Town Bumps 2014 - Thursday (Day 3)

The penultimate day of the Bumps proved decisive, with many ups and downs,

In brief: Two up, three Down, and a row-over, overall: net down 1, here's the details:

  • W3 (row-over): The women of W3 faced a long-row over, after 99's W5 managed to catch the unfortunate Champs W7, this should however provide good prospects for W3 tonight, who will be looking to catch them to make it +3 overall.
    • No videos yet...


W2 - After bumping City 8

W2 - After bumping City 8

  • M3 (down): Down again on Thursday unfortunately, after being caught by Cambridge Vets at first post corner, however they won't have to worry about being the sandwich boat tonight, should also provide more time at the Beer Tree this evening.

  • W2 (Up): Managed to catch City W8 in short order, even before the A14 motorway bridge, and also taking the 2nd Boat back into Division 2

W1 - After taking down Champs 1, at Ditton Corner.

W1 - After taking down Champs 1, at Ditton Corner.

  • M2: were down one to X-Press M4 approaching grassy corner, after Cantabs M6 caught Champs M3 ahead of them, scuppering their chances of a Bump.

  • W1: managed to get their first long overdue batch of Willow after catching Champs W1 on Ditton Corner. Tonight they'll have a second chance at St Neots, the crew they chased on Tuesday evening, good luck to them!


  • M1 (down): No happy ending for M1 on Thursday alas. We had a good start, and not one but two whistles on Tabs into Grassy, and all of that was the plan, but we lacked the oomph to close down the last half length plus the overlap. Which was the bit that wasn’t under our control. We also got a rather wide line round Grassy which shows up clearly in the video; and rowed down Plough Reach in Tab’s puddles which slowed us down (ah, you can even see it in the GPS trace) (um, or do I have to take that back? Perhaps we were just tired? See Jo’s video), unlike Press who picked the other side and gained noticeably: from being merely on station into Grassy they gained to nearly half a length at Ditton. From there its a long way to top finish and we only made it halfway down the Reach. So much for our dreams.

    Tactically, we could have rowed a different race: accepted we weren’t fast enough to get Tabs, and backed off. Rowed a more even pace, saved ourselves their puddles, and left Press with ours, whilst leaving ourselves enough margin to keep pushing them away. In retrospect, that would have been wiser. But less glorious.

Town Bumps 2014 - Wednesday (Day 2)

Another great day of Bumps action, lots of row-overs today, with several crews setting up for a pivotal night tonight (Thursday).

In brief: One up, One Down, and four row-overs, so overall: a big fat net zero, but that doesn't begin to describe the hot action underlying it, so read on:

W3 - Up Again! (Photo: Katie Bolt)

W3 - Up Again! (Photo: Katie Bolt)

  • W3 (up): A second batch of Willow for W3 last-night, after they managed to Bump-up again after catching Cantabs W7. Well done them. I gather that it was harder work than yesterday. Tonight they will be chasing 99's W5, can they catch them before they catch Champs W7?
    • No videos yet...


  • M3 (down): It was another unfortunate night for M3, who were down again alas, by the law of balance. That leaves them with the fun of being sandwich boat at the head of the M4 division today.


W2 - Showing some good rotation (Photo: Kate Freeland)

W2 - Showing some good rotation (Photo: Kate Freeland)

  • W2: Rowed-over successfully as head of the third division ahead of Rad W2, but then everything ahead of them bumped out in the second division. They have an excellent prospect of getting Tabs 5 today, and hence back into the second division, if they can hold off the Rad again. Good luck!
    • No videos yet...


M2 approaching Grassy Corner (photo: Michael Prior-Jones)

M2 approaching Grassy Corner (photo: Michael Prior-Jones)

  • M2 (row-over): A seat-falling-off incident after 20 strokes slowed them down, and it took them a while to get back to speed. They recovered to be very very close at the line, and should have a good chance of going up tonight. Stay calm boys: row faster not harder.




