Novice and Masters winning streak continues at Twickenham

IM3 4+

Vesta had two wins out of two at Twickenham Regatta. The four from the novice squad who won their novice pots by a foot at Putney Town last week continued their strong form by winning IM3 at Twickenham. With a little help from super-sub Hawkeye, and with Debs steering instead of Wendy, they beat Twickenham and then Royal Holloway to win their second pots. Congratulations to the crew of Debs Croshaw (cox), Sean Hegarty (stroke), James Hawkins, George Clements, Stephen Tate.

Paul Mew also continued his impressive form with a comfortable win over Putney Town with Zena Howard in the Mixed Masters Doubles. This followed on from the successful previous weekend when he beat “Rocket” Roy Brook, a reigning world champion indoor rower from LRC, at Putney Town Regatta on Saturday and then won the gold medal in the Masters G 1x at the National Masters Championships at Holme Pierrepoint on the next day. Three wins in three events over two weekend is not bad going for him.

Paul and Zena

Congratulations also to Kat Hedges and Anna Brown who won Mas A W 2- at the National Masters and to the mens senior squad who won IM2 8+ at Putney Town.

HORR 2014: Is this the unluckiest man in rowing?

As you will have all undoubtedly heard, the Head of the River Race was again cancelled this year – but not until all 390 crews had made it to their marshaling positions and around 100 had tried to complete the race. In the event only 75 completed, with a handful of sinkings, crashes and 20 odd crews stopped mid-race.

Unsurprisingly, no pennants were awarded this year. Vesta’s 1st VIII raced and managed to return to Vesta still afloat. Finishing in 42nd position was a respectable result considering the conditions. Vesta’s 2nd VIII were less fortunate, with the race abandoned as their division were preparing to set off.

Sam Lindsay was sitting in the stroke seat of the 2nd VIII, his 7th failed attempt to row the Eights Head. Is he the unluckiest man in rowing?


Please enjoy reading his story (cry for help?) below…

“For most typical club and student rowers, the Head of the River held on the Tideway each March is the pinnacle of the winter rowing season. It is the biggest head race of the year, guaranteeing competition across every level of ability, from all over the UK and even some from abroad. It is their personal Boat Race, raced over a historic course, against the clock, and against all of their fiercest rivals.

In the 7 and a half years since I started rowing at Imperial, I’ve had my fair share of great rowing experiences, with IC and in the last 18 months with Vesta: winning a load of BUSA/BUCS medals for Imperial, racing against Oxford blues at an invitational regatta in Poland, a couple of glorious Henley Wednesdays (and back in the bar on Thursday evening). But my curse, my motivation to keep rowing for another season, and also my hint that maybe the sport just doesn’t want me, is that I have never raced the Eights Head!

2007 – After an incredibly successful novice winter season, trading 1st and 2nd place finishes throughout head season with Oxford Brookes, my crew boated for the head, ready for a fight, looking for a top 100 finish and a Novice pennant. What we got in the end, in our Empacher 8 borrowed from the women’s squad, was a hull full of water, almost sinking in awful conditions which saw the race abandoned after the 1st division had raced. We bailed out enough water to get our boat home from Chiswick, but lost our Novice status 6 weeks later and our chance for the pennant was gone.

2008 – Now living at the IC boathouse, and well into the senior squad ranks, I was in the 2nd student 8 when I got food poisoning a few days before the race, was quarantined in my room, and in the end my crew didn’t even get to race. They watched the race from our balcony and I spent the night in my room, at least with some company from my girlfriend at the time, who had been coxing the novices. I went on that season to struggle with a heavy exam schedule and a seemingly unsympathetic coach. I petulantly told Steve Trapmore I quit, 5 mins before he was about to announce that I was in the bow seat of the IC ‘A’ for the Temple Challenge Cup at Henley Royal. About a month later, my friend in the B crew roped me into coming back and helping them to qualify. We didn’t. I got a 2:2 that year….

2009 – I decided not to row in the final year of my MSci, and did much better academically, although I did miss rowing, and again ended up being invited to help an underdog B crew attempt to qualify for Henley that summer. We didn’t.

