The entries for Vets Head of the River have no closed! Please check out the updated site for further details relating to boating, Tideway navigation, and general instructions, by clicking HERE
Anyone who has walked through the club over the past several months has no doubt seen the Vesta women training hard and training often. Last Saturday, the women were finally able to ‘cash in’ all the hard work, which resulted in the best WEHORR performance in Vesta’s history:
Women’s Senior Squad:
Vesta RC A 4th Overall (3rd Fastest Domestic Crew Overall)
Vesta RC B 16th Overall (Fastest 2nd 8 in event and fastest Domestic Elite Crew)
Vesta RC C 28th Overall (Fastest 3rd 8 in event)
Vesta RC D 77th Overall (Fastest 4th 8 in event)
Women’s Development Squad:
Vesta RC F 181st Overall (improved on starting position by 114 places beating 50 non-novice crews)
Vesta RC E 248th Overall (only lost a few places despite kit failures and the heaviest cox in the event)
A huge congrats to all the girls and coaches, and all the Vesta volunteers and members who provide the support to make results like this possible. Below are the race recaps from each of the Senior crews. Enjoy!
Pushing off from the Vesta hard at exactly 10am the Vesta A crew had one Ambition, to race hard, row fast and come in the top 10. Arriving in the marshalling area there was time for a quick drink and relax; the calm before the storm. Paddling off 15th,one behind a strong Molsey WCS crew and two behind old rivals from Quintin Head, Durham Uni, the chase was on. Off the start long and strong, Molsey had a lead of 1 1/2 lengths. Using the advantage of being able to see the VRC crew coming the MBC girls put in a good fight before being overtaken off the end of the Island. Flying through Hammersmith Bridge with a perfect racing line the Vesta crew honed in on the Durham crew, now only a length away. Cox Ro’s nerves of steel held off an aggressive push from the Durham cox who attempted to get back her line at Barn Elms, and kept the girls flying in the stream towards home. Fuelled by the crowd on the Vesta balcony the last 50 strokes saw the A boat pass the Durham crew and collapse in a heap on the finishing line. Rock On. The official result was 4th, in a time of 20:25.
The “B for Ballsy” crew line-up consisted the two Helens (Edwards and Ellison), Anna, Aga, Vicky, Rahma, Martha and Sybille, coxed by Julia, and after coming third in Hammersmith W&J Head the crew were excited about tackling the full course. Starting at number 28, we enjoyed taking our first scalp (Queen’s University Belfast) as we exited Chiswick Bridge – despite easying twice on the approach to give them room. With Barnes Bridge Ladies on our tail we set off to hunt down Latymer, inching closer until we succeeded in moving through them just after Hammersmith Bridge. Sitting up into the head wind along Harrod’s Wall, our next targets were Imperial C and Thames B, and we shortened the gap to only a couple of lengths, all the while as BBL crept closer. A final push along the embankment, fired up by the famous Vesta roar, helped to empty the last drops in the tanks, and a finish place of 16th – the highest Vesta B crew finish ever, and the highest B crew finish in the event. We were also pleased to hold off all schoolgirls, including the only GB crew in the event (under 18s). Robust debate over a few bottles of Cava later on centred around whether we deserved a pennant, being the first non-overseas elite crew home – WeHORR organisers, you know where we are if you change your mind!
Learning from previous mistakes, Vesta’s C – or ‘Crackpot’ – crew boated before anyone else so as not to miss the start of the race. Holidays, work commitments, illness and unspeakable last-minute foot infections meant this was the first time all 9 crew members had been in a boat together. Undeterred by this (practice, after all, is cheating), and buoyed by a rousing crew chat by adopted coach Jeremy Rose, the Crackpots set off in a positive frame of mind and with their trademark sense of humour in tow.
Thanks to feisty stroking by resident ‘shire horse’ Becs Packer, ably assisted by Sarah ‘Shetland’ Wood in the 7 seat, the girls stormed off the start, starting to pick off crews shortly after Barnes Bridge. Determined and aggressive coxing by Rachael Dixon ensured the crew held the racing line even despite some kamikaze steering by a slower Kingston crew. Unfortunately even a massive push from powerhouses Gemma Etherington and Martha Walker couldn’t quite edge the boat past the speedy City of Bristol crew that had set off just ahead; but Vesta retained hot on their heels the whole way down. A fantastic finish saw the girls overtaking several more crews as they charged past the boathouses.
