Henley 4s and 8s Head & OUWBC 19th/20th February

The girls squad hit Henley in force, competing in all three divisions.   The women’s novice 4+ (Maria-Elena Nilsback, Sarah Head, Sian Withers, Pernille Sahl & Laura Forsyth (cox)), kicked off the racing and despite unfortunately catching a crab, they finished fourth in their division (out of 10) with a time of 14mins 52.  The development squad also entered an IM3 4+ (Deborah Crowshaw, Janet Kidner, Emily Hartley, Charlotte Lamping & Victoria Taylor (cox)) , which finished in 14mins 15, putting them in third place in their division.  These two crews then joined forces to compete in an IM3 8+ (Sophie Hanson, Sybille Schorm, Sabine Schloesser, Sarah Head, Anna Vandenberg, Pernille Sahl, Sian Withers, Thea Hudson & Victoria Taylor (cox)) which finished the course in 12mins 42, beating Reading,  UL, Trinity College Oxford and the University of Surrey.

The girls IM2 4x put in a strong performance, winning their division easily, 22 seconds ahead of the next crew, with a time of 12mins 21.   The crew from stroke to bow consisted of Liz Crighton, Ailsa Tremayne, Lara Brock, and Kat Hedges.


The IM1 8+ crew, from stroke to bow;  Liz Crighton, Lara Brock, Ailsa Tremayne, Vicky Brock, Kat Hedges, Kitty Lowings, Hilary Blandy, Helen Edwards and Rachel Dixon (cox) finished in 11mins 45, putting them in third place in their division.

The IM2 8+ crew, from stroke to bow; Tammy Bernard, Liane Higgins, Caroline Newbury, Aga Siemiginowska, Sarah Gutsell, Vanessa Harvey, Kim Ledger, Holly de Gay and Ro Thompson (Cox), finished with a time of 11mins 44, putting them in second place in their division, just 6 seconds behind the Oxford Women’s blue boat.

The following day, the girls squad were invited to race against the Oxford blue boat, their second boat and the light weight 8+, in Henley; home to the women’s’ Oxford vs Cambridge boat race.  The crews were pretty evenly matched, which made for some great raced pieces.  While Oxford had some very fast starts under their belts, the Vesta crews held their own with strong rhythm and power through the water.  The day was topped off with a little star spotting as Steve Redgrave turned up to offer some words of wisdom to the Oxford blue boat, as his daughter was sat at 6 in the crew.

– By Tammy Bernard

(Photos copyright Sliders)

Quintin Head, Saturday 29th January

The Quintin Head course is a familiar stretch of the river for us, running from Chiswick Bridge to Hammersmith Bridge.

The women’s squad entered WIM3 and won the category convincingly with a time of 12.59.4.  Moreover, they were the fastest women’s crew of the day, beating 30 other women’s crews and a few men’s crews along the way!   The crew, from stroke to bow, consisted of:  Tammy Bernard, Helen Edwards, Nell Pascall, Aga Siemiginowska, Vicky Brock, Liane Higgins, Natalie Demblon, Sandy Kurek and Ro Thompson (cox).

The men’s squad entered IM1 and came third out of 7 in this category, with a finish time of 11.42.7.  The crew, from stroke to bow, consisted of Daniel O’Dowd, Robert Shaw, Samuel McCarthy, Michael Hughes, Nicholas Neveling, Jonathan Brown, Alister Campbell, Gianni Galavotti and Helen Gray, (cox).

– Tammy Bernard

(Photos copyright Birdman Photography)

Remenham Challenge Cup, Sunday 16th January

The Remenham Challenge Cup was held on the Tideway, a downriver course from Chiswick Pier to the London RC flagpole.  Vesta entered a grand total of seven crews in the Remenham Head, which was a great turnout for one of the first races of the season.

The senior women’s squad entered both the Women’s Elite and the Women’s Intermediate.  The Elite crew, from stroke to bow, consisted of: Alex Johnson, Lara Brock, Ailsa Tremayne, Aga Siemiginowska, Nell Pascall, Susan Atkinson, Ellie Dorman, Kat Hedges and Julia Hedley (cox).  The Intermediate crew, from stroke to bow, consisted of:  Tammy Bernard, Sandy Kurek, Caroline Newbury, Helen Edwards, Vicky Brock, Liane Higgins, Liz Crighton, Kitty Lowings and Ro Thompson (cox).  The Intermediate crew won their category with a time of 12.58.27, narrowly beating the Elite crew who finished with a time of 12.59.54.

Winners of Women’s Intermediate: from left to right, Caroline Newbury, Tammy Bernard, Liane Higgins, Kitty Lowings, Helen Edwards, Vicky Brock, Sandy Kurek and Liz Crighton

Women's Elite Crew

The women’s development squad gamely entered Women’s Intermediate category.  The crew, from stroke to bow, consisted of:  Anna Vandenberg, Sybille Schorm, Sarah Head, Marie-Elena Nilsback, Sian Withers, Thea Hudsen, Deborah Croshaw, Emi Furuhata and Victoria Taylor (Cox).  For some of the crew, this was their first ever race, so despite the shaky start their coach, James Unler, was delighted that they finished only about a minute and a half off the top boats in their category, with a time of 14.23.87.

