Upcoming racing news

This weekend we have a few ladies representing Vesta at Peterborough. Racing in her single is Athene McGregor-MacDonald and in an WIM3 4x are Nicola Pocock, Kerry Evans, Charlotte Lennox, Charlotte Trigle. Good luck and have a fab time!


Also very best of luck to Vesta’s Rowan McKellar who’s entered U23 (she’s only 19!) Women’s Elite 1x in the GB Rowing Team Sculling Festival to be held at NWSC, Nottingham next weekend. It’s a new event for those who want to reach national level… worth a look!


Arch to Arc Challenge & Fundraiser at Vesta

Click here to read the party flyer

Click here to read the party flyer

A team of five, including three Vesta members, have organised a unique challenge to run, row and bicycle from London’s Marble Arch to the Arc du Triomphe, Paris – ‘Arch to Arc’ with the aim being to rediscover this historic route and raise a significant amount for charity at the same time. The start date is scheduled for Saturday 24th August and the challenge should take six days, covering a total of approximately 300 miles.

Should you wish to find out more about the challenge, sponsor the team, or keep up to date with how preparations are going via the blog please visit our website, www.runrowbike.co.uk.

There will also be a fund raising party at the Vesta on Wednesday 21st August – so please come if you can!

New Director of Women’s Rowing for 2013-14

Vesta Rowing Club is pleased to announce the appointment of Ray Sullivan as Director of Women’s Rowing for the upcoming new season 2013/14.

Ray will lead a group of volunteer coaches to ensure the continued success of the Vesta Women’s squad.

Ray has achieved notable wins and successes at Lea Rowing club and Furnivall Sculling Club, winning the ARA Coach of the Year in 2005/6. He has coached crews to wins at Henley Women’s Regatta, National Championships and the Commonwealth Games. His crews have won Pennants at Pairs, Fours and Womens’ Eights heads, and he has also seen crews through several rounds of the Remenham Challenge at Henley Royal Regatta.

A new season kick off meeting will be held on 12 September at 7:30pm in Vesta’s front room – if you have over a year’s competitive rowing under your belt and are interested in joining the club, please come along!

On behalf of the current squad and committee, we would like to extend our thanks and best wishes to the outgoing coaches.

Summer cider sale!

Attention all cider drinkers and anyone who fancies a VFM pint!

We are in the process of changing our draught cider brand.

But we still have 1.5 kegs  of Aspall’s to go!

So, a cheeky Summer Cider Sale starts today, £2.00 a pint while stocks last (about 100 pints, so it shouldn’t take long!).

Winging it and winning a bit at Henley Masters

by Kat Hedges

So after months of preparation, a rigorous selection procedure, endless hours on the water, it was time for that race that we train ALL year for…. Vets Henley! After a slightly stunted start with Gemma being unable to locate any kit, Kat running late and initially only Emma in Henley possessing no tools to start rigging the boat, it was a miracle we made it to the start line on time!

However, we made it… Masters A quads first up and we had drawn Marlow first round. Considering this was our maiden voyage as a full crew we were pleasantly surprised to be up off the start and with some great motivational calls from Kat, we managed to cling onto the lead, winning by a canvas. Despite a gutsy row, unfortunately we lost to Guildford by 1.25 lengths in the final, however considering our opposition had raced and won senior quads at HWR, we weren’t too disappointed.

The crew then split into a Masters A 2x (Gemma and Emma) and 2- (Kat and Helen). Unfortunately Kat and Emma both fell victim to the lure of the booms (quickly recovered) and lost their races; however, a weekend of glorious weather, good food and great company made up for the overall lack of medals!

[no suggestion of a training schedule for next year, then Kat ;-)]

Vesta Remenham Challenge Crew coming over the line…

More reminiscing… photos showing what a cracking race Vesta and Molesey had in the Remenham Challenge Cup at HRR, giving the grandstand something to cheer about again!

Thanks to Gordon Barnes for sending these in.

Vesta ladies enter Parliament (and eat very small sarnies)

By Kerry Evans

Rigging on the other side of the river

Rigging on the other side of the river

It was with no small amount of nerves that I arrived at Vauxhall station to take part in this year’s Parliamentary Boat Race (against Thames!) on the 10th of July.

After rigging Tommy our next challenge was to attempt to look glam in the matching t-shirts and caps we were to wear! Once we had made it across the very busy Vauxhall cross hauling an eight, we had to boat on some of the roughest water I had ever seen (up to that point in the day!) whilst dodging very grumpy Duck tour drivers!

So the adventure began! We spent about half an hour warming up, laughing, dodging waves and fruity remarks from a lively Molesey men’s eight!

We lined up with Thames and we were off! We were with them for a while at the start but it wasn’t long before they had the best of us – our secret weapon of a ‘tenth man’ (our 3 girl is 14 weeks pregnant at the time of the race!) was not enough to conquer the water or Thames on the day.

In the rough Julia is boss!

In the rough Julia is boss!

Race over – it was time for an amazing couple of hours rubbing shoulders with Lords, Ladies, MP’s and rowing types on the House of Lords riverside terrace! There was an amazing view of the Eye, champagne, tea, delicious mini sandwiches and cakes (I think food always tastes slightly better when it’s mini!) and as much strawberries and cream as you could eat!

The event was to not only raise awareness of rowing, but to raise money for charity. Once cheques had been handed out, an unexpected treat was a competitor’s medal presented by Lord Carey so apart from the blue blueness of the free kit, we will always have a memento of our day.

