A switch from the normal running order saw the Vet Fours racing on Saturday and the Fours Head on the Sunday. We had two boats both days, with the Men taking part on Saturday and the Ladies on the Sunday. All four crews performed really well, posting some very good times and positions
Veteran Fours Head – Saturday
In total contrast to the weather during the preceding week and the Pairs Head a few weeks back, the weather was really quite pleasant. Very light winds, quite mild and a little bit of sun led to what must be almost perfect conditions on the Thames.
Men’s IM3 4+
A pretty much scratch crew, including two Tideway “virgins” really exceeded expectations. The four guys (Josh, Benn, Nelson and Gwen, coxed by Amelia) posted a time of 22:16:55, putting them joint 99th with Kingston and joint 3rd in class. Their time was under a minute off of the winning IM3 boat, so a truly impressive performance.
Men’s Vet B 4x-
Considering that our preparations for the race were completely scuppered a couple of weeks back, when Steve re-contoured his finger between two large chunks of metal, we can be well pleased with our row. Losing Steve meant Pierre-Yves shifting from Stroke to Bow/Steering, me moving from two seat to Stroke and Tim dropping into my seat, moving us from Vet C to Vet B as a result. This in turn led to us starting as race number 2!
Off the start we settled well but a couple of the other Vet B Quads powered through us. We were able to keep contact with Eton Excelsior in front of us though and closed up on them past Fulham FC before being pushed a bit wide. Despite this, we finished ahead of them on time, coming 4th (of five) in Vet B and placing 40th overall. This was a really hard row, being the closest I’ve come to throwing up after a race!
Fours Head – Sunday
Despite the forecast heavy rain at 9:00, this held off until after the race and the conditions were just as good as yesterdays. Both boats were starting well down the order, 426 for the IM1 4- and 490 for the IM2 4+, leading to a long, long wait before the race. The marshals seemed to have taken a collective “chill pill” this year though, generally being relaxed and helpful, making such a big difference. The only crews getting in the neck were those that actually deserved it – sitting at 45 degrees across the rowing up lane really isn’t clever!
Nice to hear a few cheers for the boats as we went along and to see a few ex-members, thanks Ray and Simon (and anyone else we didn’t see!).
Women’s IM1 4-
Going to have to wait for one of this crew to provide their views – I was coxing the other boat and have no idea how their race went! Finished 409th overall, 10th of 12 in class. Crew of Andi, Ash, Sam and Liz.
Women’s IM2 4+
Despite a long wait, having boated in Division 7 and an early drama (getting into the boat, finding we had three stroke side and one bow side blades!), we got off to a good, strong start, quickly making inroads into the Worcester crew in front of us. We passed them around Chiswick Eyot, having to cope with another crew trying to pass us at the same time. With Charlene setting a good, steady rate and Paula, Lou and Karen backing her up, the boat was showing good speed and some really nice pushes. Just when it started getting really tough around Fulham, we had a city of Oxford boat chase us and this proved a great spur to the girls, and a serious battle developed – quite funny as their cox called “I’m on their cox, I’m on their stroke” pause “I’m on their cox”. A great response from our ladies but CORC proved too strong in the end and did pass us – all credit to their cox though as he made a point of thanking us for the race afterwards.
The usual long, long row back was made more miserable as the promised rain finally arrived and we were all pretty soggy by the time we arrived back at Civil Service.
Their finishing time was 23:05.54, placing them 441st overall but a highly impressive 20th (of 30) in category. On this time (recognising the conditions appear to have been a bit quicker today), this would have placed us 2nd in Vet C 4+ had we entered yesterday! Given that most of the IM2 boats will be, shall we say, a few years less experienced, this shows what a good performance this was.
Photos from Big Blade can be found here