Vesta novice women become “true team” at WEHORR

Jane Middleton reports on the novice women’s first crack at Women’s Head….

Vesta Novice Women

The Novice ladies squad were well prepared, we had trained hard, we were focused and we felt ready.  Our coaches gave us the biggest race briefing of our novice existence.  It was race day, this was it – it was now, this is what we had been working towards.

It was a huge relief when we finally left the pandemonium, threw our wellies in a bucket and got Tommy on the water.  All that was left were some final photos, good luck messages from our awesome coaches Judith, Stuart, Kat and Leigh (all of whom resembled anxious parents sending their children off to boarding school for the first time) they could do nothing more now!

We rowed up to the start and had a 90 minute wait – it was painful and somewhat surreal but within that interminable wait we were calm and disciplined.  Then suddenly it was time to spin and get underway… an instant we were pushing forward and cranking up the pace towards the starting post.  The next 25 minutes passed by in a flash, we had got away cleanly, had gathered a strong steady pace as we reached Barnes Bridge and then the wind hit us.  Mario steered us well through the course and it wasn’t long before we were approaching the island and then he had Hammersmith Bridge in his sights.  The pace felt strong, confident and calm, we had long strokes, good clean catches, early squares and we weren’t rushing up the slide (for once).  Hearing the roars of the crowd from Putney Embankment was unforgettable, the tanks were empty but the feeling of rowing past the Vesta balcony will never leave us from that infamous WEHORR experience.

We set off in position 293 and finished in position 261, which meant in real terms we were faster than 32 other boats of which 7 were in a higher category.

We did it and as we took Tommy back into the boathouse I for one felt we had become a true team…

A strong performance at WEHORR for Vesta with two crews finishing in the top 50

Race report by Amelia Munsey, Masters A cox

Last weekend saw the 75th Women’s Eights Head of the River Race held on the Tideway. It is raced on the River Thames over 4 miles and 374 yards, from the start at the University Pole in Chiswick to the finish at Putney Pier. This year saw more than 300 crews compete from across the world.

The overall winners were a GB composite Elite 8+ who finished in a time of 18:58.6. The crew included Olympic gold medalists Helen Glover, Heather Stanning and Katherine Grainger, along with GB teammates.

Vesta fielded three 8s this year, comprising the senior squad’s IM2 8+, a Masters A entry and a crew from the Novice squad. Vesta landed two top 50 spots – no easy feat with a strong field!

The IM2 8+, coached by Nic Neveling and Chris Clements, placed 48th in a time of 22:00.2, beaten by only a handful of club IM2 crews.

The Masters A crew had a guest appearance from honorary lifetime member Sarah Winckless who helped the crew to achieve their impressive 41st place, making them the fastest Vesta boat of the day in a time of 21:48.0. Sarah Winckless herself is an Olympic medal holder and twice World Champion. This performance is a strong start for a rejuvenated vets squad, an initiative led by Captain James Hawkins.

The Novice women also had a good day finishing 10th out of the Novice club crews with a time of 25:05.4. The novice squad is coached by Judith Howell, Kat Burnell and Stewart Button, and their performance bodes well for the summer season and beyond.

Overall, I’m very proud to be part of a club where we have 3 womens’ 8s representing the club, not least with 2 of these finishing in the top 50. Well raced Vesta!


2015 Vets Head

The 2015 Vets Head, unusually taking place the day before the Men’s HoRR due to tide and sunset times, will be raced in the traditional direction from Chiswick to Putney on Saturday 28 March, starting at 1100 GMT.

More information, when available, will be on the Vets Head page.