Peterborough Summer Regatta 2011

September 14, 2011

A very brief entry for this event – having been away on holiday this now seems a long, long time ago and I’m struggling to remember any details! The headline news was another five wins for MKRC, spread over the two days. It really shows how far we’ve come that this actually seemed a bit disappointing at the time.

The winning boats were (Saturday) Women’s IM1 (!) quad, Elite (!!) pair and Helen M making a welcome and winning return to racing. Sunday’s wins were delivered courtesy of the IM2 coxed four and a Women’s Masters coxed four.

A good turn out, especially from the juniors (including another first race, for Alex), although we again had many entries rejected through lack of competition and had to row up in many others.

It’s also disappointing that so many races are now straight finals; it seems that the days of a big race programme with several rounds are gone and we are seeing a lot of very one sided finals. Hopefully, next season will be better as the new (and distinctly unimproved) points system levels out.

St. Neots Regatta 2011

August 10, 2011

This year’s St Neot’s Regatta saw us pick up two wins on both days, continuing our winning run nicely. These came from a variety of sources, again showing the increasing breadth of competitive crews in the club. Our winners in the 1,000m races on Saturday were the new pairing of Tom and Mike, sculling at IM2x- and a ladies Quad of Liz, Andi, Sam and Lindy, racing at IM2 (with Sam de-novicing at sculling). Sunday’s 500m winners were the highly impressive juniors John and Alex, winning the IM3 event (Alex de-novicing at just 16!) and the mixed eight of Benn, Mike, Tim, Tom, Liz, Andi, Lindy and Jo.

With too many races to remember (and me being very busy) this entry won’t have the usual details of every race. Instead, I’ll just pick out some of the outstanding memories of (another) great week-end at St Neots.

Saturday didn’t actually start very auspicially. One of the first boats out was the double of John and Alex, rowing as J18. Their opponents appeared round the corner at the allocated race time, but no sign of them. Several races later, they came into view, but with only John sculling. As they passed us the reason became clear, as Alex was sitting nursing one complete blade and one in two pieces. He’d caught a crab off the start, the blade flicked under the boat and when he tried to free it, it snapped.

Strangely enough, John then had an almost identical problem in his single later in the day. This time though he went for the soft option and simply rolled in to the water. To his great credit, his opponent agreed to a re-row even though this wasn’t required, so well done to him.

Following the theme, John wasn’t to be the last soggy junior of the day – Roisin also got in on the act, this time just before the finish, in full view of the crowd. To her credit, she did exceptionally well to tow her boat clear of the course, well before the next race got to her.

The rest of the racing didn’t produce quite so much drama, although there were some incredibly close races. I had the honour of coxing one of these, the Men’s Novice 4+; after a slow start, our opponents pulled out to pretty much a two length lead around the bend but to their credit, our guys really went for it. A couple of strong pushes seemed to panic the other crew and by the finish line we were (as the commentator kept putting it) bowball—to bowball. We honestly didn’t know who had got it but the verdict finally came that our opponents had taken the win, by a bowball! A bit of work on the starts and this crew won’t be novices for long!

After a good day’s racing, we all retired to the MKRC “village” and set in for a very pleasant evening gathered around the Barbie, with the odd beer or two thrown in.

Sunday saw another day of close, exciting racing but pride of place has to go to John and Alex. Recovering from their broken blade incident yesterday, they cruised through the first two rounds, sculling at IM3 rather than Junior, to set up a final against ??. This they made look easy, pulling away off the start and striding out to a comfortable win.

The Mixed Eight had a relatively easy first round win, putting them into a final against hosts St. Neots. This was a far closer event, although our boat grabbed the lead and held on, St Neots pushed them really hard all the way, finishing just half a length down.

My views
Another wonderful week-end at St Neots. I love the atmosphere and the proximity of the spectators to the racing – and some really close hard races on both days. It was nice to see they’ve taken a more relaxed view on campers and barbies this year and restricting them to the far side of the path is a really smart move too.

I guess the only gripe is that our original entries were seriously cut back, through lack of competition. This meant Lou and Clare not getting any races and Paula just getting the one. Although I understand this is lack of other crews, how about closing entries a few days earlier, notifying the clubs that have had crews rejected and allowing them to rejig and resubmit crews into categories where there is competition? This way, our crews get a race and the host club gets more money – surely a “win-win”?

