Dev Girls take HWR by Storm

As the Int4+ woke up on Friday morning to “Eye of the Tiger” pumping through the speakers Vanessa Ibbett, Sam Bowman, Briony Martin, Niamh Murphy O’Connor and Celeste Boruvka all felt the understandable nerves of a development squad going to their very first Henley experience.

The slightly stressful journey to Henley in rush hour traffic did little to ease the nerves even with Bob Marley’s “Don’t worry about a Thing” blaring. On arrival at Remenham, with only 20 minutes to rig our boat and change, our plan to take our time rigging and getting ready went out the window.

With heart rates running faster than mice, we got out on the water and were hit with gusts of wind and a very fast stream. A failed attempt to enter the umpire zone to have our boat checked and a sticky situation with an Empacher 8 later, we were on our way to the start line. Due to the bad weather only the top 8 boats were to qualify which put even more pressure on us, but a pre race pep talk with James, Bevan and Verity assured us they had every faith we could do it and our row up to the start gave us the chance to shut off and get in the zone.

After a shaky start we fell in to a strong rhythm and dug deep – with no other boats in sight we had no way of telling how well we were doing but we worked together with Celeste expertly taking us down the course to qualify in the top 8!! The news brought tears, hugging and massive smiles all round. Not only had we qualified but our quarter final put us against Thames’ IM2 boat – what a race that would be!

We spent the few hours we had eating, napping and inevitably going to the toilet a million times! – But this was it, we were officially qualifiers in Women’s Henley and there was only Thames in our way to the semis.

Our pep talk with the coaches reminded us that we were in our element – “the conditions are perfect for ‘bigger’ girls” (…lucky we aren’t sensitive!) We were hit with what can only be described as gale force winds and rain as we got on the water and realised this was going to be a tough one. We just had to remember we’d done it once that day, we could do it again.

We nervously attached on to the stake boat with surprising ease (anyone whose seen us at the start of other regattas would know this isn’t our strongest manoeuvre!) After the traditional re-enactment of the “True Blue” touching of shoulders, we were called to attention and were off. As we anticipated, they were faster off the start, but we didn’t let it phase us and got in to our rhythm quickly. The wind was halting us at each stroke, but we kept pushing and working together. At 500m a quick glance across saw our stroke sitting equal with Thames’ bow – we were rowing through them! Celeste’s call for clear water was answered and by 1000m we had a clear lead. The last 500m were arguably the hardest any of us has rowed – it felt like the wind was pushing us back up the course! We maintained our steady rhythm and gained a 5 length lead on Thames and were rewarded with an “easily” verdict when we FINALLY crossed the finish line. As we came in to land, James and Bevan were smiling like proud Dads – we were in the semi finals!

A much needed day off was had on Saturday and on Sunday we were back in Henley and ready to race again. We had achieved more than we ever imagined, but we now wanted to prove we could go all the way. With weather conditions considerably improved, we got on the water and paddled up to the start with Mortlake (our opposition) closely following. We managed yet again to get on to the start relatively pain free and came to attention. They took us off the start as again was anticipated, but we managed to get in to our strong rhythm. Unfortunately every call Celeste made to take them was matched by them and they held us off by a length. We fought hard, but they eventually crossed the line with a 2 length lead. Although it would have been great to make it to the final, we are really proud of what we achieved and had an amazing experience. Roll on next year!

– Vanessa

Storming Results for Vesta Women at WEHORR

Anyone who has walked through the club over the past several months has no doubt seen the Vesta women training hard and training often. Last Saturday, the women were finally able to ‘cash in’ all the hard work, which resulted in the best WEHORR performance in Vesta’s history:

Women’s Senior Squad:
Vesta RC A 4th Overall (3rd Fastest Domestic Crew Overall)
Vesta RC B 16th Overall (Fastest 2nd 8 in event and fastest Domestic Elite Crew)
Vesta RC C 28th Overall (Fastest 3rd 8 in event)
Vesta RC D 77th Overall (Fastest 4th 8 in event)

Women’s Development Squad:
Vesta RC F 181st Overall (improved on starting position by 114 places beating 50 non-novice crews)
Vesta RC E 248th Overall (only lost a few places despite kit failures and the heaviest cox in the event)

VESTA WEHORR – Images by Iain Weir

A huge congrats to all the girls and coaches, and all the Vesta volunteers and members who provide the support to make results like this possible. Below are the race recaps from each of the Senior crews. Enjoy!

