Summer 2011 Regatta Summary

With the three big Henleys out of the way, members of various Vesta squads have been busy enjoying the delights of the Great British Summer regatta circuit. The following are the Vesta wins recorded this summer.

  • The women’s development squad followed up a fantastic season with a win at Richmond Regatta in W.IM3 8+ (crew:  A. van Den Berg, S. Schorm, S. Barton, S. Head, S. Schlosser, V. Harvey, R. Withers, T. Hudson, V. Taylor (cox)).
  • CORRECTION: Kingston Regatta passed with a few entries and at least TWO wins:
  • o    Mas C 4- Peter Simpson, James Weatherstone, Fred Beaud, Bryan Williams beat Kingston GS Associates
  • o    Nov 2x James Ulner and Nico Russman
  • … Fortunately we were back on winning form at a rainy Molesey Regatta, with no less than four wins – all in sculling:
  • o   Gianni Galavotti finally popped his novice sculling cherry in style, with wins at both Nov 1x and IM3 1x
  • o   Athene McGregor-Macdonald and Natalie “Red” Demblon also lost their novice status, in the W.Nov 2x
  • o   Martha Kelly notched up a win in W.IM3 1x
  • Back in Henley-on-Thames (for Henley Town and Vistitors) Vesta claimed more silverware, this time with some help from our friends:
  • o   Emi Furuhata lost her novice status in the W.Nov 4+ in conjunction with HSBC RC
  • o   Kat Hedges defended her quad title in the W.IM2 4x with alma mater club Eton Excelsior.
  • And last but not least, in the Barnes and Mortlake Regatta, Mas C 2x was won by Peter Simpson and Frederic Beaud who beat Putney Town in the semi-final and Cygnet in the Final to win.

Well done Vesta! Now back to the ergos to prep for the new season ahead!!

Martha and Aga

Vesta at World Champs: Lake Bled, Slovenia

Vesta is proud to announce that one of its own will be competing at the Rowing World Championships, held on Lake Bled, Slovenia this year. Helen Arbuthnot will be coxing the Irish Paralympic 4 in an attempt at a podium finish. With 16 entries and the top 8 qualifying for 2012 it’s not a walk in the park.

The competition will run from 28th Aug –4th Sept. Further details on specific heat times and dates to follow. For more information please visit:

Best of luck Helen…we know you’ll do Vesta proud!

Blackstaffe Club Regatta 2011


On Saturday 20th August Vesta held its annual club regatta, with all members welcomed to join in the fun. With a good crowd of supporters on the Vesta balcony the club took to the Tideway in mixed scratch eights and the hotly contested mixed double sculls (AKA the love doubles).
Racing from the Black Buoy to Putney Pier (a whopping, lung-burning 500 metres!), the crews showed an awesome display of brute strength and unstoppable competition. It was a really good turn out with four mixed eights and eight double sculls. Plus an entourage of umpires and organisers.
Winning the mixed eights in Derek the White (yes it does still float), coxed by Ro, from bow, Sarah, Sarah, Stewart, Sabine, Si, Sam, Cheryl and Luke. Competition was fierce in the doubles, but Harry and Ailsa, the Bond and the Blonde, despite not being on top form (again), narrowly defeated, Kitty and Richard (I won’t say what their crew was called).  Both crews were awarded smart, shiny, VRC pots, which were christened later on in the evening.
We welcomed a photographer from English Heritage, who was introduced to the Vesta spirit and bar. Everyone enjoyed the fabulous BBQ put on by Dick, ably assisted by Annette and others. A big thank you to them, the organisers, umpires, bar staff and spectators. We look for to the 2012 showdown (which will be in the middle of the Olympics, so we may well be men down).

By Aga and Cheryl

Pairs Head 2011

The Pairs Head will be held on Saturday 8th October at 2:30pm. The course will run with the stream from Chiswick to Hammersmith Bridge. Check with your coach before entering. Permission for boat use must be cleared with the Captain (Alex). Please contact the entries secretary, Nicky Watts, before the close of entries on 26 September. You must have monies in your race fees account in order to enter. Full details on the Pairs Head website.

Parliamentary Boat Race report

Vesta RC’s senior women’s squad were invited to race again in this year’s Parliamentary Boat Races on July 13th, an annual event sponsored by Siemens to raise awareness of our sport and raise money among MPs for charity.  A women’s VIII (formed primarily from the HWR winning crew) attempted to make it four wins in a row for the squad. On a windy afternoon, the crew set about rigging “Tommy” in the slightly insalubrious surroundings of a broken glass-strewn layby behind the arches at Vauxhall, with only the close vicinity to a Majestic Wine Warehouse helping us to feel more at home. The safety briefing brought news of a revised race course and cancellation of the youth crews’ events; given the high water and wind against tide, the conditions were choppy even by usual Tideway standards. With a carefully marshalled crossing of the Albert Embankment to the London Duck Tours slipway (or, “next to MI6” as we prefer), and with just time enough for at least half of us to bury flip-flops in the deceptively deep, sticky mud on the shoreline, the crew boated, ready to face the opposition – Mortlake Anglian & Alpha.

