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So, after intensive preparation and kit accumulation, mainly involving dinners, vino and the odd quad sesh – team “Swift Conqueror” (four parts Vesta, one part Mortlake, shaken not stirred) eventually found ourselves set to travel to Geneva with some very heavy bags (well Verity and I did, because we had baggage allowance on BA and everyone else flew easyair).
Friday was spent rigging and decking out our craft ‘Octoram’ ready for the epic voyage she would undertake the next day. This was done mainly in rain, some of it quite heavy. Vel and Helen used our Alan Fuller sign to construct a proper breakwater. Harry, Rob and myself wrapped the boat in black shrinkwrap. To describe the finished product as awe inspiring would be.. well wrong. Slightly drooping with aspects of binliner would be more appropriate, but she proved lake-worthy in our test scull that afternoon and so we switched our attention to readying the nutrition strategy back at the bunker while Harry added co-ordinates into Burnell’s Garmin.
The next day dawned grey and windy. Not wanting to dwell on the task before us, we busied ourselves with last minute prep – taping hands, making sure things that needed batteries had batteries, stowing food and water in the boat. Finally as the boating marshall called our number and checked over our boat we added the last bobs and bits – and we took to the water – team Swift Conqueror and Octoram were ready.
I’d like to write about the next fourteen and a half hours – about the shotgun start and the mad dash with 29 crews all going for that first bouy. the rough water, being overtaken by girls. Pumping. Realising the shrinkwrap we put over the riggers was actually dragging in the water and slowing us down. Overtaking the girls. Bailing. The stages of euphoria followed by the periods of introspection. Pumping. Randomers cheering us from the bank, trying to eat, pump, steer, drink and stretch in the coxes seat. Pumping. Getting into a ryhthm when the water calmed down, and then being told we had to return on the North shore as the wind was going to pick up. Ibuprofen. Cramp. The changes every thirty minutes and then, every twenty when lips started going purple in the coxes seat. Blisters. Overtaking another boat on the way back in the teeth of a Northern wind. Pumping. Realising we were in a really good position. Pumping. Getting even colder. Hanging on as the Sun went down. Trying to find the bouys in the dark. Getting a bit lost. Bonking. Pumping. Hallucinating. Finally seeing the water jet in Geneva harbour.
Just. Keeping. Going.
Getting caught by a following wave, sitting lower, bailing, stopping and sinking. Trying to get the attention of the rescue boat.
Realising after all the effort and the planning and the pain that we went down 2km from the finish line. In sight of the harbour.
In context, thats capsizing in the last three strokes of a 2k.
I’d like to write about the fourteen and a half hours we spent going to Montreaux and back. Honestly though, I can’t remember most of it.
A small group of scullers came away with two wins after making the journey to north London to represent the club at the Lea Autumn regatta in the traditional end to the summer season.
Michael Hughes and Jon Brown raced in the IM2 1x and IM3 1x respectively, Big Jon qualified for the final after an impressive heat but lost to a strong Bewl/Exeter Uni sculler. They teamed up for the IM2 2x and after winning the heat, the gunship won a closely fought final.
Peter Simpson convincing won the Masters C 1x against Erith before doubling up with Janet Simpson in the mixed masters B 2x where they lost to a powerful local crew.
Paul Mew beat David Wright from UTRC in a heat of the Masters F 1x only to be disqualified for steering and therefore missing out on a certain pot in the final. He then teamed up with David in a VRC/UTRC composite to defend the Lea Autumn Masters E 2x but they were unfortunately out-gunned in a close race by the national champions from Poplar.
Since the ‘serious’ rowing ended there has been some even fiercer pot and cap hunting going on.
Here is a roundup of the Summer 2010 Vesta wins so far:
- Jamie Wooller won Novice Singles at Richmond Regatta
- Bevan Goulden, Laurence Manning, Nick Nevelling, Harry Bond, Alister Campbell, Chris Clements, Chris Burnell and Jamie Wooller, coxed by Sophy Fuchs won Intermediate 2 Eights at Kingston Regatta
- Jamie Halliday won Senior Coxless Pairs as part of a Vesta/Burton Leander composite at Burton Regatta
- Lara Brock and Vics Mcleod-Moore won Intermediate 3 Doubles at Molesey Regatta
- Hilary Blandy won Novice Singles at Molesey Regatta
- Alister Campbell and Laurence Manning won Elite Coxless Pairs and Intermediate 1 Coxless Pairs at Henley Town & Visitors Regatta
- Kitty Lowings, Vics Mcleod-Moore, Kat Hedges and Kate Tilbury won Intermediate 2 Quadruple Sculls as a Vesta/Mortlake composite at Henley Town & Visitors Regatta
- Kat Hedges won Masters B Quadruple Sculls as part of a Vesta/Eton Excelsior Composite at Maidenhead Regatta
More wins to follow at Peterborough and Oxford City I’m sure…!
I am absolutely thrilled to report our senior women won the GP Jefferies Cup, the senior eights event at Henley Women’s Regatta beating Newcastle University by 3 1/2 lengths into second place in a fantastic performance yesterday afternoon. Our winners had previously beaten Queens University Belfast, University College Dublin, and Nereus (Netherlands) in the heats, and took no prisoners as they laid down an excellent time of 4 minutes 53 seconds in the final.