All crew members hoped their performance had enabled them to achieve the top 50 result they were aiming for – and received the news of their stonking 28th place finish with amazement. Lively celebrations (ahem) ensued. Coach Jeremy’s delight with the result was tinged with relief that the Crackpots hadn’t finished 8 places higher – he’d promised to wear a dress if they made the top 20. Think they had him scared for a minute.
The WIM3 ‘Dynamos’ took to the Tideway on Saturday with their newly acquired boat buoying the journey up to the start. Sadly, super seven seat Hayley had to pull out on the morning of the race, so we had to call upon Vesta’s own super sub Jenny Cann. The row up proved a chance to get used to our new crew and our new boat. We all gave a shout for the Vesta crews (which must have been a factor in their impressive results…) and got slightly starstruck as Anna Railton, of ‘There’s something about Rowing’ fame, started in the Cambridge A boat. She was kind enough to make us some snazzy mugs, so we thought the least we could do was to give a shout. After having to easy just ahead of the start line, we got off to a speedy start, overtaking crew 120 within a couple of hundred metres of the start line and chasing down the next crew. We felt like we had a quick race to Hammersmith, grateful for the many loud supporters cheering us along the course. As we pushed off Hammersmith Bridge, the wind picked up, although we still managed to overtake a crew passing Harrod’s, in spite of the other crew’s steering. From then on in, it was hanging on for dear life until the black buoy and the cries from the Vesta balcony. It was a well-fought race, passing five crews with aggressive and inspiring coxing from Jamie Wooller and a determined row from all the girls. For many in the crew, the result was the highest placing they have achieved at WEHORR and, alongside coming 10th in our category, something we consider an achievement in itself.
Three crews in top six women; Good performances by Vesta senior and development squads
Sunday, 19th February – a brilliant blue sky and fierce breeze were perfect conditions for our sailing neighbours, but less so for us rowers and as we watched the choppy brown Tideway being moved chunk by chunk under scudding clouds, the planned technical pre-race outing was abandoned in favour of tea and coffee and giving our boats some much-deserved TLC. The C crew (racing in “Happy” – they really do challenge the Happy Heavies as one of the happiest crews Vesta has known) spent so much time getting their boat set up just right that they missed the start of the race and had to tag on to the end of the procession, offering opportunities to take some schoolchild scalps – hey, we’re not fussy.
Up at the start by Chiswick, the water conditions had calmed down with the turn of the tide and now presented a fast stream, plus a minor wind tunnel effect for the bows further down the course along the ait. The B crew were so excited that immediately after turning, the whole crew – as one mind, of course – took up rate and pressure to near race pace before a “seriously guys, chill out” call from Julia settled the crew back down.
The A crew was off first, alone in their category, the only opposing crew in Senior failing to show up (we can only draw one conclusion from that, having been resoundingly beaten by Vesta at Quintin). Unfortunately with a gap either side in the procession, the crew raced in a vacuum, with only the eventual appearance of a determined B crew on the horizon to push them into securing second place of all women’s crews. Fastest women of the day were Thames, racing further down in IM1 – we look forward to meeting some strong competition on a start line again soon!
The B crew set off behind Mortlake, and enjoyed a nice row alongside former crewmate Lianne, eventually pushing through the crew and finding clear water shortly before the Chiswick Pier crossing point. After that, they too were rowing their own race with Vesta A on their mind. Next over the start line for Vesta was the D crew, guest-starring Issy, who with a good row finished 5th in IM3, a pennant won by a fast UL crew who also won Quintin. Finally came the C crew, overhauling octoples and scattering Dulwich schoolboys as they stormed down the course to an overall 6th place among all women’s crews.
– Martha Kelly
Entries for Vesta Veteran’s Head are coming in fast and steady! Make sure to get yours in before they close on March 4th. Any questions, please visit the Vets Head Homepage or email the entries secretary at email@example.com
Rock-the-Boat will once again be providing fabulous t-shirts. If you’re interested in getting one, please visit their site at Rock the Boat
With the cold weather and lots of training and racing on the Tideway, we thought it prudent to provide a little safety reminder. Our very own Captain has helped developed this handy video on the key points of navigating the Tideway (although it does make me very seasick watching it!). Very useful for newbies and veterans alike! Please take a few minutes to view it and make sure you’re up to speed on the Tideway Code. The video can be found by clicking on this link: http://www.boatingonthethames.co.uk/ and is called ‘Safely Navigating the Upper Tidal Thames’. Happy viewing!
