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.


Henley Women’s Regatta starts tomorrow!

HWR Medal

Henley Women’s Regatta Medal

It’s that time of year again! The Vesta women are all set for this weekend’s racing and we urge all club members and supporters to make a visit to the course to cheer on our crews.

Racing this year we have an Intermediate Club 8, Senior 8, Senior 1x and an Elite 2-. To make things a bit easier, here are the timings for confirmed and potential Vesta races each day:


15:03  – Race 11 –  Club 8s – Vesta vs Thames B


11:04 – Race 132 – Club 8s
12:04 – Race 147 – Senior 1x – Vesta vs Isle of Ely
16:48 – Race 218 – Senior 1x
17:04 – Race 222 – Senior 8s – Vesta vs Trinity College, Hartford, USA
17:12 – Race 224 – Elite 2- – Vesta vs Molesey

10:46 – Race 320 – Elite 2-
11:42 – Race 334 – Club 8s
12:10 – Race 341 – Senior 1x
13:52 – Race 334 – Senior 8s

14:24 – Race 368 – Elite 2-
15:35 – Race 377 – Club 8s
15:50 – Race 380 – Senior 1x
16:25 – Race 387 – Senior 8s

The forecast at the moment is looking a bit iffy, so make sure to bring your brollies along with your picnics and loudest Vesta cheers. It definitely helps to find the extra gear when the Vesta roar is the loudest!

For those of you who can’t make it, you can watch the racing live online by clicking the following link:  We’ll also work hard to make sure we keep the Vesta webpage and twitter feed are up to date.

Best of luck to all the girls and coaches! Have fun and race hard!

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

Coronation Regatta Runners Up

The one-off event to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation featured just one crew from Vesta, as there wasn’t any competition for our Senior (old girls) Eight (shame because how many clubs can get together a quality Senior 8 on the fly like that?! But then it’s the same old story this season – good job the Irish crews come over to compete – ahem I digress…).

So the newly no-longer-novice W.IM3.4+ travelled to Windsor to race with their coach Hawkeye, on Saturday 15th June, and didn’t they do well! The crew (S) Eleanor Simpson, (3) Niamh Murphy O’Connor, (2) Sonya Hartigan, (B) Thea Saunders and (C) Vicki Taylor only lost their novice status last week and this week they were runners up in the W.IM3.4+ event.  They came through two heats, first beating Eton Excelsior on their own patch by 1 1/2 lengths, then beating Great Marlow School by 3/4 length and in the final they lost to Manchester University by 2 2/3 lengths. Very good racing ladies! Let’s hope you can get as good a run or better in your next event!

Two wins from Reading Amateur Regatta

Liz Crighton is awarded Women's Intermediate 1 single sculls medal

Liz Crighton is awarded Women’s Intermediate 1 single sculls medal

Massive congratulations to Liz Crighton who won W.IM1.1x and the men’s IM1.4- who also won on Saturday 8th June. Both crews came through four rounds, Liz won by more than 3 lengths against Evans of Swansea and the IM1.4- beat old foes Lea RC in a closer race by 3/4l.

There was plenty of action, good side-by-side race practice ahead of Henley, with some close racing and unfortunately a Vesta capsize in the women’s elite pair against Newcastle — ooops girls! Pics below …

The men’s IM1 eight lost to London in the first round, but then in the IM2 beat Nonsuch BC then lost to Shiplake narrowly.

 The novice – now intermediate – men’s eight beat AK easily then lost to Dulwich in IM3.
The Women’s IM2 8 came through two rounds but lost to Thames in their final but just a length and a quarter.
The men’s coxless four lost to London in the Elite 4-, but continued on to beat London then KCS in IM1 event


Two Women’s Eights Medals at the Met

Another year, another batch of Met medals! The women’s squad won two eights events with two different crew line ups, and showed the depth of the squad at different levels. Well done ladies! the girls won in W.IM2.8 on Saturday and W.IM1.8 on Sunday. They also racked up a 2nd and 4th place in W.IM1.8 on Saturday. There wasn’t a Senior division racing in women’s eights again.

Women's IM1.8 with their medals

Women’s IM1.8 with their medals: Hana McEwan, Laura Jones, Rowan Mckellar, Stine Keyes, Rachael Dixon (cox), Gemma Etherington, Christina Duffy, Chloe Symmonds, Anna Brown

Women's IM2.8 winners

Women’s IM2.8 winners: Rachael Dixon (cox), Stine Keyes, Anna Brown, Christina Duffy, Chloe Symmonds, Rowan Mckellar, Hana McEwan, Laura Jones, and Helen Ellison










The full results are here.

The men’s senior squad raced its coxless four, who performed strongly, and intermediate eight, which then was tested in two coxed fours on day two. The development men’s squad, now racing as IM3 also had their first taste of multi-lane racing at Dorney. Similarly the women raced a third eight who are improving all the time, and a newly formed pair, who are getting to grips with racing in that difficult boat!

Liz Crighton raced hard in her single on both days, showing a very consistent performance and finding few more seconds compared to Wallingford, coming 2nd in W.IM2.1x on Saturday and 3rd both days in W.IM1.1x. Very well done Liz.

Fantastic photo of Liz off the start [courtesy of Gaby Turner - thanks!]

Fantastic photo of Liz off the start [courtesy of Gaby Turner – thanks!]

