committee, reflecting the growing impact that women make to the sport of rowing.

A crowd of people around the CLB concession booth
The 1985 Regatta
(Year: 1985, Size: 46kB, Source: G. Boland).
In 1985, a new record time of 9:01.58 was recorded by the Smith-Stockley crew, but it was later recanted by the Regatta Committee due to malfunctions in the unofficial boathouse clock and the clock on the Smith-Stockley boat. Other clocks confirmed a time of 9:04.38. Once this was verified the official time was changed to 9:04.38. While this was a stinging disappointment to the crew, it shows that the 9 minute barrier was coming within reach and should soon fall.

In 1986, crews started to use carbon fiber oars, which replaced the wooden oars in use since 1896. Carbon fiber oars are much lighter than wooden oars, weighing only 7 pounds each. This made for much easier rowing and a reduction on the drag weight of the wooden oars.

For the first time, the Regatta Coat of Arms was designed and displayed. This crest was later modified in 1993 when the designation "Royal" was given to the St. John's Regatta. A detailed description of the post-1993 Regatta Coat of Arms is in the heraldry portion of this website.

Hall of fame

In 1987, the long awaited St. John's Regatta Hall of Fame was started. That year, nine individuals and two crews were inducted. This gave the Hall of Fame Committee a solid base to begin inductions in upcoming years.

Also in 1987, the famous Coxswain James Ring died. The loss of "Skipper" Ring saddened the Regatta and Newfoundland sports community.

Three of four crews competing in the championship race refuse to row claiming poor weather conditions. Smith-Stockley, Giant Construction and H.M. Penitentiary bowed out of the championship race. The Chief Judge on the course ordered the race started even though the only crew to appear at the start line was the Police crew. The Police crew ran the course with a time of 9:29.34 and secured their first championship win in 30 years.

At the 1989 Regatta, a new course record of 9:01.17 was set by RNC-Lakeshore Homes crew rowing in the Blue Peter in the Championship Race. Worthy of note is the fact this crew broke the nine minute barrier during a practice, coming in at 8:58.45 just days before the Regatta. Unfortunately this time was not recorded as official as it happened during a practice.

Just weeks before the 1991 Regatta, five new Regatta racing shells were christened on Wednesday July 3rd, at the Quidi Vidi boathouse. They new shells were named Captain Morgan (Seagram's), Miss Molson (Molson Breweries), Good Luck (Newfoundland Margarine Company), Miss Labatt (Labatt Breweries) and the Dictator (Crosbie Industrial).

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