Northampton Head 2011

January 30, 2011

Not quite as successful as in recent years, this year’s Northampton Head saw us come away with just two wins. These were for the Women’s IM3 4+ boat and a Mixed IM3 2x- crew. The relative lack of wins was, I think, down to a combination of a higher standard of competition (both quantity and quality) and a smaller MKRC entry than usual.Some interesting combinations entered and nice to get a Men’s Eight out again.

W.Mas C 4+

Going for time only (no competition at this category), the four of Paula, Lou, Karen and Clare, coxed by Liz, posted a good time of 7:33 to put down a marker for their “real” race later in the day.

Mas B/C 2x-

Pierre-Yves and Tim racing together again, first time out in a double for some time. Their opposition took a big lump out of them off the start but the guys then managed to hold them for the rest of the course. Considering their opponents include a Nat Masters winner, a creditable performance.

W. IM3 2x-

A new combination saw Jo and Andi racing (possibly rowing?) a double for the first time. Given lack of practise together (and Jo not having been in a boat at all for months) their stated aim was to finish the right way up and the right way round! They did this easily and actually pulled away from the crew chasing them.

Mas. D 2x-

Steve and I knew this was going to be a tough race, being drawn as a sandwich between Abingdon and Nemesis, both of whom have beaten us by some distance in the past. Nemesis put in a very strong and quick start, pulling back probably a couple of lengths in the first 200m but a detour into the bank dropped them back again. We were really pleased as we then sat on them all the way down the course, even pulling away a bit in the closing stages. Ultimately we were 2 seconds slower than them (and a further 5 seconds off of Abingdon) but this is much closed than we’ve ever been before, so real progress.

Rob coming off his seat at Northampton

Rob coming off his seat at Northampton

Mas. B 8+

Really nice to be able to put out a men’s eight again. Originally planned as an IM3 boat, the lack of competition in this category led to a quick rejig (jettisoning Josh as he’s too young) and entry as Master’s B. More of a practise run than a race, we’d not rowed in this combination before and certainly Steve, Pierre-Yves and I found it odd having just one blade. Despite this, we settled fairly quickly and were beginning to move the boat well. I’d noticed that my seat was making more creaking noises than usual and after about 500m it started sticking intermittently; then with about 500m to go it jammed completely throwing me backwards off the seat on the drive. I finished the race sitting at backstops, my seat in front of me, rowing arms only. As we got out, the reason for the problem became clear as one of the seat runner wheels was laying on the decking… Still, up to my malfunction it had been going really nicely.

W. IM3 4+
Paula, Lou, Karen and Clare back out again (with Liz doing the coxing honours again) this time in their serious piece. They were up against two other Oundle Town boats and put in a faster time (by 2 seconds) on this run. This was enough to see them clear, to win the category

Mxd. IM3 2x-
Another new combination saw Josh and Andi doubling for the first time. As we had the only two boats in this category, we were guaranteed a win, so it was down to inter-club rivalry. Although they have limited racing experience in sculls, the two of them looked strong and would be a good bet in Novice (they were rowing up as no competition at Novice).

Mst C 4x-
Our usual boat out again, racing against Abingdon and Canterbury Pilgrims. We seemed to take a while to settle (could be the lack of water time over the past two months?) but did finally find our rhythm. The exertions for Steve, Pierre-Yves and I over two previous races showed towards the end though and we weren’t really able to push hard in the finishing straight.

IM2 4+
A scratch crew of James, Benn, Nelson and Josh (yet again coxed by the admirable Liz) really gelled and put in a very strong row, managing to keep our quad at bay for the entire course. Again rowing up a level against school crews, they were unlikely to win the event but this boat looks like it could be very competitive over this year.

Mxd. IM3 2x-
Our second crew in this category saw Tim and Jo sculling together in yet another new combination. Their greater expertise paid off and they beat Josh and Andi by around seven seconds (despite heckling from the bank during the race – Andi helpfully shouting to them that they were going the wrong way).

Overall
Despite the bitterly cold temperatures and biting wind, another great day at Northampton Head. Maybe not as successful as other years but some good performances and nice to get a Men’s Eight out again. Definitely seemed to be more crews and a higher standard this year, wonder if the bad weather has meant more people looking to get in an early race? Whatever the reason, good to see Northampton getting more support, which they thoroughly deserve for such a well organised, friendly event. Even the waiting for late boating crews didn’t seem as bad this year.

