Northampton Head 2012

February 23, 2012

This year’s Northampton Head took place in unusually mild weather – we’re used to fun activities like breaking the ice on the side of the river and avoiding hypothermia while waiting for the start, so temperatures of a tropical 5-6 degrees were really welcome.

We had our usual strong entry out for the event, including another batch of Learn to Row graduates in their first ever races. Despite missing some of the stronger members of the squad and having a number of our top boats knocked out with no competition, we still left clutching four category wins.

Novice 4+
A new combination saw Nelson, Chris Rob M and Pierre-Yves, coxed by Karen set a good benchmark for the Novice men, of 6:47. This was good enough to see them finish 3rd, beaten by Leicester and Bedford School but only seven seconds adrift of the winners and ahead of three school crews.

J18 2x-
A first race for Ben S saw him stroke a Junior double with Alex. Despite being overtaken by two old boys (see below) they put in a very good race, good enough to win their category! A very impressive start for Ben, especially considering the pressure of stroking the boat having never raced before.

Masters D 2x-
Fresh from our win at Star in the previous week, Steve and I knew this would be much harder as we were up against long time rivals, Nemesis. Today’s race felt much better, picking up from the tail end of last year rather than the rusty performance at Star. A fast start saw us close down on the kiddies in front (Ben and Alex in the J18 double) pretty quickly and we were able to cruise past them. To their credit they then hung on to us and pushed us all he way to the finish. Steve steered a near immaculate course and this helped us to a time of 6:57. Not surprisingly, Nemesis did beat this but by a mere 8 seconds – a much smaller gap than in previous events and leaving the pair of us quite happy.

W.IM2 2x-
An interesting race this one for Helen M and Jenny. Originally entered as a Masters boat, they had no competition so had to row at IM2 level. A “normal ” MKRC crew, in that they’d only had one or two sessions together before racing but both are very good scullers. After a slight problem on boating (another MKRC crew had inadvertently taken their blades!) they had a good, steady start, before they had the misfortune to be caught by a J16 4+ boat – which, despite being coxed, promptly rowed into them, having pushed them over to the bank first! Despite this setback, the ladies got going again and with the incentive to catch up lost time, stormed down the course to finish as winners, their time of 7:31 putting them just three seconds ahead of Leicester, with Devil’s Elbow (love the name!) well back.

W.Nov 4+
This was a quartet of our Learn to Row graduates form last year, in their first race as a crew. Comprising Winnie, Kelly, Mary and Helen C, with Tim coxing, this was a “voyage of discovery”. Unfortunately, they set themselves a tough pace from the start, but the race distance was double the length of the lake and it told towards the end.  Still, a good learning experience for them and that’s the first race out the way.

J15 1x
With Phillip still being a beginner in the single, the main objective was a safe row, finishing the right way up! He managed this easily and although last by a fair margin, a creditable performance for someone still finding his way.

WJ 15 2x-
Two junior girls’ doubles out in this category. First up were Lainey and Alex setting a target time for the other competitors of 8:17. They held on to the lead until division four, when their clubmates Gemma and Hannah posted a time 15 seconds quicker; unfortunately, two Stratford boats went even quicker! This left our two crews in 3rd and 4th overall (out of seven entries), an encouraging trend up the results table.

WJ15 1x
Our junior girls provided no less than three of the five entries at this category. They finished 2nd, 3rd and 5th overall, with Lainey top of the MKRC juniors, only 13 seconds off of the winner from Oundle.

Novice 8+
Yes, really, MKRC entering a Men’s Novice eight! With a large influx of Learn to Row graduates, we were able to put out a complete novice crew, bolstered by some of our senior guys who haven’t yet had the good fortune of a regatta win. A credit to the club and the coaching they’ve received, they put in a really good performance, posting a time of 6:29 to finish 4th, behind Stratford, Bedford School and Leicester boats. Given this was the first race for many of the crew, this was a very encouraging start for Nelson, Chris, Rob M, Ben S, Antonio, James, Haemish and Geoff (last five being LTR grads), coxed by Karen, being just 23 seconds off the winners.

Mas C 4x-
This boat saw Pierre-Yves, Tim, Steve and I reprise our Henley Masters boat from 2010 – and we don’t think we’ve been out in this combination since! We started immediately in front of one of our two competitors, from Northampton, and this gave us a good focus for the race. The first part of the race felt a little sluggish, as we got used to sculling together again, and the Northampton boat clung stubbornly behind us. However, about a third of the course down, we pushed and upped the rate a bit and this saw us at first ease away from Northampton but then start opening a substantial gap. By three quarters, Steve and I were both glad we’d not been able to enter an impromptu mixed quad in the previous division – doing just the two races was seriously starting to hurt! Still, we clung on in there and get pushing hard, crossing the finish line to record what we felt was a very respectable time, of 6:08, well ahead of Northampton, on 6:37. We then had to wait for our other competitor (Hollowell Scullers), out in the next division. To our disappointment, they absolutely flew down the course to post a winning time of a staggering 5:54, beating us by 16 seconds.

