Scullers’ Head Race Report

Now that the dust has settled from a busy weekend – for racers, organisers and volunteers, it seems a good time to reflect on the fantastic results that were achieved by our scullers.

Vesta is not known as a sculling club so it was a really good to see 21 brave souls take to the water to fight for the prizes at our home event. Some were competing in Scullers’ Head for the first time, whereas others had already competed in the race 30 times. Notable results were achieved by many, including 5 in the top 100.

As the 60th running of the Vesta Scullers’ Head, it was only right that a little bit of history was made, with Harry Bond winning IM1 and following in the footsteps of another famous Harry B. in winning in club colours on the Tideway in a single scull. Harry has kindly provided his thoughts on the race, which are well worth a read – please see below.

Here are the Vesta results in full:

FinishStartScullerCategoryTimeCat PositionGenderOrderNotes
15133H BondIM121:37.02115IM1 winner.
42388R StebbingsIM322:16.25541
8332J BrownIM222:40.97582
8541S WhittleNOV22:41.16484
90121V McGovernMasB22:44.43889
115370R GouldenIM322:58.3915113
118147S CorongiuIM2.LWT23:01.106116
12869M HughesIM123:10.526126
139367R ShawNOV23:16.456136
168325S WachholzMasA.NOV23:31.464164
17177B ClarkeMasB.NOV23:32.822166
247340M MaynardMasC.NOV24:21.552212
273239P SimpsonMasD24:35.9129226
277290P MewMasF24:38.366230
285190A MunseyW.IM224:50.90252
298337P DudleyMasC.NOV25:06.523240
313334J DaviesMasC.NOV25:19.124248
341183A McGregor-MacdonaldW.MasB26:00.39882
359184I LaliberteW.MasB26:49.59997
368341J BaileyMasC.NOV27:46.817265
373318J McKerrellMasH30:43.944266

Q&A with Harry Bond – IM1 Winner

Q. Have you taken part in this event before?

Yes I’ve taken part in Scullers’ Head before, winning the old Sen.2 Lwt pennant in 2006. Since then I have done very little sculling or racing.

Q. Overall, how did the race go?

As in all Head races there were good patches and poor, but overall the race went well and I achieved my aim of maintaining an even split throughout the middle half of the race. After very few outings I was hoping to be able to rate 28 for the course and I mainly achieved that (only seeing 26 sporadically).

Q. Was it a strong field / big entry?

The entry this year was rather small for my category, this, coupled with the fact that the GB trialists were away at trials, meant that I undoubtedly finished a little higher than I could have otherwise expected to.

Q. How did you rate your chances on the start line?

I knew I was capable of racing well; Nick Ireland our coach has been working hard to ensure that we are all very fit at the moment and the excellent weather conditions meant that I was full of confidence up at the start line even though I have spent very little time sculling recently.

Q. How significant a result was it for you?

Because of the lack of trialists and the small numbers within my event, the result itself isn’t particularly significant. However, as a stepping stone towards the rest of the season it has provided a huge boost of confidence; the training programme is obviously paying off and winning can be a nice habit (I was fortunate enough to be part of the winning Sen 2- at Pairs’ Head with Si Woodfine). This part of the season sees the start of the more miserable ‘winter training’ and it will be very nice to have started so positively as the weather closes in. With Fours’ Head just two short weeks away  I will be looking to build on this result and others from the beginning of the year as our four from HRR last summer race in the Sen 4- category.

Vesta Men win Senior 2- at Pairs Head

This year’s Pairs Head brought a rainy, windy, and pretty grim start to the Tideway Head Season. However, the Vesta rowers were eager to race, delivering a strong performance and a solid start to the season.

Harry Bond and Si Woodfine racing Senior 2- to a pennant win at Pairs Head 2013

Harry Bond and Si Woodfine racing Senior 2- to a pennant win at Pairs Head 2013

The crew to watch was the senior men’s pair, stroked by Si Woodfine and steered by Harry Bond, who raced aggressively and won the Senior 2- Pennant.  Their finishing time of 12:31.46 also placed them as the overall fourth fastest pair in the Head.  Richard Lear and Robbie Hynes raced in IM2 2-, and narrowly lost out on the pennant win by 0.2s to Cardiff City, in a time of 13:18.71.  Vesta newcomers, Louis Marengo and Tom Hayward comprised another IM2 2-, finishing the race in 13:52.35.  The only senior men brave enough to race in the double were Rob Shaw and Richard Stebbings, who raced IM3 2x in a time of 13:12.34. The senior men are coached by Nick Ireland, Matt Pierpoint, Andrew MacMillan and Morgan Bailey.

The Vets had three crews entered in the Masters categories. Michael Maynard and Peter Dudley raced MasC2x in a time of 14:46.45, narrowly beating the other Vesta MasC2x crew of Bryan Williams and Jonathan Davies who finished in 14:48.63. The ladies W.MasC2x of Paula Cardwell and Zena Howard finished in 15:40.46.

The senior women had one crew stroked by Jess Smith and steered by Lizzie Ingram, who raced W.Sen2- for time only due to last minute changes. The crew of Anna Brown and Kat Hedges had to scratch due to a broken finger.