Must sign off now though as we’ve got to go and wash just about everything we own; that bright yellow sandy mud from the car park gets everywhere and into everything!

Links

The results are on-line here (by category, other views available) and my photos are here

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Star Head 2010

November 21, 2010

Another Head Race, another four wins for the club. The ladies continued their impressive run of form, taking wins at IM3 and Masters C coxed fours, with us “Masters” chipping in with two wins, one for Pierre-Yves and Tim at “B” and the other for the Quad at “C”.

W.IM2 4+
Only two boats in this category, with our ladies falling to St. Neots by just four seconds. As this is really a Masters C crew, a very impressive, solid performance by Charlene, Paula, Lou and Karen, with impeccable coxing (by yours truly). St. Neots ate into us off the start and although we held them through the middle of the race and put in a really strong last 500, were unable to get this back. Maybe a lesson that we need to push harder and faster off the start, as the strength was really there at the end.

Masters B 2x-
Pierre-Yves and Tim out again, looking more impressive each time. They powered through this race and won deservedly.

Novice 2x-
Benn and Gwen reprising their multi-national crew again but not quite as successfully as last time out.

W.IM3 4+
Another new line up, this time with Liz, Sam, Helen J and Ash, coxed by Charlene. Showing the flexibility and depth of the women’s squad, this boat powered through to win by over 30 seconds from three other crews.

Masters C 4x-
Moving on from our performance last week on the Tideway, we put out probably our best row to date. The four of us (me, Simon, Tim and Pierre-Yves) put in a very fast start (rating around 35) to put distance between us and Boston (our only competition, who were following us) and then a couple of really good, strong pushes, especially past Bedford RC, saw us ease away to win by 34 seconds.

IM3 4+
Benn and Gwen swapped sculling blades for sweep in this boat, with Iain and Nelson making up the crew, with Charlene jumping out of the W.IM3 4+ boat to cox. Benn set a fast rate, which the novices in the boat struggled to match, trading speed for power and they finished 27 seconds adrift of the winning Sudbury boat

W. Masters C 4+
With Clare swapping in for Charlene, and Paula moving to Stroke, this boat raced to win the category, beating the nearest Star Club boat by 16 seconds

W.IM1 2x-
After the confusion around this entry, initially making Jo think she’d been entered only to find it was meant to be Liz’s sister and then her not getting her BR license in time, this wound up with a completely new crew of Sam and Liz. When I said to Liz that I was surprised to see Sam sculling, her reply was that Sam was even more surprised. Considering this was only Sam’s fourth time out in a scull, to finish just 16 seconds adrift of the winning Cambridge 99 double was truly spectacular

Novice 4+
Benn swapped out for Rob M compared to the IM3 boat. To his mortification, the Novice boat then went and posted a time 8 seconds faster; this seems to have been a case of lowering the rate allowed the novice men to put more power down.

Masters D 1x
As my sole aims in this race were to finish the same way up as I’d started and avoid hitting anything large and immovable (memories of my last attempt at steering Bedford can be seen here), posting a time of 9:25 wasn’t all that bad. Spending most of my race looking round for the bridges probably slowed me a lot, but that’s the first one over and done with. Third out of three, 35 seconds adrift, but at least I kept dry!

Overall
First time we’ve attended Star Head and it may well be the last.

The marshals seem to have taken up the bad temper and rudeness that was absent from the Tideway last week and made it a thoroughly unpleasant event. We were subjected to a stream of aggressive, unwarranted (and frequently contradictory) shouting from marshals who seemed 1) to have it in for MK in particular and 2) allow Star Club crews to do whatever they wanted. Not nice. We weren’t alone in this view, having chatted to a coach from another nearby club and the one friendly marshal (who came from Bedford RC).

There was a total lack of communication between marshals, leading to one great occasion when one marshal told us to spin, followed by another screaming at us “Milton Keynes, what do you think you are doing!”. Another, when we are spinning quickly at the finish area, with boats either side, to have some muppet shout at us to hurry up. The start marshal – “get your bow in” – “why are you letting your stern out?” (law of physics?) – while a Star boat sits slap bang in the middle of the river – we were not happy. The best was being shouted at to get our boat out of the centre of the river – seconds after passing the finish line, with no one coming down the river. Being shouted at to get our boat out when Star crews were sitting at the pontoon adjusting feet, swapping blades and, unbelievably, pinning numbers on was just ridiculous.

