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.

Masters at Marlow Town

Peter Simpson and Fred Beaud

Peter Simpson and Fred Beaud at Marlow Town

Whilst the rest of the club was at Reading, Peter Simpson and Fred Beaud won Masters C 2x at Marlow Town against stiff opposition from Abingdon and a home Marlow crew. Well done!

Side-by-side and round the bend at Reading!

Vesta engaged in some spectacular racing yet again at Reading Regatta. Possibly one of the best river regattas in the country, just a week ahead of Henley Women’s and two weeks ahead of the qualifiers for Royal, it provides some great side-by-side experience for our crews.

The men gave Winchester School boys a good fight and then proceeded immediately to the start for the final of IM1 8+ against Curlew. The race was a proper spectators’ treat – side-by-side racing all the way down the course, with Curlew inching out a win by three feet.

The senior women came off with another win beating Bucknell University of the USA by three feet in Elite 8+. This was an encouraging result as Vesta faces Bucknall in the first round of Elite 8+ at 11:07 on Saturday at Henley Women’s Regatta.

 

Hard-fought medals at the Met

Vesta took home three wins and six second places from the Met Regatta 2012, a positive result from this key test in the racing calendar just a few weeks before  Henley. The two-day, 2000m multi-lane event at Dorney Lake was held over the Jubilee Weekend and proved to be very exciting indeed, with eleven Vesta entries on Saturday and 14 on Sunday!

On Saturday the women came second and third again to Thames RC in Senior 8s, but won IM1 8+ with a ten second margin. A new elite pair combination showed promise, coming second to the GB23 pair from Sport Imperial. Sunday’s racing proved successful as well, with the women winning Senior 8+ and IM1 8+. The women’s IM2 8+ won their heat and narrowly lost out the final to what turned out to be the Welsh U23 squad. The Dev Women had a repeat of Wallingford, winning their heat in IM3 4+, and coming second to Oxford Brookes in the final.

A special mention must be made of the Women’s LW4-, who FINALLY got to race this season (the dearth of any competition in women’s coxless four racing, never mind lightweight events this year has proved a challenge). An initial struggle against Mortlake on Saturday proved to be just nerves, as the girls beat them by a five second margin on Sunday, coming second to Univ College Dublin (heavies) in Senior 4-.  Vesta results are available on the results page and full results can be found by on the Metropolitan Regatta website.

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).

Vesta Women Show Strong Start in Pairs Head

With clement weather conditions to no doubt appease the assortment of GB rowing gods taking part, the 2011 pairs head saw the Vesta Senior Women squad represented by six fine crews across a range of categories. All crews enjoyed relatively incident free races, returning home dry and safe – unlike some of the other boats on the river.

With big competition in the senior and elite categories from competitors that (sometimes literally) eclipsed the Vesta crews, all three boats finished with respectable times, even if they were placed (let’s be honest!) last in their categories. The elite pair of Kat Hedges and Martha Kelly finished 6th out of all the women’s pairs, in a close race (at one point four boats abreast) that was won by crew members of the GB under 23 women’s VIII. The senior pair of Sarah Wood and Alex Johnson were beaten by a strong City of Oxford crew, while the senior double of Kitty Lowings and Emma Dyson were beaten by the rather curious Leander combination of Debbie Flood (of GB fame) and a cox (sculling as opposed to coxing) – who themselves were beaten by a speedy London RC crew. As Kitty and Emma had only very recently come together as a crew, and were impeded during the race by a men’s double (chivalry, much?), their time was commendable.

The IM3 doubles event was, as usual, the largest women’s category and had two Vesta crews – sibling duo Lara / Vicky Brock and Athene McGregor-Macdonald / Natalie Demblon. The Brockmobile cranked out the fastest squad time of the day, finishing in an excellent fifth place in the category. Meanwhile another new combination, Hayley Beer and Anna Ven Den Berg in the IM2 pair, enjoyed their first race in a pair despite seasonal sniffles.

In Matt’s words this was a “voluntary, fun” head race, and at a mere 4k was a good afternoon out. The (presumably mandatory, not fun?) Fours’ Head is the next race for the squad, on the 5th November.

– Martha Kelly

Blackstaffe Club Regatta 2011

 

On Saturday 20th August Vesta held its annual club regatta, with all members welcomed to join in the fun. With a good crowd of supporters on the Vesta balcony the club took to the Tideway in mixed scratch eights and the hotly contested mixed double sculls (AKA the love doubles).
Racing from the Black Buoy to Putney Pier (a whopping, lung-burning 500 metres!), the crews showed an awesome display of brute strength and unstoppable competition. It was a really good turn out with four mixed eights and eight double sculls. Plus an entourage of umpires and organisers.
Winning the mixed eights in Derek the White (yes it does still float), coxed by Ro, from bow, Sarah, Sarah, Stewart, Sabine, Si, Sam, Cheryl and Luke. Competition was fierce in the doubles, but Harry and Ailsa, the Bond and the Blonde, despite not being on top form (again), narrowly defeated, Kitty and Richard (I won’t say what their crew was called).  Both crews were awarded smart, shiny, VRC pots, which were christened later on in the evening.
We welcomed a photographer from English Heritage, who was introduced to the Vesta spirit and bar. Everyone enjoyed the fabulous BBQ put on by Dick, ably assisted by Annette and others. A big thank you to them, the organisers, umpires, bar staff and spectators. We look for to the 2012 showdown (which will be in the middle of the Olympics, so we may well be men down).

By Aga and Cheryl

Vesta Represented at World Rowing Championships

Update!:  2.55pm (NZ time) For the Repechage. (UK time) Tuesday 1.55am! Lane 1 Russia, 2- IRELAND, 3- Poland, 4 Italy, 5- usa

Vesta member Helen Arbuthnot  is coxing for Ireland in the LTA mixed coxed four event at the World Rowing Championships at Lake Karapiro in New Zealand this week.

Update from Helen: Racing was cancelled Sunday 31st after 3 categories of racing were held, due to high winds.
Because of this tomorrow’s schedule has had to change the wind is set to calm to 3.5m/s (Basically tideway conditions) at least this works in our favour!

http://www.worldrowing.com/medias/docs/media_362660.pdf

The other change to the timetable is that due to forecast of over 4m/s which is un row-able thursday/friday, the decision is the final may be held on Wednesday not Thursday, I’m still awaiting time of this..

Because of this I don’t think the BBC coverage is on on Wednesday, so you will have to watch on the World Rowing Website (click here)…

So be online on rowing website. As you have gone now 13 hours behind, my race is 3.05am Monday morning! A regatta on the tideway. Yay!

Good Luck Helen!

helen_arbuthnot.preview

Two Wins at the Lea

A small group of scullers came away with two wins after making the journey to north London to represent the club at the Lea Autumn regatta in the traditional end to the summer season.

Michael Hughes and Jon Brown raced in the IM2 1x and IM3 1x respectively, Big Jon qualified for the final after an impressive heat but lost to a strong Bewl/Exeter Uni sculler. They teamed up for the IM2 2x and after winning the heat, the gunship won a closely fought final.

Peter Simpson convincing won the Masters C 1x against Erith before doubling up with Janet Simpson in the mixed masters B 2x where they lost to a powerful local crew.

Paul Mew beat David Wright from UTRC in a heat of the Masters F 1x only to be disqualified for steering and therefore missing out on a certain pot in the final. He then teamed up with David in a VRC/UTRC composite to defend the Lea Autumn Masters E 2x but they were unfortunately out-gunned in a close race by the national champions from Poplar.

DSC08564
Photo: Vesta’s entry to Lea Autumn regatta, won IM2 2x and Masters C 1x