Three crews pre-qualified for Henley Royal Regatta

The only Vesta crew named in the list of Crews Required To Qualify published on Sunday was the development men’s crew. For the first time in the nine years since Vesta women first entered the Remenham Challenge at HRR, they have not been asked to qualify. Major achievement ladies! SWEET!

Similarly the Wyfold Challenge Cup and Thames Challenge Cup Vesta (A) crews have both pre-qualified after being consistently competitive at a club level in the major summer regattas.

The development boys were allowed to enter the Thames Challenge Cup at Henley after they had cracked the 6:30 marker in the IM3.8 event on the Sunday at Met. So now they can experience for the first time the tension and excitement of visiting the Henley Royal boat tents and pushing off for that gritty, long, unforgiving time trial.  This is also a major achievement for the crew and their coaches who were all novices last summer. Well done!

There are 35 crews from which 12 will qualify. For those who can support, Vesta Rowing Club (B) will be the 2nd last crew in the group starting at 5:21pm on Friday. Good luck!

The list of crews asked to qualify and schedule are available here.

Semi’s for some at Henley Women’s Regatta

Vesta women raced with tremendous guts and tenacity at HWR this year, but came up against some tough competition and came home empty handed.

Vesta took four boats: a Senior VIII, a Club VIII, a Senior 1x and an Elite 2-. AND they took some warm-hearted, loud-lunged supporters, who did a great job lifting the rate and spirits over the weekend!

Friday’s weather was fairly benign, warm with a tailwind mostly, and rain pretty much held off. The club eight looked very sharp boating and meant business ruthlessly knocking out their first opposition, Thames RC (B), beating them Easily.

C8_boating

Club 8 boating in the sunshine

C8

Club 8 looking sharp on Friday

On Saturday the wind picked up and up throughout the day, which slowed the times, probably by at least 15 seconds, and who knows what effect it had on the different stations, also depending on how the coxswains and crews coped I imagine. Vesta members and supporters also turned up in numbers to cheer on the girls, which was much appreciated by the crews.

The club eight continued along the same way, picking off City of Oxford with a five length lead, ready the semi-final on Sunday.

Liz moves away from her oppo in the quarter finals

Liz moves away from her oppo in the quarter finals. Photo by Sam Lindsay

Liz Crighton, off the back of her Reading win, raced in her single twice on Saturday and showed very strongly against her competition, beating Isle of Ely by three lengths and a dutch competitor by three and half lengths.

Vesta’s ladies pair headed out to see what they could do against Molesey, but they didn’t have the firepower to trouble them, losing Easily. (Racing a pair is probably the hardest boat along the Henley course as well, so all credit for not hitting the booms, which might have been a nerve-wracking thought after Reading!)

Sophie and Jessica give it their all in the pair

Sophie and Jessica give it their all in the pair. Photo by Sam Lindsay

For the senior eight there has been a hard run up to Henley with an intense battle for places in the crew and the perennial problem of a lack of racing competition at their level, providing little race practice. However, there were nine entries at HWR, supplied by four visiting crews from the USA and one from Ireland, plus two UK uni crews and the only other UK club was Star. Vesta took on Trinity Col (A), Hartford, USA late on Saturday afternoon, as the wind was at its most blustery, and pushed and pushed down the course, but could not break them. They trailed by just 1/4 length at the finish, which was a devastating blow for the girls. OUWBC were the hidden gems in the mix, beating GVSU, USA in 5:12, just 2 seconds slower than the winning GB U23 Elite VIII division crew.

Pain and determination written on the faces of the S8

Pain and determination written on the faces of the S8. Photo by Sam Lindsay

Sunday brought the semi-finals and finals for Liz and the Club VIII,  but unfortunately neither would make it beyond the day’s first hurdle. The C.8 had a spirited battle against Galway RC, who had already knocked out Royal Chester and Twickenham. The girls also showed their feisty hearts pushing Galway hard to lose by just 1/3 length. Galway went on to lose in the final against Lea RC, who had posted a very fast time of 5:16 in the semi-finals against Thames RC (A). The Lea it seems are a cut above all the rest this year, so congratulations and well done to them.