It spoilt what should have been a really nice event – contrast this to the recent Bedford event, which was slick, run on time and friendly. Why should we put up with this kind of abuse?


Vet Fours Head/Fours Head 2010

November 14, 2010

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.

Four’s Head result are here and Vet Four’s results here. No photos of mine – either rowing or coxing!

Photos from Big Blade can be found here


Bedford Autumn Fours & Small Boats Head 2010

October 11, 2010

What a brilliant day! Held in amazing weather for the time of year (or pretty much any time of year in this country), this was probably the most successful day’s racing for the club ever. In particular, the women’s squad simply dominated the fours racing, winning all four of the categories they entered. Steve and I backed that up with a win at Masters D and there were some very promising new combinations form some of the other guys.

The women entered five fours in all, and these all posted the fastest times in their categories with the sole exception of the second IM2 boat, who were beaten only by the first boat, by a measly two seconds.

W.IM1 4-
A first outing for the IM1 coxless boat saw them win over Guildford by over a minute (the latter crew getting a very close look at the greenery by the school’s boat house).

W.IM2 4+
Two crews out in this category,they finished first and second, well ahead of another Guildford crew

W.IM3 4+
A very strong performance by this boat saw them finish 37 seconds clear of the next placed boat (from Star Club) and the other three Guildford boats and one from Emanuel School still further behind

W.Novice 4+
Another pleasing performance form the novice women, finishing 18 seconds clear of Bedford, with two Guildford boats completing the category

W.IM3 4x-
A first event for a completely new crew saw them well on the pace. They ultimately finished fourth of five, but with just 10 seconds covering the first four boats, with Marlow winning and Guildford placing two boats ahead of us and one behind.

W.Novice 2x-
Being the first race in a new combination of Yemin and Clare, they put in a creditable performance, finishing fifth of six, some 39 seconds behind the winning Oundle Town boat.

IM1 4-
Yet another new combination, and an inaugural event for the new(ish) boat Lady Sheelah, this men’s crew were up against stiff competition and finished last of five, 44 seconds down. Not a bad result for a first race together.

IM3 4x-
Our Master’s Quad racing at IM3 (no competition in Masters) found it very tough going and, despite what seemed a good race, finished last of six but 51 seconds adrift, 22 seconds off fifth place

Novice 4+
This was always going to be an uphill struggle, racing against the school crews, but the Novice Men acquitted themselves very well, finishing seventh of nine. Crucially, they were the first club boat home though, beating Stratford by just one second (and a BMS school boat by two seconds!).

Senior 2-
Something of a “voyage of discovery” this for Tim and Phil, racing for the first time in a pair. That they managed to finish mid-table was a really good result, especially as Star Club were clearly focused on this, supplying five of the seven crews. Three of these led our guys home but they beat off two more plus the Guildford pair.

Masters D 2x-
Steve and I finally return to winning ways, seeing off the Star Club double by a fairly comfortable 31 seconds (although they did have the stronger wind later in the day). A more balanced race with better power than of late (I can tell as I was completely shattered at the end).

Novice 2x-
One of the performances of the day, Gwen and Benn finished second of the three crews, losing by just three seconds. Considering they had rowed together once before and you can count on one hand the number of times Gwen has sculled, we’re expecting a lot from this pair (no pressure guys…).

Mixed Masters B/C 2x-
Steve and Clare showed improvement on recent races, despite finishing 30 seconds (20 on handicap) behid a Loughborough boat, who (chatting to them after) have clearly rowed together for some time

Overall
A really good day out, in terms of weather, wins and performances. Some really stand-out competitors today, with Gwen and Benn in the Novice Double and, especially, Sam. She’d not won anything before today and left Bedford with a very impressive haul of three pots, from the IM2, IM3 and Novice fours. It was also very nice to see some new boats racing (a women’s quad, men’s coxless) and at some very senior levels too. It’s still amusing to hear people saying with incredulity that they’ve been beaten by Milton Keynes – maybe they should take a look at today’s results!

