Monday, 19 November 2012

Winter head 2012, and farewell to Steven

406933_10100394072727260_2028389233_n First, read the Winter head 2011 post. It was sunny then.

Last year we (well, I'm writing this and I only care about "M1" :-) got 9:32: this year we got 9:16, so that's clearly an improvement. We still didn't win though - after age-adjustment, we came 2nd to Gripper's Wrinklies. Granta won overall in 8:20, but I don't think we're competing with them. This was also Steven Andrews' farewell row for the club - sob - <FX>wipes away tear, blows nose</FX> - although I for one welcome our new giant reptilian overlord.

The start and the marshalling was as farcical as last year, its almost as though they do it deliberately. The race was good and uneventful, except for us overtaking a ladies crew that had accidentally been entered as a mens VIII; happily they conceded us the inside of Ditton Corner, lord knows what would have happened if we'd had to unleash Tidy on them.

Cox: the firm hand of authority, in the shape on James Tidy. S: Andy Southgate; James Howard; Ollie Crabb; Steven Andrews; Tom "Welcome Return" Watt; Chris "Special Guest Star" Smith; Chris Wood; William Connolley.

Oh, and afterwards we went off to Clowns for breakfast, which was good. Then I escaped, but I gather a certain amount of watching-rugby-whilst-drinking-beer-in-the Rad went on. The evening saw a gathering at the Waterman for Katherine W's 40th, Steven's final appearance in a kilt, and some drunken balloon racing.

W VIII Division 2

215818_10100394073535640_378730439_n The ladies were also in div 2, but a bit later. I won't comment, but a certain well-known member of the ladies's side said on facebook "This appears to be a boat full of homeless, huddling with layers to fight off the cold!". Time 11:44, 4/8.

Cox: Ali. S: Anne; Joss; Lorraine; Sarah; Bev; Janice; Debbie; Annie.

W IV Division 1

417001_10100394068785160_1867729051_n That was in division 2. Division 1 was a bit damper, as the photo shows. Anne, Joss, Lorraine, Mel. And some rain. Coxed by Simon, I suspect. Time: 12:13, 3/7.

M VIII Division 2

540003_410813688988056_1896037074_n "M2" were in div 3, so "M1" swapped over at Stourbridge, which despite my comments about last year, worked OK this year. The weather got better for them. Time: 10:13, 5/5.

Cox: James T again. S: Andy "sucker for punishment" Southgate; Will "giant insect" Wykeham; William Dulyea; Simon Green; Luca Simonelli; Dave byrne; Paul "not a mason" Holland; Simon Emmings.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Vet’s Fours Head 2012

54720_10151163289905787_19433591_o [By Lorraine.]

Pic at start.
Somewhere else.
On facebook.

With the training done it was time to take lovely old Spare Rib down to a proper river - The Thames - for the Vet’s Fours Head. The race time was 1.30 so Anne, Joss, Alex and I set off at a leisurely 8.30 for our day trip to Town. It was a glorious Autumn day, blue skies and no wind as we headed into London to Tideway Scullers to pick up our number. Then off to Sons of the Thames Boatclub where we were boating from. Spare Rib was already there having gone down on the trailer the day before for the Fours Head. We met up with Robert, our cox, who had also been down in London coxing a City crew in the Fours Head the day before. With Spare Rib re-rigged we boated and set off up the Thames to our marshalling point on the Surrey bend. But there was a problem, the calls from our cox, harder on bowside followed by harder on stroke side becoming more and more frequent it quickly became apparent that we had no steering from the rudder. Were we going to have to scratch…racing 7km on the Thames with no rudder just wasn’t an option. Then everything suddenly got better, whatever Thames debris that was stuck on our rudder had obviously became unstuck. We managed to sidle up to a bowloader and get their cox to check our rudder who confirmed it was now clear, we could then “relax.” Although on the Thames with the flow you constantly have to tap just to stay in position. Before too long it was time for Division 4 to spin and out we went into the Thames and heading for the start at Chiswick Bridge…

And the race began. We were number 183 in the Master B category. As a rower the race itself passed in a manic blur. We were passed pretty much at the start by the winners of our category and by a couple of quads during the race, which is to be expected as they have eight blades and no cox! Robert kept us focussed with lots of encouraging calls. We kept a steady 30 strokes a minute and our splits averaged 1.40 - Thanks to the Thames stream!!! Coming under Hammersmith we heard Simon’s cheers “Come on Chesterton” which gave us a lift and then we knew we only had a Cam head course left to race! Then before we knew it Robert was calling for the last two minutes, we had a quad to hold off which we did and then it was wind it down and it was all over. Those of us in the bows were soaked through – thanks to Joss’s early catches and then we had the slow row back up to our boating point, coping with the chop and low flying geese. We were cold and wet but happy. We got the boat out of the water and then went into the Sons of the Thames bar for a well earned cup of tea. Then, de-rigging, boat-loading and home, via the CRA, to once again walk Spare Rib through the back streets of Cambridge safely into Peterhouse and home in time for Strictly!!!

Our time was 23.49 which was a three minute improvement on last year. We were 4th out of 5 in our category and 171st out of 199 boats to start, but were pleased with our performance and can’t wait to do it again. Rowing the Thames really is one of those must do experiences.