  • W1 (row-over): St Neots W1 bumped Champs W1 ahead of them, which looks like it makes for good prospects for W1 tonight (it would be nice and symmetrical if our W1 could catch Champs W1 just like in the men's division!).
    • No videos yet...


  • M1 (row-over): Press demolished Champs behind us in short order as expected, which left us a free shot at Tabs 2, but it didn't happen. We got a whistle before First Post and were maybe 3/4 of a length down at the entrance to grassy, but lets draw a discrete veil over what happened next. A video from Grassy is available here for those who wish to savor the event, or my "RiggerCam". Since we're now in the Big League we get Top Finish, and St Neots looked surprisingly good steaming up the Reach for the over-bump, but didn't get close enough to be worrying. For Thursday we have Tabs ahead again, and Press behind us, which should prove exciting.


Town Bumps 2014 - Tuesday (Day 1)

A glorious day of bumping action, with ups and downs and a fine start in glorious weather to the pinnacle of the rowing calendar.

In brief: we're up one overall over the day, In more detail:

W3 - outside Combined Boathouse, after bumping 99's W6.

W3 - outside Combined Boathouse, after bumping 99's W6.


  • M3 (down): Unfortunate winners of the closely-fought "least number of strokes in the bumps" prize, going down the the City Presidents VIII. There have been some slightly odd-shall-we-say decisions about the order of the crews.
  • W2 (down): a long row from the lock with all the crews ahead of them bumped out, holding off the crew behind until after First Post; they then got a bit tired and the crew behind closed them down at Grassy. They get to be sandwich boat today, if they can row over as head of W3 ahead of Rad 2.
  • M2 (up): Managed to catch Cantabs M7, after only 35 strokes, I'm told, which sounds like the sort of bump you want. And good prospects for tonight as the crew now ahead of them rowed over.
    • No known pix or videos so far...
  • W1 (row over): Chased St-Neots all the way to the finish, apparently closing the gap down to maybe a length on the Reach, and nearly a canvas before the finish. 
M1 - Up one to 8th

M1 - Up one to 8th

  • M1 (up): We had Press behind us, who beat us by 3 feet in Nines regatta, and by 5 seconds in the timed race. And ahead of us, Champs 1, who no-one had seen. That turned out to be because they hadn't been out much; they looked a bit rough rowing up, and proved quite catchable: we had overlap not far past First Post, rowed in massively choppy water apparently hitting them several times, before they finally conceded just before Grassy. Which lead to some chaos trying to clear; there was some suggestion Press might have conceeded to the crew behind, but no. Ahead of us City 2 (hello Tom) caught Tabs 2 (hello Petr) so we're chasing Tabs 2 tonight.

- William Connolley

Peterborough Spring Regatta

We went to Peterborough Spring Regatta. You may talk of your "Met" or your "Henley" but for us, Peterborough is the Big Time. Adding spice to the mix this year, our ladies were an VIII on the first day and a IV on the second, whilst we men had an VIII in the second day and two renegades rowing with City on the Saturday.

The Women

Novice 4+ Winners

Novice 4+ Winners

They put a spirited performance on the Saturday, winning their heat (beating Nines, City and U Coll London) but coming second to Warwick U in the final.

More excitingly, on the Sunday they won their heat easily, and put in clearly the fastest time; the final was no different and they won by 8 seconds over their nearest rivals, Nines. Since it was a large field, they even got two points apiece for this feat and the long dearth of points in the ladies club is now over. The only rather minor irritation was that, had they entered the Saturday VIII, they'd have likely won that too.

Its a hard life at regattas: 5% wild excitement mixed with 95% relaxation. Fortunately the weather was kind.

The Men 

Well, we were heroic, obviously. On Saturday Paul Holland and I (responding to an anguished mid-week email from Tom) joined the Nahorski City boyz for an IM3 VIII. We got there bright and early - 8 - towing our trailer and ready for a paddle on the Nene to settle us into the crew. Which was just as well; they're big and powerful but perhaps a fraction rougher, or perhaps just different, to our style; and anyway its ages since I've not stroked a boat; so we settled.

