The Rowathon Day
The Flying Doctor Rowathon is an annual one day marathon row held on the Darling and Murray Rivers and hosted by Wentworth District Rowing Club (WDRC) in Wentworth, New South Wales. It is the longest one day marathon rowing regatta in Australia and raises funds for the Royal Flying Doctor Service. In 2023 we again raised funds for their Wellness (Mental Health) Programs in remote communities.
The 2023 Rowathon Experience started on Friday afternoon with boat rigging at Avoca on Darling, north of Pomona and collection of Rowathon information from WDRC.
The traditional informal BBQ dinner hosted by WDRC commenced at approximately 6.00pm. It was an opportunity to relax with crew and enjoy the sunset reflections over the Darling River. There was ample parking by the river and this was also the location for the pre-regatta breakfast on Saturday morning.
The program was as follows:
Breakfast was available at WDRC by the river bank from about 5.30am on Saturday morning. After participants filled their tummies with yummy goodness the first leg crews travelled to Avoca Station north of Pomona on the Old Darling Road.
Full crew instructions including maps of the course were given out in the week before the Rowathon, at the Friday evening BBQ and during breakfast, before the start.
Participants could review the course on the river charts from the "Charts & Maps" menu. The first leg took in chart "Darling chart 3" and crews rowed approximately 30km down the Darling River to the Hills private property which is close to the 22Km river marker - ref "Darling chart 2". After morning tea, a rest and crew changes, crews rowed approximately 20km down stream to WDRC for lunch and a well earned rest.
We had to change the finish place due to the Murray River conditions at Fort Courage. Read on.......
After lunch, crews in the third and final leg (approximately 30km) rowed down to lock 10 where they gathered as a group before passing through the lock then rowed down the Murray and turned up The Great Darling Anabranch and rowed upstream to the finish. - ref "Murray Below Lock 10" chart and additional maps below. This was the first time the Rowathon had been down the Murray and up the Anabranch so what an experience for the 3rd leg crews.
See maps below.....
Boats were loaded on to trailers, crews into support vehicles/buses for the trip back to WDRC and some well deserved cheer.
So the approximate distances were:
1st leg = 30km; 2nd leg = 20km and 3 leg = 30km
A flat fee pays for breakfast, morning tea, lunch and end of rowing snacks. It is not necessary to take cutlery or crockery to the row, as everything is provided at the meal stops. Nor will you need to take any money, as you will have paid for your meals with your registration.
The day finishes with the Survivor's Dinner in the WDRC boat shed where crews can compare great rowing feats, times and sore parts, always with a deal of satisfaction.
The dinner is paid with the entry form. During the evening we will auction a limited number of special items to raise funds for the RFDS.
We also expect to have a stall near the WDRC boat shed, at the end of the day, selling local produce and donated items, again to raise funds for the RFDS.
The Rowathon is not necessarily a race, but there are some serious records to be broken by those who enjoy a challenge. Crews will be timed over the three legs of the course and the aggregates compared for awarding the trophies. If you and your crew want it to be less competitive, you can enjoy an extraordinary row at a more leisurely pace along the beauty and grandeur of our nations great rivers.
Generally, crews have rest breaks on the water every 20 - 25 minutes, as well as taking three formal breaks on the riverbank with their Support Crews. Above and below the morning, lunch and afternoon stops there will be signs marking the points at which your boat will be timed in and out of each of these two formal breaks. Times do not significantly count for the Jack Joel Trophy but are of great interest to crews which, by rowing the full distance unchanged, vie for the Ian Law Trophy. We also have the Col Rogers Trophy for the "Fastest Boat" over the course with crew changes allowed and the Wentworth Perpetual Trophy for the fastest boat with no changes doing just the half marathon (first two legs). So "be in it to win it."
Location Maps for the 2023 Flying Doctor Rowathon including roads to get to the stops.