Maidenhead Regatta

Kat Hedges raced for Vesta at Maidenhead regatta with her old club, EERC, at the weekend, and they won WMasters A/B/C quads and WMasters C 4+ over the 500m course on Saturday.

The winning crew afterwards having celebration beers!

The winning crew afterwards having celebration beers!

Both winning verdicts were over 2 lengths, which given the short course is a fair distance for a previously untried combo. To quote Kat,  “I love Masters racing.”

Vesta also raced in a Mixed 4x and a Mixed 2x racing on Saturday at Maidenhead. Paul Mew and Zena were entered in IM2 mixed doubles, in Paul’s words, “rather ambitiously”. In fact, they had a decent race with good steering but didn’t have the power to beat Eton Excelsior.

The masters mixed quad (Anna, Deb, Bryan and Bijan) had a problem on the way to the start. The steering shoe came away from the footplate so Bijan had to complete the race rather cautiously with no steering. The trailed way behind as a result.

Vesta’s crews were cheered up by tea and the best cakes ever at the regatta enclosure where they watched Kat win.

Thanks to Kat and Paul for sending in new their contributions.

Winging it and winning a bit at Henley Masters

by Kat Hedges

So after months of preparation, a rigorous selection procedure, endless hours on the water, it was time for that race that we train ALL year for…. Vets Henley! After a slightly stunted start with Gemma being unable to locate any kit, Kat running late and initially only Emma in Henley possessing no tools to start rigging the boat, it was a miracle we made it to the start line on time!

However, we made it… Masters A quads first up and we had drawn Marlow first round. Considering this was our maiden voyage as a full crew we were pleasantly surprised to be up off the start and with some great motivational calls from Kat, we managed to cling onto the lead, winning by a canvas. Despite a gutsy row, unfortunately we lost to Guildford by 1.25 lengths in the final, however considering our opposition had raced and won senior quads at HWR, we weren’t too disappointed.

The crew then split into a Masters A 2x (Gemma and Emma) and 2- (Kat and Helen). Unfortunately Kat and Emma both fell victim to the lure of the booms (quickly recovered) and lost their races; however, a weekend of glorious weather, good food and great company made up for the overall lack of medals!

[no suggestion of a training schedule for next year, then Kat ;-)]

Vesta Remenham Challenge Crew coming over the line…

More reminiscing… photos showing what a cracking race Vesta and Molesey had in the Remenham Challenge Cup at HRR, giving the grandstand something to cheer about again!

Thanks to Gordon Barnes for sending these in.

Vesta ladies enter Parliament (and eat very small sarnies)

By Kerry Evans

Rigging on the other side of the river

Rigging on the other side of the river

It was with no small amount of nerves that I arrived at Vauxhall station to take part in this year’s Parliamentary Boat Race (against Thames!) on the 10th of July.

After rigging Tommy our next challenge was to attempt to look glam in the matching t-shirts and caps we were to wear! Once we had made it across the very busy Vauxhall cross hauling an eight, we had to boat on some of the roughest water I had ever seen (up to that point in the day!) whilst dodging very grumpy Duck tour drivers!

So the adventure began! We spent about half an hour warming up, laughing, dodging waves and fruity remarks from a lively Molesey men’s eight!

We lined up with Thames and we were off! We were with them for a while at the start but it wasn’t long before they had the best of us – our secret weapon of a ‘tenth man’ (our 3 girl is 14 weeks pregnant at the time of the race!) was not enough to conquer the water or Thames on the day.

In the rough Julia is boss!

In the rough Julia is boss!

Race over – it was time for an amazing couple of hours rubbing shoulders with Lords, Ladies, MP’s and rowing types on the House of Lords riverside terrace! There was an amazing view of the Eye, champagne, tea, delicious mini sandwiches and cakes (I think food always tastes slightly better when it’s mini!) and as much strawberries and cream as you could eat!

The event was to not only raise awareness of rowing, but to raise money for charity. Once cheques had been handed out, an unexpected treat was a competitor’s medal presented by Lord Carey so apart from the blue blueness of the free kit, we will always have a memento of our day.

I think had we known what was to come next; we may have decided to leave a little earlier. The tide had turned and I think the row back was the closest I’ve ever come to ocean rowing (I had the theme to Captain Pugwash going round my head for a couple of hours after we got back!!). We took on so much water we had to ask some chaps to help us lift Tommy out of the Thames! More Duck Tour dodging and another trip across the road and it was all over bar the de-rigging of our noble steed!

