The Great ‘Brittish’ Boat Race at the 2017 Buffalo Regatta

We all know Lawrence Brittain as one half of SA’s silver medal-winning duo from the Rio Olympics (along with Shaun Keeling). We’ve seen the guys in the RMB Thinking. Pulling. Together. ad and taken them on road shows around the country to talk about their journey to the podium in Rio. But did you know that Lawrence’s entire family is involved in rowing? Team ‘Great Brittain’ will be rowing together for the first time ever at the Buffalo Regatta in East London in February – sponsored by CN&CO client EasyEquities. Lawrence sent us this blog about the occasion…

By Lawrence Brittain

You can definitely say that we are rowing family, with the whole family having earned our South African colours for rowing. Our dad, David, raced for South Africa in the 90s, our mom, Danielle, is our Olympic team doctor and all four brothers – Matthew, myself, James and Charles – have earned our Green and Gold.

Many years ago we came up with the idea to row together. Imagine what a beast crew we would form! At first it was just a dream, with most of us still at school and with no idea how the future would play out. We knew that a lot of things would have to line up for us to pull of such a feat! In the year after the Olympic Games we have a bit more flexibility to try out crews that slave driver South African rowing coach Roger Barrow wouldn’t ordinarily allow so we are jumping at the chance to put together the greatest Brittain crew since Sir Steve Redgrave!

The Buffalo Regatta is held in East London in February. With it comes the most prestigious race on the South African rowing calendar: The Grand Challenge. The challenge is entering its 130th year in 2017, making it one of South Africa’s oldest sporting events.

The trophy alone is something spectacular. The story goes that the original trophy was destroyed in a fire when the price of silver was incredibly low. So when insurance paid out, the new trophy was 10 times the size and nearly as big as the rowers who compete for it!

Going through the crew from front to back:

  • In the Stroke seat, and setting the pace, we have the youngest and toughest brother, Charles, who got so tough through years of torment and suffering growing up with three older brothers. He is keen to have a turn setting the rhythm and tempo himself for a change.
  • I will take the Three seat, bringing a sense of calm to the crew as well as plenty of Watts. The Three seat is often called the slave seat and that is exactly what I will be doing as I bring my experience from the Rio Olympics to the crew.
  • In the Two seat, with his impressive experience and leadership skills, we have our oldest and wisest brother, Matthew.
  • The last time Matt raced a rowing race he brought the country to a standstill by storming through the London Olympic final to rip the gold medal from the Brits and Danes in that fantastic sprint. We know that four years of cycling and living the dream won’t have done anything to dampen his competitive spirit. Everyone’s eyes will be on him as they watch this Olympic champion’s epic comeback with great interest – no one less so than his wife Alicia Brittain as she will not want to become a rowing widow again!
  • In the Bow seat we have our technical guru, James. He will bring a massive amount of technical skill from years in the single into this seat. We will need his finesse and strength to drag the crew across the line first.

Follow us as we prepare to take on the best on the Buffalo in February 2017! We’ll be posting on our blog (currently in development) as well as on Instagram (@brittainmatthew, @Brittain_L@BrittainJames and @CharlesBrittain) and Twitter (@brittainmatthew, @Brittain_L, @BrittainJames and @CABrittain).