Guess who picked a winner?

FWandleollowing on from Dick and Robin’s intrepid research into… what else… BEER… the results came in from the World Beer Awards 2012 and the one they choose from Sambrooks Brewery has only gone and won:  Wandle has been voted ‘Worlds Best Pale Bitter – under 5%’ at the World Beer Awards. Vesta’s dedicated researchers come up trumps and choose a winner! It’s in the bar, folks.

Fireworks from Vesta balcony

FireworksBonfire night news! Hammersmith & Fulham are putting on fireworks in Bishops Park again this year on Friday 2nd November, which makes the Vesta Balcony the perfect viewpoint. And really, when Dick is putting on “Fireworks food” and the Vesta bar is serving its usual glorious array of beverages, why would you want to stand anywhere else? The bar will be open from 7pm and the fireworks are expected to start around 8pm. By the looks of the H&F website there may be James Bond theme, but how they do that with fireworks we can only guess…

Pub Crawl Sat 13th Oct

The ShipThe annual Fours Head Recce Pub Crawl will be held the same day as the Pairs Head this year so that we can cheer on the Vesta racing crews from Chiswick to Hammersmith. Steve will be arranging a meeting time and route so watch out for more details via email and Facebook.

The race starts at 3pm so we aim to gather our forces at the Chiswick end of the course about 2pm to get settled into our own race and find a good viewing point at one of the many riverside pubs. We’ll aim to finish in the Vesta bar, which will be open until 11pm. Then (for those with a certain kind of stamina) there will no doubt be a contingent heading to either Star & Garter or the wonderful Fez club.

Please volunteer for bar shifts, if you are able, from 7-11pm. We also need some kind souls who don’t want to go on the crawl to man the bar from 3-7pm. Volunteers, please contact Thea, assistant bar steward. Check your monthly e-newsletter for more details.

Big Breakfast 2013 on Sat 29th Sept

Cooked breakfast

Vesta Big Breakfast - yummy yum

Every year Vesta hosts a big cooked breakfast in the Club Room to raise funds for our weekend morning tea and toast. All rowers are encouraged to come, contribute a few quid and eat heartily so that we don’t have to charge each week for food the rest of the year.  Nothing tastes as wonderful as steaming hot tea and buttery toast when you’re cold and achy from an early outing so having bacon and eggs now to pay for that really is an easy decision to make!

Plus the bar will be open until 5pm in the afternoon on Saturday 29th. See you there!

Thursday night dinners return!

Please feed the animals

Warning! Hungry rowers!

Our lovely volunteers will once again start cooking hot meals on Thursday nights starting this week on 20th September. Food usually is ready about 8pm and costs around £4 for a ‘normal’ size portion. Watch out for the weekly reminder emails of what’s on the menu

and we ask that you let our chefs know if you’re intending to eat so they can cook about the right amount. All profits go to the boat fund. Any questions, please contact our Assistant Bar Steward, Thea.

Important info for new members

Please complete a new membership application form for our membership secretary, Janet, ASAP so that you can race in the upcoming heads.

Don’t forget to order your new Vesta racing kit before 5pm on Monday 24th September.

In order to race you must also fund the club race fees account. There is a strict no-dough-no-row policy. Your coach or our entries secretary, Nicky, can give instructions on how to do this.

And, last but surely not least, make sure you visit the Vesta bar and join in our upcoming socials. The bar is the heart of Vesta and its profits go to fund our fleet. Beer buys boats!

Next Vesta Quiz 8pm on Weds 26th Sept

Come down to Vesta Bar for Gordon’s legendary quiz. No particular theme, but you can count on a few Olympics related questions. Get ahead of the game by following @vestarowing on Twitter where Gordon will be posting a few nuggets to tease you! All are welcome, especially new members, so bring your friends and enjoy prizes, hot food, drink and banter.

VPs Host Athletes’ Reception

A fantastic Vesta tradition continued this year with the Vice Presidents of the club hosting a drinks reception for the Henley Royal Regatta and the Henley Women’s Regatta athletes.

On Wednesday the 4th of July, the members of Vesta turned their dry cleaning post Henley of club blazers around quickly to ensure they were looking sharp for the annul VP drinks. There was a great turn out of both athletes and VP’s, all there to enjoy an evening of bubbles, canapés, mingling, speeches and of course all that Vesta Bar can provide.

The evening, which has continued since 2009 was created to give the VP’s a chance to mingle with the current athletes in the squad and ensure that Vesta Club spirit is passed on through the generations of Vesta. We were lucky enough to enjoy a beautiful dry evening which meant utilising the balcony and also giving the opportunity for our in house photographer Richard Bryan a chance to capture some great club images.

It was also an excellent occasion for the coaches to give a celebratory reflection of their seasons and the athlete to thank them for all their hard work. Nick Ireland represented the men’s coaching group with a recap of all things related male rowing during the 2011/12 season and thanked all that has helped to create it. Matt Gilliver, the Women’s head coach also gave an entertaining recap of the season that was, thanking his team of coaches and took the opportunity to “officially” retire from coaching. Matt has been involved in the Women’s squad since 2008 and has lead the group to it’s most successful years of Women’s rowing at Vesta. He has helped the squad obtain a Senior Henley Women’s 8+ medal in 2010, the same year the squad represented Vesta on the Saturday at Henley Royal Regatta in the Remenham Challenge. These fantastic results were followed by victories in the Club 8+ category in both 2011 and 2012. Along with very successful years at both Royal Henley Regatta and Women’s Henley, the squad under Matt has had it’s most successful years at The Head of River and have brought home swags of medals every time they loaded up the trailer and ventured to another race. Matt- Thank you for all your hard work! We hope you have enjoyed it as much as we have.