All in all a great day with the girls and a fun thing to do on a Wednesday afternoon, thanks for the invitation Vesta!

Wins for double sculls at Kingston Regatta

Congratulations to Zena and Sybilla who won their Novice Double Sculls final on Sunday at Kingston Regatta.


The pot was rather hard fought, so gave some extra satisfaction. The ladies had to complete an emergency boat repair just as they were ready to boat and were assisted by Peter and Janet Simpson, along with Homer the dog.


Kingston3In their first race they were cut up horribly by a crew who were weaving in a manic fashion,  but they kept our course, upped the rating and beat them. In the final, the crew was in the outside lane – with all manner of craft bobbing around at speed  – the swell was horrendous  – meanwhile their opponents from Furnival were very big strong girls and had the inside calm lane by the bank.  It was neck and neck, then half way down the course, they steered into the bank, so we legged it!


Kingston1The girls were awarded their novice pots and want to say that “if it hadn’t been for Peter (and Janet and Homer) coming to support us and helping, they would never have raced!!”

Vesta takes to the ocean

By Nic Neveling & photos by Nikki Cox

Who needs Lycra. The lads work the speedos with sweep Khalil

Who needs Lycra? The lads work the speedos with sweep, Khalil

At 23:45 on warm Friday evening, 12 July, a small group of Vesta rowers met at Paddington Station and boarded the last train leaving London for the night.
Nine hours later they set foot on Portreath beach on the Cornish coast and began preparing for a day of rowing nothing like whey they were used to.

A Vesta crew of Michael Hughes, Jon Brown, Nicholas Neveling and Brad Lawson, supported by Nikki Cox, had entered a boat into round 3 of the UK Surf Rowers’ League Summer Series. They were certainly in for something different to the standard weekend at Dorney.

The stroke in a surf boat is like a stroke in a flat water shell, but that is about where the similarities end. Surf boats are large, wide craft designed for rolling through swells and crashing through breaking waves. There is no fin and no rudder. Instead the “cox”, or sweep in surf boat parlance, stands on the back of the boat and uses a flat wooden oar to steer and balance the the shell.

The most striking difference the Vesta clan found, however, was the surf boat “racing kit”. Surf boats do not have sliding seats so rowers have to wear speedos, which are then “wedgied” to expose the skin. The flat seats are then lubricated with water and aqueous cream to allow the rowers to slide on the recovery as they would on a seat with wheels. The rowing lycra, itself not exactly famed for its modesty, is Victorian by comparison. After an initial period of awkwardness, however, the lads soon embraced the budgie smugglers and pre-race “lubing up” routine.

After a warm up row with sweep Khalil Isaac in a boat kindly provided by Porthtowan Surf Lifesaving Club, the Vesta crew, dubbed “The Vikings”, were ready to race. The course was approximately 800m to 1000m long. Crews had to start on the beach, race to a buoy out at sea, turn their buoy and then charge home. Once the crews were in shallow enough water the bowman had to jump out of the boat and sprint to a flag on the beach to finish.

There were three heats, with the best performers across those three races going into a final.

Pre-race briefing at the start. It beats Dorney

Pre-race briefing at the start. It beats Dorney

Conditions could not have been more ideal, with blue sky, 28 degree temperatures and no wind. It was a day of endless summer. This fine conditions meant flat water, which favoured the less-experienced Vikings boat. Racing in lane one in the first round, the Vesta Vikings took advantage of the flat water and good conditioning from the Henley season to come in first.

For the next two races the boat was drawn in lane five, which because of the vagaries of tide and current was a longer haul. The Vikings finished third in race two and had to come from way behind after a botched start to claw their way into the top three in round three.

Two thirds and one win was enough to put the crew into the final for a showdown with the highly-rated Porthtowan crew.
Despite a bad start which saw the Vikings drop more than length, the crew settled into a powerful rhythm and began to inch back. A sharp turn put Vesta right back in the hunt and as the crews approached the beach Vesta had drawn almost level with Porthtowan at the front of the field. The local surf club just managed to keep ahead as the bowmen launched themselves out of the boats and onto the beach in the sprint for the flags. They touched first just ahead of the Vikings.