Vesta A

Pushing off from the Vesta hard at exactly 10am the Vesta A crew had one Ambition, to race hard, row fast and come in the top 10.  Arriving in the marshalling area there was time for a quick drink and relax; the calm before the storm. Paddling off 15th,one behind a strong Molsey WCS crew and two behind old rivals from Quintin Head, Durham Uni, the chase was on.  Off the start long and strong, Molsey had a lead of 1 1/2 lengths. Using the advantage of being able to see the VRC crew coming the MBC girls put in a good fight before being overtaken off the end of the Island. Flying through Hammersmith Bridge with a perfect racing line the Vesta crew honed in on the Durham crew, now only a length away. Cox Ro’s nerves of steel held off an aggressive push from the Durham cox who attempted to get back her line at Barn Elms, and kept the girls flying in the stream towards home. Fuelled by the crowd on the Vesta balcony the last 50 strokes saw the A boat pass the Durham crew and collapse in a heap on the finishing line.  Rock On. The official result was 4th, in a time of 20:25.

Vesta B

The “B for Ballsy” crew line-up consisted the two Helens (Edwards and Ellison), Anna, Aga, Vicky, Rahma, Martha and Sybille, coxed by Julia, and after coming third in Hammersmith W&J Head the crew were excited about tackling the full course. Starting at number 28, we enjoyed taking our first scalp (Queen’s University Belfast) as we exited Chiswick Bridge – despite easying twice on the approach to give them room. With Barnes Bridge Ladies on our tail we set off to hunt down Latymer, inching closer until we succeeded in moving through them just after Hammersmith Bridge. Sitting up into the head wind along Harrod’s Wall, our next targets were Imperial C and Thames B, and we shortened the gap to only a couple of lengths, all the while as BBL crept closer. A final push along the embankment, fired up by the famous Vesta roar, helped to empty the last drops in the tanks, and a finish place of 16th – the highest Vesta B crew finish ever, and the highest B crew finish in the event. We were also pleased to hold off all schoolgirls, including the only GB crew in the event (under 18s). Robust debate over a few bottles of Cava later on centred around whether we deserved a pennant, being the first non-overseas elite crew home – WeHORR organisers, you know where we are if you change your mind!

Vesta C

Learning from previous mistakes, Vesta’s C – or ‘Crackpot’ – crew boated before anyone else so as not to miss the start of the race. Holidays, work commitments, illness and unspeakable last-minute foot infections meant this was the first time all 9 crew members had been in a boat together. Undeterred by this (practice, after all, is cheating), and buoyed by a rousing crew chat by adopted coach Jeremy Rose, the Crackpots set off in a positive frame of mind and with their trademark sense of humour in tow.

Thanks to feisty stroking by resident ‘shire horse’ Becs Packer, ably assisted by Sarah ‘Shetland’ Wood in the 7 seat, the girls stormed off the start, starting to pick off crews shortly after Barnes Bridge. Determined and aggressive coxing by Rachael Dixon ensured the crew held the racing line even despite some kamikaze steering by a slower Kingston crew. Unfortunately even a massive push from powerhouses Gemma Etherington and Martha Walker couldn’t quite edge the boat past the speedy City of Bristol crew that had set off just ahead; but Vesta retained hot on their heels the whole way down. A fantastic finish saw the girls overtaking several more crews as they charged past the boathouses.

All crew members hoped their performance had enabled them to achieve the top 50 result they were aiming for – and received the news of their stonking 28th place finish with amazement. Lively celebrations (ahem) ensued. Coach Jeremy’s delight with the result was tinged with relief that the Crackpots hadn’t finished 8 places higher – he’d promised to wear a dress if they made the top 20. Think they had him scared for a minute.