Additionally, please download the documents below which highlight the key danger areas for those of us located on the Embankment…turning by Putney
Pier and rowing under Hammersmith Bridge on the flood tide.
The 2012 VIIIs Head Season began on Saturday 28th January with Quintin Head, raced from Chiswick to Harrods Wall. Vesta had a dominant showing with three Senior Women crews, one Dev Women crew, one Senior Men crew, and one Vet Men crew entered. All crews performed strongly, despite some blade clashes which made for harrowing rowing.
The senior women layed the marker for the months ahead, the girls won the Senior division and brought back the pennant for fastest women. Having moved away from Barnes Bridge Ladies off the start, the race focused on chasing down the Elite boat of Durham University just in front. Some brilliant coxing forced them way out of the racing line and Vesta eased past them just before Hammersmith Bridge (with the fabulous call ‘Move out of my way, I’m faster than you’), to finish 20 second ahead of them and the rest of the field.
The Dev Women raced what was for some of them not only their first ever rowing race, but also the first time to have rowed all the way up to (and back from!) Chiswick. Well done for a stellar performance!
Vesta Vets Head entries are now open via BROE! The race will take place at 12 noon on Sunday 18 March 2012. For further details, please see the Vets Head Website!
A Swedish rowing blogger living in Connecticut, Goran R Buckhorn, recently posted about a link he found between Vesta and a recent episode of Downton Abbey. ‘During the War, Vesta RC’s R.J. Calcutt (club president 1905-1919) had taken the initiative to offer ‘war-blinded men’ at St Dunstan’s, rowing at Vesta. The ex-Service men were taught rowing by the club’s members.’ St. Dunstan’s is the hospital featured in the series. Click here to read the full blog post. Thanks for finding the link and blogging about it Goran!
Vesta welcomes visiting crews from the UK and overseas for the Women’s Eights Head of the River Race on 3rd March 2012 and the Men’s Eights Head of the River Race on 17th March 2012. Please request boating permission from the club deputy captain e: firstname.lastname@example.org. We politely request a nominal fee of £5 per rower to cover the club’s maintenance costs. On receipt of boating permission, please send a cheque made out to Vesta Rowing Club.
Vesta Senior Women triumph at the Vesta Scullers Head
The 2011 Vesta Scullers Head took place on Saturday, 3rd December. Vesta is the only club that single-handedly organises not one, but two of the major Tideway Heads – a feat made possible because of members and friends of the club members. Happily not put off by the cold conditions in 2010, we had 528 entries for the 2011 race, with 26 of our own Vesta entries. The event ran without (major) incident with only two crews “DNF”.
Once the dust had settled post-race, and event chairman Sinéad Hayes recovered from mental exhaustion, the winners were celebrated at a prizegiving held on 13th December. Sinéad once again pulled out all the stops to cater for the event in true rower style – i.e. fantastic canapés in vast volumes.
Event winners came from all over the UK and from far beyond. Bragging rights for best Tideway club were shared between Tideway Scullers and London Rowing Club with seven wins each. The fastest man and woman were both GB lightweights, Adam Freeman-Pask (21:09.0) and Imogen Walsh (22:35.9). In addition to the medals awarded by event, recast from the original 1953 prize, the fastest men and women received an exquisite scale model sculpture of a single scull cast in pewter.
The Vesta Senior Women’s Squad succeeded in three events, with lightweight Holly De Gay achieving the fastest time of all three despite starting at 521, when the sun was starting to set. The winners were as follows:
Holly De Gay, W.IM3.LWT.1x (23:58.5)
Liz Crighton, W.IM2.1x (24:04.7)
Kat Hedges, W.MasA.1x (24:16.2)
For full results, please check out the Results Page by clicking here.
Even more hotly contested are the Vesta exclusive events, also known as “Dick’s Bar Prizes” (two bottles of cava and glory untold). The categories and winners for these events were:
1st man home: Jamie Halliday
1st male Master: Barry Clarke (… faster than Jamie after adjusting for handicap)
1st woman home: Holly De Gay
1st female Master: Kat Hedges
It is understood that the Cava was appropriately consumed and enjoyed following the Vesta Annual Dinner… an event for which no website write-up is required!
Words and pictures by Martha Kelly.