Club 4+ at HWR

It was a valiant effort from the senior squad’s IM3 coxed IV, comprising Alana Holloway, Athene McGregor-MacDonald, Jenny Cann, Laura Goulding (s) and coxed by Jamie Wooller, a crew which had spent a total of 1.5 weeks together prior to HWR. Thanks go out to the brave Laura Goulding for stepping in and stroking the boat despite chest infections and asthma diagnosis galore! It was in a bracing wind and “dangerously” strong stream that we sat nervously as the rain tumbled down at the start line of qualifiers on the Friday. An announcement the previous day that it would no longer be the top 16/24 crews qualifying but the top 8/24 only had done little to calm us! It was an aggressive and heartfelt effort from everyone involved and beating several other non-qualifying crews did lessen the pain of not making it through to the knock-out stages. If nothing else, our appetites are now whetted for Henley medals in 2013! See you next year!

– Jenny

HWR Senior 8+

Comprising Helen Ellison (s), Natalie Prew, Kat Astley, Gemma Etherington, Stine Keys, Vicky Brock, Emma Dyson, Kitty Lowings and Julia Hedley as cox, the senior eight went out strong in their first race against Holy Cross USA, winning with an easily verdict despite winding down from the enclosures and crossing the line at rate 23. The conditions were far more suited to a Tideway crew than a lightweight American crew with a strong headwind and even stronger stream to row into, but Holy Cross were very sporting and congratulated us on a great race and wished us the best for future rounds.

Sadly, whilst racing Newcastle University in the quarter final an equipment failure on the third stroke of the race had devastating consequences for the senior crew, who were one of the favourites to win the event. This equipment failure combined with strong gusts of wind and very difficult racing conditions forced the crew to stop before the end of the island. The umpire rejected a request of a re-row; the 100m rule no longer applies under FISA or ARA regulations, and this was a hard blow to take given we had been half a length up with just seven oars going. The crew would like to pass our sincere congratulations to Newcastle University who went onto win the event, however no doubt they remain curious as to what the outcome would have been of what was destined to be a thrilling race, had the circumstances been different.

– Julia

Elite LW 4- at HWR

Photo courtesy of Richard Byran

The “Mighty Lighties”, a crew formed during training camp in Seville, were eagerly awaiting HWR following a dismal lack of opportunities to race earlier in the season. The crew of Alex (b), Sybille, Martha and Holly had previously raced only at Met and Reading regattas; coming second to a heavy-weight crew in Senior 4s at Met (Sunday), and denied an opportunity to race the final at Reading by an unfortunate steering wire failure on the water (although having raced and beaten Oxford University Lightweights in the semi-final to get there was encouraging). The Mighty Lighties were therefore hungry to race, as well as being generally hungry, and saw off Oxford again in the semi-final (verdict: easily), leaving us then to face Mortlake in the final. With the scoresheet vs. Mortlake standing at 2:1 following Met, both crews went out fighting. Despite a tricky start on the Berks bank, the stream drawing the bows into the middle of the course in the seemingly interminable period between “attention” and “go”, steer Alex kept her cool and past the island both crews were level. A close-fought race followed, aided by the tremendous Vesta roar along the enclosure (thank you all – it is much appreciated), but as the stream moved in favour of Bucks around Old Blades, Mortlake pushed ahead to win by a margin of 1.75 lengths.

The crew was last seen in Byron SW15, diving face-first into a pile of deep-fried carbohydrates.

Thank you coach Jeremy for your dedication to our cause!

– Martha

Men Post Solid Showing at Marlow Regatta

Despite the numerous disruptions to Marlow’s “International” Regatta caused by preparations for the Olympics, the Vesta Senior Men put in a fantastic performance. In the heats of the IM1 race the Vesta boys hit it hard off the start, sticking with the pack. The two schoolboy crews pushed ahead leaving Southampton Uni battling with Vesta for a place in the final. The winter training shone through as the Vesta mid-race pace pushed them through to a comfortable third place. Coming into the last 500m, Bristol, Newark, Eton and Brunswick were left in their wake and the Vesta boys decided not to settle for third. They took a length off Southampton, putting them in second place and only half a length off St Edward’s School, the winners of the heat.

This was followed by the Senior 8 heat, by which point the conditions had really picked up (providing the coaching team with much entertainment as the J14 octuples attempted to line up at the stake boats in a perpendicular gale force cross wind…) Vesta finished fourth, missing out on a place in the final to Durham, Queen’s Belfast and Newcastle’s top eights, and top crews at BUCS this year). However, the Vesta men were still a good length or so up on the other Thames Cup eligible crews in the division.

The Im1 final was the last race of the day, where they came in fourth to the (never to be underestimated) schoolboys. They battled through the rough conditions, still head and shoulders ahead of the other Thames Cup eligible crews, thus securing their well deserved place in the list of pre-qualified crews at Henley Royal Regatta next week. Bring it on!