A very large thank you must go out to the VP’s for being so generous and hosting the evening. The VP’s bring a huge amount of spirit and knowledge to the Club and it is always great being able to get all the members of the club together to celebrate and raise a glass to our fantastic club.

– Ailsa

Bittersweet HRR

Henley Royal Regatta means different things to different people. For some it is a social event involving nice hats and daytime drinking with people in boats in the background. For others it is an annual opportunity to catch up with old crew mates and support friends and family who are racing.

For us it is the pinnacle of a year’s training and preparation.

Just to qualify to race is a challenge in itself, one that many crews fail to achieve despite hours slogging on ergos and many cold mornings down on the river. This year, the achievements of the Vesta men throughout the year were recognised by the Stewards, who pre-qualified both the Wyfold 4- and the Thames Cup 8+ crews.

The phrase “luck of the draw” has never rung so true as it did in the Henley Town Hall this year. Both the Wyfold coxless four and the Thames Cup eight were drawn against seeded crews. It is a huge knock to a squad’s morale to know that you will not face one of the many crews in the event that you have comfortably beaten all year, or even those with whom you’ve had close races. Instead you must race a crew who has all the statistics on their side. Despite this, both crews continued to train hard down the Henley course in the days preceding the first day of racing, ready to put up one hell of a fight on race day.

At 9am on Wednesday, the eight faced Upper Thames, one of the four seeded crews in the 32 strong Thames Cup. The Vesta boys went off the start with fire in their legs, giving Upper Thames a fright and taking a small lead in the first 20 strokes. Unfortunately as the two crews hit their race pace, the Upper Thames boys moved through and took a comfortable lead. Nonetheless, Vesta fought to the line, with a powerful push in response to the “Remenham Roar.” They came across the line, gracious losers to an elite crew.

A few hours later, the coxless four faced London A in the Wyfolds, again one of the four seeds in the event. They put their foot to the floor and gave everything to try and get themselves a race on Thursday. The London boys took the lead, but like the eight, the Vesta four fought to the line, never ones to back down easily.

Both crews commiserated the results together, a united squad, but also celebrated the successes of the year. Many of the squad will be returning in the autumn, ready to do it all again, hungry for the results they deserve.

– Morgan

Dev Girls take HWR by Storm

As the Int4+ woke up on Friday morning to “Eye of the Tiger” pumping through the speakers Vanessa Ibbett, Sam Bowman, Briony Martin, Niamh Murphy O’Connor and Celeste Boruvka all felt the understandable nerves of a development squad going to their very first Henley experience.

The slightly stressful journey to Henley in rush hour traffic did little to ease the nerves even with Bob Marley’s “Don’t worry about a Thing” blaring. On arrival at Remenham, with only 20 minutes to rig our boat and change, our plan to take our time rigging and getting ready went out the window.

With heart rates running faster than mice, we got out on the water and were hit with gusts of wind and a very fast stream. A failed attempt to enter the umpire zone to have our boat checked and a sticky situation with an Empacher 8 later, we were on our way to the start line. Due to the bad weather only the top 8 boats were to qualify which put even more pressure on us, but a pre race pep talk with James, Bevan and Verity assured us they had every faith we could do it and our row up to the start gave us the chance to shut off and get in the zone.

After a shaky start we fell in to a strong rhythm and dug deep – with no other boats in sight we had no way of telling how well we were doing but we worked together with Celeste expertly taking us down the course to qualify in the top 8!! The news brought tears, hugging and massive smiles all round. Not only had we qualified but our quarter final put us against Thames’ IM2 boat – what a race that would be!

We spent the few hours we had eating, napping and inevitably going to the toilet a million times! – But this was it, we were officially qualifiers in Women’s Henley and there was only Thames in our way to the semis.

Our pep talk with the coaches reminded us that we were in our element – “the conditions are perfect for ‘bigger’ girls” (…lucky we aren’t sensitive!) We were hit with what can only be described as gale force winds and rain as we got on the water and realised this was going to be a tough one. We just had to remember we’d done it once that day, we could do it again.

We nervously attached on to the stake boat with surprising ease (anyone whose seen us at the start of other regattas would know this isn’t our strongest manoeuvre!) After the traditional re-enactment of the “True Blue” touching of shoulders, we were called to attention and were off. As we anticipated, they were faster off the start, but we didn’t let it phase us and got in to our rhythm quickly. The wind was halting us at each stroke, but we kept pushing and working together. At 500m a quick glance across saw our stroke sitting equal with Thames’ bow – we were rowing through them! Celeste’s call for clear water was answered and by 1000m we had a clear lead. The last 500m were arguably the hardest any of us has rowed – it felt like the wind was pushing us back up the course! We maintained our steady rhythm and gained a 5 length lead on Thames and were rewarded with an “easily” verdict when we FINALLY crossed the finish line. As we came in to land, James and Bevan were smiling like proud Dads – we were in the semi finals!

A much needed day off was had on Saturday and on Sunday we were back in Henley and ready to race again. We had achieved more than we ever imagined, but we now wanted to prove we could go all the way. With weather conditions considerably improved, we got on the water and paddled up to the start with Mortlake (our opposition) closely following. We managed yet again to get on to the start relatively pain free and came to attention. They took us off the start as again was anticipated, but we managed to get in to our strong rhythm. Unfortunately every call Celeste made to take them was matched by them and they held us off by a length. We fought hard, but they eventually crossed the line with a 2 length lead. Although it would have been great to make it to the final, we are really proud of what we achieved and had an amazing experience. Roll on next year!

– Vanessa