2010 – This time rowing as an alumnus, without the stress of university work, and only working about 25 hours a week at a gym, I was in the best shape of my life, and rowing well. Alas, having a better ergo than anyone in the 2nd 8 (and a few of the 1st 8) wasn’t enough for Mr Trapmore, and I was left languishing at 6 in the 3rd 8. I’d have been OK with it if he’d at least got all the entries in! Alas, my crew, and the Novice 2nd 8 weren’t given the opportunity to race this year. At least I got to finally race at Henley Royal that year, stroking a Sport Imperial 4- through qualifiers and through to Thursday.

2011 – Having started a PhD at University of Hertfordshire, the commute to Putney, and finding the time to row was going to become difficult. I continued to train and race at IC until Fours Head, then raced a couple of times for Hertfordshire before going on the IC training camp that easter. I raced 4 times for UH, and in 2 of those races 1/4 of the crew was female (a 4x and an 8+). I finished one of those races rowing inside arm only, with the 7 man, giving a gun show to onlookers on the bridge overhead. No Eights Head for us that year…

2012 – Into the heart of a PhD, with all the work and extensive travel involved, I didn’t touch a rowing boat for a whole season! I tried rugby, attempting to relive my childhood, but this time with the 6′ 5″ frame to back it up. I injured both shoulders and played 4 matches all season. Maybe rowing wouldn’t be so bad…

2013 – Having been invited along by Ben Anstiss, my former crew-mate at IC and now terrorizing Vesta, I made a gradual return to rowing at a new club, more understanding of my limited availability and fitness. By mid-winter, I had a little bit of fitness back, and managed to earn a seat in the 1st 8 (a new experience in itself), and had a great head race season, capped off with a victory at Kingston Head, a week before the big one on the Tideway! Excited to be in a genuinely speedy crew, the last thing I wanted was 4-man JB to be hospitalized by an infection and would unable to race. Downhearted by the inevitable crew change, and a loss of pace in the boat, I was buoyed by the thought of at least competing in my first HoRR! A few days later, the inclement weather conditions resulted in the race being cancelled anyway. ‘ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!’

2014 – This season, I have been coming to the close of my PhD, and couldn’t decide whether to quit entirely, or to keep going and inevitably lose fitness and/or form, while also jeopardizing my studies. I went for the latter, after being reassured by Nick that I was still a valuable member of the squad. Despite some diabolical seat racing, I was thrown a lifeline, clinging onto a seat in the 1st 8 (I rowed at stroke, 5, 3 and 2 in Richard Burnett between January and March) until the last minute, losing a fight over the 2 seat to Alex Foreman. Charged with stroking the 2nd 8, I had the chance to prove my worth all over again, and spent my few weeks in Killerwal trying to help us exceed the sum of our parts. We really did make great strides with the Eights Head approaching (along with my thesis deadline), and I thought at least if it is my last race, it’ll be the big one! We made it to the start, the sun was shining, and we cheered the 1st 8 as they turned and took the rate up through Chiswick Bridge. Kit off, game face on, let’s get ready to turn into the middle…. “STAY WHERE YOU ARE, THE RACE HAS BEEN ABANDONED”, a marshall interrupted. Not again!!!

I’ve raced the Scullers Head, Pairs Head, Fours Head, Henley Royal, and had a fairly full and enjoyable rowing career (and that’s the important bit, right?). But I have still never raced the Eights Head, after 7 and a half years, and 6 winter seasons of rowing. On the one hand, this makes me more determined that I have to carry on for another season, and take care of unfinished business. But after reading this, what crew would want me?! Maybe I should try rugby again….”

…we still love you Sam! 🙂


Vets Head results


This year’s overall Vets Head results were severely impacted by the effects of the tide. We realised several weeks before the event that the scheduled start time was too early and that the low tide was going to be later than we originally calculated. After discussions with the PLA over the river closure, they insisted that the original Notice To Mariners could not be changed. We shifted the start to be as late as that window allowed.

Additionally, after the cancellation of yesterday’s HoRR, we could not risk the safety of our competitors and officials by holding marshalling crews any longer before we actually started the race.

The end result is that the later you started the more assistance you got from a very strong flood tide. All the categories raced together so the category positions are meaningful. The overall positions are not as trustworthy as we would have liked.

A couple of boating locations misplaced some competitors’ numbers, these crews raced with spare numbers and this has had an effect on one or two categories (notably Men’s Masters C) where a crew raced significantly out of position.

We appreciate that these results do not look great, but in the interests of openness and transparency we present them as recorded by our timing teams.