Bedford Quarts 2011

July 20, 2011

Another good day out at Bedford saw us come away with another three wins. These were nicely spread out with the Men winning the IM3 4x-, the Women the IM2 4+ and the Juniors (making a welcome return) winning the IM3 2x-. Some very close races, both in winning and losing and most crews at least making it through the first round.

J15 2x-
In their first race outside of Milton Keynes, Phillip and Alex acquitted themselves extremely well, winning their first race (against Star Club) with an “easily” verdict. In the next round they faced a strong (and eventual winning) boat from Northampton and lost by a similar verdict.

IM3 2x-
Two of the “Juniors” were out in this category, John and Ryan. After a first round row over, they faced Globe in the semi-final. An assured row saw them win by 3 1/2 lengths to put them into the final against Poplar Blackwall & District. This looked like a tough draw as this crew, although not the most technical, were huge. Indeed, the final turned out to be a really hard race, pretty much neck and neck for much of the course, but John and Ryan’s technique and power paid off and the came through to win by 1/3 length. Very nice to see the Juniors racing again and even better to kick it off with a win.

IM3 1x
Next up was Ryan, racing in a single. Up against stiff opposition from Star Club and with limited racing experience in a single, he went out in the first round, losing by 2 1/2 lengths

J15 1x
Another of the inexperienced juniors, Alex in his first race in a single was no match for a BMS sculler and he lost by 3 lengths

WJ14 2x-
Lainy and Roisin put up a good race against a Dame Alice double and pushed them hard all the way, but lost out by just 1 1/2 lengths.

WJ14 1x
A heart breaking result for Lainy in her single. Having fought hard against the Sudbury girl all down the course she lost out by just one foot! Can’t get much closer than that over a 600m course; a tough result and a horrid way to lose.

This was all from the juniors – one win and some very encouraging races from the others, especially poor Lainy. Still, a good sign and hopefully a pointer of greater things to come.

So to the senior crews…

W.IM3 4x-
A slightly different line up to that at East Midlands, with Lou swapping in for the absent Karen with Paula, Alice and Clare making up the crew. With the crew still being fairly new to sculling and with Clare still learning the art of steering, not surprisingly they lost out in their first race to Star Club, by 3 lengths.

Mas CDE 2-
Pierre-Yves and Steve swapped sculling blades for sweep and were out in the pair. Racing as a Masters C crew, their first opponents were a “D” crew from Star Club;this meant Steve and Pierre-Yves starting six seconds behind. From an absolutely storming start, the two of them pulled back the handicap start within the first couple of hundred meters and were then able to “sit” on the Star boat for a comfortable finish, 3/4 length clear. The final was the same handicap, this time against a Peterborough boat. This was to be a much harder race, with our guys pulling back the handicap fairly quickly but then fighting neck and neck down the course. Coming towards the end, Steve was cutting the line fine to gain a slight edge but, unfortunately, cut it a bit to close to Monkey Island and clipped the bank. This lost them precious seconds and the Peterborough boat pushed over the line to win by a length and a half. A real case of “what might have been” especially as we heard the Peterborough crew rowing back say that they’d have lost had Steve and Pierre-Yves not clipped.

IM3 4x-
For the first round our crew (of Mike, Josh, Nelson and Tom) faced a Northampton boat. With this being a new combination and Tom steering his first quad race, it could have gone any way. As it happens, the first round was a fairly comfortable run, beating Northampton by three lengths. Into the final, they were against a Medway Towns crew who had comprehensively beaten Star Club in their first race, so this looked like a tough draw. So it proved – there was nothing to choose between the two crews all down the course, with the lead swapping back and forth. Come the finish line, neither crew knew who had won – not surprisingly as the verdict was a win for MK by a mere three feet! Not a bad way for Tom and Nelson to de-novice either.

Mas BC 4+
For a pleasant change, we found we were the older crew in this event and had a five second handicap in our favour – I think this is the first time I’ve had this! This was a reprise of our National Masters boat, but with Pierre-Yves and I swapping sides to try and improve the balance and power. This certainly worked off the start with a really good, strong hard push away. Despite the quickest five seconds I’ve ever heard, we had enough to keep the Sudbury boat behind us, being able to (just) match their pushes. All down the course they were eating into our lead and by the time we crossed the line, although we thought we’d done enough, we weren’t sure and had to call over to the finish marshal to get confirmation – we’d won by a canvas.

