Our first time out at this event saw a couple of wins and some very interesting racing in the Regatta. It was a long, long day, leaving the club house at 6:00 a.m. to get to Cambridge in time to boat for Division 1 at 8:30. The first crew off was the Women’s S3 8+ crew in the Head2Head – a mere 2.6km paddle down the Cam. Trouble is, you then turn round and do it again in reverse. Some of those corners are seriously wicked as well. The next crew out was the coxless quad; this started out as a Vet B crew but as one of us had to drop out we shifted to a S3 4x and added our nominal vet male (actually, a 17 year old female…). Still, it worked as we posted the fastest time for a quad!!! OK, we were the ONLY quad, but it still sounds good.
On to the regatta in the afternoon. We had a prime view, boating from Pembroke College BC (courtesy of knowing the VC!), of the sheer mayhem at the start. Side by side racing here is not for the faint hearted, with the first half dozen races resulting in as many clashes, with large numbers of enforced crabs. Still, great fun if you were watching.
Our first crew in the regatta was the Women’s Novice 4, who won their first round against CCRC. Having watched previous races, our ladies were ready when the inevitable happened and the two crews clashed blades almost straight off the start. They held on well and were sure of the win when CCRC crabbed near the end. This race and the exertions of the Head2Head caught up with them in the final, when they lost out to Cambridge 99’s.
Next up were the S3 Quad – thanks to the Rob Roy crew who agreed to the status change from Vet. This was a really hard race but our crew finally ran out winners by 1/3 length. Not bad for a crew that hadn’t rowed together before and had one crewman in his first ever sculling race.
Last crew of the day were Steve and I as Men’s Vet C 2x. Not a good race, with me losing count of the number of crabs and fluffed strokes over the 400m course.
It was certainly an interesting, event packed day. First off, I’d told Graham the wrong time to meet at the club house, so he had to drive over, having got to a deserted club house an hour after we’d gone. Then Terri and Charlene arrived late, having waited for the trailer (which was in front of them). Next drama was putting the eight in the river, when Karen noticed a rather large amount of water coming in through the join – those wing nuts seemed like a good idea at the time, but you can’t tighten them enough.
Later on, when going to rig the four, we found we’d remembered the boats and blades, but there was a marked shortage of riggers. Real thanks to Champions of the Thames for loaning us a boat, allowing the girls to race (cueing great celebrations from Charlene when she found it was stroke rigged instead of our usual bow rigging, meaning she didn’t need to stroke).