Saturday 19 November 2011

Winter head

The Winter Head is when all the world comes to Cambridge. Or so it seems, from the crush at the start on our little provincial river.


Here is the crowd milling around before division 2 [Note: the pic is 800 px wide, so isn't all visible on a small screen. In which case, you can click on the pic for a full view]. It was a gorgeous day - fortunately we had an odd number so were on the towpath side so got to get out, stretch, relax, have a nice wee, and sit on the convenient bench in the glorious sunshine and watch the poor folk on the far side in the shade.

Notice how some of the boats on the banks are facing the Wrong Way. This is because - we can only assume - Cantabs have Tideway envy. However what they forgot is that the Tideway is really very wide, and there is lots of spare room to spin. The Cam is rally very narrow, and there is just room to squeak an VIII round, when there is a boat on the bank on both sides. Anyway, I should not cavil, because it was a jolly nice day.

winter-head-speed Those are the speeds from my GPS watch, for the "M1" crew in division 2 and the "M2" crew in division 3. Conditions were very good, and similar, for both divisions. M1 probably averaged, by eye, about 16 kph (perhaps a fraction slower) which is 1:52.5 (if it were 15.5, it would be 1:56. If you thought the course was 2500m (I do) and believed our 9:32 time, its 1:54.5). M2 averaged perhaps 14 kph which is 2:08.6 (giving no allowance at all for the Cam's sluggish flow). Note that the trough-then-peak about 4/5 of the way in, on both traces, is associated with the railway bridge: I think the trace gets thrown off there. There is clearly an offset on the rowcoach (well, of the impeller really) of perhaps :10, it would be nice to do some exact tests with that sometime.

Err, so, how did we do? OK I think - nothing too spectacular, but it was a decent row for M1. I never know what to say about the actual races: we're big boys now, no-one catches crabs and its a head race, so nothing interesting happens. And also for M2, though a few pips lower and the fitness started to tell past Ditton corner. Oh yes, and we had the excitement of being passed by CUWBC (featuring, I think, Anna) on Ditton corner. I really should have kept to the Plough side of Plough reach and let them come through that way, but we'd (we'd? I'd) taken a wide line around Grassy so I stayed on that side, sort-of hoping they might take the outside line on Ditton, but if course they didn't. In the end, all that happened was we went a bit wide on Ditton, too.


The finish of division 2 was a bit chaotic, too. All went well initially - boats came through, some stopped on Stourbridge - but then eventually they started to back up, until by the end there was barely space for boats to get over the line, as here (the finish line is from about where the most distant banked VIII). At one point there was the terrible crunching noise of honeycomb breaking, as someone backed their VIII perpendicularly into the side of one on the bank. Oops.


M1 and M2 had decided to swap over on Stourbridge common, because we were in successive divisions and feared getting stuck. In retrospect, and because M1 was 215 - ie, close to the head of the division amongst competent boats - we'd have been better off changing over at Peterhouse. Landing space on Stourbridge is at something of a premium, and the second crew gets a short warmup, and there is the hassle of not starting and finishing at the same place. However, it did mean we could visit the cake stall.


Link to the results.

M1 (9:32, 70th overall, 3rd in IM3 class): Cox: Simon. Str: Kate (welcome back for a special guest appearance), James H, Andy S (taking a brief break from the olympics), Will W, Chris W, William D, Paul "loves the cock" Holland, Bow: William C.

M2 (10:35, 4th in Nov class): Cox: William C. Str: Steve Gull, Ralph, Eben Upton, Brian McGuinness, Dave R, Dave B, Paul H, Simon.

W4+ (11:55, 3rd in Nov class): Cox: Meg. Str: Joss, Mel, Sarah, Anne.

W8 (11:41, 3rd in Nov class): Cox: Cox Alison. Str: Laura, Janice, Lorraine, Annie, Bev, Jo, Meg, Amy.

(Amy also rowed with her UCL crew).

More pix at flickr.

1 comment:

  1. The organisers request that those crews/boats racing n adJacent divisions change at Stourbridge. I suspect much of the chaos arose from the division running late (late finishers) in conjunction with off-cam crews boating at Stourbridge and more boats arriving from town for the next division - all converging on the same stretch of river att the same time.