Not so successful this year as, despite several good performances, we came away empty handed. The weather this time was absolutely glorious (resulting for many of us in the club having an early appearance of the flattering uni-suit tan lines), really sunny, warm and virtually no wind. Top conditions and the river was pretty high but surprisingly little stream running.
First division saw the “usual suspects” Womens’ IM2 4+ boat out, together with a Womens’ Novice 4+ boat (with Esther in her first race). I was coxing the IM2 boat and didn’t get a good line, especially around the right angle corner. This wasn’t helped by being overtaken by a Wallingford crew on the corner and having the marshal screaming at us to “get over”. As we were on the buoys, we couldn’t have got further over without cutting inside the corner (and getting disqualified/time penalised) or swerving across the other boat to get to the other side. Still, we weren’t the only crew on the wrong end of this marshal’s ire (including where he was yelling at a boat using the wrong number).
Second division saw our quad out, a really strong row and a decided novelty as we overtook an eight! OK, it was a ladies novice crew, but still quite impressive. This had Tim sitting in for Pierre-Yves, who was stuck in France, courtesy of the Icelandic volcano! Overall, we placed second in the category and (smug grin) put up the fastest MK time (beating the IM3 boat by 7 seconds).
Next up in Division 3 was another Womens’ IM2 boat with Lindy subbing for Paula. Helen J coxed this one and absolutely nailed the corner – al the more impressive as I think this was the first time she’s coxed a race (and definitely her first coxing at Abingdon). Following them down the river were Tim and Josh, reprising their successful combination at Bedford. Not to be today, they ran into some traffic and the row didn’t go as well either.
Fourth division was our busiest with four crews out. First was an IM3 4x-, featuring a new line up with Tom, Simon, Josh and Tim (again should have had Pierre-Yves but Tom stepped in). Two more ladies’ boat were next, chasing each other down, leading to some very hard competition. Finally, it was Steve and I in the double.
Some good racing and the boating is so well organised. Can’t say the same about the start marshalling (disorganised) nor the marshal on the big corner (unnecessarily aggressive) but overall still worth attending – just.
Must rant about the competency of some coxes though. Especially with junior crews, the fact someone is small doesn’t qualify them to cox a boat! Some of the junior crews have no idea about manoeuvring a boat or steering a sensible course. No idea how you’d do it but I do feel a “certificate of competency” for coxing is needed before there’s a big accident because a kid gets into an impossible situation. What do other people think?