International Gold in Ghent

The women’s squad had a successful weekend’s racing at the International Ghent May Regatta, qualifying for six finals against stiff international and domestic competition. The weekend was topped off by a win for the quad of Charlie Dempster, Kitty Lowings, Anna Barkensjo and Gaby Turner.

The senior women’s squad chunnelled and ferried over to sunny Ghent at the weekend for the 32nd International Belgian Championships for Seniors. Hopes were high after the wins at Wallingford, however the competition would be tougher since races at Ghent are open.

Saturday started well with the eight, quad, pair and double making it to their finals. Unfortunately with most people doubling up and all the finals being close together there were no medals to be had.

However everyone went into Sunday with renewed energy after the hotel’s great breakfast spread. The decision for Sunday was that no one would double up so it was just an eight, a quad and a coxless four racing. Both the quad and the coxless four made it into their finals with the coxless four putting in a strong performance unfortunately being pipped to the post for fourth place.


The final race of the day was the quad of Charlie Dempster, Kitty Lowings, Anna Barkensjo and Gaby Turner (pictured above) pitted against strong competition from Kingston and Imperial College (who had beaten them the day before). The commentator kept announcing that it was between Kingston and Vesta all the way down the course with Vesta having a half length lead the whole way. The supporters’ club were on the edge of their seats willing them on to stay in the lead. As they came into view they looked strong and maintained their position pushing through to win by a length to Kingston with Imperial College coming in third.

At Ghent the awards ceremony is accompanied by a regal fanfare of trumpets over the sound system, and the winning quad received, along with their medals, an impressive trophy of a blade painted in Sport Ghent colours. It’s now onwards and upwards to Metropolitan Regatta and Women’s Henley.

Two wins at Wallingford regatta

Crowds watching the racing

Vesta’s Senior and Intermediate crews raced at Wallingford regatta this weekend in the first of many multi-lane races this summer. Conditions were less than ideal, with a strong tailwind and white horses. Congratulations to the senior women who put down a marker for the summer by winning both Intermediate 2 and Intermediate 3 eights and gaining some swanky hip flasks instead of the traditional open-top silverware. A great result!

IM3 winners Silverware IM2 winners

Photos available from BigBlade and Birdman.

Tideway Races over the next month

The month of March brings tourists flocking to the Tideway on four separate occasions: the Women’s Head, the Men’s Head, the Veterans’ Head and the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race. The Embankment traffic police believe all large rowing events are called ‘The Boat Race’ and plaster yellow signs on all lamp posts accordingly, however the natives know better, each having its own distinct identity and excuse for a party.

While the Women’s Head is characterised by bare-footed squealing females unversed in the ways of the tidal Thames, hanging out of boats to pee and at least one capsize while boating, the Men’s Head brings schoolboys, social rowers, triallists and internationals bow to stern in a massive snaking flotilla, with the first crews on their second pint by the time the last crews are marshalling past the bandstand. Everyone thinks the Vet’s head will be a good idea until Barnes Bridge, yet when the time comes to enter the following year, Alzheimer’s and alcohol have done their wicked work and erased all memory of those twenty (thirty?) minutes of pain. For one day a year the media descends on Putney and Chiswick to cover THE Boat Race, with all its glorious hopes and dreams, unbearable tension and vicious coxing.

Best of luck to all crews involved and a hearty welcome to all crews boating from Vesta. Do come up for a well-earned brew in the bar afterwards, enjoy the view from our balcony and stay on into the evening to celebrate or drown your sorrows at one of Vesta’s legendary parties. See you there!

The 55th Scullers’ Head


A veritable flotilla of Vesta scullers was out representing their club at this year’s Scullers Head.

There were some very positive results from members of all the squads despite many of the participants recovering from the recent illness that had swept through the club.

As per the norm for a Vesta event everything went smoothly and thanks go out to all who helped out with the organisation and running of the event.

Full Results

Wallingford Head of the River 2008


On a wet, muddy Sunday the mens senior and novice squads travelled to the country for the annual Wallingford Head of the River.

Due to illness caused by the dreaded Norovirus the senior squad elected to race in scratch eights and despite the weather and their borrowed Hudson cornering like the Sirius Star, they managed to post some reasonable results.

The novice men raced in a 4+ and an 8+ and also posted some promising times.

Full Results

Local Rules of the River

Image of scratched Vesta blades

All Vesta members should be aware of and obey the following local rules:

  1. At the turn of the tide, crews will not conduct race rate pieces.
  2. At low tide, with an outgoing tide, crews proceeding upstream on the bank between the black buoy and the mile post, will not move out from the bank to overtake other crews.
  3. At low tide, with an outgoing tide, crews proceeding downstream between the mile post and the black buoy, will not conduct race rate pieces.
  4. With an outgoing tide, proceeding upstream on the Surrey bank, whilst approaching Kew Road Bridge, if a crew or sculler is unable to pass under the inside arch, they must stop. Either wait to pass through the inside arch or wait until a coach can confirm it is clear to pass through the centre arch.

Low tide is defined by the bottom of Barn Elms slipway showing above water.

Exception – a coach can override these rules, so long as the coach is close enough to the crew that the cox or steersmen can clearly hear any command from the coach and the coach is positive that no safety risks exist.