Strangely, we all agreed after the race that it had felt slow over the first half and then picked up in the second – Pierre-Yves had, of course, recorded the race on his GPS tracker and the results he sent out in the evening were completely the other way round! A fast start, dropping off around half way with a late surge at the end – just shows you can’t trust how the boat feels…

W.IM2 1x
Fresh from her storming performance with Jenny in the double, Helen M was back in action in her single. After a late drama, as her seat had somehow disappeared (a big thank-you to Northampton for finding and lending her a spare for her Empacher) she duly delivered another win for both her and the club.

J16 1x
Alex moved from the winning double back to his single in the last division. Showing steady progress, he finished third out of five, in a very symmetrical field (Stowe, Northampton, MK, Northampton, Stowe) pushing the Stowe boat that followed him well away.

W.IM2 4+
A slightly contrived event this one. We’d originally entered an IM1 and Masters boat but both had no competition. Northampton were very accommodating and allowed Tim to shuffle the two crews to produce a pair of IM2 boats to race each other. Being guaranteed a club win it was all about crew rivalry. The aim on both sides was not to be beaten by a big margin – and this led to two very fine performances. First off was the “Sugar” boat, of Paula, Karen, Clare and Helen C, coxed by yours truly, with the “Spice” boat of Charlene, Alice, Kate and Winnie, Steve coxing, following a few boats back. After two really fine rows, the timing couldn’t have been closer, with a single second separating the two crews (7:46 to 7:47) – tragically, from my point of view, the rival “Spice” boat just edging it. Still, it shows the closeness of the women’s squad, both in ability and in getting on with each other, as despite some friendly banter, there were no hard feelings at all. Apart from the coxes…

My thoughts…
Another great day out at Northampton, despite the unusually warm weather (we’re so used to freezing there, being warm felt distinctly odd). It was really impressive seeing our huge flotilla of boats taking up substantial acreage in the boat park, having something like 12 or 13 different boats entered ranging from singles through to an eight. Great also to see so many new faces racing for the first time, and all of them enjoying the experience (even if a “bit” harder than they expected).

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.

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!

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).

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!


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

Milton Keynes Regatta 2010

May 24, 2010

So, we finally managed it! After years of discussion and months of hard work we put on the first ever MKRC Regatta on Saturday 22nd May 2010. Helped by the glorious weather, this was a real success and enjoyed by everyone, competitors, organisers and spectators. This was the culmination of a big effort by many,many people – I’m not going to go into a big long list here but really have to say a big thank-you to Tim who was the driving force behind this.

Caldecotte Lake proved to be a wonderful venue for regatta racing, with the entire course visible from just about anywhere on the lake shore. Angling the racing lines across the lake gave us a 600m course, with the start line by the road bridge (useful vantage point for watching the start) and finish line just down from the club house.

As this was our first ever event, we ran it as an invitation only private match. This limited us to three other clubs; wanting to get clubs of similar size as ourselves, we invited Northampton, Oundle Town and Isle of Ely. Unfortunately, because of what seems to have been an utter foul up in internal communications, Isle of Ely told us on the Thursday before the Regatta that they we withdrawing. Having just two days notice to find a replacement was always going to be difficult, so we just had to scratch their entries. As well as a significant financial loss this caused a lot of problems with race scheduling and led to a staccato start to racing.

Despite this setback, everything went incredibly well. I’m not going to list out all the races and how all our crews did – there were so many of each (we wound up with around 80 races) – just pick out some of my highlights. Please feel free to add to these – that’s what the comments box is all about…..

So, my highlights of the day

John Cunningham – not only getting to race again but in the boat named after him. Not sure his grin could have got any wider even though we lost in both the MK Vet 8+ and the composite 8+ with Oundle. Well deserved John and great to see.

Jeff Pearce – started the club 15 years ago and this was a proud moment for him

Womens’ Novice 4+ – doubt they will remain Novice for long the way they went about winning this category; all the more pleasing as three of the crew were from last year’s learn to row intake

The only capsize of the day – a Northampton sculler who self-rescued – and then rolled over completely and capsized the other side!

Steph, who lived up to her Miss Chatterbox award by providing a really, really, really good commentary (you need to listen to the interview on BBC 3 Counties Radio).

The MKRC crew who were the only crew all day to get a warning (for failing to follow the circulation pattern)!

My most enjoyable race of the day (OK, I lost in all four, but it was all fun), sculling in a double with my younger daughter, Jo. First time we’d ever been in a double together, so losing by one length wasn’t too shabby at all.

I’m sure there’s loads more – please do chip in so we can build up more of a record of what was a really brilliant first ever MKRC regatta. On the feedback we’ve had so far, we’re now starting to think about next year’s event already, so watch this space

We’ve made the local papers too – see the MK Citizen article

The results from the day are now available here  MKRC Regatta 2010 Results

Northampton Head 2010

January 30, 2010

The first race of the year at a cold, cold Northampton saw us come away with four wins for the club. There were other really good races as well from other crews, so a promising start to the year. We put in a good number of crews, especially from the ladies squad, showing the growing strength in depth. This also saw another four new rowers make their MKRC début – including a winning start for Ashling.