Liz came up against Hart of Nottingham RC in her semi-final, and similarly she met her match in the overall winner. Hart beat Liz by 1 and 1/4 lengths in 6:38, but went on to win in her final with an easily verdict in a time of 6:31, aptly the fastest time of the S.1x event.

Most importantly…

To sum it up: well done Vesta ladies and coaches on your amazing work this season. You’re all a credit to the club and we’re very proud of all you’ve achieved this season. I’m sure it’s been a good journey, lows and highs included and you’ve learnt loads in the process. The coaches have worked superbly hard, put in their all and deserve every thanks. It takes a while to lift your spirits, but Henley Royal helps! So here’s to all the ice creams, pink champagne and Pimms that you are obliged to eat and drink at HRR for those not racing. And for those who are: SMASH IT! Let’s look forward to some awesome rowing days ahead!

The club results are available here.

The HWR results in full are here.

 

Henley Women’s Regatta starts tomorrow!

HWR Medal

Henley Women’s Regatta Medal

It’s that time of year again! The Vesta women are all set for this weekend’s racing and we urge all club members and supporters to make a visit to the course to cheer on our crews.

Racing this year we have an Intermediate Club 8, Senior 8, Senior 1x and an Elite 2-. To make things a bit easier, here are the timings for confirmed and potential Vesta races each day:

Friday:

15:03  – Race 11 –  Club 8s – Vesta vs Thames B

Saturday:

11:04 – Race 132 – Club 8s
12:04 – Race 147 – Senior 1x – Vesta vs Isle of Ely
16:48 – Race 218 – Senior 1x
17:04 – Race 222 – Senior 8s – Vesta vs Trinity College, Hartford, USA
17:12 – Race 224 – Elite 2- – Vesta vs Molesey

Sunday:
Semi-Finals
10:46 – Race 320 – Elite 2-
11:42 – Race 334 – Club 8s
12:10 – Race 341 – Senior 1x
13:52 – Race 334 – Senior 8s

Finals
14:24 – Race 368 – Elite 2-
15:35 – Race 377 – Club 8s
15:50 – Race 380 – Senior 1x
16:25 – Race 387 – Senior 8s

The forecast at the moment is looking a bit iffy, so make sure to bring your brollies along with your picnics and loudest Vesta cheers. It definitely helps to find the extra gear when the Vesta roar is the loudest!

For those of you who can’t make it, you can watch the racing live online by clicking the following link: http://www.hwr.org.uk/spectators  We’ll also work hard to make sure we keep the Vesta webpage and twitter feed are up to date.

Best of luck to all the girls and coaches! Have fun and race hard!

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

Vesta Prepares for Henley Royal

With Henley week finally upon us, most of us are keeping our fingers crossed for good weather, while the rowers undertake their final preparations. The Vesta men pre-qualified two boats, one for the Thames Cup (8+) and one for the Wyfold (4-), thereby not having to endure Friday’s qualifiers which were held in conditions not dissimilar to last week’s HWR. Jamie Halliday joined forces with Harry Bond (of Thames!!!) to row the appropriately named Vodka in an attempt to qualify for the Double Sculls. Unfortunately, the not so lightweight lightweights were at a disadvantage in the strong gusty winds and heavy stream and were the fastest non-qualifying boat. The senior women joined the ranks of the 10 other qualifying boats for 3 available places, in what looks like the toughest Remenham Cup in a long time. The girls had a stonking race battling tough conditions and resulting in some amazing ‘pain face’ photos, but narrowly missing out on a qualifying spot.

The timetable for Wednesday’s racing has been released and is available by clicking here. The Vesta Thames 8+ will race Upper Thames in race 6 at 9:00. The Wyfold 4 will race London in race 34 at 11:45. Hope to see a good Vesta contingency providing the Remenham Roar for the boys!!

Love and hate Henley rowing

It’s hard to imagine how difficult running and racing in Henley Women’s Regatta (and Marlow Regatta) has been today. The wind has been appalling and has brought out the best and worst in our sport. Credit must go the organisers for keeping the events going and to crews and coaches for making the best of it. A special mention to Sinéad who was named ‘Volunteer of the day’ at HWR for her efforts keeping crews straight on the pontoon amongst other duties. On the downside, today also accentuated the cruel inequity of rowing racing as crews struggled to race fairly when the wind, water and strong river current all conspired against them. Attaching to the stake-boats, getting a clean, fair start, starting and keeping a straight line away from the fearsome booms, and racing upstream into a mighty headwind all become wicked challenges in this weather.