Although disappointed to just miss out on a win, the Vesta crew were pleased to come close despite their inexperience in a bigger boats and different racing format.

Not a bad after party venue

Not a bad after party venue

After hauling the surf boats back up the beach (loading a trailer is a breeze in comparison), the group made their way to the neighbouring village Porthtowan for a BBQ and after party at the Porthtowan club house, right on the beach.
As the sun slowly died over the Atlantic Ocean and the beer flowed, the party kicked off in style with some great tunes laid down by the Vikings sweep for the day, Khalil. After dancing on the beach until well after midnight, exhausted, the Vikings finally called it a night, strolling up the street through the warm summer night to their accommodation The perfect ending to a perfect day.

Many thanks to the UK Surf Rowers League and Porthtowan Surf Lifesaving Club for their warm hospitality and the the use of a boat. The Vikings hope to be on the beach again soon.

Excitement galore at Henley Royal 2013

Well that was one helluva Henley! Vesta had three boats in the competition, after the development men unfortunately didn’t get through qualifying. Next year lads!

Vesta rowers showed their pride and absolute intention of giving it all, whether winning or losing. And the club showed what a fabulous supportive and fun bunch of people we have, taking up residence in the usual haunts. We ♥ Remenham Club.

Beloved Remenham Club

Beloved Remenham Club

The Thames Cup crew had a great start, beating Cambridge ’99 soundly on Wednesday. However they came up against the eventual winners in Griffen BC, old boys and quality rowers from Abingdon School on Thursday.

Satisfying win against Cambridge '99

Satisfying win against Cambridge ’99

With Rob Shaw, Phil Haddleton, David Blows, Helen Gray, Michael Patrick Hughes, Jonathan Brown, Richard Stebbings, Sam Lindsay and Robbie Hynes at Henley Royal Regatta.

The Vesta ladies, who did not have to qualify for the Remenham Challenge Cup this year for the first time ever, had a pure grit battle against Molesey BC, clawing up against the opposition’s lead the whole length of the course. Despite a blood and guts wind at the finish, the eventual verdict was painfully close at just 1/4 length to Molesey.

Nice catches

Nice catches!

With Rachel Dixon, Helen Ellison, Hana McEwan, Rowan Mckellar, Christina Duffy, Laura Daisy Jones, Elizabeth Crighton, Chloe Symmonds and Anna Brown.

The Wyfold crew had a tremendous, exciting Henley and were credited in the Royal Regatta’s own report as having lit up the competition. They raced Upper Thames ‘B’ on Wednesday, leaving it a little close for comfort for us spectators, with a lead of just 1/3 length at the finish. The crew were confident though and raced through one of the fancied crews of London RC ‘A’ on Thursday. They clashed blades at the start, went down a length against LRC and then finally reeled them in passed the enclosures. The final verdict was 2/3 length. Their Friday row was a bit more straightforward against Agecroft, leading throughout, with a final verdict of 2 lengths. And so, Vesta once more reached a Saturday semi-final row, unexpectedly to some! Here they raced Tyrian Club, which is the University of London old boy club, and they took a lead off the start and held it passed Fawley, but Tyrian has some very big gears, and put down the gas and took a 3 length lead at the finish. Tyrian went on to beat Rob Roy in the final, the two crews cutting times that no other boats came close to in the competition.



With Harry Bond, Si Woodfine, Richard Lear and Steve Whittle.

Club results are here.

HRR results, which include the times to Fawley and the Barrier, are here.

All photos courtesy of Sam Lindsay – thank you!


Richmond Regatta Results

Mas C 4x

Two masters crews represented the club at Richmond Amateur Regatta on Saturday 29th June. A Mas C 4x of Paul Mew, Michael Maynard, Bijan Hedayati  and Fred Bead had a solid scull in a straight final but could not get back the lead they gave to the older Ardingly crew off the start.

The Mas B 4+ crew of Phil Longstaff, Dave Gibney, Bryan Williams, Fred Beaud and Verity Ansell (cox) had a good start in the semi-final against X-Press BC of Cambridge and had the lead going into the final bend, but a slight wobble let the other crew take a close win.

Mas B 4+

Mas B 4+

Semi’s for some at Henley Women’s Regatta

Vesta women raced with tremendous guts and tenacity at HWR this year, but came up against some tough competition and came home empty handed.