A category ordered set will be published in due course, which we’re sure will look more reasonable than reading the overall results in isolation.

– Chris Harrison, Chairman, Vesta Open Events Committee


Click here for results:   PDF   spreadsheet   (with sequence information )

Vesta’s senior men get some crucial racing under their belts at Hammersmith Head

Tim Helliwell reports…

Sunday March 9 saw Vesta taking to the Tideway alongside hundreds of other crews for the Hammersmith Head. The unseasonably warm and sunny weather was a welcome change from the conditions that have rendered the Thames largely un-rowable for weeks. With everyone eager to make the most of the 18 degree temperatures sunglasses and bare arms were the order of the day, and all minds were drifting to thoughts of summer racing.

the 2nd VIII: "suns out guns out" (credit: Mark Ruscoe)

the 2nd VIII: “suns out guns out” (credit: Mark Ruscoe)


The senior men’s squad fielded two VIIIs in the IM2 category which both returned solid performances. The 1st VIII suffered a significant setback prior to the race when it emerged that strokeman Harry Bond had been struck down by illness. However, following a substitution and crew reshuffle, they managed a strong 3rd place finish in Im2, coming 22nd overall. The 2nd VIII, invigorated by recent training battles with their 1st boat counterparts, chased down and rowed through a Cygnet RC VIII and went on to record a respectable 12th place finish in IM2 and 54th overall. The race provided an important opportunity for benchmarking both crews and identifying areas for development in the final few crucial weeks of training leading up to the Head of the River.

Scullers’ Head celebrates 60th anniversary – extended Rowing & Regatta magazine article

Please find an extended version of an article about the 2013 Scullers’ Head below. An abridged version of this article appeared in the January/February edition of Rowing & Regatta magazine. Enjoy!


Scullers’ Head celebrates 60th anniversary

The weather was kind to the autumn scullers’ head – perhaps the ultimate test in boat moving on the Tideway. Vesta’s Alastair McCormick reports

Harry scullers head








This year’s Vesta Scullers’ Head was the 60th edition of this unique and historic event. Held on Saturday 16th November, on a lovely autumnal afternoon, 378 hardy souls lined up in Mortlake to race their single sculls over the world famous championship course from Mortlake to Putney. First held in 1954, Vesta is proud to continue organising a race which is rooted firmly in the club’s history. Captain, Aga Siemiginowska, explains that “it is about bringing the club together to run a fun, competitive, large scale event.”

The Scullers’ Head is normally the largest single division race for singles in the world, however, this year – due to a cap on entries – this accolade was claimed by the Silver Sculls in Turin, Italy. The event is for all single scullers and has been previously been won by Olympic and world champions. Vesta’s Honorary Steward, Dick Welch, sums up why the Scullers’ Head holds a unique place in the rowing calendar: “Competing in the Sculler’s Head is a rite of passage for all scullers, if someone has taken the trouble to teach you that art you really ought to do it at least once.”

There is a special camaraderie between single scullers’ which casts a warm glow over this special event. Vesta Veteran, Jock McKerrell , describes how “the race to me is the ultimate test of an individual’s ability as a boat mover.” Others talk of the Scullers’ Head as “the race of truth” with nowhere to hide and no one else to blame. Not only does the Scullers’ Head test competitors physical and mental strength, being held on the tideway also makes it a test of watermanship, ensuring that to win, competitors need to combine all these skills.

Vesta had always been an organising club when, in 1953, the Vest Open Events Committee (VOEC) discussed the possibility of a head race for single scullers. The great and the good of rowing were asked to contribute their thoughts – a novel suggestion came from W D Kinnear of Kingston RC who suggested that the race should be Putney to Mortlake and back! The first race took place on 10th April 1954, attracted 56 Entries and was won by Vesta’s A J Marsden.

The race has seen some change since 1954 – most notably the inclusion of women and a hugely increased junior entry – but many old hands say not a lot changes, although timing is definitely more accurate. Dick Welch added that “we probably raced it in much worse conditions than would be permitted by the health and safety elves today.”