This morning Bucknell University USA beat Vesta in the Elite 8 category by 3/4 length in a time of 5:57. (Bear in mind that’s over a minute slower than a usual elite eights race, which illustrates the conditions. NB the slowest time of the day was 10:12 in J1x. For once it’s pleasing HWR is only 1500m rather than the full Henley course!)

Vesta Senior 8 won their first race against Holy Cross USA easily in a time of 7:02. Unfortunately they lost their next  race against Newcastle University easily in time of 7:17 after the Vesta crew experienced equipment failure by the end of the island. The umpire did not restart and it is certainly a bitter outcome given that the girls had a really good chance of winning a medal. The Elite 2- also lost their race against Molesey by 4 lengths in a time of 7:59. Sincere commiserations to the Vesta crews and coaches who worked so hard and lost today. Bring on HRR!

Vesta Club 8

Vesta Club 8

Vesta Club 8 had better fortune beating Thames easily in 6:59 and so we look forward to them racing tomorrow at 12:50 against Cambridge City. Well done ladies.

Also racing tomorrow are: the Elite 4- at 10:05 against ARSR Skardi; the Lwt 4- at 11:00 versus Oxford University Women’s Lightweights; and the Club 4+ racing at 14:00 approx (the HWR website is missing the exact time and opponents for our development women’s semi-final).

Let’s pray tomorrow brings fairer conditions (in both senses of the word).

Henley Royal Regatta list of entries published

Vesta’s entries are:

  • a men’s eight in The Thames Challenge Cup – 40 entries to be reduced to 32
  • two women’s eights in The Remenham Challenge Cup – 19 entries (a large contingent this year!) to be reduced to ten (normally it’s eight – so I’m not sure how this is going to pan out in the racing timetable)
  • a men’s four in The Wyfold Challenge Cup – 46 entries (again a big increase on last year) to be reduced to 32
  • Jamie Halliday teaming up with Harry Bond in The Double Sculls Challenge Cup – the latter representing Thames Rowing Club (bah)

The draw with details of qualifying races and timetable will be published on Sunday evening.

The full list of entries is available on the HRR website.

Wind and wins so far at Henley Women’s

Henley Women's Regatta in the sunshine

Surprising sunshine at HWR

The weather this weekend seems to be the dominant force at Henley Women’s Regatta. High winds and predicted heavy rain have prompted the organisers to rearrange some racing. Notably the number of crews to qualify through time trials was cut and some junior racing has been moved to Sunday time trials. Fortunately the sun has stayed more or less out today!

Vesta’s Dev Squad coxed four crew has not been hindered, thankfully. They defeated Thames convincingly this afternoon and move through to the semi-finals on Sunday. The verdict was Easily in a time of 7:50. Well done crew and coaches!

The timetable for Saturday’s racing has been reworked – I’m slightly confused by the document on the website, but I think it’s telling me this:

10:48 – Elite 8 v Bucknell Uni USA

13:42 – Club 8 v TBC

14:12 – Senior 8 v Holy Cross USA

15:46 – Elite 2- v Molesey

You can follow on Twitter and on Facebook for real time results and commentary.

Vesta women take on Henley this weekend

HWR Medal

Henley Women's Regatta Medal

Henley Women’s Regatta June 15 – 17, Henley.

Vesta will head to Henley in force for the most prestigious event in their summer racing calendar. Both the development and senior women’s squads will attempt to qualify an Intermediate 4+ each on Friday.  Saturday will see the first round of side-by-side racing, with Vesta competing in an Intermediate 8+, Senior 8+, Elite 8+ and Elite 2-. Sunday will also feature the first round of racing for an Elite 4- and Elite LW 4- and, we hope, some semi-finals and finals for our club crews.

There are more than the usual number of overseas crews visiting this year, meaning competition will be tight especially in the Senior 8s and Elite 8s, with 15 and seven crews entered respectively.

The full draw and timetable can be found by clicking here. (There will also be twitter updates throughout the weekend. I think it’s #henley_women’s).

Oops, they did it again!

hwrmedal
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