IM3 4+
First time out for three of this crew, who only just scraped into IM3 despite having three novices in the boat. Tim provided the experience (and the points) but a good row from the new guys saw a creditable time on their racing début.

Novice 1x
Despite having eight points (regressed!), Tim has no sculling points at all and this was his first race in a single. He accomplished his primary aim (finishing upright and dry) and actually posted a good time, despite a close encounter with the bank. Plenty more to come, was his view, as he gains experience.

Novice 2x-
Josh and Paul were racing (on handicap) against junior crews in this category and had the strength to see them take the win. A few interesting moments for the spectators as they seemed to cut up another MK crew but this was a trick of the distance

Vet C 2x-
Pierre-Yves and I reprised our successful outing at Peterborough last year, winning the category. Despite an interminable delay at the start (thanks to a Women’s Eight who kept everyone waiting in the freezing cold – thanks girls!) we put in a strong row and with Pierre-Yves nailing the lines put in a very pleasing time

Vet C 4x-
Despite a strong looking opposing crew from Canterbury Pilgrims, we pulled out probably our best race to date to win this event. A nice, powerful and controlled race actually saw us post the fastest time in the division, including being faster than an eight! All credit to Simon, picking up his first win.

Womens Novice 4+
First race for Ashling and only the second event for Frances and Andi but the practise and coaching paid off as they took the win in this category, beating their opposition by over a minute! Lou made up the crew and this looks to be a promising combination for the season ahead.

Womens IM3 4+ – three crews
As there was no opposition for the top boat at IM2, it was a case of mix and match at IM3, to produce three crews. These crews managed to place 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the category, all trailing a very quick Stratford boat. Promising to see some of the novice ladies rowing in these boats and not looking at all out of place. Despite not winning, it shows the strength in depth that the ladies are getting

Overall view
Although Northampton isn’t one of the “big” events, it IS friendly and well organised and one of our “must do” races. It’s a good starter for the year with less pressure and a nice bit of river. Somehow they always conjure up the same weather as well – brilliant blue sky but bitterly cold (my toes have only just thawed out). I guess the only suggestion would be to get the eights boated first in each division as we always seem to wind up sitting for ages in the cold waiting for an eight to wend it’s way down. It was really nice to see four new faces in their first events, and all seemed to “enjoy” their first taste of racing. Personally very pleasing to come away from an event with two wins as well. A good way to spend a Saturday!

Photos on-line at the MKRC fotopic site and results up at the Northampton RC site

Northampton Head 2009

February 2, 2009

So, to the first event of the New Year. Another good day out for us at Northampton, with the club taking three wins out of seven boats entered. Update: Shows nobody reads this – we actually won FOUR events!! I missed the Mens S3 4+ crew off – sorry guys.

As usual, the event was friendly and boating really well managed – some problems with Division 2 being delayed but this was down to certain crews boating way too late. The “shoe boxes” were a great idea – full marks to whoever thought that one up.

Division 1 started off in nice calm conditions, bright sunshine although very cold. The flat water led to some good rows, with the three winning boats all coming in this division. These were the S3 4x-, the WS3 4+ and, on their first competitive outing, the “handicapped pair” as they were referred to by race control (Paul and Nick in the S3 2-).

By the time Division 2 got underway, the wind had picked up and the river was getting pretty choppy. In this division we had two more women’s fours, one at S3 the other at S4. The S3 boat went off, followed immediately by the S4 crew. The two crews chased each other down the course, with the (younger) S4 boat finally overtaking the S3 ladies after 1200m or so. This despite the great line taken by the outstanding cox in the S3 boat (OK, it was me…).

Only one crew in Division 3, the Men’s S3 4+ boat. For a scratch crew, the performance was pretty good and opens up other possibilities for the rest of the season. And they won!

The Fourth and final division again saw two boats out. These were the Women’s S4 4x- (another scratch crew) and Steve and I in the Vet D 2x-. The Ladies quad went well (better than they expected) but I think the lack of water time caught up with Steve and I (certainly with me!) and our row was disappointing, being overhauled by the following Vet E boat (who had a 13 second handicap advantage) for Guildford. Having seen the results though, it wasn’t quite so bad.

Some good results and performances with some new combinations out. Nice to see another debut today as well, with Lou in her first race in the second WS3 4+ crew.

Summary of results

Crew Position
S3 4+ 1st of 2
S3 4x 1st of 2
WS3 4+ 1st of 3
WS3 4+ 2nd of 3
WS4 4+ 2nd of 4
S3 2- 1st of 7
VetD 2x 2nd of 3
WS4 4x 2nd of 2
WS3 4+ 2nd of 3