Author: Anne Kilian
Our marketing team from the organising committee for WRMR 2023 visited Euro Masters in Bled from 15 to 19 September 2021. We had literally two weeks to get ready for the trip, but when Sam Hudson gets focussed nothing can stop her! The team went equipped with WRMR banners and posters, South African kit, South African music, South African biltong, South African drinks, South African games and more. We were determined to be the loudest and liveliest stand at the regatta. I think we achieved that!!!
Thank you to the Euro Masters organisers lead by Oliver Bettzieche and Jernej Slivnik who gave us a great welcome and were warm and friendly hosts. Thank you to Horst Borchert from New Wave who made sure our WRMR2023 caps were there for us to give out as prizes!
Bled - a great meeting place for rowers
Rowing on Lake Bled was an amazing experience. A most beautiful venue with saphire blue, crystal clear water! On the first day we met the author of Rowing to Niagara Falls and Rowing Through the Barbed Wire Fence (Rima Karaliene). We also accosted many unsuspecting Europeans and taught them the basics of African dancing to Mango Groove, a popular South African band from the 1980's.
As per the forecast for Bled in September, on day one of rowing the heavens opened. We were all drenched, but nothing that a shot of South African Amarula in coffee couldn't fix. We encouraged visitors to the event to come past our stand, shout AMARULA and get a free shot of Amarula in their coffee. It was a great hit!
We also met high ranking rowing officials from Slovenia and Munich, as well as Janez Fajfart - the mayor of Bled. Of course, they all tried - and loved - Amarula!
The Croatian team tried their hand at Beer Pong, and have promised to practise more before they challenge us again in 2023 at the World Masters Regatta in Tshwane.
South African rowers at Bled
There were eight South African rowers at the event. They all performed really well with wins from our ladies double - Sam Johnson and Rene Brovelli; the mixed quad - Rene Brovelli, Kevin Spence, Ian Johnson and Sam Johnson; and ladies single sculls - Sam Johnson.
The Turkish mixed quad whom our South African quad beat across the line in a fraction of a second, have promised a re-match in 2023.
I worked on building international bridges and rowed a double with Bjorn Saga from Norway. We beat a couple from the USA who are determined to up their game and challenge us in 2023!
Spreading the word about WRMR 2023
Overall the feedback about the World Masters Regatta coming to South Africa was very positive. Some people were concerned about the long flight. But, assuring them that "we're just a sleep away with free wine on the plane", seemed to calm that concern.
We also confirmed that the regatta is being held at a time of year when the temperature is comfortable (mid 20's) and the wind and rain conditions are perfect for rowing. There is also no need to worry about tsetse fly or malaria.
There were lots of questions about boat rentals and we have promised everyone we will get back to them with more details. We are planning tiered rentals with a range of prices.
Help WRMR 2023 spread the word even wider
We had a 20% increase in Facebook followers and newsletter signups. We need to grow our reach even more. Help spread the word about WRMR 2023 by inviting your friends to follow our facebook page and invite them to signup for our monthly newsletter.