– Morgan

Vets Open Summer Racing Season with Gold

Paul and Roy celebrate with an obligatory pint

Congratulations to Paul Mew and new member Roy Brook on winning Mas F 2x at Borne at Chiswick Regatta to claim the club’s first win of the summer. In Roy’s first ever regatta they defeated the home Mortlake  crew after a re-row. Rowing in heavy rain Vesta were behind on the start but came back and the crews were neck and neck when the race was stopped with 200m to go due to a huge wash from the rescue boat. The second race was very close but in the end Paul and Roy’s superior fitness showed and they won by a length.

It’s a double celebration for Roy who also won his category at the British and European Indoor Rowing Championship held at the NEC on 25th March. Roy finished first out of 19 to claim the 60 to 64 year old Hwt Mens category in a time of 6.50.0 which has put down a solid marker for the rest of the Masters squad.

To see the splits of the race, please click here (thanks Concept2!).

Vesta Triumphant in Vet’s Head

The battleground was chosen and as high noon drew close, the meanest cowboys in the (south)west came to meet the bravest Indians on the tideway. The Vet’s head had never seen such a battle before, the stakes were high- honour, pride and of course bragging rights for the year…scratch crews were formed and the Indians lined up at number 179 to be chased down the course by the Cowboys at 185.

The Indians had a surprise standing start after crews in front just weren’t quick enough off the draw- the charge was led to Barnes Bridge with 4 crews passed and only the Italians not understanding the roar of the Big Chief cox to ‘move out of my water’. The feather’s proved to be aerodynamic as we faced a headwind for a good chunk to Hammersmith, but having Thames right behind us and the threat of the cowboys charging down after that meant that the battle cries from Big Chief pushed everyone through to pass another 3 crews. Thames put in a good fight, but it was not enough, the dying headwind and a new start off Hammersmith bridge meant the Indians charged the rest of the way down the course home to finish fastest women of the day, 55th overall and Vet A winners well clear of any opposition.

Crew: (Big Chief to Little Running Water); Julia Hedley (cox), Emily Trant (s), Natalie Prew, Stine Keys, Anna Brown, Kat Astley, Rahma Barclay, Athene McGregor-MacDonald, Sybille Schorm (b)

Observing the marshalls’ lengthy efforts to corrall the 4th division above Chiswick bridge, the cowboys thought about lending their lasso to hurry things along, however at long last we were pointing in the right direction – albeit halted opposite Putney Town steps. From a standing start, the cowboys leapt into action and by the power of our fine bushy moustaches we started hunting down the opposition. Now we know why men have Movember: the power of the “mo” was epic, definitely giving the scratch crew the oomph needed to overhaul two Vet A crews and a handful of mixed-masters. Facial hair and glittery cowboy hats rippling in the breeze of our top racing speed, we were whipped into action by head-honcho-in-the-poncho Ro, who has perhaps found the key to sitting comfortably in the cox seat of a filippi VIII: a giant, semi-inflated cactus. Passing our last crew at Hammersmith Bridge (where stern advice from cox’n Thompson was given to “use your rudder!!”) we rode through a vacuum to the finish line – closing down all the time on the crazy in’juns – but despite hot pursuit the little critters were just too fast for us, and we finished a little saddle sore but pleased with a strong performance, coming third in Vet A behind the Vesta Injuns and the Wehorr-winning Thames crew. There has to be a better way to settle this anyway… water pistols at dawn! YEE-HAW!

Crew: (Quick draw to bucking bronco); Rohanne Thompson (cox), Ellie Dorman (s), Kitty Lowings, Emma Dyson, Kat Hedges, Natalie Demblon, Aga Siemiginowska, Isabelle Laliberté, Martha Walshy Kelly.

Not forgetting our Vet men who went off at 114, racing Vet E, and wisely avoided fancy dress to finish a very respectable 134th and 35th in their category.

Pictures to follow shortly!

Overseas Crew Racing Vets Head? Important Race Information Available

Are you an overseas/foreign crew racing in Vesta’s Vets Head this weekend?! If so, please check out the Vets Head website which has new and extremely important race information in Spanish, French, Italian and German. All documents and race information can be found here. If you have any further questions or concerns, please email Otherwise, safe travels and see you Sunday!

Vets Head Entries Closed

The entries for Vets Head of the River have no closed! Please check out the updated site for further details relating to boating, Tideway navigation, and general instructions, by clicking HERE

Storming Results for Vesta Women at WEHORR

Anyone who has walked through the club over the past several months has no doubt seen the Vesta women training hard and training often. Last Saturday, the women were finally able to ‘cash in’ all the hard work, which resulted in the best WEHORR performance in Vesta’s history:

Women’s Senior Squad:
Vesta RC A 4th Overall (3rd Fastest Domestic Crew Overall)
Vesta RC B 16th Overall (Fastest 2nd 8 in event and fastest Domestic Elite Crew)
Vesta RC C 28th Overall (Fastest 3rd 8 in event)
Vesta RC D 77th Overall (Fastest 4th 8 in event)

Women’s Development Squad:
Vesta RC F 181st Overall (improved on starting position by 114 places beating 50 non-novice crews)
Vesta RC E 248th Overall (only lost a few places despite kit failures and the heaviest cox in the event)

VESTA WEHORR – Images by Iain Weir

A huge congrats to all the girls and coaches, and all the Vesta volunteers and members who provide the support to make results like this possible. Below are the race recaps from each of the Senior crews. Enjoy!