Spies in the enemy camp hadn’t been wrong about how stacked the crew was, as the 8th-placed crew from WeHoRR reformed for the occasion, including as it did three Olympians, including Sarah Winckless (bronze, Athens) and a couple of Beijing silver medallists, and individuals who attended GB trials this year. Of course this wasn’t enough to deter the intrepid Vesta women, and we got stuck straight into our total race preparation – three 7-stroke starts – as we made our way to the start line.  With our usual strong start, we kept in touch with the oppo throughout the sprint course and when the “wind down!” call came we were a mere half-length down – not too shabby considering the competition!

With that, we performed our “row past” for the spectators and were off to the reception held on the terrace of the Houses of Parliament, with the honour of entering Parliament from the river via the Black Rod Steps, and the slightly more dubious honour of parading around the high offices of government in mud-slicked lycra. The women’s race was followed by a men’s race between London RC and Thames RC (won by London), and the finale was a race between the House of Commons and the House of Lords with a decisive win for the Commons – helped along no doubt by the superb coxing of our own Helen Arbuthnot.

The reception was attended by MPs, Lords, and a number of representatives from the world of rowing – Di Ellis, David Tanner, and some members of the GB squad, to list a few. As well as being a great day out, it was as usual a great opportunity to show the club in a positive light. And with that, all that was left was the return journey, including an unchaperoned crossing by Tommy of the Albert Embankment during rush hour – well done Vicky Taylor for demonstrating excellent lollipop lady skills!

Crew: (cox to bow) Vicky Taylor, Hilary Blandy, Holly de Gay, Stine Keys, Liane Higgins, Nell Pascal, Vicky Brock, Natalie “Red” Demblon, Martha Kelly (yes, that’s 6 strokesiders…)

Henley Masters Regatta 2011

Vesta had an extremely successful weekend of racing at Henley Masters Regatta.  George Fieldhouse and Barry Clarke won Masters B 2- and then doubled up with Helen Gray, Jamie Halliday and Michael Hughes to win the Masters B 4+.

Photo copyright BigBlade Photography:

In the 2- George and Barry overcame the current National Masters Champions, 2010 Pairs Head divisional winners (who finished 46th overall in a Masters 2-) ex-GB internationals and Henley Royal medal winners en route to an eventful final against a strong Oporto University crew. The final was extremely close, with Vesta recovering from a slightly wayward start to begin draw ahead of Oporto before the Oporto crew clashed with the booms mid-way down the course. Distances of Easily, 2.5 Lengths and 2.5 Lengths gave the pair immense satisfaction and have made all the season long 5.30am outings and endless bench-pulls worthwhile.

The 4+ has just come together over the last couple weeks but the experienced individuals adapted well and surprised all the competitors (and themselves) by being extremely dominant in all races.  Inch perfect steering by Helen set the scratch crew up for strong performances in their semi and final.  Jamie swapped his Elite single for the stroke seat where he set a fantastic pace and rhythm.  Michael literally jumped out of the Thames Cup 8o and provided a massive amount of power and strength in the bow seat.

There were many comments from officials and competitors that it was great to see Vesta back on a Henley Masters presentation pontoon.

Henley Masters is an extremely well run event over an abridged Henley Royal course.  Competition is of the highest standard with a large number of international crews, Henley Royal medal winners, Olympians and ex-Internationals competing.  Both the Vesta crews can pay testament to the quality of entry but also the manner in which the opposition carried themselves.  The opposition were extremely magnanimous in defeat with the threat to be training even harder to try to keep up.  No doubt the 2- and 4+ will be back next year to defend their titles and hope to be bringing more Vesta crews along with them.  In the meantime, roll on the Winter Head season!

Vesta Wins Club 8+ HWR 2011!

Vesta Wins Club 8+ HWR 2011!

I’m extremely pleased to report that Vesta Rowing Club was once again triumphant at Henley Women’s Regatta.

We won the Club Eights, beating Mortlake Anglian and Alpha Boat Club by 3L in a time of 5 minutes 9 seconds, having dispatched Thames RC A, Royal Chester and Cantabrigian in the previous rounds, with no verdict less than three lengths.  Our winning crew was Aleksandra Kurek, Martha Kelly, Liane Higgins, Vicky Brock, Susan Atkinson, Kirstine Keyes, Holly De Gay, Hilary Blandy and Rachael Dixon (coxswain), coached by James Parris, Matt Gilliver & Paul Fitzwilliam.  A fantastic result for the crew, squad and their coaches.

