The adventures of the little yellow boat


By Steven "when shall we see his like again?" Andrews.

A long long time ago in a distant galaxy a small yellow boat existed, just barely big enough to hold two men. It was discovered that with time and application this little yellow boat could be made to move with incredible speed . However there was one problem: it was almost impossible to control its direction of travel.  At first its intrepid crew persevered with learning the corners on the sinuous Cam. Alas no success was found. Despite great speed, races were foiled by the ever strong draw of the bank.  So it was that a straight line was sought to see if it might be possible.  Although a daunting prospect it was in fact possible. Twice over the course was run and twice the yellow boat bobbed to the front.

And so it was, back to the serpentine rivers we travelled. Sudbury: renowned for its corner, no one mentions the 'straight'. The corner was rowed, we were some distance in the lead, and then came the 'straight', and straight we went, in to the bank. Oxygen lacking, neither of the intrepid oarsmen could spark their brains in to life to co-ordinate escape. The opposition sailed by and despite a valiant sprint the little yellow boat was left lagging.

But now rested and refreshed these oarsmen were back with their little yellow boat to the scene of where the bank had so cruelly intervened a year ago to the day. 99s regatta; 570m on the straightest bit of the cam. Now was time to make amends. The finest clubs in Cambridge formed the opposition (maybe the artistic licence has gone to far here as it was city and press) and for some reason we had been placed in the tier one competition.  The sun broke through the as we sat on the start; was this a sign? And off we set (44 seemed a fair rating). Looking over my shoulder it seemed we were not gaining as fast as I had hoped (keep the rating high). Still we crept up. This was not the plan, we should have been past by now. Lungs were burning, legs dying and yet 50 ft to the finish came the call from the bank . It was close, oh so close.... two horns sounded. Ooooooo. Who? Just exhaustion.

We had nabbed it. Two feet was the judgement. How could so much energy be stripped in just two minutes. How could we recover for the final?

Tea and cake seemed the only answer. But 5 hours was a long wait. And the whole time our little yellow boat had to sit lonely on the oppositions trestles. With the wind swirling and the rain blowing across the meadow we urged our bodies onwards as we rowed up towards the start once more. The tea and cake had only done so much and I felt like this could need some deep reserves of energy. And then there was our opposition. The orange boat of press. There was history: Huntingdon, 99s regatta last year. We knew we, and our little yellow boat (Not as shiny as theirs but yellow), had the speed but there was the bank, always the bank. We were off, gaining well. Tiredness banished. Welcome support from the bank. We were up to them and edging past. But would the energy keep coming. We were clear now though. So just sit on it. But the energy. The bank. A  call away from Conor and the river opened up the bank would not take us this time. And the finish!. Shattered. But nothing a pint in our new pots wouldn't cure.

And now what for that little yellow boat? The Thames is calling.