The final was a bit of a shock – we’d seen in the draw that our opponents, X-Press, were again a “B” crew to our “C” and expected a similar head start. However, on the start line the start umpire called that we were both “C” and so there would be no handicap – a bit of a psychological blow, certainly for me! Anyhow, although we put in another really good start, so did X-Press and we were soon trailing , albeit just slightly. They proved to be just that bit quicker than us though and gradually eked out a lead, to finish a length clear. Despite this, we felt this was a good race, and maybe the exertions from Steve and Pierre-Yves in the pair and our having to fight through the first round (X-Press had a bye to the final) may have just made the difference.

A word for our cox here – David came all the way over to Bedford just to cox our boat, having no races of his own. He did a first class job and coxed really well – thank you, it was really appreciated!

W.IM2 4+
Although this crew hadn’t actually raced together, they had all raced in various combinations in the past and looked a strong boat. It comprised Charlene, back from a rest, with Lindy, Jo and Paula backing her up. From the start they pushed away from St Neots and just eased away from there. Already a couple of lengths clear approaching the finish, the St Neots boat also clipped Monkey Island (quite an achievement for a bow loader cox!) making it into a comfortable 3 1/2 lengths win.

Nice for the girls, especially given that they were lugging an 85 kilo cox down the course (Benn is not what you’d call natural coxing material) but a shame that again they pick up racing points off of a straight final that they’ve won easily.

IM2 4+
A second race of the day for Mike, John and Josh with Benn in his first outing. This was a straight final, against Peterborough, with our crew unable to get ahead and finishing some 1 1/4 lengths adrift.

Mas CD 2x-
Originally planned to be a racing début for Roger (at 70+!) he unfortunately twinged his back the previous day. Needing another “Master” to fill in and finding the rest of us “old boys” were in clashing events, Paula very gamely agreed to sit in with Benn. As this was their first outingever, they were up against two huge Norwich guys AND they had the handicap against them, the result wasn’t overly surprising! A good paddle nonetheless, although the “easily” verdict wasn’t unexpected.

My thoughts…
Not quite sure what went wrong with the weather – maybe the sacrifice wasn’t enough this time – as it was grey, cool and occasionally wet. Still, despite this it was another well run event, although (unusually for Bedford) there were a couple of glitches, mainly having to stop racing to sort out the marker buoys.

My biggest worry is that, yet again, entries seemed well down; this manifested itself in a number of ways. First, we had a couple of crews scratched with no competition, second, most of the races were straight finals and lastly the usual steady flow of races we normally see at Bedford was a bit staccato. I really think someone at British Rowing needs to start looking at this as, if this trend continues, we’ll start losing events off the calendar as they become non-viable (unless that is the intention?). Although there may be a financial aspect to this the general consensus seems to be the points regime is scaring people from entering races.

The biggest shame is that this is the last “Quarts” event – I guess the cost of these has become excessive but no more will we race for those magnificent 2-pint pots. Tragically, I never won one – made all the worse by wife and daughter celebrating their gallons, having won their fourth Quarts pot today.

East Midlands Regatta 2011

June 14, 2011

This event was a bit of a “voyage into the unknown”. Taking advantage of it being at Holme Pierrepont the day before British Masters, we decided it was worth a try. I think it was also the first East Midlands event, hosted by Derby, Loughborough, Nottingham and Newark, and it meant racing against clubs that we don’t normally encounter.

As it happens this was a really good decision! Not only was it a really nice event but we took four wins setting us up nicely for the next day and continuing a superb winning run for the club.

After the utter confusion caused by our deluge of wins last week-end with the attendant status changes, together with the event organisers shuffling events and boats to maximise the number of entries, we played a kind of “guess who” game. I arrived thinking I was in two events, the normal double and a mixed quad (more of that later). I was then a bit surprised when Iain arrived, as I fully expected him the following day for our Masters C 4+ but not today. Trying delicately to broach the subject of “aren’t you a day early?” I discovered we were racing the 4+ today as well!!! A similar double take happened with Paula when Karen arrived – Paula then found she was not in the one race she expected but three. All good fun and, to me anyway, showing the club cohesion and “can do” attitude, we just got on with it.

