By Lauren Hardcastle and Cathy Hare
Another day, another race, and another eventful marshalling up to Chiswick! The Vesta Novice Ladies came out in force for the WeHoRR!
Borrowing a boat, we managed to get 16 excited (nervous) ladies on the Tideway raring to go. Again we were lucky enough to be looked after by the fabulous cox’ns Cat and Jack. We certainly couldn’t have done it without their cheery dispositions and endless supply of Jelly Babies!
The sunny start to Saturday lured us into a slightly false sense of security so, thankfully, when the rain started, we quickly scurried back upstairs for another three layers!
The A Boat – a tale of broken blades, revenge fantasies and time penalties
We set off from Vesta with many cries of “wait – I still need to pee!” Nothing like 3 hours in a boat to realise that one extra coffee may have been a bad idea!
2 minutes into the paddle there were other cries from 2 seat of “s**t my blade is broken” – once again Jack coming to the rescue with a stone and some muscle (don’t ask!) – once a teacher always a teacher – and a makeshift solution to get us through the race.
It was a slow paddle upriver, making some friends with nice crews along the way – bonding over the chaos and eventually creating a flotilla of boats with the cox’ns standing on the beach – again Jack being wonderful this time, entertaining the masses with a quiz of what’s the capital of Peru??
Finally, we’re at Chiswick and it’s our turn! We step on the gas and we’re off – trying our hardest to remember everything we’ve been taught, whilst stamping on the footplate like it’s the face of every guy who never called us back – as it was so aptly described by Jack. We followed our race plan, and slowly started to pick off the crews ahead. In no time at all we came around the bend and Vesta flagpole was in sight.
We fought for every stroke and actually thought we might vomit at the end! But we did it, with a impressive rate of 30+ the entire race! A disappointing (dubious) time penalty for the A boat, but a satisfying result nonetheless.
The B Boat – a classic Head Race story of a failed coxbox and a dodgy gate
The Vesta Novice B boat had a rather memorable race on Saturday, beginning from the moment we set off from Vesta and realised our coxbox was on the blink.
With a lot of shouting down the boat to bow and 2, we somehow survived marshalling, which was pretty uneventful…until we got pushed into a tree by another boat and nearly spun out onto the race course. This nerve-wracking moment was dealt with amazingly by Cat, with the marshals congratulating her for managing to save us from ruining the race!
We’d endured what felt like an eternity of waiting about in the freezing cold, and had just stripped down to our race kit ready to go. Shivering violently, we turned the boat round, into a Putney Town crew, accidentally breaking their number into several pieces. This awkward little incident sort of set the tone for the race, as we pushed past them rather aggressively early on… with only 7 of us rowing! Shanice at stroke very nearly lost her blade when her gate came open early in the race, but with her remarkably quick recovery, and Cat screaming at us to keep on rowing, the race was not over for the courageous B boat.
We may not be the fastest Vesta boat, but right now we’re probably the most famous, with an album titled “99 Problems – #1 The Gate” by Rowing Photography, dedicated to us on Facebook.
Despite these setbacks, we sat tall, stamped down and gave it our all, spurred on by the cheers we heard down the course. WeHoRR 2016 was a race we will never forget!
And that’s a wrap
So… Finally after all the hard work, sweat and tears (and a few swear words along the way) here are the cold hard facts:
- It’s the first time since 2010 Vesta has had 2 novice crews entered in WeHoRR
- The Novice A boat beat last year’s placing by 8 places, 15 if it wasn’t for the time penalty
- And it’s the highest finish by a Vesta novice crew since 2012.
Not too bad at all ladies; here’s to sunnier days, blades working and in the gate, and roll on regatta season!!!