The gallery of photos are courtesy of Sam Lindsey – thanks Sam!

Apologies for missing news…

Just a quick note from your comms officer to say that I am so sorry for not having any updates over the last two weekends, when there has been a huge amount of racing going on. I’ve been proper sick-like but I’m feeling much better today so expect a raft of news, results and photos to start appearing from:

  • Met Regatta
  • Barnes and Mortlake Regatta
  • Reading Amateur Regatta
  • visits to Henley for race practice
  • and a sneaky preview into next weekend’s racing …

Vesta at the Masters Champs

Fred Beaud travelled up to Nottingham for the British Masters Championships on Sunday 19th May to race in the MAS.C 1x (Championships) and MAS.C 1x (IM.3).

He reports:

It was sunny and very calm (almost no wind) at Holme Pierrpoint: beautiful conditions for multi-lane racing. [Wow! Lucky lucky lucky – never seen much of that myself at HP – Ed.]

In the MAS.C 1x (Championships) I didn’t make it through the heat, finding myself too far behind most of the contenders. A small consolation was that in the other heat three were slower than me, but not quite fast enough to make it to the finals.

In the MAS.C 1x (IM.3) Vesta umpire Sinead started the race and I finished 3rd in the final, with the first three boats coming in within two seconds. It was a good battle up to the finish line, but gutting that I was overtaken in the last 100 metres.

Overall it was a very good experience and I had some satisfaction in my sculling (better than Borne @ Chiswick), despite a big disappointment not winning the IM.3 final, which was achievable. I met a couple of people I knew from the Tideway (Tideway Scullers, Quintin, London…) and did my bit promoting Vesta, but people did notice I was the only representative from our club – something to improve next year as it is worth it.



Novice men dominate at Putney Town


8 men, 2 coxes, 2 coaches, 14 pots. Not a bad result for the crews! — with Scott Ellis, Luke Martin, Michael Bartrop, Becs Packer, Thea Hudson, Matthew Pierpoint, Matthew Ladds, Elliott Bachmann, Adrian Turner and George Wallas and Ali McCormick.

The novice boys arrived for a showdown on home turf with a point to prove, after an aborted assault for the Novice Club pennant at HORR and a disappointing result at Hammersmith Amateur, where the eight was beaten by a canvas by AK and the coxed four lost a frantic final to London after the TRC cox adopted ramming tactics.  Despite some recent crew changes (due to rowing proving too manly for some) confidence was high.

The first race of the day was at a rather antisocial 9am in the eight against UCL. Fresh with memories of cruising past the exact same crew in the first few hundred metres of Quintin Head in January, confidence was brimming. After a fairly even start, Vesta settled into a solid rhythm and moved into a healthy lead by Barn Elms, with Thea steering the perfect course using the stream and UCL veering off towards Fulham. Vesta went on to win by a comfortable margin of three or more lengths, progressing to the final, despite half the crew suffering from early morning lethargy and an overly ambitious breakfast.

Two hours later and with everyone fully awake, and on a sugar high after too many Eric the Elephants, the 4+ set out to face the unknown quantity of school boys from Kings College Wimbledon. With a lengthy delay at the start, due to a booze cruise going past, there was plenty of time to eye up the opposition. The crew staring back at us looked on the weedy side (even in comparison to our own noodle sitting at bow for Vesta) and extremely young.  Fortunately our blushes were saved and, although Vesta were on the sluggish side out of the blocks, we quickly overtook the school boys and cruised to a victory by 3 or 4 lengths.

Within minutes it was straight back out for the final in the eight against our local rivals from HSBC. We had not seen this crew during the head season so it was hard to know what to expect, although their stroke man did appear to have come straight out of a Head and Shoulders ad. After another even start, Vesta pushed out to a huge lead.  Egged on with calls from Thea such as “embarrass them” and the Vesta roar, the crew raced for the line – failing to ease up despite half the crew having the 4+ final to still race – and achieved a verdict of “easily”. It was very satisfying to hear later that HSBC felt “there was no way they were novices!”

With the novice cherry well and truly popped, the 4+ went out to face Sons of Thames in the final full of confidence. In the last race before the tide turned, the umpire was keen to get things going, but despite the rush Vesta nailed the best start of the day and were a length clear within the first 30 seconds. The totally impartial race umpire later reported in the bar that the race was won after the first 10 strokes. Vesta went on to win in another “easily” verdict, rowing with a chunky rhythm and a punchy stroke rate of 35.

Cheered home by a packed Vesta balcony, with frequent calls of “get on Barty”, the squad went round to collect all 14 pots and preceded to consume vast quantities of alcohol out of them, including some cheeky cava!  All in all a great day for the Novice boys with 12 points to show for it! Next stop Met…

Vesta Bar news for Putney Town Regatta tomorrow

Vesta Bar will be open from 11am to 7pm tomorrow (Saturday 18th May). Thank you to all bar staff volunteers and Thea for organising!

And to tempt you into the bar for a beverage…

brewers-bragg On tap at the Vesta bar from tomorrow! Something a bit different, only available in May!

Viking men and women drank ale, but it was the ‘Bragg’ women who then foretold the future under the influence of the ale they had brewed. Brewed to 3.9% abv, Brewers Bragg is a wonderful deep copper ale with hints of blackcurrant. This is balanced by the smooth caramel flavours to deliver a wonderfully satisfying ale.