Vesta A

Pushing off from the Vesta hard at exactly 10am the Vesta A crew had one Ambition, to race hard, row fast and come in the top 10.  Arriving in the marshalling area there was time for a quick drink and relax; the calm before the storm. Paddling off 15th,one behind a strong Molsey WCS crew and two behind old rivals from Quintin Head, Durham Uni, the chase was on.  Off the start long and strong, Molsey had a lead of 1 1/2 lengths. Using the advantage of being able to see the VRC crew coming the MBC girls put in a good fight before being overtaken off the end of the Island. Flying through Hammersmith Bridge with a perfect racing line the Vesta crew honed in on the Durham crew, now only a length away. Cox Ro’s nerves of steel held off an aggressive push from the Durham cox who attempted to get back her line at Barn Elms, and kept the girls flying in the stream towards home. Fuelled by the crowd on the Vesta balcony the last 50 strokes saw the A boat pass the Durham crew and collapse in a heap on the finishing line.  Rock On. The official result was 4th, in a time of 20:25.

Vesta B

The “B for Ballsy” crew line-up consisted the two Helens (Edwards and Ellison), Anna, Aga, Vicky, Rahma, Martha and Sybille, coxed by Julia, and after coming third in Hammersmith W&J Head the crew were excited about tackling the full course. Starting at number 28, we enjoyed taking our first scalp (Queen’s University Belfast) as we exited Chiswick Bridge – despite easying twice on the approach to give them room. With Barnes Bridge Ladies on our tail we set off to hunt down Latymer, inching closer until we succeeded in moving through them just after Hammersmith Bridge. Sitting up into the head wind along Harrod’s Wall, our next targets were Imperial C and Thames B, and we shortened the gap to only a couple of lengths, all the while as BBL crept closer. A final push along the embankment, fired up by the famous Vesta roar, helped to empty the last drops in the tanks, and a finish place of 16th – the highest Vesta B crew finish ever, and the highest B crew finish in the event. We were also pleased to hold off all schoolgirls, including the only GB crew in the event (under 18s). Robust debate over a few bottles of Cava later on centred around whether we deserved a pennant, being the first non-overseas elite crew home – WeHORR organisers, you know where we are if you change your mind!

Vesta C

Learning from previous mistakes, Vesta’s C – or ‘Crackpot’ – crew boated before anyone else so as not to miss the start of the race. Holidays, work commitments, illness and unspeakable last-minute foot infections meant this was the first time all 9 crew members had been in a boat together. Undeterred by this (practice, after all, is cheating), and buoyed by a rousing crew chat by adopted coach Jeremy Rose, the Crackpots set off in a positive frame of mind and with their trademark sense of humour in tow.

Thanks to feisty stroking by resident ‘shire horse’ Becs Packer, ably assisted by Sarah ‘Shetland’ Wood in the 7 seat, the girls stormed off the start, starting to pick off crews shortly after Barnes Bridge. Determined and aggressive coxing by Rachael Dixon ensured the crew held the racing line even despite some kamikaze steering by a slower Kingston crew. Unfortunately even a massive push from powerhouses Gemma Etherington and Martha Walker couldn’t quite edge the boat past the speedy City of Bristol crew that had set off just ahead; but Vesta retained hot on their heels the whole way down. A fantastic finish saw the girls overtaking several more crews as they charged past the boathouses.

All crew members hoped their performance had enabled them to achieve the top 50 result they were aiming for – and received the news of their stonking 28th place finish with amazement. Lively celebrations (ahem) ensued. Coach Jeremy’s delight with the result was tinged with relief that the Crackpots hadn’t finished 8 places higher – he’d promised to wear a dress if they made the top 20. Think they had him scared for a minute.

Vesta D

The WIM3 ‘Dynamos’ took to the Tideway on Saturday with their newly acquired boat buoying the journey up to the start. Sadly, super seven seat Hayley had to pull out on the morning of the race, so we had to call upon Vesta’s own super sub Jenny Cann. The row up proved a chance to get used to our new crew and our new boat. We all gave a shout for the Vesta crews (which must have been a factor in their impressive results…) and got slightly starstruck as Anna Railton, of ‘There’s something about Rowing’ fame, started in the Cambridge A boat. She was kind enough to make us some snazzy mugs, so we thought the least we could do was to give a shout. After having to easy just ahead of the start line, we got off to a speedy start, overtaking crew 120 within a couple of hundred metres of the start line and chasing down the next crew. We felt like we had a quick race to Hammersmith, grateful for the many loud supporters cheering us along the course. As we pushed off Hammersmith Bridge, the wind picked up, although we still managed to overtake a crew passing Harrod’s, in spite of the other crew’s steering. From then on in, it was hanging on for dear life until the black buoy and the cries from the Vesta balcony. It was a well-fought race, passing five crews with aggressive and inspiring coxing from Jamie Wooller and a determined row from all the girls. For many in the crew, the result was the highest placing they have achieved at WEHORR and, alongside coming 10th in our category, something we consider an achievement in itself.

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