Most of the major heads have morphed into committee led events, but Vesta is proud to have kept the Scullers’ and the Vets Eights heads in-house. Vesta is not widely known as a sculling club, but it must not be forgotten that the club’s most famous member, Harry Blackstaffe, was Olympic gold medallist in the single scull at the 1908 London Olympics. Blackstaffe is still a great inspiration to the club, with ‘Blackstaffe day’ held by the club every August to commemorate the achievements of the club’s most famous son. Aga added that “even though we’re not known as a sculling club now, our older members and retired senior squad members often make the crossover to sculling and continue to be engaged with the sport well after leaving the competitive senior squads.”

The Vesta membership take the race to heart every year, with 21 club scullers completing the race this year and over 60 members volunteering their time to make sure the event ran like clockwork. The Scullers’ Head reflects the special atmosphere of the club, with the event ensuring that Vesta is known throughout the rowing world as a generous and organised club, with arguably the friendliest bar on the Tideway. Chris Harrison, Chairman of the VOEC, said “when our members volunteers in such numbers as they did, it is a quietly effective advert for the community of the club.” As far as Vesta is concerned, organising races is fun and when they go well – like this year – the feedback from those involved is great to hear.

This year’s race passed as smoothly as any in recent history, helped by a bright day in West London. It was also aided by a slightly smaller entry than normal, due to a quirk of the calendar that caused Scullers’ and Fours’ Heads to swap around this year. Entries were about 20% lower than normal, but will be back to full strength next year. Chris was pleased to receive positive feedback on twitter about his quick turnaround on the results, although he says “we operate a relatively low tech solution, but it’s one that we’ve used for years with minor tweaking each year.”

The overall winner this year was Sigmund Verstraete from France who finished in 21:06.99 and represented Walton – a fantastic result for the club. Sigmund said, “I was really surprised when they told me that I had won. I did not set a goal before the race. I just came to have fun.” His shock was in plain view at the prizegiving as he took in the illustrious names on the trophy, including Sir Steve Redgrave and Alan Campbell.

Louisa Reeve was the overall women’s winner and 41st-placed finisher in 22:14.41, who opted to miss the GB Rowing Team 1st Assessment to compete. She said that she had wanted to compete in the Scullers’ Head for a few years.

The 29-year-old Olympian competed in the Wingfield Sculls in October but admitted that it “didn’t go amazingly”, so was pleased that this race “was a definite step on.” She added, “I really enjoyed the race. The weather was some of the best I’ve seen on the Tideway and seeing that many singles out at the same time is very impressive! I’m really pleased with my result and the trophy is one of the best around!”

Other results of note included fifth-placed junior Sam Meijer from Westminster School who took home the J18 pennant after finishing in 21:21.66.

Another winner who deserves a mention is Guy Pooley who finished 21st in 21:58.29 and won the MasC pennant. Guy is one of the most prolific winners in the race’s history and has won the MasC pennant six years in a row.

Vesta’s hard work to host this famous event, was rewarded in style this year as Harry Bond brought home the IM1 pennant, finishing in 15th place. It is particular poetic to see another Harry B following in the footsteps of Harry Blackstaffe in winning in club colours on the Tideway in a single scull. Harry previously won the old Sen2 Lwt pennant in 2006, but since then in his own words has “done very little sculling or racing (in a single).” Harry concedes that, due to missing GB trialists, “I undoubtedly finished a little higher than I could have otherwise expected to.” Harry’s achievement has brought a lot of pride to the club and it builds nicely on his win in Sen 2- at Pairs’ Head with Si Woodfine. As he puts it: “winning can be a nice habit.”

Along with the 60 or more volunteers, another unsung Vesta hero is Jock McKerrell who has taken part in Scullers’ Head more than 20 times and was at 73, the second oldest competitor this year – the oldest was Frank Webb from Quintin, aged 75. Jock says sculling is “easier on the back” and at his age “there is nobody else who wants to continue with a view to racing.”

Let’s look forward to another 60 years of the Scullers’ Head, run in a unique and special way by Vesta.

Check out the full results here.

Tales from the riverbank – Vesta’s women take on Fours Head

In this article, Vesta’s Women talk us through their Fours Head experiences in their own words. Read on if you dare…

W. IM1 4+ : Team Minnie Mouse (J. SMITH, W. HILTON, C. DUFFY, N. POCOCK, cox: J. STREET)

Kit, more kit and a picnic basket?