After an unfortunate delay to the regatta start, while they rearranged the lanes (some were really wide while others were rather narrow!) we got underway; despite some grim weather forecasts during the week, it was bright and sunny with a moderate breeze blowing; pretty much as good as it gets at Nottingham!

IM3 1x
Not one but two singles out in this event, with John joining us from Row Caldecotte and Pierre-Yves making his first outing in a single outside our regatta. Pierre-Yves’ plans were thrown a bit into disarray as the car with the riggers for his boat arrived late (someone – and it would be cruel to say who… – overslept) but he blagged a nice Wintech from Nottingham. John was first out and cruised to second place to book a spot in the repêchage. Pierre-Yves followed suit and also made the rep.

Unfortunately, there was some confusion over the timing of events following the delayed start and somehow both of them missed their start times for their races; a pity as this lost them the chance of a second race in their singles and a pop at the final. Still, they both had other events later in the day.

Mixed IM3 4x-
This boat started out as a bit of fun, with the two couples (Paula and I, Steve and Clare) deciding to have a go. We’d had extensive (by MKRC standards) training (two outings) and these had gone really well, so we were hopeful of getting a good scull. We were entered at IM3 as no Masters event was available and were sitting by the start watching for our opposition, hoping it would be a similar kind of age. Various boats came up – masters, another masters, another masters and then up rocks a mixed quad of scary looking (i.e huge and young) kids. Yep, this was our opposition.

We got attached (how DOES Steve do it – a brisk cross-wind and nails it onto the stake boat first time every time) and waited for the off. After a really good, clean and powerful start where we kept with the Nottingham boat, they soon started pulling away and left us trailing in, ultimately by a good couple of lengths. Despite this, we all felt it had gone really well and started thinking about entering this more regularly, where we can find Masters opposition. I hate kids…

IM3 4x-
A completely new line up for an IM3 quad, with John stroking, Tim and Benn providing the grunt and Pierre-Yves steering. Racing against two Nottingham and Union crews and one from Newark, this was a closely fought affair. After a really hard race, the Newark crew ran out winners, with us in second and the two N&U boats bringing up the rear, some distance down.

IM3 4+
Mainly to get some race practice ahead of the National Masters tomorrow, we put in the Masters C four, albeit racing at IM3 level. We’d never raced this combination (Steve stroking, Iain, Pierre-Yves and I, coxed by Paula) before, so had no real idea of how we’d fare.

Lining up at the start, we were against three other boats; a Leicester Uni crew, and club boats from Loughborough and Trafford (spot the difference – their kit is identical to ours!). After a slight disagreement with one of the crews at the start as they tried to remove our bows, we settled and were ready. On “attention… go” we pulled quite violently to bow side and this put us a length down on the other boats straight away. Picking it up from here, we fairly quickly overhauled the Trafford boat and set about chasing Loughborough – the Leicester Uni kids had long since gone. Although all four boats would progress, the first two would go straight to the final and the second two to the rep, so we really wanted second spot.

Inch by inch, we clawed back on Loughborough, gradually reeling them in and then, as we hit the 250m to go marker, pulled level. Paula called a big push and this surged us past them and we gently pulled away taking second spot by a length or so. A very pleasing race, especially given the start.

So to the final. Here we lined up against not one but two Leicester Uni crews together with another Trafford boat. A similar start to the heat put us another length down and chasing. This time, we chased down the second Leicester Uni crew and passed them but the other two finished well clear.

However, given how few races we’ve had together (and how few Iain has had period) we were really pleased with this one, finishing third in a pretty high calibre field wasn’t too shabby at all.

W.IM3 4+
With Sam from the Henley crew unavailable, Jo sat in for her, together with Andi, Ash and Lindy. A lack of water time together didn’t help their cause and they finished second to Newark (probably the boat that won at Peterborough last week?) but well ahead of Derby and Leicester Uni.

IM3 2x-
Tim and Benn were next up, this time racing as a double, racing against Nottingham and Leicester. Given that this was only their second outing (they tried their first start on the way up to the start!) they weren’t sure what to expect. Despite this, from a good start, they pushed into an early lead and were a length up by the halfway point. From there, they eased away a little more, landing our first win by four seconds over the Nottingham crew. Not bad for a second outing.