The winning crew were (B-S): Rahma Barclay, Alex Johnson, Kat Hedges, Vicky Williams, Lara Brock, Vics McLeod-More, Charlie Dempster, Emily Trant and Julia Hedley (coxswain), and are very ably coached by Matt Gilliver, James Parris and Paul Fitzwilliam. This is an incredible achievement, rewarding our girls and coaches for their huge amount of effort, patience, tenacity and humour over the past nine months.
Earlier in the weekend, Vesta was very well represented in the quarter finals of the Intermediate Club eights with our club crew losing by two lengths to the eventual winners, Thames Rowing Club, our lightweight coxless four losing to Marlow Rowing Club, and Ailsa Tremayne losing to London Rowing Club in the elite singles.
A Vesta Senior Women’s crew will now attempt to qualify for the Remenham Challenge Cup this Friday at Henley Royal Regatta, please come and support them along with the Vesta Senior Men’s Wyfold ‘B’ Entry
In the last dash towards Henley Women’s Regatta, the Vesta Women’s squad proved yet again why they’re the crews to fear this year, making four finals at Reading Amateur Regatta, and winning two.
Having destroyed the cream of British rowing at Met the previous week, the women’s Senior Eight turned their sights on the US. Following their string of recent wins, the girls were racing the elite American crews , St Joseph’s and Drexel, and proved that they have the power to stay cool under fire – rowing through from half a length down to win the final from Drexel by a foot.
Vesta 2, Americans nil – that’s how it’s done, Capello.
In the final of the women’s IM1 coxless 4, the Mighty Lighties (Tamsin Bernard, Pamela Brent, Freya Johnstone and Holly de Gay) cruised to a comfortable 3 length victory over Putney Town, demonstrating that sharp technical focus is more than a match for brute strength. The win so excited coach Matt Gilliver that he threw himself off his own bike and was removed from the regatta to have his leg stitched up.
The women’s intermediate eight made the finals of IM2, but were beaten by the more experienced Thames crew, while Ailsa Tremayne sculled through three rounds of the IM1x but was beaten at last by MAA.
Less than a week to go… be afraid, HWR, the Vesta women are on their way!
Vesta was represented by at the British Rowing National Masters Championships at Holme Pierrepont by the Masters D 4x of Peter Simpson, James Weatherstone, Robin Purkiss and Paul Mew, and by Paul in his single.
The quad finished in the pack in a competitive final but the highlight of the day was Paul winning the gold medal the Masters F IM 1x in his first multi-lane single final.
Photo: Purdey congratulates Paul on his win on the presentation raft.
Success breeds success, and in this case, highly sought after medals from The Metropolitan Regatta.
The Vesta Women continue to dominate at the business end of women’s club level rowing, this time winning Women’s IM1 Eights on the Saturday and Women’s Senior Eights on the Sunday.
Can anyone halt their victory strewn rampage towards Henley Women’s Regatta?
The IM1 crew of L-R: (Cox: Julia Hedley, Emily Trant, Charlie Dempster, Rahma Barclay, Alex Johnson, Vics Mcleod-More and Lara Brock (Verity Ansell missing))
The Senior crew of L-R: (Vicky Williams, Vics Mcleod-More, Lara Brock, Cox: Julia Hedley, Kat Hedges, Emily Trant, Charlie Dempster, Alex Johnson & Rahma Barclay)
The Women’s Novice Squad 8+ of (cox, then S-B): Kate Garratt, Caroline Hare, Janet Kidner, Anna Van Den Berg, Sybille Schorm, Sabine Schlosser, Anneke Van Heteren, Irene Calis & Deborah Croshaw were victorious in the W.N.8+ category last weekend, empatically beating Barnes Bridge Ladies in the final by 4 and a half lengths.
Following on from the Novice Men’s Squad win last week, this means that Vesta is rapidly running out of rowers with Novice status!
Following their impressive display at Wallingford last week, the Vesta girls took it one step further, dominating at the International Regatta in Ghent, Belgium.
Having come away with one Gold medal last year in the quads (see report here) the bar was raised through the roof this year with the squad having 8 Crews in Finals and coming away with 2 Bronze Medals, 2 Silvers and 1 Gold whilst setting a course record (6.51.10) and claiming the International Belgian Championship for Women’s Eights.
In an exciting race, Vesta A tore through Thames (who had beaten them in the heats earlier in the day) to clinch victory by 3 seconds in a well fought final.
Along with the victorious crew pictured above there were other medals in the form of:
Silver Medals for Emily Trant, Lara Brock, Vics McLeod-More & Charlie Dempster in the Women’s Coxless Fours.
Silver Medals for Lara Brock, Ailsa Tremayne & Charlie Dempster in the Women’s Quads (pictured below).
Bronze Medals for Ailsa Tremayne in the Women’s Pairs on Saturday (pictured below).
Bronze Medals for Kitty Lowings & Alex Johnson on Sunday in the Women’s Pairs on Sunday (pictured below).
Amongst the medallists there were 8 crews that made finals, including two eights for the National W8+ Final which is a staggering acheivement.
Congratulations must go to the whole squad and coaches: Matt Gilliver, Paul Fitzwilliam and James Parris.