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

4s Head party will be a MO PARTY

It’s the news that you have all been waiting for…

Mo-Brothas and Mo-Sistas,

As Movember draws to a close and in celebration of this and the 4’s head weekend, it’s time to wring out your soggy all-in-ones, chuck Modesty out of the window and Model your Most ingenious and Most glaMorous costume to commeMorate the …


What is a ‘Mo’ party? Simple really – anything to do with ‘Mo’.

Eg. Mona Lisa, BackgamMon, ChroMosome, Moulin Rouge, HoMosexual, Moron – you get the idea…

… all the usual Mohem (sorry) that goes with a Vesta Party!

7pm till late

Please get in touch with Thea to volunteer for a bar shift: thea.vrc@gmail.com

Mo party poster

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 wins overall prize at PLA Rowing Safety Awards

We are proud to announce that Vesta has, for the second time, won the overall prize in the annual PLA Rowing Safety Awards. As far as the committee are aware, this prize has been awarded twice to only one other club, so this is a huge achievement.

We could not have achieved this award without the dedication and hard work put in by Peter Simpson, our safety officer, over the past two plus years. A huge well done and thank you to Peter, who will, very sadly, be stepping down from his role over the next few months. I hope that he gets a few well deserved pints in the bar!

This award is also a testament to the members and coaches of Vesta who demonstrate their commitment to safety – Thank you! We would be remiss to not include a little note to remind everyone to continue practicing good safety behaviour, on and off the water. Now, with winter at our heals, is not a time to let things slip. Let’s continue striving for a good safety record, and perhaps we can win the award again next year!

Men of Vesta – your upper lip needs you!

movember your club needs you - 2013

Men of Vesta…

It’s Movember very soon and the call is going out to members to grow a moustache to raise funds and awareness for men’s health. It’s going to be a hairy journey and we need safety in numbers!

If you want to be a part of Vesta’s fundraising effort, please enlist for Movember and JOIN Vesta Mowing Club or go and donate in support of those that are taking part!

A moustache is the mark of a man…so try and clear it with work, partners or whoever you need to convince about how worthy this cause is and Grow a Mo!

Find out more about why you should join or support Vesta Mowing Club by taking a look at THE CAUSES WE ARE FIGHTING FOR.

Thanks in advance to those who are going to cultivate a tache on their top lip.

As the HP advert says…’all efforts to grow facial hair shall be applauded’

Any questions to Deckchair: vicecaptain@vestarowing.co.uk

Vesta women taking on GB at the British Rowing Championships

We are very proud that some of our women’s squad, as well as ex-Vesta members, are entered into the W8+ category at the British Championships in Nottingham tomorrow. We wish the best of luck to Christina Duffy, Gemma Etherington, Kirstine Keyes, Rohanne Thompson and Kat Astley!

The crew is a Cantabrigian/Vesta/Cambridge City/Trent/Sport Imperial composite. Full crew as follows:

Sarah Stafford Airey

Kat Astley – former Vesta member

Ulrike Bauer

Christina Duffy – Vesta

Gemma Etherington – Vesta

Catherine Hurst

Kirstine Keyes – Vesta

Mathilde Pauls

Rohanne Thompson – former Vesta cox / member

It looks set to be an exciting (and tough) competition with 2 GB crews, UL composite, Molesey BC, Thames RC and a Mortlake, Lea, Debden, Reading, Marlow, Wycliffe composite.

Keep an eye on our Twitter feed for updates on their progress: @vestarowing

We will also hopefully be able to bring you a race report next week.

Good luck girls!

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!