I think had we known what was to come next; we may have decided to leave a little earlier. The tide had turned and I think the row back was the closest I’ve ever come to ocean rowing (I had the theme to Captain Pugwash going round my head for a couple of hours after we got back!!). We took on so much water we had to ask some chaps to help us lift Tommy out of the Thames! More Duck Tour dodging and another trip across the road and it was all over bar the de-rigging of our noble steed!

All in all a great day with the girls and a fun thing to do on a Wednesday afternoon, thanks for the invitation Vesta!

Wins for double sculls at Kingston Regatta

Congratulations to Zena and Sybilla who won their Novice Double Sculls final on Sunday at Kingston Regatta.


The pot was rather hard fought, so gave some extra satisfaction. The ladies had to complete an emergency boat repair just as they were ready to boat and were assisted by Peter and Janet Simpson, along with Homer the dog.


Kingston3In their first race they were cut up horribly by a crew who were weaving in a manic fashion,  but they kept our course, upped the rating and beat them. In the final, the crew was in the outside lane – with all manner of craft bobbing around at speed  – the swell was horrendous  – meanwhile their opponents from Furnival were very big strong girls and had the inside calm lane by the bank.  It was neck and neck, then half way down the course, they steered into the bank, so we legged it!


Kingston1The girls were awarded their novice pots and want to say that “if it hadn’t been for Peter (and Janet and Homer) coming to support us and helping, they would never have raced!!”

Vesta takes to the ocean

By Nic Neveling & photos by Nikki Cox

Who needs Lycra. The lads work the speedos with sweep Khalil

Who needs Lycra? The lads work the speedos with sweep, Khalil

At 23:45 on warm Friday evening, 12 July, a small group of Vesta rowers met at Paddington Station and boarded the last train leaving London for the night.
Nine hours later they set foot on Portreath beach on the Cornish coast and began preparing for a day of rowing nothing like whey they were used to.

A Vesta crew of Michael Hughes, Jon Brown, Nicholas Neveling and Brad Lawson, supported by Nikki Cox, had entered a boat into round 3 of the UK Surf Rowers’ League Summer Series. They were certainly in for something different to the standard weekend at Dorney.

The stroke in a surf boat is like a stroke in a flat water shell, but that is about where the similarities end. Surf boats are large, wide craft designed for rolling through swells and crashing through breaking waves. There is no fin and no rudder. Instead the “cox”, or sweep in surf boat parlance, stands on the back of the boat and uses a flat wooden oar to steer and balance the the shell.

The most striking difference the Vesta clan found, however, was the surf boat “racing kit”. Surf boats do not have sliding seats so rowers have to wear speedos, which are then “wedgied” to expose the skin. The flat seats are then lubricated with water and aqueous cream to allow the rowers to slide on the recovery as they would on a seat with wheels. The rowing lycra, itself not exactly famed for its modesty, is Victorian by comparison. After an initial period of awkwardness, however, the lads soon embraced the budgie smugglers and pre-race “lubing up” routine.

After a warm up row with sweep Khalil Isaac in a boat kindly provided by Porthtowan Surf Lifesaving Club, the Vesta crew, dubbed “The Vikings”, were ready to race. The course was approximately 800m to 1000m long. Crews had to start on the beach, race to a buoy out at sea, turn their buoy and then charge home. Once the crews were in shallow enough water the bowman had to jump out of the boat and sprint to a flag on the beach to finish.

There were three heats, with the best performers across those three races going into a final.

Pre-race briefing at the start. It beats Dorney

Pre-race briefing at the start. It beats Dorney

Conditions could not have been more ideal, with blue sky, 28 degree temperatures and no wind. It was a day of endless summer. This fine conditions meant flat water, which favoured the less-experienced Vikings boat. Racing in lane one in the first round, the Vesta Vikings took advantage of the flat water and good conditioning from the Henley season to come in first.

For the next two races the boat was drawn in lane five, which because of the vagaries of tide and current was a longer haul. The Vikings finished third in race two and had to come from way behind after a botched start to claw their way into the top three in round three.

Two thirds and one win was enough to put the crew into the final for a showdown with the highly-rated Porthtowan crew.
Despite a bad start which saw the Vikings drop more than length, the crew settled into a powerful rhythm and began to inch back. A sharp turn put Vesta right back in the hunt and as the crews approached the beach Vesta had drawn almost level with Porthtowan at the front of the field. The local surf club just managed to keep ahead as the bowmen launched themselves out of the boats and onto the beach in the sprint for the flags. They touched first just ahead of the Vikings.

Although disappointed to just miss out on a win, the Vesta crew were pleased to come close despite their inexperience in a bigger boats and different racing format.

Not a bad after party venue

Not a bad after party venue

After hauling the surf boats back up the beach (loading a trailer is a breeze in comparison), the group made their way to the neighbouring village Porthtowan for a BBQ and after party at the Porthtowan club house, right on the beach.
As the sun slowly died over the Atlantic Ocean and the beer flowed, the party kicked off in style with some great tunes laid down by the Vikings sweep for the day, Khalil. After dancing on the beach until well after midnight, exhausted, the Vikings finally called it a night, strolling up the street through the warm summer night to their accommodation The perfect ending to a perfect day.

Many thanks to the UK Surf Rowers League and Porthtowan Surf Lifesaving Club for their warm hospitality and the the use of a boat. The Vikings hope to be on the beach again soon.