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?

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

Star Regatta

June 23, 2008

Not a good day at the races for the club. None of the five boats entered managed a single win, coming up against good opposition all round. The three juniors (Curt, Luke and Kieran) performed well, especially considering it was Luke and Kieran’s first single race and both Luke and Curt went out to the eventual winner (how big was this “kid” from Peterborough!).

The Women’s S3 4+ boat was beaten in a straight final by Star Club as was the Parent/Child 2x+ of Steve and James, coxed by yours truly.

Photos now on-line at

Sunny and no wind – this can’t be a rowing night, surely

June 10, 2008

What a great evening for training last night. Really bright and sunny (and hot) and virtually a flat calm. It’s amazing how the conditions make you more up for a good training session. We had quite a busy lake, with some serious work being done out there.

There was the Mens’ Coxless Four, carrying on their hard training, gearing up for Henley, the Womens’ Coxed Four that will be racing at Star this week-end, a Novice Eight a double and myself in a single. The Women were certainly pushed through their paces by Clarissa; she’s sussed the crews’ tactics of keeping her chatting at the end of a length, allowing them to drift halfway back. She now makes them back down to get in a full run if she realises what they’re up to. This crew includes Lindy – hard to believe she’s only been rowing three months or so. She already looks the part and is clearly up for the race on Saturday.

The Novice Eight is coming along as well, with five new guys in it. It’s really nice seeing so many new faces (just wonder what’s happened to some of the “old hands” though?).

Jo was out in the double with one of the juniors (“Twin 1” while “Twin 2” coxed the Eight) but the heat and being back at school full time after exams exacted its toll…

It was such a nice evening I just enjoyed myself sculling. My hands (and back and legs) are telling me all about it this morning though. Still, all good practice ahead of the week-end.

On that subject, it’s sad to see another local club struggle with their event. After Northampton had to cancel their Regatta due to lack of interest (I believe MKRC were the only club to put in an entry), seeing Star have to cut their event from two days to one is both a shame and quite worrying. Does this show a decline in interest in rowing, people being priced out of events or (worst of all) growing snobbery of clubs not wanting to complete in “small” events? Let me know your thoughts?