For the race, we came second in our heat our heat in 3:13.4, a fairly comfortable 3 seconds ahead of number 3, one of the Putney eights. The semi, alas, did not go so well: we dropped down to 3:16 and came third to Broxbourne (3:05, the winners) and Warwick U (3:12). And we'd have come fifth in the final, had we got into it.


Started well: we beat De Monfort, Champs and a Putney crew to win our heat in 3:15, thus avoiding the Rep, and giving us nothing to do except lounge around in the sunshine all day, which was not burdensome, and watching the ladies, which was fun.

But I'll spare you the Great White Whale. Alas, the final was not to be ours: indeed, we came last in 3:17. Such is life. We consoled ourselves with the thought that we'd get better and come back for the Summer Regatta.

Oh, and who were we? Me / Ian / Andy S / Chris W / Paul H / Dave R / Will W / Dave I; ably coxed by Mr Tidy.

Head of the Cam 2014 - Results & Wash-Up

The HoC 2014 page is still up, though it got a somewhat retouched as the event progressed. So, this is the wash-up.


Firstly, the results. These are available form
Congratulations to Caius men (8:49), who have now won for five years in a row; and to Downing women (10:59).

And congratulations to all other winners; if you weren't around for the prizegiving (shame!) please contact me to arrange collection.

We apologise for not having the HoC shield available on the day; this was due to a foul-up. In compensation, we / the CRA will be arranging to get the recent winners added to the engraving.

Other Thanks

I should also extend my thanks to various other folk, apart from the competitors, without whom the regatta could not have been held:

  • Our Umpires, Bill Keys, Eric Smith and Jess Upton,
  • All the fine Marshals, start and finish timers from our club,
  • and the backroom staff.

The regatta was inspected by Andrew Tayler from the Eastern Region Umpiring Committee (ERUC) to check that all was running well. This was pleasingly unbureaucratic, and Andrew was very happy with the running of the regatta.


This year, we did not neglect the fine tradition of having at least one mismatch between the crews that started, and the ones that finished. This year, it was Darwin M2 / Robinson M2: according to our sheets, Robinson had finished but not started, whereas Darwin had started but not finished (you wouldn't believe how long it took to link those two). Then we realised that they have similarish blades, if you squint, and finally we realised that Robinson M2 hadn't rowed; so that all fitted.

A new "dispute" arose, but quietly, of the issue of whether some college M/W2 crews were really M/W1, or at least had some rowers from their higher crews; especially when the higher crew wasn't rowing, or had scratched late. As a townie - and more especially as a townie running the race from Queens' boathouse where I don't see any of the crews - I really can't tell. We rely on an honour system for people entering the right category. I did - afterwards - wonder if I should enforce a "bumping up" rule: if your first crew doesn't enter, then your second crew gets to be your first crew. it would happen in bumps. But I don't really think this would be fair either. The issue gets discussed on the Cambridge rowing messageboards.

Bill Keys inspected some of the crews for safety: items such as heel restraints. most were fine; some were not. Please make sure your heel restraints are in order! If you won't do it for the life-saving effects in the unlikely event of a capsize, do it to save yourself trouble during regattas.


I haven't actually looked carefully, but entries were down on last year. Total rowing seats was 709, compared to 830 last year. I think we had more from the Town, but many fewer from Gown - I suspect the timing interacted even more badly with the Easter holidays than it usually does. Anyone with any brilliant ideas on how to fix this (other than moving the event, which is not in my gift) do please let me know. My feeling is that mailing out to the colleges at the end of Lents is mostly a waste of time - no-one is organised enough at that point to think of their entries for next term, understandably.

Start order

Just for once, no-one really complained about the start order. But I have to admit that the system of asking for predicted times is not workable. Some people manage to submit beliveable times, but far too many don't. What I ended up doing was to award M1's 1 point; M2's 4 points; M3 and belows 7 points. And then good-quality town clubs got 2 points, and I could also adjust colleges for good/bad. And then I added the women at a suitable delta from the men. This worked pretty well, and I think would be more workable as a guess-your-class type system.