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

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

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

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

Summer 2010 So far…..

Since the ‘serious’ rowing ended there has been some even fiercer pot and cap hunting going on.

Here is a roundup of the Summer 2010 Vesta wins so far:

  • Jamie Wooller won Novice Singles at Richmond Regatta
  • Bevan Goulden, Laurence Manning, Nick Nevelling, Harry Bond, Alister Campbell, Chris Clements, Chris Burnell and Jamie Wooller, coxed by Sophy Fuchs won Intermediate 2 Eights at Kingston Regatta
  • Jamie Halliday won Senior Coxless Pairs as part of a Vesta/Burton Leander composite at Burton Regatta
  • Lara Brock and Vics Mcleod-Moore won Intermediate 3 Doubles at Molesey Regatta
  • Hilary Blandy won Novice Singles at Molesey Regatta
  • Alister Campbell and Laurence Manning won Elite Coxless Pairs and Intermediate 1 Coxless Pairs at Henley Town & Visitors Regatta
  • Kitty Lowings, Vics Mcleod-Moore, Kat Hedges and Kate Tilbury won Intermediate 2 Quadruple Sculls as a Vesta/Mortlake composite at Henley Town & Visitors Regatta
  • Kat Hedges won Masters B Quadruple Sculls as part of a Vesta/Eton Excelsior Composite at Maidenhead Regatta

More wins to follow at Peterborough and Oxford City I’m sure…!


Oops, they did it again!

I am absolutely thrilled to report our senior women won the GP Jefferies Cup, the senior eights event at Henley Women’s Regatta beating Newcastle University by 3 1/2 lengths into second place in a fantastic performance yesterday afternoon. Our winners had previously beaten Queens University Belfast, University College Dublin, and Nereus (Netherlands) in the heats, and took no prisoners as they laid down an excellent time of 4 minutes 53 seconds in the final.

The winning crew were (B-S): Rahma Barclay, Alex Johnson, Kat Hedges, Vicky Williams, Lara Brock, Vics McLeod-More, Charlie Dempster, Emily Trant and Julia Hedley (coxswain), and are very ably coached by Matt Gilliver, James Parris and Paul Fitzwilliam. This is an incredible achievement, rewarding our girls and coaches for their huge amount of effort, patience, tenacity and humour over the past nine months.

Earlier in the weekend, Vesta was very well represented in the quarter finals of the Intermediate Club eights with our club crew losing by two lengths to the eventual winners, Thames Rowing Club, our lightweight coxless four losing to Marlow Rowing Club, and Ailsa Tremayne losing to London Rowing Club in the elite singles.

A Vesta Senior Women’s crew will now attempt to qualify for the Remenham Challenge Cup this Friday at Henley Royal Regatta, please come and support them along with the Vesta Senior Men’s Wyfold ‘B’ Entry

Vesta Women Dominant Yet Again

In the last dash towards Henley Women’s Regatta, the Vesta Women’s squad proved yet again why they’re the crews to fear this year, making four finals at Reading Amateur Regatta, and winning two.

Having destroyed the cream of British rowing at Met the previous week, the women’s Senior Eight turned their sights on the US. Following their string of recent wins, the girls were racing the elite American crews , St Joseph’s and Drexel, and proved that they have the power to stay cool under fire – rowing through from half a length down to win the final from Drexel by a foot.

Vesta 2, Americans nil – that’s how it’s done, Capello.

In the final of the women’s IM1 coxless 4, the Mighty Lighties (Tamsin Bernard, Pamela Brent, Freya Johnstone and Holly de Gay) cruised to a comfortable 3 length victory over Putney Town, demonstrating that sharp technical focus is more than a match for brute strength. The win so excited coach Matt Gilliver that he threw himself off his own bike and was removed from the regatta to have his leg stitched up.

The women’s intermediate eight made the finals of IM2, but were beaten by the more experienced Thames crew, while Ailsa Tremayne sculled through three rounds of the IM1x but was beaten at last by MAA.

Less than a week to go… be afraid, HWR, the Vesta women are on their way!

Reading S8

L-R: Vicky Williams, Alex Johnson, Kat Hedges, Lara Brock, Rahma Barclay, Vics Mcleod-More, Julia Hedley (cox), Charlie Dempster & Emily Trant

lighties and our coaches (2)

L-R: Matt Gilliver, Holly De Gay, Tamsin Bernard, Pamela Brent, Freya Johnstone, Paul Fitzwilliam & James Parris