Mas D 2x-
This event pitted Steve and I in a straight final against Lincoln. Straight from the off, we pushed into a lead and were able to extend this through the first 500m, to the point where we were able to sit on them quite comfortably. Despite hitting a massive sqall that near on stopped us in our tracks, we seemed to cope with the conditions in the second half much better and pulled away for our second win of the day. Personally, this was a real fillip after the misery at Peterborough last week.

W.Nov 4x-
Mixing it up from the Ladies Masters quad of last week, this was a really scratch crew. With Paula stroking, Alice and Karen in the middle and Clare steering at bow, they had a straight final against Nottingham. The lack of practice together certainly didn’t show – easing into a slight lead from the start, they pushed away slowly but surely to a length clear by the halfway point. Despite some really hard battling from Nottingham, the girls dug in and held off their challenge, to finish a length clear for our third win, de-novicing into the bargain.

IM1 2-
By now we, were really buzzing as the last three MKRC boats had all won. Tim and Benn swapped sculls for sweep and set out (at IM1 level!) against Derby. This proved to be a fairly comfortable race, as the two finished off their day with our fourth and final win.

Most of us who were racing at National Masters the following day had opted to camp over. We set up a little circle of tents on the camp site and settled in for another great evening. Gathered round the barbie, sharing a few beers (not too many in view of tomorrow – but there were pots to christen) and chatting, it made for another really great end to another brilliant day’s racing.

I really liked this one. Not only was it (another) good day for the club but it was just nice. There were some really good touches, such as ensuring anyone in an event with heats got at least two rows (going either to the final or to a repêchage) and the presenting of pots while in the boat. First time I’ve had this and it made it feel really special.

The whole atmosphere was chilled and especially the umpires – never had such polite, friendly and chatty people controlling a regatta. Holding it at a major facility and having (for Nottingham) pretty good weather obviously helped but I do hope they do the same next year. This was a great warm up event for the Masters the following day.

My favourite comment of the day came from one of the Duke of Edinburgh volunteers (they were really great by the way) – it was along the lines of “I’ve learnt the colours for Leicester and Milton Keynes today – they’re the ones winning everything”! Nice to know we’ve made an impact.

Results can be found here

Benn’s videos can be viewed here

Photos are on-line – click on the picture below

East Midlands Regatta 2011

Please note the views in this blog are my personal ones and do not reflect the official view of Milton Keynes Rowing Club. If you disagree with anything here, please use the comments section to discuss, rather than going to the club.

Milton Keynes Regatta 2011

May 23, 2011

Don’t know about anyone else but I thoroughly enjoyed the Regatta on Saturday. This was only our second ever Regatta and was slightly bigger than last year’s with three other clubs attending (Bedford RC joining Northampton and Oundle). I’m not going to try and write up every event – partly there were too many and (mainly) I was either marshalling or racing so didn’t see half of them.

So, I’m just going to pick out some of the highlights (for me) of the day and leave it to others to add their own thoughts. That way, maybe we’ll wind up with a full picture!

Unlike last year, held in a dead calm, we had very strong winds and this made for some very challenging conditions, especially at the start.Despite this, we only had a couple of capsizes and no clashes in races, showing a high standard of rowing and sculling by all taking part. I know some crews found the going very tough but everyone battled through. We had some incredibly close races, including a couple where the verdict was one foot! It was good to see the full spectrum of events as well, juniors, seniors and masters, and everything from singles through to eights.

We re-jigged a couple of things from last year, firstly the trailer parking, having the trailers in front of the club house. This proved fortuitous as, having parked three trailers neatly, a fourth then turned up – Oundle having so many boats they needed two trailers! We were able to slot them in where we parked the trailers last year, so no real panic. Got to say how impressed I was with the parking ability of the trailer drivers, just wish I was that good. Assuming we expand next year, we’ll have to really think about this one though.

Second change was to the boating pontoon – we moved this to the left of the slipway and this did help with congestion along the footpath, although it did mean most crews opted to go off here, leading to some delays. Again, one to think about for next year. The circulation pattern worked better, removing the need to have crews crossing the racing line.

