Cambridge Autumn Regatta 2010

A brilliant day out at Cambridge, with the largest ever entry from MKRC (both boats and people) including five men rowing for us for the first time, all capped by two wins. Both of these came in mixed events with Lindy and Tom racing in both. It was a really nice day as well, with good weather and everyone staying around all day. We certainly had one of (if not the) biggest bank side “camps” and a seriously impressive trailer load. Showing the recent growth in the club, this is also the first event that I can remember where both the Men and Women fielded an eight!

IM3 4+
A first outing for this crew, with Benn in his first race for the club. A hard race, against losing finalists First and Third Trinity, saw them beaten by one length. A pity that three of the crew will be back off to uni shortly as this boat shows great promise.

Mixed Novice 2x-
Tom and Lindy dominated this event, putting in two very strong races to beat both Deben and Peterborough with “easily” verdicts to win this category.

IM1 2-
Tim and Tom in a first outing in the pair had some steering issues that saw them finish well behind a Wolfson College crew. Still, it did give us the opportunity to sing “Happy Birthday” to Tom as they rowed past (this explains why both of them are grinning in the photos!).

Novice 4+
Quite a while since we were able to put out a mens’ novice boat. This featured Iain and Fred, two graduates of the “Learn to Row” course in their first ever race, plus Michael and David racing for MK for the first time. Being their first event, we weren’t expecting much but were very wrong – they gave a more experienced Star crew a good race, finishing just a length and a half down; a very creditable performance and augurs well for the future.

IM3 8+
This was the first mens’ eight out since St. Neots two years ago, and was basically a scratch crew (they certainly hadn’t trained in this combination before). Despite this, and with Iain and Fred in now their second ever race, they pushed Peterborough hard, losing by three quarters of a length. More practise (especially on starts) should see this boat on the pace pretty soon.

W Novice 2x-
More steering problems saw Lou and Yemin visit the bank a couple of times, causing them to lose easily to a Maidstone Invicta crew. Signs of potential though as when they got sorted were really moving the boat well.

CRA Womens 8+
a poor start from the Womens’ eight saw them drop a length behind Champion of the Thames and over 600m weren’t able to haul this back. Still, nice to see the ladies’ eight back in action as well.

W Masters B/C 4+
Despite having the handicap in their favour, this boat just didn’t click and struggled in three lengths down on Peterborough.

W IM2 4+ – two crews!
In the absence of any IM3 competition, the crew of Lindy, Ash, Andi and Helen “rowed up” at IM2. Unfortunately, their opponents in their first race were the (real) IM2 boat of Charlene, Paula, Jo and Steph. This turned out to be a cracker with “my” (I was coxing) girls in the IM3 crew pushing the others all the way, giving them a big scare with a late push. It finished with the IM2 crew just half a length down, a very good race.

In the final, the IM2 girls were against Peterborough; another slowish start dropped them a length down but they clawed this back to finish an agonising two feet behind the other boat. Another 50m and it would have been another story, but a really good, hard race.

Mixed Masters C/E 2x-
Not the best of races from Steve and Clare, fighting against the handicap to finish well off of the Peterborough double.

Masters B/C/D 4x-
My first race of the day, back in the “Henley” quad for the first time in ages. With a three second handicap in our favour (for a change!) we put in a good first half of the race and then hung on grimly as Medway Towns came back at us, crossing the line three quarters of a length up. A good feeling as this was our first win at any event for some time.

In the final we were on the wrong side of a four second handicap and, despite another really quick start, didn’t make much of a dent in Broxbourne’s lead, trailing in by two and a half lengths.

Masters C/D 2x-
Pierre-Yves and I looking to reprise our success from Peterborough a couple of years ago; trouble is we were against a Poplar, Blackwell and District double who’d been losing finalists at Henley – and they had a four second age handicap in their favour. As with the quad, a fast start clawed back some of the deficit but we’d have been pushed against them with no handicap and finished three lengths down.

Mixed IM2 4+
Our last race of the day saw our second win of the day. A very strong four of Tim, Tom, Lindy and Jo (with Steph coxing) powered off the start and pulled away from the Broxbourne boat, to take a well deserved win by two and a half lengths.

Despite only coming away with the two wins, this was a pretty good day for the club. It was really pleasing to see so many faces there, including partners and families, making it a great day out. Cambridge is a very nice location for a regatta, one of my favourites anyway, as you’re able to sit right on the river bank and watch. As with other years, the weather was superb, warm and sunny for most of the day.

We put out some good crews as well as the winners, a pity for the Womens’ IM2 boat as losing by just two feet really hurts; but this shows how competitive the ladies squad has become. Great to see some more of our Learn to Row novices coming through as well; and they enjoyed the experience.

The organisation is much better now, the only problems being caused by a higher level of other river traffic than usual (especially the unfortunate couple in a dinghy, who had their engine fail while on the course, with a race coming towards them!). They also took a very pragmatic approach to race times – if both crews were ready then they’d let them race whenever; it mucks up the race programme but did allow us to sort out various crew and boat clashes. Unusually, it was also pretty well incident free -normally there’s a few clashes between racing crews and those going up to the start but I can only remember one (a single sculler who just had to overtake all the other crews proceeding to the start – what a muppet).

So ends the regatta season though; next up the unbridled joy of head races…

Results (obviously using Will Everitt’s software) are on line at the Cambridge 99s Regatta page.

Even more surprisingly, my photos are also on-line, at the MKRC fotopic site

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