Star Head 2011 – take 2

February 3, 2012

After the disappointment of the original event being postponed because of thick fog (see earlier blog entry), the 2011 Star Head was finally rescheduled for January 22nd 2011. Despite our concerns that this would also be affected (this time by very strong winds) it did go ahead as planned.

Although we’d put together a bumper entry for the original event, unavailability reduced us down to “just” ten crews entered. Out of this entry, we managed to come away with no less than six event wins, with the ladies again proving dominant with three wins and the Ladies Masters’ boat narrowly missing out on handicap time.

WIM2 4+
A strong crew of Helen J, Paula, Alice and Kate (in her first race for MK) with cox Yemin put down a fast time of 7:53 in the first division. This was to prove more than quick enough, beating the Star boat (their only competition) by a substantial margin of 31 seconds to win the category.

WIM3 4+
Another very strong looking boat, with Kate, Alice, Lou and Jenny, with Yemin again coxing. With this being Jenny’s first MKRC race and Kate’s second (her first being the W.IM2 boat earlier) we weren’t sure how it would go. The answer was “quickly”, posting a faster time (7:46) than the IM2 crew, easily enough to again take the win by 28 and 57 seconds over Star and St. Neots respectively.

WMas B/C 4x
With Jenny switching to sculling and, very creditably, steering the quad in her first ever row at Bedford, the crew of Andi, Amelia, Karen and Jenny overcame the handicap time and sculled to victory, proving too strong for Star and Oundle.

Mas D 2x-
This saw Steve and I out in the double for the first time in what seems ages. This showed as our race wasn’t as fluent as those at the end of last year, and certainly felt like hard work. Despite this, Steve steered a near flawless course and we posted a respectable time of 7:54, comfortably ahead of Oundle, to pick up another win

Mas B 2x-
Despite not having raced together for a very long time, Tim and Pierre-Yves put in a great performance, not only winning their category but posting the fastest MKRC time of the day! Their time, 7:28, put them 29th overall for the day, comfortably beating many fours and quads and even one eight!

Mxd Mas A/C 2x-
Not only taking on their competitors, but running a significant risk of marital fall-out (would YOU let your spouse steer a race or would your spouse let YOU call the pace and tactics????) Tim and Andi also beat the handicapping to see off two “C” boats and win the category by 23 seconds and 33 seconds from Oundle and Sudbury respectively.

IM3 4+
A new combination saw Steve, Pierre-Yves and I swap sculls for sweep and add Chris (in his first MKRC race) to put out an IM3 four. After a “hot swap” as we were sharing Mistral with the Women’s IM3 crew (with Helen J jumping in to relieve Yemin from coxing a third straight race!) we paddled down to the start. Not really knowing how this would go, having had just a couple of outings, we set off at a reasonable rate. Unfortunately, we’d been placed immediately ahead of what was obviously a very quick Star quad and coming up to Star club, Helen had to steer very wide to let them through. Despite this we settled back onto the racing line but as we came through County bridge it was like rowing out into the Atlantic. Very high waves, rough water and boat stopping winds made for “interesting” conditions – a bit like rowing on Caldecotte Lake! This persisted through to the Suspension Bridge where the water calmed down a bit and from the Butterfly Bridge it all really clicked and (for the last 200 meters!) felt really strong and balanced. A good end to a reasonable race but we finished last of the five, but a mere three seconds covered 3rd, 4th and 5th. Still, 30 seconds off the winners in what was basically a Masters’ boat wasn’t too bad, especially not for a first outing and had, we not had to avoid the quad, could have been even better.

WMas C/E 4+
Despite a very good row, the Ladies Masters were just unable to overcome the handicap (racing “C” against a St. Neots “E” boat) and although 23 seconds quicker, Paula, Karen, Lou and Clare, with Amelia coxing, lost out by 4 seconds on the handicap time. Had Clare not had to do a third straight race (see the WMas CDE 2x- race), maybe they would have been able to close that little gap.

J17 2x-
James and Alex out in a junior double, were up against two strong crews from St. Neots and Kings School Ely and their lack of experience showed as they trailed in a long way down. Still, they can only get quicker with practice.

J16 1x
Alex found himself up against three other J16 scullers, from Kings School Ely, Star and St. Ives. Again, still learning the ropes, he was well beaten although the times posted by the others were extremely fast (winning time was a scorching 7:31!).