Vesta D

The WIM3 ‘Dynamos’ took to the Tideway on Saturday with their newly acquired boat buoying the journey up to the start. Sadly, super seven seat Hayley had to pull out on the morning of the race, so we had to call upon Vesta’s own super sub Jenny Cann. The row up proved a chance to get used to our new crew and our new boat. We all gave a shout for the Vesta crews (which must have been a factor in their impressive results…) and got slightly starstruck as Anna Railton, of ‘There’s something about Rowing’ fame, started in the Cambridge A boat. She was kind enough to make us some snazzy mugs, so we thought the least we could do was to give a shout. After having to easy just ahead of the start line, we got off to a speedy start, overtaking crew 120 within a couple of hundred metres of the start line and chasing down the next crew. We felt like we had a quick race to Hammersmith, grateful for the many loud supporters cheering us along the course. As we pushed off Hammersmith Bridge, the wind picked up, although we still managed to overtake a crew passing Harrod’s, in spite of the other crew’s steering. From then on in, it was hanging on for dear life until the black buoy and the cries from the Vesta balcony. It was a well-fought race, passing five crews with aggressive and inspiring coxing from Jamie Wooller and a determined row from all the girls. For many in the crew, the result was the highest placing they have achieved at WEHORR and, alongside coming 10th in our category, something we consider an achievement in itself.

Quintin Head Round Up


Fastest Women from cox to bow, Julia Hedley, Kat Astley, Holly deGay, Caroline Newbury, Lara Brock, Stine Keyes, Kitty Lowings, Emma Dyson, Kat Hedges

The 2012 VIIIs Head Season began on Saturday 28th January with Quintin Head, raced from Chiswick to Harrods Wall. Vesta had a dominant showing with three Senior Women crews, one Dev Women crew, one Senior Men crew, and one Vet Men crew entered. All crews performed strongly, despite some blade clashes which made for harrowing rowing.

The senior women layed the marker for the months ahead, the girls won the Senior division and brought back the pennant for fastest women.  Having moved away from Barnes Bridge Ladies off the start, the race focused on chasing down the Elite boat of Durham University just in front.  Some brilliant coxing forced them way out of the racing line and Vesta eased past them just before Hammersmith Bridge (with the fabulous call ‘Move out of my way, I’m faster than you’), to finish 20 second ahead of them and the rest of the field.

The Dev Women raced what was for some of them not only their first ever rowing race, but also the first time to have rowed all the way up to (and back from!) Chiswick. Well done for a stellar performance!

Fours Head – A Big Thank You

A special thank you to the members of the Women’s Dev squad who volunteered to help with marshalling on Putney Hard. It went more smoothly than we could possibly have hoped, and we received many compliments from the police, Council, coaches and competitors on the helpful and cheerful attitude of the Vesta members. Many thanks from Judith on behalf of the Fours Head Committee.

Summer 2011 Regatta Summary

With the three big Henleys out of the way, members of various Vesta squads have been busy enjoying the delights of the Great British Summer regatta circuit. The following are the Vesta wins recorded this summer.

  • The women’s development squad followed up a fantastic season with a win at Richmond Regatta in W.IM3 8+ (crew:  A. van Den Berg, S. Schorm, S. Barton, S. Head, S. Schlosser, V. Harvey, R. Withers, T. Hudson, V. Taylor (cox)).
  • CORRECTION: Kingston Regatta passed with a few entries and at least TWO wins:
  • o    Mas C 4- Peter Simpson, James Weatherstone, Fred Beaud, Bryan Williams beat Kingston GS Associates
  • o    Nov 2x James Ulner and Nico Russman
  • … Fortunately we were back on winning form at a rainy Molesey Regatta, with no less than four wins – all in sculling:
  • o   Gianni Galavotti finally popped his novice sculling cherry in style, with wins at both Nov 1x and IM3 1x
  • o   Athene McGregor-Macdonald and Natalie “Red” Demblon also lost their novice status, in the W.Nov 2x
  • o   Martha Kelly notched up a win in W.IM3 1x
  • Back in Henley-on-Thames (for Henley Town and Vistitors) Vesta claimed more silverware, this time with some help from our friends:
  • o   Emi Furuhata lost her novice status in the W.Nov 4+ in conjunction with HSBC RC
  • o   Kat Hedges defended her quad title in the W.IM2 4x with alma mater club Eton Excelsior.
  • And last but not least, in the Barnes and Mortlake Regatta, Mas C 2x was won by Peter Simpson and Frederic Beaud who beat Putney Town in the semi-final and Cygnet in the Final to win.

Well done Vesta! Now back to the ergos to prep for the new season ahead!!