Women's Intermediate Crew

The Men’s Elite A crew finished in 11:46.97, the Men’s Intermediate crew finished in 12:25.44, the Masters A crew (Jamie Halliday, George Fieldhouse, Barry Clarke, Ariel Perez, Matt Gilliver, James Watts, Angry Vinny McGovern, Colm Hardiman and Andrew Macmillan (cox)) finished in 12:39.12 and the Masters B in 12:57.47.

Men's Masters Crew

Men's Intermediate Crew

– Tammy Bernard

Vesta Represented at World Rowing Championships

Update!:  2.55pm (NZ time) For the Repechage. (UK time) Tuesday 1.55am! Lane 1 Russia, 2- IRELAND, 3- Poland, 4 Italy, 5- usa

Vesta member Helen Arbuthnot  is coxing for Ireland in the LTA mixed coxed four event at the World Rowing Championships at Lake Karapiro in New Zealand this week.

Update from Helen: Racing was cancelled Sunday 31st after 3 categories of racing were held, due to high winds.
Because of this tomorrow’s schedule has had to change the wind is set to calm to 3.5m/s (Basically tideway conditions) at least this works in our favour!


The other change to the timetable is that due to forecast of over 4m/s which is un row-able thursday/friday, the decision is the final may be held on Wednesday not Thursday, I’m still awaiting time of this..

Because of this I don’t think the BBC coverage is on on Wednesday, so you will have to watch on the World Rowing Website (click here)…

So be online on rowing website. As you have gone now 13 hours behind, my race is 3.05am Monday morning! A regatta on the tideway. Yay!

Good Luck Helen!


Tour du Lac 2010

So, after intensive preparation and kit accumulation, mainly involving dinners, vino and the odd quad sesh – team “Swift Conqueror” (four parts Vesta, one part Mortlake, shaken not stirred) eventually found ourselves set to travel to Geneva with some very heavy bags (well Verity and I did, because we had baggage allowance on BA and everyone else flew easyair).

Friday was spent rigging and decking out our craft ‘Octoram’ ready for the epic voyage she would undertake the next day. This was done mainly in rain, some of it quite heavy. Vel and Helen used our Alan Fuller sign to construct a proper breakwater. Harry, Rob and myself wrapped the boat in black shrinkwrap. To describe the finished product as awe inspiring would be.. well wrong. Slightly drooping with aspects of binliner would be more appropriate, but she proved lake-worthy in our test scull that afternoon and so we switched our attention to readying the nutrition strategy back at the bunker while Harry added co-ordinates into Burnell’s Garmin.

The next day dawned grey and windy. Not wanting to dwell on the task before us, we busied ourselves with last minute prep – taping hands, making sure things that needed batteries had batteries, stowing food and water in the boat. Finally as the boating marshall called our number and checked over our boat we added the last bobs and bits – and we took to the water – team Swift Conqueror and Octoram were ready.

I’d like to write about the next fourteen and a half hours – about the shotgun start and the mad dash with 29 crews all going for that first bouy. the rough water, being overtaken by girls. Pumping. Realising the shrinkwrap we put over the riggers was actually dragging in the water and slowing us down. Overtaking the girls. Bailing. The stages of euphoria followed by the periods of introspection. Pumping. Randomers cheering us from the bank, trying to eat, pump, steer, drink and stretch in the coxes seat. Pumping. Getting into a ryhthm when the water calmed down, and then being told we had to return on the North shore as the wind was going to pick up. Ibuprofen. Cramp. The changes every thirty minutes and then, every twenty when lips started going purple in the coxes seat. Blisters. Overtaking another boat on the way back in the teeth of a Northern wind. Pumping. Realising we were in a really good position. Pumping. Getting even colder. Hanging on as the Sun went down. Trying to find the bouys in the dark. Getting a bit lost. Bonking. Pumping. Hallucinating. Finally seeing the water jet in Geneva harbour.
Just. Keeping. Going.

Getting caught by a following wave, sitting lower, bailing, stopping and sinking. Trying to get the attention of the rescue boat.
Realising after all the effort and the planning and the pain that we went down 2km from the finish line. In sight of the harbour.
In context, thats capsizing in the last three strokes of a 2k.

I’d like to write about the fourteen and a half hours we spent going to Montreaux and back. Honestly though, I can’t remember most of it.

I think that’s why the five of us are going back to do it again next year.
– Jamie Halliday

Two Wins at the Lea

A small group of scullers came away with two wins after making the journey to north London to represent the club at the Lea Autumn regatta in the traditional end to the summer season.

Michael Hughes and Jon Brown raced in the IM2 1x and IM3 1x respectively, Big Jon qualified for the final after an impressive heat but lost to a strong Bewl/Exeter Uni sculler. They teamed up for the IM2 2x and after winning the heat, the gunship won a closely fought final.

Peter Simpson convincing won the Masters C 1x against Erith before doubling up with Janet Simpson in the mixed masters B 2x where they lost to a powerful local crew.

Paul Mew beat David Wright from UTRC in a heat of the Masters F 1x only to be disqualified for steering and therefore missing out on a certain pot in the final. He then teamed up with David in a VRC/UTRC composite to defend the Lea Autumn Masters E 2x but they were unfortunately out-gunned in a close race by the national champions from Poplar.

Photo: Vesta’s entry to Lea Autumn regatta, won IM2 2x and Masters C 1x