After the wild excitement of bumps a period of holidays ensued. The next mark along our endless road to victory was Cantabs Summer Regatta. A slightly curious event which I don't think I've done before. But it was there, so we put in entries for a Men's and Women's VIII, and perhaps even had a practice outing or two, I forget.
The format was, interestingly, like the new BR one: time trials, followed by races. The entries were a bit thin this year - I mean, there weren't very many of them, not that the entrants themselves were particularly svelte, indeed some clearly weren't. Where was I? Oh yes: so Tabs got some of their folk to enter. That meant their men's Senior Squad were in the men's, and I think their women's Henley squad in the women's, which rather dampened our hopes for Ultimate Victory short of throwing Jo Crisall at them, which I believe was the women's plan at one point.
The time trial was decent (I'm speaking for the men here, I don't know about the ladies other than their time, which was 4:10. The course is about a kilometer). The results are here, BTW. We got 3:35, which closely matched Eric's over-the-finish-line estimate of 3:37 (I was dead impressed that he had learnt how to use the RowCoach as a timer, a feat that has escaped Tidy over centuries, but no: he'd used his phone).
And so we ended up in the B final against Champs, with Tabs 1 and Hills Road in the A final. I was a bit disappointed not to have beaten Hills, but we weren't M1 so never mind. The "A" final was a bit odd: Tabs 1 had beaten Hills by 20 seconds so to make a race of it, Hills were given a 20 second head start. They celebrated this by heading off diagonally into the bank in front of Tabs 1 before slewing round and continuing; and apparently won, eventually.
And then it was us versus Champs. They tried to beard us out, but my ragged biblical straggling was clearly superior to their rather manned effort. They tried to get ahead of us off the start, which they succeeded in, because we rather stuffed up the wind somehow; of the six starts we did that day it was by far the worst. However they only got a seat or two up, and after a few hundred metres we started to pull back, as we finally remembered how to row. Eric wanted half a length by the railway bridge by in fact we'd got clear water by then as we settled down and (perhaps) their lack of fitness kicked in; and so on over the line in relaxed style.
Rather later on we got to see the results of the time trial and realised that we'd beaten Hills by 3 seconds; Tabs had misread their results in arranging the finals. Opinions differ as to how much this matters. For me, I'd rather have an interesting race against Champs than be destroyed by Tabs 1. Chris wanted the excitement of a side by side against Tabs; I pointed out we'd only have been side by side for the first 30 seconds :-). The most interesting race would have been us against Hills, but sadly that wasn't possible.