A strong performance at WEHORR for Vesta with two crews finishing in the top 50

Race report by Amelia Munsey, Masters A cox

Last weekend saw the 75th Women’s Eights Head of the River Race held on the Tideway. It is raced on the River Thames over 4 miles and 374 yards, from the start at the University Pole in Chiswick to the finish at Putney Pier. This year saw more than 300 crews compete from across the world.

The overall winners were a GB composite Elite 8+ who finished in a time of 18:58.6. The crew included Olympic gold medalists Helen Glover, Heather Stanning and Katherine Grainger, along with GB teammates.

Vesta fielded three 8s this year, comprising the senior squad’s IM2 8+, a Masters A entry and a crew from the Novice squad. Vesta landed two top 50 spots – no easy feat with a strong field!

The IM2 8+, coached by Nic Neveling and Chris Clements, placed 48th in a time of 22:00.2, beaten by only a handful of club IM2 crews.

The Masters A crew had a guest appearance from honorary lifetime member Sarah Winckless who helped the crew to achieve their impressive 41st place, making them the fastest Vesta boat of the day in a time of 21:48.0. Sarah Winckless herself is an Olympic medal holder and twice World Champion. This performance is a strong start for a rejuvenated vets squad, an initiative led by Captain James Hawkins.

The Novice women also had a good day finishing 10th out of the Novice club crews with a time of 25:05.4. The novice squad is coached by Judith Howell, Kat Burnell and Stewart Button, and their performance bodes well for the summer season and beyond.

Overall, I’m very proud to be part of a club where we have 3 womens’ 8s representing the club, not least with 2 of these finishing in the top 50. Well raced Vesta!


Vesta Women A crew wins Club Pennant at WEHORR

This year’s A crew achieved the best ever result for women’s rowing at Vesta in its 19 year history, and they did so in the face of heavy expectation, having finished in fourth place last year and starting this year in third. The club was well and truly excited and proud to see their performance last Saturday and wish them the best of luck preparing for the summer season. The B, C and D crews also performed exceedingly well with some very respectable results and the Masters crew showed their class too. Well done to them and their coaches. The crew tells their story in the race report below. (And I hope to be bringing you further WEHORR race reports from the other Vesta crews soon too!)

With four returning members of the crew that came 4th in 2012 and a crop of new talent, the 1st VIII started the race in 3rd position on the river. The plan was simple: start close behind crew 2, Belvoir from Zurich, and overtake them on the run up to Hammersmith. After staying relaxed in the marshalling area we spun and paddled to the start line with a length of clear water to our Swiss counterparts – perfect. The wind into the start began almost from the off; the crew was keen to get down to business! Through the line and straight into an aggressive rhythm at 34. Within the first two minutes we had overlap and broke clear of the Belvoir crew under Barnes Bridge, with a small clash between Lara at 7 and their 2 girl which just added to the excitement! With renewed vigour we escaped our European colleagues and now there was one crew between us and the finish line. Thames A had opened up a large gap of about ten lengths whilst we were in our tussle with Belvoir. It was time to make chase. Driven on by cox, Ro Thompson, we dug deep and made substantial gains up to Hammersmith. The noise and support for Vesta on the bridge was incredible and something that will inspire us for the rest of the season I am sure! All along the course from Hammersmith we were pushed on by Ro to close the gap on Thames, which by the finish, was about three lengths of clear water. Crossing the line the mood was euphoric. We had had a beast of a row and we knew it. Returning to VRC whilst everyone on the bank was applauding us was amazing but made the wait for the results all the more nerve-wracking! Luckily post-race pizza was on hand to settle the stomachs and finally the website was updated. Yes! 3rd place behind IC/Olympian crew and GB U23 squad and the Club Pennant.


Results update

Vesta Elite women dig deep!

Vesta Elite Women dig deep!

A slightly belated post to let you know that the results from Quintin and Remenham Heads are on the website Results page. The club has been doing well lately. At Quintin our ladies were the 2nd fastest women’s crew and the men came 2nd in IM1, 10th overall.

Next weekend is Henley Fours and Eights Head so more racing action is on the horizon!

I am looking for roving reporters to post more about how our crews are faring, so if you’d like to pen a few lines (and it really doesn’t have to be much) please do! Just drop me (Cheryl) a line at comms@vestarowing.co.uk. Thanks!

Scullers’ Head Smooth Success

Scullers' Head Start

Beautiful day for it!