The W.IM1.4+ of Nicola Pocock, Jess Smith, Wendy Hilton, Christina Duffy and cox Jo Street (or Team Minnie Mouse as later transpired) pushed off from base camp Vesta armed with plastic bags full of kit, more kit, food, kit, hand warmers and some more kit. Rocking a starting place of 423 – the last Vesta boat of the day – the crew were braced for the elements. A picnic basket was considered, but was deemed logistically impractical at the last moment.

Sacrificing a finger…

A solid paddle towards the marshalling point had the crew quickly up to Hammersmith Bridge at which point cox Jo Street was heard muttering “Oooooh sh*t”. Upon investigation of the cause of the swearing (so very untypical from Street), it was apparent that the steering wire had sheared apart. With just bow informed of the potential disaster, Street decided to sacrifice her finger (so overrated as a digit) by looping the wire around it for grip and steering with the two pieces of wire in each hand. Marshalling was a barrel of laughs until about a hundred boats had passed, at which point there were no friends left to cheer for. Aw.

Marshalling for 40 days and 40 nights…

Forty days and forty nights later the crew finally spun, and with icicles to melt the crew took off like a bat of hell under Chiswick Bridge. It was an uneventful race in the end with nobody to overtake and nobody behind in sight, but all were pleased to have feeling back in their bodies by the end (except Jo whose finger may or not have functionality anymore – but hey rowing is worth it!).

W. Elite 4- : In a league (category) of their own (K. HEDGES, A. BROWN, L. BROCK, E. DORMAN)

Blessed by bird poo…

Heading out for their 5th outing together as a crew, the W Elite 4- boat of Ellie, Kat, Anna and Lara (setting off at the dizzy heights of No 62) were in good spirits (being injury free on race day was terribly exciting) and had even been blessed with a direct hit bird poo during the pre race outing – surely a sign of good luck?! Despite the fact that their only opposition (GB) had earlier pulled out, the girls were gunning for it and ready to go.

Foiled by muppetry…

Choppy and windy conditions during the first half of the race threw the crew a bit, with heavier crews around them advancing. Catching up to the Lightweight womens quads who set off ahead of the intrepid four gave them a boost and the girls whizzed passed an IC quad, only to get tangled in an Oxford / Tethys quad who had hit a buoy. Foiled by muppetry; the crew restarted aggressively before Hammersmith Bridge, where the water had flattened out. A full out sprint home ensued, fighting off an overtake manoeuvre from a strong Thames four. Forced out of the stream along the boats by the embankment by another lightweight quad, the four nevertheless wound for the finish, falling flat on their faces over the finish line. A pleasing (but slightly frustrating) race for all, which was celebrated in true Vesta style later that evening in the bar.

Elite 4-_HOR4s 2013








W. IM1 4- : Screwdrivers, vaseline and ski jackets (S. WOOD, E. INGRAM, M. GRANT, J. FROBESE)

Pre-race vaseline… (don’t ask)

8:15: Meeting time for four small IM 1 girls excited to get their boat out for a paddle, but first some homework … the oars need readjusting to get ready to race! 9:30: Having tried every possible screwdiver in the club, these small screws seem to be fighting against us with minimal movement! Coach to the rescue and the girls are able to go out for a little paddle to Harrods and back and get the nerves out! 11:15: Coach chat done, squeaky gate fixed (vaseline always comes to the rescue!), pre race chill time, getting our number sorted (423!!!! Jeez!!) and now its time for the last toilet trip … how many layers can we possibly store in our boat? Final decicion made: the skijacket is going to accompany Jana!

Smashing the warm up…

11:50: Ready to push off? Wahoo!  13:30: Smashing the warm up, getting in some rapid bursts (past some wobbly mens crews!) and weaving our way through the non-tideway crews … we are now in marshalling position convenienctly by Barnes steps and now watching the crews come through the start … now for the elite 4- and the senior 4- to come through … GO VESTA! 13:40: The skijacket is out for Jana!