Personally, it was an interesting day, staying upright and dry in my first Regatta single scull race (only finished two lengths down, which I was really pleased with), being well and truly thumped in the quad and then finally getting a win at our home event in the double with Steve.

For me, some of the highlights were the Open Eight between Bedford and Northampton, one of the closest races of the day, with Bedford shading it at the finish (by a foot) and the Northampton against NSB quad, again a foot in it (with NSB emerging as winners). It was nice to see the pots and medals being spread around as well, no one club dominating things, although our ladies seemed to be putting in strong showings all round. Special mentions for Paula and Lou – first time ever in a double and (despite a scenic route) winning their straight final and to the two beginners crews, who put up a serious fight with only half a length in it, credit to the coaches from both Bedford and MK for getting beginners to this standard!

Starts were very difficult and all credit to the Sea Cadets, who did a tremendous job hanging on to the sterns of boats against strong winds, waves and rowers trying to keep on station. Their arms must seriously ache today (and be a couple of inches longer). As an illustration of just how hard this was, one boat managed to dislodge one of the stake boats, casting it adrift (quickly rescued by the safety launch) and another managed to get wedged between the stake boat and the bank, being battered by cross-waves.

The wind also made it deceptively cool and there’s a lot of people (me included) nursing some serious sunburn as a result.It was a long and tiring day but thoroughly enjoyable and showed again that we can run a good event. Now for planning next year…

If you were there, do let me know your thoughts and memories!

Bedford Autumn Fours & Small Boats Head 2009

October 16, 2009

Bit of a funny day, really. We came away without any wins (unusual) but with most of the crews happy with their rows and no real sense of disappointment. For the Womens’ squad, it was very much a case of mixing and matching, with a total of three IM2 4+ and two IM3 4+ boats going out. It also saw the Vet Quad and Double back in action plus a début for a new pairing of Josh and Paul as a Novice double. After some time out, the Juniors were also present, putting out four boats.

W.IM2 4+
Three crews out in this category, showing the increasing standard and depth of the Womens’ squad. The top placed crew came second, beaten by the St. Neots crew they’d pushed into second the previous week by just eight seconds. The other two boats finished 9th and 10th of the ten entries but still posted very respectable times.

W.IM3 4+
Third and fifth for the two boats at this level, although the winning Cantabs crew were clearly ahead of all of the other crews.

Nov 2x-
First time out for Josh and Paul saw an encouraging performance which put them fourth overall but the highest placed club crew. They even prevented the dominance of Bedford School taking the top four places, despite a couple of close encounters with hard stuff on the edge of the river…

IM3 4x-
Rowing at IM3 rather than Vet C, a good (probably best to date) performance by the Quad put us third of four, although the winning Bedford School crew were streets ahead. The quad sat midway between the two Guildford crews, again showing progress, just three seconds behind the crew in second place. Big plus – we were the fastest MK crew of the day!

Vet D 2x-
Initially disappointed when we looked at the results as we were last of four, but then realised that no handicapping had been applied (and the category was Vet B-D), we were only eight seconds or so behind Paul and Josh AND we beat the juniors, so not so bad after all. Don’t know about Steve but I was absolutely shattered at the end of this one (my second and his third race of the day)

Mixed Vet C 2x-
Only the second outing for Steve and Clare and a reasonable time, finishing second behind St. Ives. No steering dramas today, either!

J18 2x-
Ryan and Tim still learning the ropes, so no surprise that they finished well down, especially after a couple of unscheduled stops. Much more to come from them, I’m sure

J18 1x
Three of the juniors out in this category, with John and Tim showing a big improvement, placing in the middle of the division. Ryan’s put in a good effort but his lack of race experience left him trailing the others

Results, inevitably, on-line almost immediately, are at Bedford RC

My photos from the day now loaded as well at the MKRC Fotopic site

Warwick Regatta 2009

August 24, 2009

Not sure but this may have been our first appearance at the Warwick Regatta. Anyway, whether it was or not, it was a well worthwhile day out. Not only was it such a nice regatta, well organised but very laid back, the women returned to their winning ways, taking home pots for the IM3 4+. The other two boats (a J16 1x and IM3 2x-) didn’t fare as well, neither getting through to the final.

