Hammersmith W&J Head Report

Three crews in top six women; Good performances by Vesta senior and development squads

Sunday, 19th February – a brilliant blue sky and fierce breeze were perfect conditions for our sailing neighbours, but less so for us rowers and as we watched the choppy brown Tideway being moved chunk by chunk under scudding clouds, the planned technical pre-race outing was abandoned in favour of tea and coffee and giving our boats some much-deserved TLC. The C crew (racing in “Happy” – they really do challenge the Happy Heavies as one of the happiest crews Vesta has known) spent so much time getting their boat set up just right that they missed the start of the race and had to tag on to the end of the procession, offering opportunities to take some schoolchild scalps – hey, we’re not fussy.

Vesta B overtaking Mortlake A

Up at the start by Chiswick, the water conditions had calmed down with the turn of the tide and now presented a fast stream, plus a minor wind tunnel effect for the bows further down the course along the ait. The B crew were so excited that immediately after turning, the whole crew – as one mind, of course – took up rate and pressure to near race pace before a “seriously guys, chill out” call from Julia settled the crew back down.

The A crew was off first, alone in their category, the only opposing crew in Senior failing to show up (we can only draw one conclusion from that, having been resoundingly beaten by Vesta at Quintin). Unfortunately with a gap either side in the procession, the crew raced in a vacuum, with only the eventual appearance of a determined B crew on the horizon to push them into securing second place of all women’s crews. Fastest women of the day were Thames, racing further down in IM1 – we look forward to meeting some strong competition on a start line again soon!

The B crew set off behind Mortlake, and enjoyed a nice row alongside former crewmate Lianne, eventually pushing through the crew and finding clear water shortly before the Chiswick Pier crossing point. After that, they too were rowing their own race with Vesta A on their mind. Next over the start line for Vesta was the D crew, guest-starring Issy, who with a good row finished 5th in IM3, a pennant won by a fast UL crew who also won Quintin. Finally came the C crew, overhauling octoples and scattering Dulwich schoolboys as they stormed down the course to an overall 6th place among all women’s crews.

Martha Kelly

Safety on the Tideway


With the cold weather and lots of training and racing on the Tideway, we thought it prudent to provide a little safety reminder. Our very own Captain has helped developed this handy video on the key points of navigating the Tideway (although it does make me very seasick watching it!). Very useful for newbies and veterans alike! Please take a few minutes to view it and make sure you’re up to speed on the Tideway Code. The video can be found by clicking on this link: http://www.boatingonthethames.co.uk/ and is called ‘Safely Navigating the Upper Tidal Thames’. Happy viewing!

Additionally, please download the documents below which highlight the key danger areas for those of us located on the Embankment…turning by Putney
Pier
and rowing under Hammersmith Bridge on the flood tide.

Quintin Head Round Up


Fastest Women from cox to bow, Julia Hedley, Kat Astley, Holly deGay, Caroline Newbury, Lara Brock, Stine Keyes, Kitty Lowings, Emma Dyson, Kat Hedges

The 2012 VIIIs Head Season began on Saturday 28th January with Quintin Head, raced from Chiswick to Harrods Wall. Vesta had a dominant showing with three Senior Women crews, one Dev Women crew, one Senior Men crew, and one Vet Men crew entered. All crews performed strongly, despite some blade clashes which made for harrowing rowing.

The senior women layed the marker for the months ahead, the girls won the Senior division and brought back the pennant for fastest women.  Having moved away from Barnes Bridge Ladies off the start, the race focused on chasing down the Elite boat of Durham University just in front.  Some brilliant coxing forced them way out of the racing line and Vesta eased past them just before Hammersmith Bridge (with the fabulous call ‘Move out of my way, I’m faster than you’), to finish 20 second ahead of them and the rest of the field.

The Dev Women raced what was for some of them not only their first ever rowing race, but also the first time to have rowed all the way up to (and back from!) Chiswick. Well done for a stellar performance!

Vesta and Downton Abbey

A Swedish rowing blogger living in Connecticut, Goran R Buckhorn, recently posted about a link he found between Vesta and a recent episode of Downton Abbey. ‘During the War, Vesta RC’s R.J. Calcutt (club president 1905-1919) had taken the initiative to offer ‘war-blinded men’ at St Dunstan’s, rowing at Vesta. The ex-Service men were taught rowing by the club’s members.’ St. Dunstan’s is the hospital featured in the series. Click here to read the full blog post. Thanks for finding the link and blogging about it Goran!

Scullers Head Roundup

Vesta Senior Women triumph at the Vesta Scullers Head 

The 2011 Scullers Head Winners

The 2011 Vesta Scullers Head took place on Saturday, 3rd December. Vesta is the only club that single-handedly organises not one, but two of the major Tideway Heads – a feat made possible because of members and friends of the club members. Happily not put off by the cold conditions in 2010, we had 528 entries for the 2011 race, with 26 of our own Vesta entries. The event ran without (major) incident with only two crews “DNF”.

