Master’s Head of the River 2012

April 2, 2012

Following hot on the heels of the Women’s success in the WeHORR the week before, the ladies entered a Masters “C” boat into the Vesta head. With just a couple of changes from the WEHORR boat to replace “kids” with eligible Masters it was another very strong looking crew.

Starting an hour later than the HORR the previous day, and with the boat almost ready (split but still rigged) we weren’t quite so early away from Milton Keynes. In contrast to the grey overcast of Saturday, it was bright and clear as we set off, just clouding over a bit as we reached London.

It definitely seemed less frenetic than in previous years and with less of a queue, the ladies were soon boated. Even by our normal standards, their boating was lightning fast and they cleared away in very short order, getting a couple of compliments from the local helpers.

Jo and I then power walked down towards Hammersmith Bridge, to cheer them on and take photos. By this time, the cloud had increased and it started drizzling off and on (although not as horrid as yesterday!). Finding a convenient slipway a short distance before the bridge, we stopped and waited for the race.

It’s great fun watching this race, seeing such a wide variety of abilities and ages, compared to the HORR and WEHORR, where then isn’t such a range. With everything from Masters “A” (just out of nappies) to “F” (I hope I can manage a race like this at that age) and a wide standard (from very, very good to obvious novice) it really is a great sight.

After a huge gap between division two and three, the crews from 150 upwards started coming into view; our ladies were racing as crew 202. Reaching the 190’s we started keeping a sharp eye out, hoping they’d have made some progress through the field. Sure enough, we then saw the familiar green blades come round the corner as they came tanking down the river – passing us, they were a couple of crews up and in the process of storming past another. Obviously, they were gong extremely well and making good progress up the ranks – and looking pretty damned good into the bargain!

Another long walk back to Barnes Bridge, keeping an eye out for the ladies, but we were back in plenty of time. It then seemed an eternity before the came back into view and we went and helped them in. As with the WEHORR boat, they were really elated, feeling the race had gone very well, overtaking six crew in all.

On the drive back, Paula was continually refreshing the results page on her ‘phone until finally the times were up. In an astonishing race, they finished a stunning third in Women Master’s C and (age adjusted) a hugely impressive 11th overall. This was just the latest in a string of wonderful performances from the ladies squad, who are really putting MKRC on the map.

My thoughts…

OK, prize of the day goes to the Vesta Women.

We were watching the race when a Vesta ladies boat came into sight – they all seemed to have something in their hair but we couldn’t quite make it out. As they got closer, it was obvious that they all had feathers in their hair, warpaint on their faces and the cox was wearing a huge Indian headdress. This was very funny but better still, about five crews back came the second boats – you’ve guessed it, the Cowboys! False moustaches, check shirts and Stetsons, with the cox trailing an inflatable cactus. Absolutely brilliant, well done to them all for raising a real laugh on the day.

A big thank-you to Steve as well, he and a guy from Reading RC did a sterling job helping all of the returning crews land and de-boat.

Finally, very nice to be rigging the boat and see someone else in an MKRC splash top – this was none other than one of the founders of the club, Jim Flood, racing for Reading.

My photos of the day are now here on Google+ and the results are on the Vesta RC site