Saturday 8th December was quite a beautiful day on the Tideway for the Scullers’ Head. Cold but calm and gorgeously sunny, which was a relief for many, I’m sure. Our brilliant volunteers from Vesta and elsewhere got up extra early to be at Ranelagh for the briefing as the sun rose, so that 448 single scullers could start racing at 9:30am.

Conditions played a big part in the race results, the Tideway being lucky for some as usual. The overall times were fairly slow and at first glance the results look slightly strange with so many late starters doing so well, but rest assured that this wasn’t anything to do with our timing team getting bored, and everything to do with the enormous amount of land water affecting the later tide. Hopefully next year’s race will be back to normal.

Alan Campbell at Scullers' Head 2012

Alan Campbell winner of the Scullers' Head 2012 courtesy of Ben Rodford

The overall winner was 2012 Olympic bronze medal winner, Alan Campbell, with a substantial lead of 19 seconds over the next best sculler.

Incidentally this year it looks like we have a batch of amazing novice scullers as 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th places were all taken by ‘novices’, but again this is likely because of their later start times! Similarly the fastest woman was a W.senior 3 lightweight who started position 547.

Liz Crighton at Scullers' Head 2012

Liz Crighton winner of W.Sen division of the Scullers' Head courtesy of Ben Rodford

Vesta won a pennant again this year in the Women’s Senior category. Congratulations to Liz Crighton who charged home in 23:43.64 coming 21st out of the women overall. Well done!

Of the 19 Vesta contenders who raced, Jon Brown was our best placed man as 77th, Steve Whittle, our fastest novice man at 113th, Fred Beaud, the fastest veteran, a MasC, coming 4th in category at 117th. We didn’t have a novice woman racing – next year girls remember that there’s bar prizes to be won for fastest novices!

Barry Clarke racing the Scullers' Head 2012

Barry Clarke racing the Scullers' Head 2012 courtesy of Ben Rodford

Other notables: Barry Clarke came 2nd in his category of MasB.Nov; Rowan McKellar was 2nd to Liz in W.Sen; M Maynard was 2nd in MasC.Nov; and (an injured) Kat Hedges came 2nd in W.MasA.

Famously there’s always a Vesta member bringing up the rear and the credit for last place goes to Jock McKerrell, 3rd place in MasH with a time of 28:33.59. Alan Campbell, let’s see if you can do that in 40 years time. Ha!

Last, but not least at all, a huge amount of recognition and thanks to Sinead, Chris, Tash and all the Open Events Committee, umpires, launch drivers, timing team, bacon sarnie makers, food sellers, bar staff and all the wonderful people I’ve forgotten to mention. It would not happen without you.

Scullers' Head Start Queue

Organising the queue up to the Start - like herding cats as usual!

Photos by Ben Rodford (@Ben_Rodford) can be found here.

Race report: Vesta visits Head of the Charles

Rohanne reports –

In mid October, a representation of Vesta athletes arrived in Boston alongside British and International rowing royalty. They all gathered on the Charles River for the annual Head of the Charles Regatta. Luckily this year, the weather gods were kind, with stunning sunshine and temperatures in the high teens for the racing. First to race for Vesta was Jamie Wooller, who competed in Men’s Club Singles on Saturday and finished 30th out of 67, beating many younger and heavier competitors. Next up was Nell Pascall, who raced under her Dartmouth University alumni banner, the Evergreen Boat Club, in Alumni 8s. Nell’s exquisite Vesta technique helped her set the crew up for a 3rd place finish in their category, and a medal!

The head wind picked up on Sunday, just in time for the Women’s Championship 8s race, which the Vesta Senior Women, under the tutelage of Matt Gilliver entered. The field was packed with heavy weights, including national crews from the USA, Netherlands, Canada and GB, as well as American top tier university crews. However, Vesta put in a solid showing, overtaking Villanova in front of our home away from home, Riverside Boat Club, finishing 31st out of 40. Vesta was the fasted Club boat in the division and beat the Thames crew which had coincidentally also trekked  over for the race, by a good 50s.


Head of the Charles


There was an awesome afterparty hosted by Riverside BC at Ned Devine’s in fanuial hall (a very un-Irish looking Irish bar), the booze was flowing (gin?), with olympian spotting taking place and some good dancing as well. We would definitely do it again.


One of the new senior boys, Rob Staruch, also rowed the race, but with Army. I’m sure the men would love the race if they decide to go next year. There’s already talk of tackling it again in singles no less!