Once the dust had settled post-race, and event chairman Sinéad Hayes recovered from mental exhaustion, the winners were celebrated at a prizegiving held on 13th December. Sinéad once again pulled out all the stops to cater for the event in true rower style – i.e. fantastic canapés in vast volumes.

Tommy Thompson and event chairman Sinéad Hayes with winners Adam Freeman-Pask (Imperial) and Imogen Walsh (London RC) and their prizes

Event winners came from all over the UK and from far beyond. Bragging rights for best Tideway club were shared between Tideway Scullers and London Rowing Club with seven wins each. The fastest man and woman were both GB lightweights, Adam Freeman-Pask (21:09.0) and Imogen Walsh (22:35.9). In addition to the medals awarded by event, recast from the original 1953 prize, the fastest men and women received an exquisite scale model sculpture of a single scull cast in pewter.

The Vesta Senior Women’s Squad succeeded in three events, with lightweight Holly De Gay achieving the fastest time of all three despite starting at 521, when the sun was starting to set. The winners were as follows:

Two of Vesta’s winners, Kat Hedges and Holly De Gay, with Sinéad Hayes

Holly De Gay, W.IM3.LWT.1x (23:58.5)

Liz Crighton, W.IM2.1x (24:04.7)

Kat Hedges, W.MasA.1x (24:16.2)

For full results, please check out the Results Page by clicking here.

Even more hotly contested are the Vesta exclusive events, also known as “Dick’s Bar Prizes” (two bottles of cava and glory untold). The categories and winners for these events were:

1st man home: Jamie Halliday
1st male Master: Barry Clarke (… faster than Jamie after adjusting for handicap)
1st woman home: Holly De Gay
1st female Master: Kat Hedges

It is understood that the Cava was appropriately consumed and enjoyed following the Vesta Annual Dinner… an event for which no website write-up is required!

Words and pictures by Martha Kelly.

Wallingford Head Success!

 

IM18+ Pennant Winners (s - Kat Astley, Lara Brock, Caroline Newbury, Aga Siemiginowska, Emma Dyson, Kitty Lowings, Kathryn Clover, Kat Hedges, cox Jamie Wooler)

The Vesta senior squads were out in force at a sunny Wallingford Head on Sunday 27th November, with two men’s VIIIs, four women’s VIIIs and four women’s IVs in action. With an exciting set of bends halfway down the course, all coxes and steers did a great job to bring home all equipment intact, albeit occasionally decorated with small amounts of shrubbery. The squads gained quality race experience, with all finding better pace by the second division, having enjoyed rather more sedate rhythms in division one. The women’s squad recorded two wins in the afternoon, in IM1 VIII and Sen 4-. The W.IM1 VIII enjoyed overtaking their competitors so much with their new-found race pace that they took a detour into the bushes through that infamous bend, enabling the rest of the category to catch up; before storming through the field again to bringing home the pennant. In the W.Sen 4- event, the race was on between two Vesta crews. Having despatched Reading University early on, it was up to the mighty lighties to maintain the leading position to the finish line. The final verdict was a win to the lighties with a margin of half a second – thank heavens for Wallingford’s precision timing, eh?! We’ll call that a very well-matched set of performances.

Vesta Annual Dinner Tickets Now on Sale

Ladies and gentlemen, tickets for this year’s annual dinner, to be held on Friday the 9th of December 2011, are now on sale.

Tickets cost just £50 and include:

– mini-bus transportation between VRC and the Roehampton Club
– welcome drink when you arrive at the Roehampton club
– 4 course dinner (starter, main, dessert, cheese course)
– coffee, tea and petit fours
– delightful and entertaining speeches including your captain and a specially selected keynote speaker
– entry to the after party at VRC and all the usual shenanigans that follow

How to buy your tickets:

Tickets are £50 each. Vesta members can purchase tickets for themselves and one non-member. One week before the event, any remaining tickets will be able to be sold to additional non-members.

For the first time ever we are attempting to modernise the ticket selling process and will be making tickets available for purchase online via PayPal. Here’s how to get yours:

Buy online: You will be receive an email on 16/11/2011  with a link to purchase tickets online. If you do not recieve an email or have any questions, please contact Aga

Pay by cheque: If paying by cheque you can purchase tickets in person from Emily Trant. She will be at the club on Thursday the 17th of November from 6:30pm until 10pm, and on Sunday the 20th of November from 11:30am until 1:30pm. Further times and dates will be announced as needed. You may also post your cheque to Vesta Rowing Club for the attention of Emily Trant.

Please note that no paper tickets will be issued this year. Instead, a guest list at the door will be administered by Ailsa and Emily.

If you have any problems, questions, concerns, please email Aga and she’ll try to get things sorted asap.

Looking forward to seeing everyone there!

Fours Head – A Big Thank You

A special thank you to the members of the Women’s Dev squad who volunteered to help with marshalling on Putney Hard. It went more smoothly than we could possibly have hoped, and we received many compliments from the police, Council, coaches and competitors on the helpful and cheerful attitude of the Vesta members. Many thanks from Judith on behalf of the Fours Head Committee.