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.

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.

Novice Status Shed at Putney Town

The Women’s Novice Squad 8+ of (cox, then S-B): Kate Garratt, Caroline Hare, Janet Kidner, Anna Van Den Berg, Sybille Schorm, Sabine Schlosser, Anneke Van Heteren, Irene Calis & Deborah Croshaw were victorious in the W.N.8+ category last weekend, empatically beating Barnes Bridge Ladies in the final by 4 and a half lengths.

Following on from the Novice Men’s Squad win last week, this means that Vesta is rapidly running out of rowers with Novice status!

novice women ptr

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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