In other events, Lara Brock and Ellie Dorman fought a strong field to make it to the final of elite pairs eventually losing out in the final to a Reading University/Nottingham RC composite who are also the GB European Champs crew for this year.  Our Vesta ladies also made the semi-finals in the elite pairs (Ailsa Tremayne and Kat Hedges) and the club coxed fours (Aga Siemiginowska, Nell Pascall, Helen Edwards, Caroline Newbury and cox Rohanne Thompson) where we lost in a well fought semi-final against the eventual winners, Upper Thames RC.  We also had an excellent representation earlier in the regatta in senior doubles,  and in the Club eights with our Development Women beating Barnes Bridge Ladies in their first round and eventually losing to Thames A, and with our senior squad Club B eight losing to Curlew.

We were the most successful Tideway Club at the regatta, and after last year’s success in the Senior Eights, we have now have demonstrated that our success in women’s competition is becoming well established.


Captain, Vesta Rowing Club

Vesta Girl’s Squad Hit Mulhouse in Style

The Vesta girls squad hit Mulhouse in style

 The regatta season is looming and as usual, at this time of year, the Vesta girls set out on training camp. The destination of choice:  Mulhouse, an industrial town in Eastern France, which is home to a 32km stretch of canal – perfect for lengthy steady state paddles and very little distraction, unless you are a budding train spotter or Peugeot fanatic. 

 After a long day of driving we checked into the sports centre, which was to be ‘home’ for the next 7 days.  Our gruelling programme for the week consisted of three training sessions a day, a lot of food (including copious amounts of Princes biscuits) and some much needed sleep.  After the first couple of days, it seemed we had fallen into some kind of groundhog day, as each day replicated the last, with just a slight deviation in terms of the length of the pieces we had to do each day, which were determined on the number of beers amount of sleep our coaches had had the night before.

Of course, no training camp would be complete without a ‘bad kit’ day and the Vesta girls certainly didn’t hold back!  Congratulations to Martha and Kim who won the prestigious award for the worst ‘bad kit’, it must have been a proud moment! 

Congratulations should also go to Stine, who won the ‘pick me coach’ award for the most improved rower of the week and also to Caroline who won the ‘oarswoman of the week’ award for the most effective boat mover.   

The girls would all like to say a huge thank you to our three coaches, James, Matt and Paul for giving up their time to coach us – we really appreciate it and hope to do you proud this summer!

– Tammy Bernard

Womens’ Head of the River Race 2011

Vesta entered four crews in the WeHORR this year and for the first time ever we had two crews finish in the top 35! 

The IM1 crew, consisting of (from stroke to bow) Ellie Dorman, Helen Edwards, Ailsa Tremayne, Lara Brock, Nell Pascall, Aga Siemiginowska, Caroline Newbury, Kat Hedges and Ro Thompson (cox) finished an amazing 17th out of 279 crews, with a time of 19mins 37.

The IM2 crew, consisting of (from stroke to bow) Tammy Bernard, Kitty Lowings, Liz Crighton, Susan Atkinson, Vicky Brock, Liane Higgins, Hilary Blandy, Holly De Gay and Julia Hedley (cox) finished 32nd, with a time of 20mins 03.  The race was eventful from start to finish, with the first over taking done before Barnes bridge, including a clash that prevented the other crew from finishing the race and an almighty dash for the finish line, over taking 3 more crews as they passed Vesta.

The IM3 (A) crew, consisting of (from stroke to bow) Anna Vandenberg, Sybille Schorm, Sabine Schloesser, Vanessa Harvey, Sian Withers, Pernille Sahl, Emily Hartley, Charlotte Lamping and Rachel Dixon (cox) finished an amazing 77th with a time of 20mins 52. Considering that some of the crew members were essentially novices and had not rowed at WeHORR before, this was an outstanding achievement.

Thanks go to Vanessa Harvey who sat in at the last minute for a disappointed Sarah Head who was suffering from an injured back.

The IM3 (B) crew, consisting of (from stroke to bow) Sophie Hanson, Philippa LeRoux, Deborah Crowshaw, Janet Kidner, Maria-Elena Nilsback, Thea Hudson, Emi Furuhata, Anneke Van Heteren and Vicky Taylor (cox) finished 177th with a time of 21mins 56. This was another particularly fine performance with the crew taking nearly a minute off their course time.

Congratulations go to all of the Womens’ Development Squad for their approach to and competition within the event.

– Tammy Bernard & James Unler

Photos copyright Nick Ablitt & Birdman Photography