The event was, as ever, excellently run and it was very gratifying to hear crew being given time penalties for being late to the start. We’re all sitting there freezing while these crews take their time – how much of this is a deliberate tactic to try and gain an edge, as so many of the offenders came from the same (local) club? Can’t finish without mentioning the results system (again) – this is so quick and well organised, it removes the endless sitting around at the end of the day waiting for results.

Results can be found at Bedford Rowing Club, and my photos at MKRC fotopic site


Cambridge Autumn Regatta 2010

September 14, 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.

Reflections
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


St Neots Regatta 2010

July 24, 2010

A combination of factors lead to a disappointing turn out for this year’s St. Neots Regatta. With many club members away or with other commitments, and one boat being scrubbed through lack of competition, we were down to just four boats on Saturday and five on Sunday. Despite no wins on Saturday, Jo and Liz reprised their success at Bedford and won the W.IM2 2x- on Sunday

Saturday – 1,000m

IM3 4x-
We put in a new line up of Tom R, Tim, Steve and I (with Pierre-Yves away), rowing at IM3 rather than Masters C. Despite a lack of practise in this combination, our first round went very well. We put in a cracking start, which put us clear on Maidstone. Round the corner they pulled back a bit, having the inside lane, but we held on and pushed away, finishing a length and three-quarters clear. This put us into the final, pitching us against a Boston crew. They matched us off the start and made use of the inside of the bend to pull away. Despite a hard row, we couldn’t close on them and they took the win by a length.

IM3 1x-
Tim was up against a sculler from Doncaster Schools who looked to be far more experienced, even if younger. Although having the inside line, Tim was down coming into the straight and was unable to reel him.

Masters D 2x-
Steve and I out in our usual double – a good start saw us heading Abingdon into the corner. Despite a strong push from them, we maintained a small lead to about 750m. Then (certainly for me, don’t know about Steve!) the effort from the Quad started to tell and they pushed past us to finish a length clear.

Women’s IM2 2x-
Liz and Jo reprising their double from Bedford, albeit with less success… This being the first time out at St Neots for Liz, they steered an “interesting” course which led them into Leeds’ lane. Although they were clear and didn’t impede Leeds (who had pushed them across in the first place), Leeds lodged a protest which was upheld, leading to the girls being disqualified. Very unfortunate, especially as the umpire said he’d have ordered a re-row if it had been the final rather than disqualifying them.

Sunday – 500m

W.Nov 2x-
A first race (and only third outing) from Yemin and Lou as a Novice double. This shows a lot of potential as they stuck with their opponents all down the course until a slight steering glitch cost them time. An encouraging d├ębut to finish three lengths down.

W.IM2 4+
Given the lack of preparation for this crew (they were discussing seating plans and who was stroking first thing in the morning) they performed brilliantly. Another new combination, this time with Lindy, Paula, Karen and Lou coxed by Liz, they pulled off a great start in their heat and then sat on the Bedford crew all the way to the finish, winning by one and a half lengths. This saw them into the final, against a very good Peterborough crew; level off the start, the Peterborough ladies pushed through to finish three quarters of a length down.

Mst D 2x-
Steve and I in our usual combination – for some reason, we fluffed our start and this gave the Maidstone crew a half length lead at least. Although we were pleased with our row, we weren’t able to haul back anything and they finished three quarters of a length up (and then went on to win the event).

Mixed IM3 2x-
On a personal level, this was really pleasing – not often you get to race seriously with your daughter! Having done this event for a bit of fun at our regatta, Jo and I decided to give it a serious go at St. Neots. Partly, this was based on an expectation of there being a handful of crews; wrong! This was a tough event with a dozen crews entered. We pulled a Lincoln boat in the first round and shall we say youth triumphed over experience as we trailed in a length and a half down. However, we were pleased with the row and we weren’t that far off the pace.

W.IM2 2x-
Jo and Liz were determined to put yesterday’s disappointment behind them and they did so in style. A first round win over the RAF by two lengths was followed by a semi-final victory over Leeds by a length. This put them into the final, almost inevitably against the Leeds crew who they raced and were disqualified against the previous day. Despite not having one of their better starts, the two powered through and pushed away from the Leeds boat to finish three quarters of a length up and win the category

Overview
Disappointing turn out from the club, especially compared to previous years and slim pickings on Saturday. More than made up for by a well deserved victory for the W.IM2 2x- although this now puts them up to the lofty heights of IM1!