The full results can be found by clicking here. A very big congrats to the winners and all the racing crews. Here’s to some hard training ahead of Scullers Head and Fours Head next month!

Richmond Regatta Results

Mas C 4x

Two masters crews represented the club at Richmond Amateur Regatta on Saturday 29th June. A Mas C 4x of Paul Mew, Michael Maynard, Bijan Hedayati  and Fred Bead had a solid scull in a straight final but could not get back the lead they gave to the older Ardingly crew off the start.

The Mas B 4+ crew of Phil Longstaff, Dave Gibney, Bryan Williams, Fred Beaud and Verity Ansell (cox) had a good start in the semi-final against X-Press BC of Cambridge and had the lead going into the final bend, but a slight wobble let the other crew take a close win.

Mas B 4+

Mas B 4+

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.

 

Latest race results are stonking! and a big weekend ahead…

The club results page has been updated with all the latest races. Some highlights!

Vesta men’s ‘A’ crew won the IM.2 pennant at Kingston Head on Saturday afternoon and came 2nd overall in the division. Well done guys! Our second crew also came 4th in their category and the first novice crew were the 5th fastest novices. The novice men also raced well at Hammersmith.

In light of the dazzling  3rd place and club pennant the ladies won, we haven’t mentioned much about the other women’s crews that raced at WeHORR last weekend, but the results show it was a storming performance by the women’s squad, yet again being one of the strongest clubs in the country, and with a change of coaching personnel. Bravo!  Our IM.2 ‘C’ crew were 3rd in their category, hanging on the coat tails of the IM.1 ‘B’ crew who were 5th in theirs. The girls are showing real strength in depth.

Finally the men’s head draw is available for Saturday here. The ‘A’ crew is starting 51st and racing in the IM.2 category, so that will be a good, ripping race for the guys, who I am sure have the bit between their teeth after last weekend. The ‘B’ crew is also racing IM.2 and will be bidding for a top 100 place and closing the gap on their squad-mates. Vesta also has a novice VIII racing starting at 183, which will be a very exciting day for these guys. You’ve earned your place, go and race it!

On Sunday, for Vesta’s own Vets Head, we have four Vesta crews and one composite. See the draw here. We’ve got two Women’s Masters A (how will they step up from the cowboys and indians last year? That will be something to see I think!) plus an open and mixed masters crew. The composite is an unknown to me, so that might be one to watch!

Please contact me on comms@vestarowing.co.uk to update me on your results or upcoming races and please send me photos and the names of crew members so I can name-check you! Thanks, Cheryl

 

Fours Heads

Vesta had 16 crews competing over two days of racing on 10th and 11th November in the Head of the River Fours and Veteran Fours Head. (That included a whopping nine women’s crews so boats were borrowed to meet demand.) It was the first major head race for most of our senior squads to lay a marker for the season and  for some to get some experience racing and steering the championship course.

The weather and water were pretty friendly on both days, not too cold or windy at all, but you definitely wanted to get your line right because the stream was pulling boats along tidily in the best of it.

The results from Saturday are posted on our results page. Notably the men’s IM1 4- and the women’s IM1 4x performed very well.

Inside the club house  our members and volunteers had really come up trumps. We had a fantastic amount of food to sell and consume over both days and plenty of people around to help serve at the food table and bar.

On Saturday night and the ‘Four of a kind’  party the club was filled with foursome’s in fancy dress including, the wizard of Oz, teenage mutant ninja turtles and Kiss… It could have been scary for unsuspecting passers by!

On Sunday there were three men’s boats representing Vesta. We didn’t get our fourth in due to the event being heavily oversubscribed. All did respectably with the Mas D 4x achieving our best time.

Pairs Head 2012

Pairs Head 2012

Helen and Natalie race in W.IM2.2-

Twelve Vesta crews successfully raced the Pairs Head course this year, with a strong showing from both the men’s and women’s senior squads. Three experienced women’s crews achieved second places, unfortunately missing out on a pennant, but what a good start to the season! The men’s pairs also posted some respectable times achieving a sixth and seventh place in IM2.2- category. A notable mention should go to Paul Mew who came third in MasF.2x with his partner from London RC. See the club’s results here and the full list on the Pairs Head website. (As always, please get in touch with me if you’d like to write a race report or send any photographs that we can use on the website, Thanks!).

Ladies who love Tour du Lac

tour du lacFor the third year in a row Vesta has supplied five brave souls (AKA nutters – and I’m allowed to say that because I’ve done it) to race the longest inland rowing race in the world. Congratulations to Vics McLeod-More, Emily Trant, Verity Ansell, Fran Bennet and Lein Snippe, who completed the course along Lake Geneva in a big, heavy coxed quad. Usually 160km long, the course was shortened due to wet, windy, waves-worse-than-the-Tideway weather, but they still rowed 146km, which took 14 hours, 55 mimnutes and 14 seconds!  The ladies have done it again.

A particular mention to Vics, who completed the challenge just a year after having a baby and to Emily for returning for a third year in a row and already planning a fourth. Read her fantastic race report here.

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