SOME 500 rowers launched on the Wye in beautiful sunshine for Monmouth Regatta at the weekend.

Racers from more than 30 clubs launched out for some 250 races at the event, which dates back 90 years.

And local crews did a good job of defending home waters, winning no less than 19 events.

Monmouth School RC won eight events, Monmouth Comprehensive five trophies, Monmouth School for Girls four and the town club, who manned and ran the regatta, two.

Saturday’s 1500m event saw 170 crews and singles compete in 123 races, and Sunday’s 700m sprint had 135 boats entered, with 90 races, and the event running exactly to time.

Warwick University took the Blue Riband men’s 8s for the Phil Mathew Claret Jug from City of Bristol, while Bath University beat Warwick to the Alec Woods Ladies Plate women’s 8s, both sponsored by Pol Roger Portfolio, who donated a special bottle of champagne to each crew.

Monmouth Comprehensive’s U16 quad scull Archie Barrell, Archie Cowton, Sam Chilton and Isaac Thomson won their final from a crew of club mates on Saturday, while Maddie Dickens and Seren Van Der Horst took the U18 girls’ pairs from Thames club Staines.

Elliot Lynch-Warden and Lewis Edwards saw off Cardiff University to take men’s pairs, and William Morrison, Joseff Jones, Barney Shaw, David Casadesus-Hall and cox Nathan McAuliffe were U14 quad scull winners from rivals Monmouth School.

U15 quadruple scull Lewys Baker, Sandy Kohler, Cameron Hewson, Charlie Bull and cox Nya Stevens also won, beating a crew of schoolmates in their final.

School coaches Matt Royston and Zach Salmon also raced on Sunday, giving Monmouth School’s men’s open pair James Loose and Patrick Stubbs a decent race, but losing out by a couple of lengths.

MSRC won both Band 1 and 2 U15 singles through Oliver Smith and Kopano Malti on Saturday, and the club added six more wins on Sunday after returning from the National Schools’ Regatta on the London 2012 Olympic lake the day before.

As well as the pair, it was an all MSRC final in the open fours final, where the verdict was just a canvas to Jacob Hartley, George Whittal Williams, Benjamin Holley, Alex Warner and cox Ben Jennery.

But it was comfortable in the open 8s – Charlie Parr, Kopano Malti, Alec Scales, Zac Humphrey Phelps, Sam Carver, James Wardle, Oliver Smith, Rhys Davies and cox Jennery racing to victory after City of Bristol crabbed 200m from the line.

And they also won U14 and U15 doubles, though Zak Coxon/Henry Masters and Oliver Smith/James Wardle, plus U18 singles as Jacob Hartley beat his Dart opponent by just over 2L.

MSG’s Sophie Baker, Freya Laws, Nikki Matheussen, Gemma Allen, Grace Jones, Carys Shilcock, Sophie Morrison, Elina Wright and cox Abbie Morgan won open women’s 8s by just over 1L from a crew of schoolmates on Sunday, while Sienna McKenna, Emily Tyler, Anna Swartz, Grace Lewis and cox Annabelle Lewis took U14 quads by 3/4L.

Cerys Lewis, Gemma Allen, Ailsa Whitehead, Freya Laws, and cox Hattie McAninly also won U16 fours by 2.5L, and Eva Hutchings and Hannah Jones also triumphed in women’s pairs.

Monmouth RC’s Sue Smith, Kathryn Diserens, Shelagh Sawyer, Gail Adams, Dawn Brace, Amanda Snelson, Frances Lester, Bonita Birkett and cox Teresa McCarthy won women’s Masters D (over 50) 8s from local rivals Ross by just 1/2L.

And that was the same margin when Tim Earnshaw beat serial World Masters medallist Pete Atkinson from Dart in the MF/G (over 60-65) singles.

Monmouth RC’s regatta sponsors also included – Abbie Carpets, Monnow Eyecare, Haberdashers’ Monmouth Schools, Hancocks of Monmouth Butchers, Brunel Insurance, Kingstone Brewery, Monmouth MOT Centre, Five Acres Hire, Towergate Insurance, Tod Security & Fire, Kilsby Williams, Monmouth Chiropractic Clinic, Paul Jarrold Tyres, Monmouth Canoe Hire and Blaentrothy Cottages.

Friends of the Lower River Wye, who are campaigning to save the river from phosphate pollution, also had a stand at the regatta, which was attended by Monmouth MP David Davies, Monmouth ward county councillor Catherine Fookes and town mayor Tom Kirton.

Two Warwick University rowers who both discovered rowing at the London Youth Rowing inner city project - Audrey Fidegnon and Petra Webb - celebrated the former’s last regatta for her club by racing a double scull together for the first time, thanks to Monmouth RC lending them a boat and blades, which they both described as a ‘fantastic’ experience.

And Aberystwyth University BC, who were resurrected after some 40 years, three years ago, enjoyed a first ever win in quadruple sculls, plus a singles win, thanks to being loaned MRC equipment.