Again, a really well run event, Saturday bang on time and Sunday running early. Well done to St Neots RC for this. A lot of discussion in the crews about how they scheduled events – I personally liked it but others weren’t convinced. What they did was to schedule heats, semis and finals for each event as closely as possible. This meant fairly small gaps (45 minutes or so) between races but all crews had the same recovery time so no-one got an advantage and it removed the problem of clashes later in the day.

Couple of intriguing happenings on the Sunday as well – first, the Northampton double that managed to completely snap a blade – during their race. It seemed that bow hit a “buoy” (i.e. a milk carton) and this was enough the shear a carbon fibre oar in two, impressive.

Second was the St Neots quad that arrived at the finish without their bow man, who’d appeared a few minutes earlier on the safety launch, dripping wet and with his blades. What happened and how they managed to navigate the quad with no steers person are two of life’s great mysteries…

Photos (from both days) on line at the fotopic site

Results are available at the St. Neots RC site


Bedford Quarts Regatta 2010

July 13, 2010

Following hard on the heels of two days in the sun at Henley, we spent the Sunday out at Bedford, this time for the Quarts regatta. As usual (how DO they do it?) it was glorious conditions, hot and sunny, although an interesting cross-wind did enliven some of the racing.

Really pleasingly, we were back to winning ways for the club, taking home two wins from the four boats that we entered.

Women’s IM3 4+
A variation on the normal crews had Helen J, Paula, Andi and Ash sitting in an IM3, despite Andi and Ash still being novices. Their first round was a fairly easy win over Staines, actually given as an “easily” verdict (first one they’ve had). Next up were some old rivals, from Broxbourne. This was a much harder race, the girls really having to dig in, encouraged by Liz (coxing) and Tim (running the length of the course!) and they pulled away at the end to finish a half a length clear. Into the final, they were pitched against Norwich. This was to be the closest race of the day (in the entire regatta). Our ladies put in a fast start to gain a small advantage but the lead swapped back and forward down the entire course; as they went past us with about 50m to go, we were (we think) just in front. There was a “beep-beep” finish and the two crews sat looking at each other as neither boat knew who’d made it first. After an interminable delay, the PA announced MK as the winners – by just one foot!

A brilliant, hard fought win, with real praise for Andi and Ash who only started rowing under a year ago and de-noviced in style at a top event after three hard rows. Well done all!

Women’s Novice 2x-
Clare and Karen out in only their second race as a double. Although they were pretty level with Broxbourne up to the weir, an unfortunate piece of steering saw them head into the bank. This effectively killed their race and Broxbourne went on the win on an “easily” verdict

Women’s IM2 2x-
This was to be the first time out for a new combination of Jo and Liz. Sculling up at IM2, they were unsure of how competitive they’d be – the answer, VERY! A first round win against Broxbourne by 1 3/4 lengths was followed up by a closer race against Champions of the Thames, winning by 1 length. The final saw them against Norwich and this was another seriously hard race. There was not a lot in it right up to the last 100m or so when Jo and Liz managed to break away slightly to finish 3/4 of a length clear. Not bad, first race, first win.

Masters C 4x-
“Fresh” from our exertions at Henley, Pierre-Yves, Tim, Steve and I were out again, in a straight final against (would you believe it) Norwich. However, we were Masters C and they were Masters E and this gave them a seven second advantage on the start. This translated to around a three lengths lead and although we really went for it, this proved too much to claw back over 600m and we finished two lengths down.

Overall
Another great day out at Bedford, some incredibly hard races and, best of all, a couple more wins for the ladies. Gone are the days when drawing MKRC ladies meant an easy race into the next round; really pleasing that they are able to mix up the crews and still put out winning boats too.

Funniest moment of the day though had to be Andi the “Limpet”. Tim decided that, to celebrate her de-novicing, she should be dunked in the river. Andi was not so keen and managed to wrap herself round Tim and hang on desperately – and succeeded in keeping dry!

To cap it all, also nice to see our friends Andy and Ella from Ely winning their Mixed double – well done to them as well.

Inevitably, the results already out (were up on the evening of the regatta – amazing) at Bedford RC

My photos from the day are also on line, at the MKRC fotopic site