Womens IM3 4+
A new combination today, with Jo stroking, Paula, Steph and Lou making up the crew, with yours truly coxing. First race saw a good start, holding Evesham A to around halfway before a good push saw us draw well clear to finish with clear water and bag three points. Second race pitted us against Evesham B (although it looked like their top crew); a closer race this one with us pushing away at the end to win by a third of a length (seemed more and was given as a full length initially). This gave us one point and, being unbeaten, put us into the final. This was to be against the Evesham B boat again, who had finished runners up in the group. Another good, close race but the same power at the end of the race saw us win again, by an increased distance. Unfortunately, the Evesham crew then objected, claiming we had taken their water and forced them off line. The umpires disagreed and overruled the objection (not surprisingly as I hadn’t received any warnings on the course) – however, Evesham then appealed this decision and it was only when they were told fairly curtly that this second appeal had been overruled that we were able to celebrate a hard fought and deserved win.

IM3 2x-
Tim and I’s first competitive outing in the double wasn’t a great success. First race saw me confuse the edge marker buoys for the centreline ones and make an unplanned inspection of the reeds. This rather gave the opposition crew from Ross an easy ride! Second race wasn’t much better; we knew from practice that we tend to pull to stroke side and we managed to scrape the stroke side bank – despite starting on the other side of the river. Another easy win for our opponents from Leicester. Needless to say, this was not enough to put us through. Back to the training to try and sort out our pull.

J16 1x
John was unfortunate to come up against a very good sculler from King’s School Ely in his first race, losing by a couple of lengths. His second race was much closer, with him losing by just two feet – this may have been better had John had more than just 40 minutes between his two races.

Overall, a really good event and one that we’ll add to our list for next year, for sure. One of the highlights has to be sitting on the start line and looking up at the imposing battlements of Warwick Castle; it really is that close. A challenging course but a good, friendly event.

Results at up at Warwick Boat Club but these show the winners only.

Photos now on line at the usual place,

Star Regatta 2009

June 15, 2009

It’s that time of year with events coming thick and fast. This week-end saw us competing at two separate events, the local Star Regatta on both the Saturday and Sunday and, for the first time, the National Veteran’s Regatta on Sunday (new post to follow).

Star Regatta saw four wins over week-end, two on each day. Showing a major step up, three of these were from the Junior squad.


Both of today’s victories came courtesy of the Junior squad, with wins in the J17 1x and J17 4x- categories. The only two (disappointing turnout) senior crews both lost their straight finals. Steve and I lost (at IM2 2x-) to two huge “kids” from St. Paul’s School, by seven seconds (which we thought wasn’t bad as we were about three times thier age!) while Paul and Nick lost out to a very strong Star boat in the IM2 2- category.

As well as the Junior wins, John also managed to capsize while leading his final, having won two rounds to get there!


The wins today came from Salv at J17 1x and the Mixed IM3 4+ crew. Again, far more junior boats out today (although us Vets were up at Nottingham). The Mixed crew was almost the ultimate “scratch” crew; two of the crew had never met before, they had to borrow blades (thanks Nicky at Star for sorting this out) and use three seats from the Junior’s quad plus one borrowed from Bedford School! Still despite this, they clearly gelled as a crew and dominated their final to pick up the nice Star medals.

Results already on-line at Star Club

Abingdon Head 2009

April 20, 2009

Another successful day for the Women’s IM3 4+ crew saw them winning their category at our second visit to Abingdon. Showing real, solid progress as a club since last year (see last year’s entry) we entered twice as many crews and posted some very good results as well as the ladies second win in a row.

Division 1 saw the J18 2x double of Sal and John post a reasonable time in their first outing together (although see the adjusted times guys – you won’t be happy!). Steve and I were in the Vet C/D/E 2x class, rowing as Vet D. We had a really good row, with Steve steering a great line that saw us in an early lead, beating some respectable crews (Canterbury Pilgrims, Upper Thames). We finished second overall after the handicapping was applied, falling to a Vet E double from Upper Thames – we were the fastest Vet D crew of the day though, a really massive improvement from our first go last year. Really pleased!

