Like the Winter League of 2014, but we're a year older. The results are here, in the traditional difficult-to-access format; I've copied them to Google Drive as a public service. This was post-published late in 2015; the women's text was contemporary and therefore useful; the men's isn't, and isn't.
Women's IM3 VIII
The women's IM3 VIII entered the first leg tentatively. Our recent outings had shown a loss of efficiency at the higher rates so that was at least something to look to improve on. The first leg had a strong head wind and we finished with a time of 13.06, third out of five in our category and 8th out of the 26 women's crews which was pretty much where we would hope to be. The feeling from the crew was that we could have attacked the race a bit more so that was the aim for the second leg. A month later we had Leg 2 with near perfect calm conditions. The crew was coming together and we pushed the rating back up to 32, we had a decent race but our time of 12.09 was disappointing dropping to 10th out of 19 women's Eights and slower than our Novice crew. The third leg was only two weeks later and we set out to make amends for a poor second leg. With very strong winds forecast the start was moved to allow for more marshalling space. We kept on pushing through the unrelenting winds on the Reach and with a St Neots double in front not coping with the strong gusts and a St Neots men's IV behind going for the overtake after the Railway bridge this led to some difficult manoeuvring for our cox. At the end we finished 3rd out of 5 in the IM3 category and 7th out of the 20 women's eights that completed all three legs. In conclusion it was a rocky winter league but we finished pretty much where we'd expect to and with some knowledge of where we are with respect to our opposition.
Women's IM2 IV
As if one race wasn't enough we decided to race a second time as a IV. With only one other women's IV entered (St Neots) are main competition was our own club men's IVs! We started the first leg directly behind one of our Men's IVs and we so wanted to be faster! We ended the first leg with a time of 13.45 with a strong head wind 14 seconds faster than our men's IV (we revelled in that a little as it doesn't happen often). This meant that in the second leg we started in front of our Women's Novice VIII. With near perfect conditions and being chased all the way by them (they overtook us just before the line) we recorded a time of 12.26 which is the fastest we'd ever raced the course. It was disappointing to be overtaken and our men's crew with a few more outings under their belt and line up changes were now faster too but we were more than pleased with our time. The third leg took place in very strong winds with near boat stopping gusts as we came under the railway bridge but we were pleased with our row.
Women's novice VIII
Having not competed as a crew before, the Novice VIII's race plan for the first leg of the Winter League was to keep a steady pace and focus on maintaining good technique. With less than ideal race conditions, our cox, Dave R, did a great job at motivating us all to keep pushing into the wind and was valiantly unfazed when our cox box died halfway down the reach! We crossed the finish just a second faster than 99s W3, so we knew we needed a good second leg to stay ahead.
Conditions on race day were much better than the previous leg and we found ourselves starting between our own Women’s IV and Men’s IV. We were determined to hold our first place position and with some more training outings and ergs under our belts we upped the rating for the second leg. The extra effort paid off as we edged closer to our Women’s IV throughout the race, eventually overtaking them just before the finish. When the results came out it appeared our competition had changed, with City’s W4 only three seconds behind.
The third leg had a shaky start which saw us rowing up to the railway bridge with seven rowers to pick up our eighth on the tow path – a last minute sub for a lost crew member! Still in first place, but with some close competition, we knew we needed another good row to secure our pots. The wind had picked up again and we were all prepared for a tough race. Powering into the wind the whole crew gave 100%. The race felt strong and together, but we rowed back to the boathouse wondering if it was enough. Results came out and we’d come in 2 seconds ahead of City’s W4, maintaining our position in first place!
The crew worked hard to prepare for all three legs and the pots were very well deserved. A sterling effort from our Novice ladies – roll on the Spring/Summer regattas!
Men IM3 VIII
2015: 19th; compares to: 2014: 9th (the best we'd done for a while); 2013 we were 21st; in 2012 we were lower; 2011 & 2010 & 2009 we neglected to enter. As usual, there are GPS traces: leg1, leg2, leg3. Featuring people such as William Connolley, Chris Wood, Paul H, Dave R, Simon E, Dave B, Barney, Keith, Dave Ifould, Joe E, and Andy S. (yes that is more than 8; the crew varied by leg); and coxed by the estimable Mr Tidy. Here's leg 2:
Men: novice IVs: Earth, Wind and Fire
An initiative of Simon's. Overall: Earth, 89th (probably: Alberto, Dave B, Mike PJ, Gary Dadd) ; Wind (probably: Dave I, Paul H, Simon E,Keith) and Fire (probably: Simon G, Barney, Mark, Dan) both completed 2 legs so don't get an overall place.