Vesta wins Best Dressed Crew at this years’ Veterans Head of the River Race

Race report by Amelia Munsey, Masters A cox

Over 200 crews took to the Thames on Saturday 28 March for the 2015 edition of the Vesta Veterans’ Head of the River. The weather stayed pleasant and not too windy, despite concerns from the weather reports!

The race was won by the Austrian Alumni, a crew containing representatives from RV Gmunden, RV Villach and London Rowing Club amongst others, who raced the course in 19:01.

Composite crews saw the majority of the top places in the event. The Masters B category was won by a crew containing no less than seven clubs, a remarkable feat in itself.

The fastest Women’s boat of the day was a strong crew from Tideway Scullers School who retained their headship and finished the course in an impressive 20:40.

Vesta had 3 crews racing in the competition, two Women’s Masters A crews and a Composite Masters F with Thames, Abingdon and London RC. The Composite Crew put on a good performance coming 3rd in their category in a field of 18.

The Women’s Masters A crew had a great day, racing in fancy dress. The “school girls” managed to finish second in their category and were the third fastest Women’s boat of the day. The Women had another guest appearance from Olympic Medal holder Sarah Winckless.

vesta vets head

Veterans head showed a second strong performance for the rejuvenated Vesta Vets Squad that’s currently being championed by Captain James Hawkins.

Of course Vesta are indebted to the many people that gave up their Saturday to make Vesta’s Veteran’s Head of the River Race a huge success.

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!


Maidenhead Regatta

Kat Hedges raced for Vesta at Maidenhead regatta with her old club, EERC, at the weekend, and they won WMasters A/B/C quads and WMasters C 4+ over the 500m course on Saturday.

The winning crew afterwards having celebration beers!

The winning crew afterwards having celebration beers!

Both winning verdicts were over 2 lengths, which given the short course is a fair distance for a previously untried combo. To quote Kat,  “I love Masters racing.”

Vesta also raced in a Mixed 4x and a Mixed 2x racing on Saturday at Maidenhead. Paul Mew and Zena were entered in IM2 mixed doubles, in Paul’s words, “rather ambitiously”. In fact, they had a decent race with good steering but didn’t have the power to beat Eton Excelsior.

The masters mixed quad (Anna, Deb, Bryan and Bijan) had a problem on the way to the start. The steering shoe came away from the footplate so Bijan had to complete the race rather cautiously with no steering. The trailed way behind as a result.

Vesta’s crews were cheered up by tea and the best cakes ever at the regatta enclosure where they watched Kat win.

Thanks to Kat and Paul for sending in new their contributions.

New Director of Women’s Rowing for 2013-14

Vesta Rowing Club is pleased to announce the appointment of Ray Sullivan as Director of Women’s Rowing for the upcoming new season 2013/14.

Ray will lead a group of volunteer coaches to ensure the continued success of the Vesta Women’s squad.

Ray has achieved notable wins and successes at Lea Rowing club and Furnivall Sculling Club, winning the ARA Coach of the Year in 2005/6. He has coached crews to wins at Henley Women’s Regatta, National Championships and the Commonwealth Games. His crews have won Pennants at Pairs, Fours and Womens’ Eights heads, and he has also seen crews through several rounds of the Remenham Challenge at Henley Royal Regatta.

A new season kick off meeting will be held on 12 September at 7:30pm in Vesta’s front room – if you have over a year’s competitive rowing under your belt and are interested in joining the club, please come along!

On behalf of the current squad and committee, we would like to extend our thanks and best wishes to the outgoing coaches.

Winging it and winning a bit at Henley Masters

by Kat Hedges

So after months of preparation, a rigorous selection procedure, endless hours on the water, it was time for that race that we train ALL year for…. Vets Henley! After a slightly stunted start with Gemma being unable to locate any kit, Kat running late and initially only Emma in Henley possessing no tools to start rigging the boat, it was a miracle we made it to the start line on time!

However, we made it… Masters A quads first up and we had drawn Marlow first round. Considering this was our maiden voyage as a full crew we were pleasantly surprised to be up off the start and with some great motivational calls from Kat, we managed to cling onto the lead, winning by a canvas. Despite a gutsy row, unfortunately we lost to Guildford by 1.25 lengths in the final, however considering our opposition had raced and won senior quads at HWR, we weren’t too disappointed.

The crew then split into a Masters A 2x (Gemma and Emma) and 2- (Kat and Helen). Unfortunately Kat and Emma both fell victim to the lure of the booms (quickly recovered) and lost their races; however, a weekend of glorious weather, good food and great company made up for the overall lack of medals!

[no suggestion of a training schedule for next year, then Kat ;-)]