Vets Open Summer Racing Season with Gold

Paul and Roy celebrate with an obligatory pint

Congratulations to Paul Mew and new member Roy Brook on winning Mas F 2x at Borne at Chiswick Regatta to claim the club’s first win of the summer. In Roy’s first ever regatta they defeated the home Mortlake  crew after a re-row. Rowing in heavy rain Vesta were behind on the start but came back and the crews were neck and neck when the race was stopped with 200m to go due to a huge wash from the rescue boat. The second race was very close but in the end Paul and Roy’s superior fitness showed and they won by a length.

It’s a double celebration for Roy who also won his category at the British and European Indoor Rowing Championship held at the NEC on 25th March. Roy finished first out of 19 to claim the 60 to 64 year old Hwt Mens category in a time of 6.50.0 which has put down a solid marker for the rest of the Masters squad.

To see the splits of the race, please click here (thanks Concept2!).

Overseas Crew Racing Vets Head? Important Race Information Available

Are you an overseas/foreign crew racing in Vesta’s Vets Head this weekend?! If so, please check out the Vets Head website which has new and extremely important race information in Spanish, French, Italian and German. All documents and race information can be found here. If you have any further questions or concerns, please email vets.head@vrc.org.uk Otherwise, safe travels and see you Sunday!

Hammersmith W&J Head Report

Three crews in top six women; Good performances by Vesta senior and development squads

Sunday, 19th February – a brilliant blue sky and fierce breeze were perfect conditions for our sailing neighbours, but less so for us rowers and as we watched the choppy brown Tideway being moved chunk by chunk under scudding clouds, the planned technical pre-race outing was abandoned in favour of tea and coffee and giving our boats some much-deserved TLC. The C crew (racing in “Happy” – they really do challenge the Happy Heavies as one of the happiest crews Vesta has known) spent so much time getting their boat set up just right that they missed the start of the race and had to tag on to the end of the procession, offering opportunities to take some schoolchild scalps – hey, we’re not fussy.

Vesta B overtaking Mortlake A

Up at the start by Chiswick, the water conditions had calmed down with the turn of the tide and now presented a fast stream, plus a minor wind tunnel effect for the bows further down the course along the ait. The B crew were so excited that immediately after turning, the whole crew – as one mind, of course – took up rate and pressure to near race pace before a “seriously guys, chill out” call from Julia settled the crew back down.

The A crew was off first, alone in their category, the only opposing crew in Senior failing to show up (we can only draw one conclusion from that, having been resoundingly beaten by Vesta at Quintin). Unfortunately with a gap either side in the procession, the crew raced in a vacuum, with only the eventual appearance of a determined B crew on the horizon to push them into securing second place of all women’s crews. Fastest women of the day were Thames, racing further down in IM1 – we look forward to meeting some strong competition on a start line again soon!

The B crew set off behind Mortlake, and enjoyed a nice row alongside former crewmate Lianne, eventually pushing through the crew and finding clear water shortly before the Chiswick Pier crossing point. After that, they too were rowing their own race with Vesta A on their mind. Next over the start line for Vesta was the D crew, guest-starring Issy, who with a good row finished 5th in IM3, a pennant won by a fast UL crew who also won Quintin. Finally came the C crew, overhauling octoples and scattering Dulwich schoolboys as they stormed down the course to an overall 6th place among all women’s crews.

Martha Kelly

Quintin Head Round Up


Fastest Women from cox to bow, Julia Hedley, Kat Astley, Holly deGay, Caroline Newbury, Lara Brock, Stine Keyes, Kitty Lowings, Emma Dyson, Kat Hedges

The 2012 VIIIs Head Season began on Saturday 28th January with Quintin Head, raced from Chiswick to Harrods Wall. Vesta had a dominant showing with three Senior Women crews, one Dev Women crew, one Senior Men crew, and one Vet Men crew entered. All crews performed strongly, despite some blade clashes which made for harrowing rowing.

The senior women layed the marker for the months ahead, the girls won the Senior division and brought back the pennant for fastest women.  Having moved away from Barnes Bridge Ladies off the start, the race focused on chasing down the Elite boat of Durham University just in front.  Some brilliant coxing forced them way out of the racing line and Vesta eased past them just before Hammersmith Bridge (with the fabulous call ‘Move out of my way, I’m faster than you’), to finish 20 second ahead of them and the rest of the field.

The Dev Women raced what was for some of them not only their first ever rowing race, but also the first time to have rowed all the way up to (and back from!) Chiswick. Well done for a stellar performance!

Scullers Head Roundup

Vesta Senior Women triumph at the Vesta Scullers Head 

The 2011 Scullers Head Winners

The 2011 Vesta Scullers Head took place on Saturday, 3rd December. Vesta is the only club that single-handedly organises not one, but two of the major Tideway Heads – a feat made possible because of members and friends of the club members. Happily not put off by the cold conditions in 2010, we had 528 entries for the 2011 race, with 26 of our own Vesta entries. The event ran without (major) incident with only two crews “DNF”.

Once the dust had settled post-race, and event chairman Sinéad Hayes recovered from mental exhaustion, the winners were celebrated at a prizegiving held on 13th December. Sinéad once again pulled out all the stops to cater for the event in true rower style – i.e. fantastic canapés in vast volumes.

Tommy Thompson and event chairman Sinéad Hayes with winners Adam Freeman-Pask (Imperial) and Imogen Walsh (London RC) and their prizes

Event winners came from all over the UK and from far beyond. Bragging rights for best Tideway club were shared between Tideway Scullers and London Rowing Club with seven wins each. The fastest man and woman were both GB lightweights, Adam Freeman-Pask (21:09.0) and Imogen Walsh (22:35.9). In addition to the medals awarded by event, recast from the original 1953 prize, the fastest men and women received an exquisite scale model sculpture of a single scull cast in pewter.

