The first major test of the season saw a record 10 Vesta boats producing some strong results, indicating both the men’s and women’s squads are looking to pick up where they left off in the summer.
With the new British Rowing Competition Framework and RPI coming into effect, there were new categories to contend with. Despite some interesting groupings, with the top ranked Vesta crews being categorised with crews that would normally be put in the elite category, the strong results showed an ability to rise to this challenge.
The Senior Women showed some strong early season form, with the Band 1 4- finishing in 7th place in their category and as the 9th fastest women’s coxless four overall. Given Band 1 was won by Leander and contained 2 Cambridge University crews, this strong result showed that last summer’s final at Women’s Henley was only the start. The women also showed exceptional strength in depth, with the coxed four placing 3rd out of 16 in Band 2, and the second coxed four finishing a strong 7th in Band 3.
The Senior Men’s A Crew also had some challenges presented by the new ranking index, with the start order meaning they had overtaken 6 and been overtaken by 2 crews by Hammersmith. At one point this meant rowing almost 4 a breast, with cox Julie Franckh doing an exceptional job of holding the racing line whilst being screamed at to move over from both sides. A promising finish of 7th out of 25 in Band 2, despite the traffic, represented a strong result for the crew. The men also showed exceptional depth, with 3 boats, including 2 coxed, finishing in the top 200 overall.
We also unfortunately had the dubious honour of posting the slowest time in the competition, with one of the Senior Women’s quads finishing 440th out of 440. Unfortunately this was due to a technical malfunction meaning they had no steering and so paddled over the course. No doubt without this they would have added to an exceptional set of results.