A cheeky time penalty…

14:05: De-kit time … no sun in sight but we shine in crimson and black, proud to be showing off our club colors, paddling down to the start line. 14:09: Onto race pace and smashing it just before Chiswick bridge … were on top of the Wallingford 4- already despite giving them room therefore a minor “collision” (and a cheeky time penalty!) storming off and attacking the field hard! 14:15: One length ahead of Wallingford under Barnes bridge … no clear water yet but working on it and we are starting to feel the legs with the arms not quite defrosted yet. 14:20: Why is the race course always ten times longer then in training … we could have sworn we rowed past the crossing point 10 minutes ago and we still did not reach chiswick island yet … time to focus back on our swagger and rythm

Heavy breathing…

14:27: Finally under Hammersmith Bridge and here’s the time to go for it…  battling the upcoming Wallingford crew… everything is tired! How can it be so?… VESTA, VESTA, COME ON VESTA is all which keeps us going under Hammersmith bridge… great cheering… great motivation… time to sit up and finish this one off! 14:35: All we can hear around Fulham Football club is heavy breathing from somewhere … its each and every member of the crew each with the minor concern if we are going to collapse before the finish line… 14:38: Its over… finally… unfortunately not as much flying as we had been doing in training and as we had hoped (due to two pretty poorly girls (but with the benefit of a nice amount of weight loss – never a bad thing for a female … however, potentially not the best race prep!), one dodgy ticker and heavy workloads!!) however nothing was going to stop us… we gave all we had and tried to throw the kitchen sink at them!


Remenham Challenge 2013 Results

Lots of fun was had by all at the annual Remenham Challenge head race yesterday. Hosted by Vesta, it was good to see a solid 44 entries, with all seven Remenham clubs sending a strong contingent of crews. It was especially good to see 10 novice crews entered in what was for many their first racing experience. The Vesta novice men have shown some real dedication recently and were unlucky to come up against some more experienced crews. Vesta’s senior women were 3rd and 5th in a strong Elite Women’s category won by Thames. The senior men achieved some positive results in Men’s Intermediate, the busiest category, with the first two ‘matched’ crews finishing 2nd and 3rd in  the category and 5th and 7th overall. It must be said that Thames had a day to remember, taking the spoils in 5 out of the seven categories. It was quite a pill to swallow to hear such hearty Thames cheers within our own clubhouse and has certainly given Vesta’s athletes the motivation to ensure they come out on top next time. The image containing the full results is below.

Rem Chal results 2013

Scullers’ Head Race Report

Now that the dust has settled from a busy weekend – for racers, organisers and volunteers, it seems a good time to reflect on the fantastic results that were achieved by our scullers.

Vesta is not known as a sculling club so it was a really good to see 21 brave souls take to the water to fight for the prizes at our home event. Some were competing in Scullers’ Head for the first time, whereas others had already competed in the race 30 times. Notable results were achieved by many, including 5 in the top 100.

As the 60th running of the Vesta Scullers’ Head, it was only right that a little bit of history was made, with Harry Bond winning IM1 and following in the footsteps of another famous Harry B. in winning in club colours on the Tideway in a single scull. Harry has kindly provided his thoughts on the race, which are well worth a read – please see below.

Here are the Vesta results in full:

FinishStartScullerCategoryTimeCat PositionGenderOrderNotes
15133H BondIM121:37.02115IM1 winner.
42388R StebbingsIM322:16.25541
8332J BrownIM222:40.97582
8541S WhittleNOV22:41.16484
90121V McGovernMasB22:44.43889
115370R GouldenIM322:58.3915113
118147S CorongiuIM2.LWT23:01.106116
12869M HughesIM123:10.526126
139367R ShawNOV23:16.456136
168325S WachholzMasA.NOV23:31.464164
17177B ClarkeMasB.NOV23:32.822166
247340M MaynardMasC.NOV24:21.552212
273239P SimpsonMasD24:35.9129226
277290P MewMasF24:38.366230
285190A MunseyW.IM224:50.90252
298337P DudleyMasC.NOV25:06.523240
313334J DaviesMasC.NOV25:19.124248
341183A McGregor-MacdonaldW.MasB26:00.39882
359184I LaliberteW.MasB26:49.59997
368341J BaileyMasC.NOV27:46.817265
373318J McKerrellMasH30:43.944266

Q&A with Harry Bond – IM1 Winner

Q. Have you taken part in this event before?

Yes I’ve taken part in Scullers’ Head before, winning the old Sen.2 Lwt pennant in 2006. Since then I have done very little sculling or racing.

Q. Overall, how did the race go?

As in all Head races there were good patches and poor, but overall the race went well and I achieved my aim of maintaining an even split throughout the middle half of the race. After very few outings I was hoping to be able to rate 28 for the course and I mainly achieved that (only seeing 26 sporadically).

