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!


The girls are famous – sort of!

Vesta “Leading the charge” in Rowing and Regatta this week. It’s not often we get featured so hooray for that.  There’s a nice quote from coach, Jamie Low, and great race face pic of the WEHORR pennant winners!

Christina Duffy, Anna Brown, Stine Keyes, Rowan Mckellar and Gemma Etherington

Christina Duffy, Anna Brown, Stine Keyes, Rowan Mckellar and Gemma Etherington

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


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.


Women’s Head Run Up

The Vesta women and their coaches have been working hard through the gruelling months of January and February, with a few obstacles to contend and overcome!

Firstly, they didn’t allow the nasty icy conditions at the Docks stop their seat racing. The squad succeeded in completing their racing matrix in small boats in the snow. The Rememham Challenge and Quintin Head have been good opportunities to test racing speed and our top crew was 2nd fastest women in both events.

Henley Eights and Fours was cancelled on weekend of 15th Febraury, but instead Vesta welcomed Oxford University Women’s Lightweights (OUWLRC) to the club to train alongside our senior women’s squad. The girls had some fun and achieved some solid results side by side there. Thanks OUWLRC! You’re welcome back anytime!


This weekend Hammersmith Women’s and Juniors was totally oversubscribed because every other race in the calendar has been called off so we couldn’t get any entries. Still Vesta can be perked up in the knowledge that they have an exceptional Women’s Eight Head of the River draw. Thanks to the brilliant performances last year, for the first time ever Vesta has three crews in the top 20, at 3, 13 and 19, racing Senior, IM1 and IM2 respectively. Plus an IM3 crew at 53 and for the first time a Masters A crew at 71, the latter who I’ve heard on the grapevine are eyeing a pennant.

Thames being our nemesis again this year is starting Head of the River, and we know they have had the measure of us so far this winter, but the gaunlet is down! Once again there’s a significant overseas contigent too, who, apart from the returning 2nd place crew from Belvoir RC Zurich, are the unknown. Elite Imperial and GB Junior crews look like they might be pretty hot and we’ll have to see who else shows up on the day. Some of the overseas crews are racing Masters, which will keep our old girls on their toes.  Osiris and Cambridge Uni don’t seem to be racing this year (Tethys – Oxford Lightweights I believe – are) and neither are any other GB composite crews.

For Vesta no doubt this will be a race to remember! We encourage all supporters to get to the river to cheer on our crews in two weeks to give our girls an extra push. Good luck Vesta!

NB if you want to correct me at all on any of this, please do! Cheryl

Boating from Vesta for the Tideway Head Races

Vesta welcomes visiting crews from the UK and overseas for the Women’s Eights Head of the River Race on 3rd March 2012 and the Men’s Eights Head of the River Race on 17th March 2012.  Please request boating permission from the club deputy captain e: deputycaptain@vestarowing.co.uk.  We politely request a nominal fee of £5 per rower to cover the club’s maintenance costs. On receipt of boating permission, please send a cheque made out to Vesta Rowing Club.