Up in Division 2 were the two Women’s IM3 4+ boats. Mixed fortunes here, with the Charlene/Jo/Lindy/Steph boat storming away and posting a time of 8:57 – 21 seconds ahead of the second IM3 crew and a time that puts them in the mix for IM2. The other boat of Helen/Paula/Becks/Clare had an unfortunate close encounter of the barge kind and this pushed them down the field to finish 4th in 9:45 – still ahead of two other crews, despite losing probably half a minute.

Division 3 saw me back in rowing action (having coxed the winning women in the last division). This time a Vet C quad, with Simon making his MKRC competitive debut. A good solid row saw finish last of the four crews on handicap but a very encouraging start. Our other boat out in this division was a J18 quad, another first as this was a composite crew with Hollowell. Sadly, this crew also had a close encounter, this time with the bank and this clobbered their time.

The final division had me coxing again, the victims on this occasion being a Women’s Novice 4+. First time that this crew (Jo/Lou/Terri/Yemin) had raced together and they pulled out a good row to finish 4th equal, beating many other big names. Only Lou’s second race, too. John showed his continuing progress, to finish second in J16 1x.

Overall, a very satisfying day out for the club and me in particular (first coxing pot!). The weather was great – although chilly at first it turned into a really hot sunny day (having to explain tan at work today) and the location really nice. The course is a good one too; a mix of some really nice wide straights and some very challenging corners. Although the boat handling was every bit as good as last year, the marshalling at the start could have been better. To be fair, the marshals weren’t helped by the total ineptness of some crews. Some of my favourites were the two crews desperate to get to the front of our division – only to then block the river when the division started as they were out of order, the school crew who were across the river aimed at another boat when the cox called for “whole crew, normal rowing” (fortunately, the crew ignored him) and the cox determined to fit his four in a space not big enough for a single. Then there were the J14/J15 quads….


Crew Position
Vet C/D/E 2x 2nd of 7
Vet C/D/E 4x- 3rd of 3
W.IM3 4+ 1st of 7
W.IM3 4+ 4th of 7
W.NOV 4+ 4th= of 10
J16 1x 2nd of 4
J18 2x 3rd of 3
J18 4x- No competition

The results are now online at Abingdon RC Results

My photos are now on-line at MKRC fotopic site, with others from Big Blade

Bedford Spring Fours & Small Boats Head 2009

April 6, 2009

A bit of a mixed day over at Bedford yesterday, for the Spring Fours and Small Boats Head. Somehow, Bedford RC managed to conjure up a really nice spring day, bright and sunny and virtually no wind. The river conditions were pretty near perfect, flat with very little stream running.

We put in a gratifyingly large entry, no less than sixteen crews being entered. These came from all the squads and had a good mix of sweep and scull, singles, doubles, pairs and fours.

Top results of the day came in the Women’s Intermediate 3 Coxed 4s. Not only did we win the category, but also came second, sixth and eighth (out of ten entries). Really good stuff, illustrating the strength of the ladies squad. The other results were:

IM2 4+ 6th (of 11)
J18 4x 5th (of 5)
J16 2x 4th (of 6)
IM2 2- 3rd (of 4)
J18 2x 4th (of 4)
VetD 2x 3rd (of 5)
J16 1x 5th and 7th (of 11)
VetD 1x 3rd (of 4)
J18 1x 8th and 9th (of 9)
Nov 2x oh dear….

Overall, pretty good and showing some good progress by the various crews. The Junior results look a bit disappointing in some events, but these crews included a couple of guys in their first ever events, so not unexpected. The IM2 4+ crew may have rowed together once before but I wouldn’t swear to it; certainly Rick hadn’t been in any boat for about six weeks, so their row (which they described as “chunky”) was pretty impressive.

The Novice 2x of Will and I failed to finish the course. In fact, we didn’t get past the first bridge… and found out the hard way that a bridge is an awful lot harder than our boat. I managed to get the line all wrong and we hit a pillar at race speed; this resulted in a very interesting new shape for my bowside rigger and left us limping back to Bedford Rowing Club to get out and carry the boat back to the trailer park. Not a good race. And on my birthday too.

Double rigger after losing argument with bridge

Double rigger after losing argument with bridge

A special mention for Jo – having put in two hard races she then stepped in for a third when Terri was unable to row through injury.

As usual, Will Everitt at Bedford has excelled himself and the full results are already online here. My photos are also now on line at and for the juniors at