Race Hard : Hammersmith Regatta 2013

27 Apr

Well, Thames Novices have now reduced in number, not due to dropouts from the squad, but because our women’s first team won the category for Women’s Eight Novices, and so are now part of the Intermediate 3 level (IM3).

Unfortunately, my crew did not make it through the first heat – however we were a scratch crew, with only one training session together on the Thursday before, and a brief outing the morning of the race.

The weather and conditions were awful – strong winds, sea-like waves and even hail at one point! – however this is no excuse! The team we were up against were the B team from St Paul’s school, and on the start line they looked nothing more than giggly school girls! However we lost the race in the first 5 strokes sadly.

The crews from schools such as St Paul’s are fortunate in that they can train together every day, and do most mornings in the week along with their PE lessons. However, our crew was made up of a mixture of previous crews and so we hadn’t had much practice together, and the balance was not good enough to get a good start in the choppy water.

As we hit the head wind, our cox Claire told us that we started to catch them up – the training over winter helped here greatly, and given that we were generally much bigger than their crew, we should have been able to manage the headwind – however we were not strong enough and they managed to push on ahead of us.

Due to being out on the water for the final heat of three, we were unable to see our first crew win their heat – however we were told that they too were beat on the start line by the two other crews, but it was in the headwind that they fought back to keep the crews off them and push through to the final race. Winds and conditions such as today are where size and weight can be of an advantage over smaller, lighter crews. Our women’s first crew have also trained together for the majority of the season – minus the race here or there where seats have been swapped – ie when I joined for the Women’s Head of the River, and so this too helped them in their victory.

It was a little disheartening to come back to the club having been beaten by a school team, however given the situation I think we did as well as we ever could have. It just goes to show the importance of having a crew that can train together regularly.

Here’s to the next regatta, with tankards waiting for us! Fingers crossed it will be without the hail too!!


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