Martha and Aga

Remenham Challenge Cup, Sunday 16th January

The Remenham Challenge Cup was held on the Tideway, a downriver course from Chiswick Pier to the London RC flagpole.  Vesta entered a grand total of seven crews in the Remenham Head, which was a great turnout for one of the first races of the season.

The senior women’s squad entered both the Women’s Elite and the Women’s Intermediate.  The Elite crew, from stroke to bow, consisted of: Alex Johnson, Lara Brock, Ailsa Tremayne, Aga Siemiginowska, Nell Pascall, Susan Atkinson, Ellie Dorman, Kat Hedges and Julia Hedley (cox).  The Intermediate crew, from stroke to bow, consisted of:  Tammy Bernard, Sandy Kurek, Caroline Newbury, Helen Edwards, Vicky Brock, Liane Higgins, Liz Crighton, Kitty Lowings and Ro Thompson (cox).  The Intermediate crew won their category with a time of 12.58.27, narrowly beating the Elite crew who finished with a time of 12.59.54.

Winners of Women’s Intermediate: from left to right, Caroline Newbury, Tammy Bernard, Liane Higgins, Kitty Lowings, Helen Edwards, Vicky Brock, Sandy Kurek and Liz Crighton

Women's Elite Crew

The women’s development squad gamely entered Women’s Intermediate category.  The crew, from stroke to bow, consisted of:  Anna Vandenberg, Sybille Schorm, Sarah Head, Marie-Elena Nilsback, Sian Withers, Thea Hudsen, Deborah Croshaw, Emi Furuhata and Victoria Taylor (Cox).  For some of the crew, this was their first ever race, so despite the shaky start their coach, James Unler, was delighted that they finished only about a minute and a half off the top boats in their category, with a time of 14.23.87.

Women's Intermediate Crew

The Men’s Elite A crew finished in 11:46.97, the Men’s Intermediate crew finished in 12:25.44, the Masters A crew (Jamie Halliday, George Fieldhouse, Barry Clarke, Ariel Perez, Matt Gilliver, James Watts, Angry Vinny McGovern, Colm Hardiman and Andrew Macmillan (cox)) finished in 12:39.12 and the Masters B in 12:57.47.

Men's Masters Crew

Men's Intermediate Crew

– Tammy Bernard

Quintin Head 2010

On a cold, but Sunny morning, a flotilla of Vesta boats took to the water for the 2010 Quintin Head which runs from Hammersmith Bridge to the University Stone just before Chiswick Bridge.

With entries in the IM1, IM2, WIM1, WIM2, WIM3, N and WN categories, the club was thoroughly represented at all levels of racing and with seven crews entered, Vesta had the largest amount of entries for any club on the day.

After decent performances in the Remenham Head the previous week, expectations were high for the Senior Men and Senior Women and in true Vesta fashion, they did not disappoint.

The Men’s IM1 crew of Cox: Liz Head, Laurence Manning, Christoph Schrader, Rob Shaw, Nick Neveling, Michael Hughes, Alister Campbell, Nick Ireland and Bevan Goulden won their category pennant in a time of 12:18.8.

Quintin Head IM1

The Women’s IM1 crew of Cox: Julia Hedley, Emily Trant, Sarah Wood, Lara Brock, Charlie Dempster, Vics McLeod-More, Kat Hedges, Mary Francis and Rahma Barclay was the Fastest Women’s Crew with a time of 13:28.6.

Quintin Head WIM1

The Women’s IM2 crew of Cox: Katy Hinks, Hilary Blandy, Kitty Lowings, Athene McGregor-McDonald, Aga Siemiginovska, Jenny Douglas, Helen Edwards, Alex Johnson and Vicky Brock won their category pennant in a time of 13:50.7.

Quintin Head WIM2

For the rest of the Vesta Results, please visit the results page.
Photographs used with kind permission of Birdman Photography, please visit their site for more images.

The 55th Scullers’ Head

panorama

A veritable flotilla of Vesta scullers was out representing their club at this year’s Scullers Head.

There were some very positive results from members of all the squads despite many of the participants recovering from the recent illness that had swept through the club.

As per the norm for a Vesta event everything went smoothly and thanks go out to all who helped out with the organisation and running of the event.

Full Results

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