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.

Dates for the diary

Now that the season is upon us, it’s time to get those all important racing and social events firmly planted in everyone’s diaries.


  • Reading Small Boats Head – 5th October
  • Pairs Head – 13th October, 11:15 – The bar will be open all day and there will be food. So come down and support our crews!
  • Upper Thames Fours & Small Boats Head – 27th October
  • Vesta Scullers Head – 16th November, 14:15 – One of the biggest days in the club calendar. Please come down and support and help if you can by donating some sandwiches or cakes, or helping out behind the bar.
  • Fours Head – 30th November, 13:00 – The bar will be open all day and there will be hot food. So come down and support our crews!
  • Remenham Challenge Head – 14th December, 13:15 – We are defending champions in the men’s intermediate and novice categories!
  • Quintin Head – 25th January
  • Henley 4s & 8s Head – 15th February
  • Reading University Head – 1st March
  • Hammersmith Women’s Head – 9th March
  • Women’s Eights Head – 15th March, 15:30 – Defending club champions!!!
  • Hammersmith Head – 16th March
  • Kingston Head – 22nd March
  • Head of the River race – 29th March, 14:15
  • Vesta Veterans Head – 30th March, 10:30

Social Events

  • Fours Head party – 30th November
  • Annual Dinner – 31st January
  • Women’s Dinner – 22nd March

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.

Vesta bar prizes tomorrow for home club members

As an extra incentive to the 25 Vesta scullers entered tomorrow, there will be prizes at the bar for:
1st woman
1st man
1st novice man
1st novice woman
1st veteran (incl handicap)

Prizes: either two bottles of Cava or a gallon of beer.
No one can win two prizes.

Think of that when you passing the island, or in fact that and a hot bacon buttie and tea. It’s sure you give you an extra push!

Scullers Head Instructions

The instructions for competitors, course map and map of the start and finish illustrating the marshalling that will be in place are all now available here. We apologise they are a little late, due to delays outside our control.

Instructions to competitors Scullers Head 2012

Scullers Head Welfare Policy & Plan

Scullers Head Course Map

Scullers Head Start & Finish Map

Full details of the race are here.

The draw has also been updated to reflect the correct collection points for certain competitors.