THE three day Taree Summer Regatta to be conducted this weekend is the first major event hosted by Manning River Rowing Club since a destructive storm smashed the clubhouse on Saturday, March 9 last year.
The storm hit midway through the Central Districts Regatta.
The clubhouse roof was ripped off and there was extensive damage to the upstairs section. Two people were taken to hospital following the maelstrom with minor injuries while a number of boats were damaged.
The upstairs section of the club remains off limits.
"It's a construction site,'' club publicity officer Hugh McLeod said.
This will impact on this weekend's regatta, with operations that are usually based in the clubhouse moved to a marquee.
McLeod said despite the inconvenience the club's membership has remained steady.
"We had to stop the indoor rowing program we ran at the club and that was a blow. But a few of the people who were involved with that have switched to outdoor events,'' he said.
"We've also picked up a few new junior rowers.''
For the second successive year the club won't be represented in the Stacks Finance-Croker Oars mixed eight race tomorrow, the regatta's blue ribbon event. Fifteen crews will contest the 1000 metre race, the same number as 2019.
"With everything else that's gone on this year, it just didn't happen,'' McLeod said.
He said the club will again host the Central Districts Regatta this March. This attracts clubs from Grafton to the Central Coast.
The club is currently raising funds to rebuild the headquarters. The new design would allow for larger floor space, modern facilities and wheelchair access. However, McLeod agreed there's a long way to go before this becomes a reality.
The club has been in its present site since 1957, although it had to be rebuilt after being damage caused during the 1978 flood.
Meanwhile, rowing this weekend starts at 2pm today. There'll be an 8am start tomorrow and again on Sunday.