WMas CDE 2x-
Clare and Trish, in her first race for the club, had a torrid time. Having raced down in Division 1, they got to the end to be told that their time hadn’t been recorded! They then had to row back, up to the start and do it all over again. This clearly affected their performance and they came in well off the pace with a time of 10:03. Still, a first race together out the way and hopefully next time they’ll only need to do it once!

Results for the day can be seen here and my photos here

So, all in all, another good day at the races, especially for Jenny and Kate who picked up wins (two in Jenny’s case) in their first races in MKRC colours. A reasonable first race for the Men’s IM3 4+, although last, this was by just a few seconds, so a bit more practice should see us further up the field.

Star Head 2011 – damned fog!

February 3, 2012

After a clear, beautiful sunny day on Saturday, we were hoping for the same on Sunday for Star Head. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case – we woke to a thick blanket of fog, but hoped it would burn off by the time we got to Bedford.

We’d got a bumper entry in for the event, some 25 crews entered, making this one of (if not the) biggest entries we’ve ever mustered. For the first time ever, this necessitated us taking a second trailer as we had too many boats for just one. Pleasingly, these entries spanned a huge range – we’d got everything from a Novice four to a Senior pair, Masters boats from “A” to “D” and a whole load of junior crews to boot.

After an uneventful (but gloomy) drive over to Bedford, we found the fog no better. We offloaded and rigged the boats for the first division, planned for 9. Fairly soon though, word came round that it was being postponed for half an hour, so we adjourned to the club house to await developments. Sitting in the club house, we could just see the far bank and the Town Bridge was completely obscured, so this was obviously too dangerous for racing. Equally obvious was the stuff was going nowhere fast – it would lift a bit but then come down just as heavy as before. Star kept us updated every half hour but it was becoming pretty clear that they were losing too much race time and ultimately they had no choice but to cancel.

So, back to the trailer, de-rig and load and back to MK. Typically, by the time we’d unloaded and rigged, the fog (which was so thick we couldn’t see the far bank) had cleared and we had a bright, sunny day.

Nothing Star could have done and they kept us all well informed and made the right call. I sure wouldn’t have wanted to race, let alone steer, in those conditions. I did feel sorry for Ben – first race, he towed the second trailer and didn’t even get his boat rigged!

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.

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!

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?

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

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

Peterborough Regatta 2010

June 9, 2010

Showing the growing stature of the womens’ squad (or maybe they just don’t like us?) for the first time the club attended two different events this week-end. While two womens’ boats went off to the Met (at Dorney) the rest of us were at Peterborough.

This limited the number of crews at Peterborough and, given the top boats were elsewhere, this reflected in us taking just one win over the two days. We all camped over on the Saturday night and the social side made up for the relative lack of success (although there were some very good non-winning performances).

Saturday 5th June

First out was a Mens’ IM3 4+ boat; as this comprised one experienced rower and three novices, they were a bit outclassed in their heat by three Uni crews and trailed in last. After several hours (six!) we had our next event, a womens’ Masters B 4+. They placed second (of three) in a straight final, partly helped by a spectacular crab by Star that left their boat sideways on the course.

Another long wait to the final three races of the day. Karen and Lou competed for the first time together in a double (at Masters C) and a few steering issues saw them at the back of the field (this wasn’t helped by the copious amounts of pond weed in Lane 1!). Next up was what was to be our closest race of the day, an IM3 4x-. With Pierre-Yves unavailable, Josh slotted in instead with Tim stroking, Steve steering and me making up the numbers. Arriving at the start, it didn’t look promising as we (who would have been Vet B if not for Josh) were up against two Uni crews and a Leicester Uni/Club composite.

However, having had a good practise session earlier in the day where we completely changed our start, we got a flier and were in contention from the off. The composite crew then caught a giant crab (odd, looking back and seeing a blade vertical in the water), the Leicester Uni crew dropped away and we were left in a real hammer and tongs battle to the end with Leeds Uni. Ultimately, they were just a bit too quick for us and won – I don’t know the distance but it was under a length. Quite encouraging for us, especially as Steve lost steering about 100m from the end!

Thanks to some great scheduling, Steve and I then headed back round the lake, jumped into our double and went off for the next race, at Masters D 2x-. Needless to say, having given everything in the quad, we were running on empty and trailed in a long way behind the others in what was described as “a tired row”. Wasn’t too impressed with this – no races all day and then two in 40 minutes.