Q. Was it a strong field / big entry?

The entry this year was rather small for my category, this, coupled with the fact that the GB trialists were away at trials, meant that I undoubtedly finished a little higher than I could have otherwise expected to.

Q. How did you rate your chances on the start line?

I knew I was capable of racing well; Nick Ireland our coach has been working hard to ensure that we are all very fit at the moment and the excellent weather conditions meant that I was full of confidence up at the start line even though I have spent very little time sculling recently.

Q. How significant a result was it for you?

Because of the lack of trialists and the small numbers within my event, the result itself isn’t particularly significant. However, as a stepping stone towards the rest of the season it has provided a huge boost of confidence; the training programme is obviously paying off and winning can be a nice habit (I was fortunate enough to be part of the winning Sen 2- at Pairs’ Head with Si Woodfine). This part of the season sees the start of the more miserable ‘winter training’ and it will be very nice to have started so positively as the weather closes in. With Fours’ Head just two short weeks away  I will be looking to build on this result and others from the beginning of the year as our four from HRR last summer race in the Sen 4- category.

Vesta Men win Senior 2- at Pairs Head

This year’s Pairs Head brought a rainy, windy, and pretty grim start to the Tideway Head Season. However, the Vesta rowers were eager to race, delivering a strong performance and a solid start to the season.

Harry Bond and Si Woodfine racing Senior 2- to a pennant win at Pairs Head 2013

Harry Bond and Si Woodfine racing Senior 2- to a pennant win at Pairs Head 2013

The crew to watch was the senior men’s pair, stroked by Si Woodfine and steered by Harry Bond, who raced aggressively and won the Senior 2- Pennant.  Their finishing time of 12:31.46 also placed them as the overall fourth fastest pair in the Head.  Richard Lear and Robbie Hynes raced in IM2 2-, and narrowly lost out on the pennant win by 0.2s to Cardiff City, in a time of 13:18.71.  Vesta newcomers, Louis Marengo and Tom Hayward comprised another IM2 2-, finishing the race in 13:52.35.  The only senior men brave enough to race in the double were Rob Shaw and Richard Stebbings, who raced IM3 2x in a time of 13:12.34. The senior men are coached by Nick Ireland, Matt Pierpoint, Andrew MacMillan and Morgan Bailey.

The Vets had three crews entered in the Masters categories. Michael Maynard and Peter Dudley raced MasC2x in a time of 14:46.45, narrowly beating the other Vesta MasC2x crew of Bryan Williams and Jonathan Davies who finished in 14:48.63. The ladies W.MasC2x of Paula Cardwell and Zena Howard finished in 15:40.46.

The senior women had one crew stroked by Jess Smith and steered by Lizzie Ingram, who raced W.Sen2- for time only due to last minute changes. The crew of Anna Brown and Kat Hedges had to scratch due to a broken finger.

The full results can be found by clicking here. A very big congrats to the winners and all the racing crews. Here’s to some hard training ahead of Scullers Head and Fours Head next month!

Peterborough pot!

Weekend of 10/11th September, five of the senior women travelled north to Peterborough regatta for a bit of ‘fun’ summer racing.

Nicola Pocock, Lotti Trigle, Charlotte Lennox and Kerry Evans planned to enter the women’s IM3 quads event, however once the draw came out we discovered Kerry was unable to stay late enough to race the final due to prior evening commitments. Luckily Gemma Etherington was willing to fill the seat.

The first Vesta race on Saturday was Athene McGregor-Macdonald competing in W.IM3.1x, but didn’t make the final. She then took to the water again to race in the W.MasB.1x, finishing 2nd.

Peterborough W.IM3.4x pot for Vesta ladies

Peterborough W.IM3.4x pot for Vesta ladies

The W.IM3.4x boated ready to warm up only to realise a 1km course doesn’t have a lot of space to warm up. After an interesting start we came 2nd in the heat making it through to the final.

On the start line of the final we realised we were probably the only crew over the age of 18 so keen to put some juniors in their place! Having had a much better start than the heat we led the whole way down the course. In the last 250m we had a close call with a buoy vs. blade situation but held our lead to cross the line first. For Lotti and Charlotte this was their first win in Vesta kit.

Sunday proved to be more successful for Athene, making it through to the repercharge in the W IM3 1x event.