Vesta took four boats: a Senior VIII, a Club VIII, a Senior 1x and an Elite 2-. AND they took some warm-hearted, loud-lunged supporters, who did a great job lifting the rate and spirits over the weekend!

Friday’s weather was fairly benign, warm with a tailwind mostly, and rain pretty much held off. The club eight looked very sharp boating and meant business ruthlessly knocking out their first opposition, Thames RC (B), beating them Easily.


Club 8 boating in the sunshine


Club 8 looking sharp on Friday

On Saturday the wind picked up and up throughout the day, which slowed the times, probably by at least 15 seconds, and who knows what effect it had on the different stations, also depending on how the coxswains and crews coped I imagine. Vesta members and supporters also turned up in numbers to cheer on the girls, which was much appreciated by the crews.

The club eight continued along the same way, picking off City of Oxford with a five length lead, ready the semi-final on Sunday.

Liz moves away from her oppo in the quarter finals

Liz moves away from her oppo in the quarter finals. Photo by Sam Lindsay

Liz Crighton, off the back of her Reading win, raced in her single twice on Saturday and showed very strongly against her competition, beating Isle of Ely by three lengths and a dutch competitor by three and half lengths.

Vesta’s ladies pair headed out to see what they could do against Molesey, but they didn’t have the firepower to trouble them, losing Easily. (Racing a pair is probably the hardest boat along the Henley course as well, so all credit for not hitting the booms, which might have been a nerve-wracking thought after Reading!)

Sophie and Jessica give it their all in the pair

Sophie and Jessica give it their all in the pair. Photo by Sam Lindsay

For the senior eight there has been a hard run up to Henley with an intense battle for places in the crew and the perennial problem of a lack of racing competition at their level, providing little race practice. However, there were nine entries at HWR, supplied by four visiting crews from the USA and one from Ireland, plus two UK uni crews and the only other UK club was Star. Vesta took on Trinity Col (A), Hartford, USA late on Saturday afternoon, as the wind was at its most blustery, and pushed and pushed down the course, but could not break them. They trailed by just 1/4 length at the finish, which was a devastating blow for the girls. OUWBC were the hidden gems in the mix, beating GVSU, USA in 5:12, just 2 seconds slower than the winning GB U23 Elite VIII division crew.

Pain and determination written on the faces of the S8

Pain and determination written on the faces of the S8. Photo by Sam Lindsay

Sunday brought the semi-finals and finals for Liz and the Club VIII,  but unfortunately neither would make it beyond the day’s first hurdle. The C.8 had a spirited battle against Galway RC, who had already knocked out Royal Chester and Twickenham. The girls also showed their feisty hearts pushing Galway hard to lose by just 1/3 length. Galway went on to lose in the final against Lea RC, who had posted a very fast time of 5:16 in the semi-finals against Thames RC (A). The Lea it seems are a cut above all the rest this year, so congratulations and well done to them.

Liz came up against Hart of Nottingham RC in her semi-final, and similarly she met her match in the overall winner. Hart beat Liz by 1 and 1/4 lengths in 6:38, but went on to win in her final with an easily verdict in a time of 6:31, aptly the fastest time of the S.1x event.

Most importantly…

To sum it up: well done Vesta ladies and coaches on your amazing work this season. You’re all a credit to the club and we’re very proud of all you’ve achieved this season. I’m sure it’s been a good journey, lows and highs included and you’ve learnt loads in the process. The coaches have worked superbly hard, put in their all and deserve every thanks. It takes a while to lift your spirits, but Henley Royal helps! So here’s to all the ice creams, pink champagne and Pimms that you are obliged to eat and drink at HRR for those not racing. And for those who are: SMASH IT! Let’s look forward to some awesome rowing days ahead!

The club results are available here.

The HWR results in full are here.


Women’s novice win at Barnes and Mortlake Regatta

Many congratulations to the Vesta women’s novice coxed four for their first regatta win on Saturday 8th June at Barnes and Mortlake Regatta. The WN4+ took a clear victory winning by three and a half lengths over Putney Town and Barnes Bridge ladies. Congratulations and thanks also to their coaches! Well done all!

Victorious novice women's crew:S- Eleanor Simpson3- Clare Walker2- Sonya HartiganB- Thea SaundersC- Isabel Marks

Victorious novice women’s crew: S- Eleanor Simpson, 3- Clare Walker, 2- Sonya Hartigan, B- Thea Saunders, C- Isabel Marks