With all racing over and done with, it was time to set up camp, break out the barbie and have the odd beer or two. We were all pretty tired so turned in quite early. I thought I hadn’t slept well until everyone started discussing the major disturbances during the night! As well as a massive electrical storm, there was (by all accounts) a near riot at the club house with large number of police called in as well as the police helicopter. And I slept through it all…

Sunday 6th June

Although it had rained pretty heavily overnight, Sunday morning started quite bright. A nice start to the morning, bacon sarnies cooked on the barbie and much chat about the previous night’s activities.

First race of the day was Josh, jolted back to something like normal by application of Red Bull. His single was at 9:30 and about 9 he realised his boat still wasn’t rigged as we’d not used it the day before. Cue the fastest rigging of a boat of all time. With help he made it onto the water in time. Despite a really strong row (in only his second single race) he just failed to get third and a spot in the repêchage.

An hour later, Josh was back in action, this time with Tim in a double. Again, a good race but again, without success.

We then put out a mixed Novice 4+ boat; again, they were up against three Uni crews and, inevitably, struggled. Despite a slow start, a strong push was pulling them back into the field when Lou, at stroke, caught a crab. The lack of racing experience in the boat then caused some of the crew to carry on while others (correctly) stopped. One for us to learn in coaching novices for their first race.

A couple of this crew were out again as part of the Womens’ Masters C 4+ (same crew as yesterday with Andi replacing Frances). Star weren’t as obliging today and our ladies were left to bring up the rear.

Another new combination was next up, a Mixed Quad. I quite thought this was a Masters’ event and was very surprised at the stake boat to see our opponents from Lincoln were decidedly NOT Masters. This was actually an IM3 event and we were utterly outclassed, giving Lincoln the easiest win they are ever likely to get. Partly, this was Steve and I not wanting to kill ourselves as we were, again, straight round the other side to go out in the double. Partly our own fault as, being nice, we’d agreed to let Lincoln shift the mixed Quad back – all this did was reduce our recovery time to 30 minutes. Not surprisingly, we trailed in last.

And so to the final race of the day. This was Tim and Rob M in a Masters Novice 2x. This was to be Rob’s first ever race in a double and his main concern was to finish upright and dry. In the event, they accomplished this easily and in doing so took the win! After waiting all week-end it was nice to finally score a victory for the club. Nice hip-flasks awarded instead of the normal pots.

Thoughts on the Regatta

A couple of niggles from my point of view – firstly, the scheduling. I know it is very hard to accommodate everyone but allowing 40 minutes between finals really makes the second race not worth bothering with. It might be do-able if you’re young and fit but us Masters need a bit more recovery time (well, I do).

A couple of very contentious finish decisions over the week-end, both in favour of the home club – worst of these was where the Peterborough crew had even congratulated the other crew on them winning, only for the result to be given the other way. Add to this some over zealous umpiring (disqualifying a crew for not getting over quickly enough – they were given three strokes to mover over and hadn’t even crossed the buoy line) and a few people were left very unhappy.

Finally, lack of camping space. Understandably, camping wasn’t being allowed further up the course; however, this meant that there was very little space left over. Come the summer event, this could be a serious problem. Given the disturbances on Saturday night, I wonder if they will be allowed to permit any camping at all though.

So, all in all, not a bad week-end, a first and a second, although the other boats were left struggling. And our top ladies were off at Met.

Photos now on-line at the Fotopic site

Bedford Quarts 2009

July 16, 2009

Another regatta, another win for the Women. Despite losing Lindy (back to Zimbabwe for a holiday), the Women’s squad showed their strength in depth as Paula stepped in to win another event. They had to do this the hard way, being the only crew of the five in their category that had to row three times. First up were Star Club – a good start and the first push saw our crew well clear and able to sit on Star through to the end, winning by three lengths. The second round pitted them against Bedford; a poor start this time saw the girls behind but a hard push saw them row clean through Bedford, this time to win by a length and a three quarters. Their opponents in the final were Broxbourne; again, a strong start saw them pull away steadily (despite being hit by a huge gust of wind by the weir) to run out overall winners, this time by two lengths.
A hugely well deserved win, to take home those huge Bedford Quart pots plus a point all round.

Our other crews didn’t do as well, though. Steve and I were totally outclassed in the double being beaten easily by Cambridge. Although de-novicing at Peterborough was great, my extra point now puts us at IM2 if there’s no Vet events and we just aren’t up to that level.

The Quad also lost, this time by one length to Lincoln. This despite it being a fairly scrappy row with a new line up – Pierre-Yves was away, so Tim stepped in (for his first competitive row for MKRC) at two with me moving to stroke.

Results are on-line at Bedford RC site and my photos at the MKRC fotopic site