Inspired by the Wee Folk, Chesterton RC had a plethora of boats rowing in the Robs' Autumn Small Boats Head in a number of different categories including a sculler, pair, numerous IVs and even a mixed quad!
Top sculler Keith reports: fresh from the Great Ouse Marathon I took to the Cam to see how I mustered against the like of more than 20 university lightweights in my category. With competition like that, winning was a tall order. But it's a good opportunity to see how I compare! There was a strong headwind throughout and I went wide on both Grassy and Ditton. I ended up two minutes behind the leader. But I also managed to not place last, somehow finishing ahead of a UL. And given that last year I was slower than Robs' scullers (who happened to be juniors... and female) in my first SBH, I count this an achievement for my 2nd SBH.
Infamous tall person Steven Andrews avers: a certain little yellow boat had been left fallow for over two weeks and was growing sad. Its crew, now separated by some hundreds of miles had started to become desperate for the water. Skiffs and ran dan and ergs were just not any replacement so the Rob Roy Small Boats Head was entered as a final training race before the trip to the big river, and to sate the crews thirst for the water. Stroke was feeling off colour but the little yellow boat was happy to be back out in the sun. After a few discussions at the start we slowly crept through the field in an attempt to not be held up during the race (always a tricky question to ask the crew in front, 'if they think they will be fast or slow', but it felt like we were winning already). Eventually it was our turn to wind up and we passed under the bridge feeling good, good rythm, swing, catch, swing, catch, so as to almost not notice the outflow. Corners came and went, as did the cheering fans (thanks Paul, thanks William), and then on to the reach. It wasn't meant to feel that hard, but it was the first head course in a while. And on reflection, we were pursuing a small flotilla, bunching up and passing a slower double. But the yellow hull kept on cutting through the churning water, reeling in the double, and then came the overtake which turned the straight line from railway bridge to finish in to anything but. Several poor steering moves later and a few clashes of blades and eventually blade and bow (and a bit of abuse from their bank party) we were past and dragging our tired bodies, in what is a lovely yellow boat, towards the line and, collapse. Not tidy, but gutsy and in fact beating all the IM1, 2 and 3 pairs (12 in total) and winning our plastic mugs (perhaps not the best prize on offer on Cam). 9th overall in a time of 11:14.4 could not be considered a bad days work. Next stop, the Thames.
W Mas C4-
By Lorraine Turville: The Small Boats Head marks the beginning of the Winter Head season and sets up a good marker for improvement against for the rest of the season. We’d started rowing in our new coxless IV back in April and had progressed well, winning our first regatta at Peterborough in the Spring. Since then other rowing had taken priority. Rowing in Eights for Bumps and then spending time improving our sculling and entering a quad in the Great Ouse Marathon. So that combined with holidays we’d only just started to think about getting back in the IV-. A couple of outings were planned but unfortunately due to illness didn’t go ahead. Our entry was in but with no outings and two of the crew having rowed very little since July we weren’t sure whether to scratch. In the end we decide to go ahead and set a benchmark for the Head Season. Even though we’d not rowed together in the crew before the rowing came together quite nicely. In the end it wasn’t fast and probably not that pretty at times. Our time was 12 mins 22 secs To put that in perspective it’s equal to the time we’d set in the Small Boats Head last year when we’d raced as a coxed IV. And at Peterborough in the Spring our time was only 10 secs slower than our Men’s pair over 1000 m whereas we were 1 min 10 secs slower over the 2600 m Head course. It was a lovely day to be out on the river and served as a good reminder that to go fast you need fitness and water time!
W IM3 4+
By Sarah Hadman-Back: moving into IVs the women's side had three boats competing in different categories. The IM3 crew (although Novice and moved up for competition) had little preparation but were excited to see how they fared against the competition of other boat clubs. Unfortunately, our preparation was hampered once more by our cox being taken ill and our Club Captain taking the reigns jumping out of a Mens boat into ours, thank you Simon! Marshalling was somewhat entertaining with our bank party having a few too many beers in his bike basket and having a tumble – he’s fine (we did check!) Unfortunately, our corners were hampered by a speedy men's junior double which decided not to give any space off the start pushing us wide on first post, and other men's crews chasing us down the reach caused a distracted race. However, with a time of 13 mins 5 seconds we were pleased with our achievement, we felt strong throughout and this was excellent preparation for Vets Fours Head.
W MasC 4+
Also by Sarah: with some training under their belt our masters IV were ready for the race, however again injury struck and unfortunately Jo’s knee was not healed enough to race. A super sub (having just raced as well) was ready to jump into the 2 seat to support the Masters crew. After a somewhat long marshall after allowing the 20 lightweight scullers to come past, Anne decided we’d better just go before we wait even longer. Even with this long marshall, a perfect rhythm was set up my stern pair and our cox, Sarah, steered to perfection (her first race!) helping us secure a great benchmark time for the winter to come.