The Vesta Senior Women’s Squad succeeded in three events, with lightweight Holly De Gay achieving the fastest time of all three despite starting at 521, when the sun was starting to set. The winners were as follows:

Two of Vesta’s winners, Kat Hedges and Holly De Gay, with Sinéad Hayes

Holly De Gay, W.IM3.LWT.1x (23:58.5)

Liz Crighton, W.IM2.1x (24:04.7)

Kat Hedges, W.MasA.1x (24:16.2)

For full results, please check out the Results Page by clicking here.

Even more hotly contested are the Vesta exclusive events, also known as “Dick’s Bar Prizes” (two bottles of cava and glory untold). The categories and winners for these events were:

1st man home: Jamie Halliday
1st male Master: Barry Clarke (… faster than Jamie after adjusting for handicap)
1st woman home: Holly De Gay
1st female Master: Kat Hedges

It is understood that the Cava was appropriately consumed and enjoyed following the Vesta Annual Dinner… an event for which no website write-up is required!

Words and pictures by Martha Kelly.

Wallingford Head Success!

 

IM18+ Pennant Winners (s - Kat Astley, Lara Brock, Caroline Newbury, Aga Siemiginowska, Emma Dyson, Kitty Lowings, Kathryn Clover, Kat Hedges, cox Jamie Wooler)

The Vesta senior squads were out in force at a sunny Wallingford Head on Sunday 27th November, with two men’s VIIIs, four women’s VIIIs and four women’s IVs in action. With an exciting set of bends halfway down the course, all coxes and steers did a great job to bring home all equipment intact, albeit occasionally decorated with small amounts of shrubbery. The squads gained quality race experience, with all finding better pace by the second division, having enjoyed rather more sedate rhythms in division one. The women’s squad recorded two wins in the afternoon, in IM1 VIII and Sen 4-. The W.IM1 VIII enjoyed overtaking their competitors so much with their new-found race pace that they took a detour into the bushes through that infamous bend, enabling the rest of the category to catch up; before storming through the field again to bringing home the pennant. In the W.Sen 4- event, the race was on between two Vesta crews. Having despatched Reading University early on, it was up to the mighty lighties to maintain the leading position to the finish line. The final verdict was a win to the lighties with a margin of half a second – thank heavens for Wallingford’s precision timing, eh?! We’ll call that a very well-matched set of performances.

Fours Head of the River

Happily for all competitors, the weather forecasts were wrong and the 5th of November offered excellent racing conditions for the Fours Head of the River Race.  The weather was dry and mild (handy when you’re marshalling in the 400s) with a gentle breeze, and the water conditions as good as you’ll find on the tideway. Following the sprinkling of GB squad members racing in the pairs head, there was a large contingent of the current GB squad out competing for their respective clubs and picking up more silverware for their groaning trophy cabinets. (Unlike in training outings I believe they all made it home in one piece as well.)  The Hor4s twitter account disclosed that the race committee run a sweepstake on the number of crews in the top 100 who hit the buoy at Chiswick Pier – and true to form, the crews marshalling in that area enjoyed the sight of crew after non-tideway crew beat up the Chiswick pier buoy.

Fortunately this isn’t a “key target” race for the club, so we had a mere ten crews from Vesta competing across men’s and women’s, scull and sweep, among the 455 crews that completed the course. With some sub-tastic entries, three of the Vesta crews raced for time only. The event saw the usual mixed experiences whereby some crews had an open fairway for about 4 miles – a steering experience never enjoyed during training! – while others fought for space with competitors either side.

There were no wins for the club but good racing throughout, and some notable performances. The men’s IM1 4- finished eighth out of 36, including as it did the winning IM2 pair combination from the pairs head (Richard Lear and Simon Woodfine). The women’s IM1 4x came third in a large, and at the top end very pacy, field of 38 boats. Meanwhile there were two second places, for the women’s senior 4- and the women’s IM1 4-, the latter fighting off a fellow Vesta crew in the same category. Their pace must have had something to do with coach Jamie Low’s advice that as lightweights they should keep it “fast and loose” – probably not the first time such advice has been successful. (Ahem.)

Given the shortage of boats for the vast (in number) senior women’s squad, both the senior and IM2 women’s boats had to be returned to Hammersmith post-race, meaning their crews had a Putney-Chiswick warm up, followed by a Putney-Hammersmith warm down followed by a long walk back to the club. All crews had limited training time in their racing formats, with the luckier crews getting more than one outing before Saturday. The IM2 crew tried to fit in some last minute practise, and so gathered at 5.45am on Friday morning amid heavy rain, thunder and lightning,  only to find that some especially secure locking of the boatshed (Captain, please note) meant a quick borrow of incorrectly geared blades from KCS. Getting up early is such a good idea in theory…

All crews enjoyed taking local scalps, in addition to visitors who may not be so familiar with the stream. However, perhaps the greatest achievement of the day was that of our Communications Officer Aga Siemiginowska (IM1 4+). If anyone deserves a medal, it’s her, for managing to complete the race for the first time out of four (yes, four) attempts, having been defeated in previous years by crew injury, weather and broken steering. Well done Aga!

Well done also and thank you to the efforts in the bar and the kitchen, as marshalled by Ailsa Tremayne, for providing bacon baguettes, cakes, hot drinks and the odd pint or two to many a competitor and spectator over the course of the day.

– Martha K