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The Club's Results

Foster Fairbairn Pairs, May Term 2009

Little and Large (Men's 2-)

Crew list for 1 race:

Little and Large
in Hambleden
bow Peter Ford str Pedro Salgård Cunha

Crew list for 2 races:

Little and Large
in Amartya Sen
bow Peter Ford str John Kiely
Quarter finals
Won by 5s
Time: 8:11
A lot more exciting than I was hoping. We had a reasonable row, I thought, but discovered after the race Pedro's wrist wasn't taking to high rates at all well; the only sign to me of this was a mini-crab in the gut.

The excitement was what was happening behind us. Gonzalo had about the same warning as me in Lents last year of needing to race, about 5 minutes. Having done an outing with him earlier in the week, I knew he could make a pair go quite fast, but I hadn't realised how fast he and John would set off. Even before we got to the posts on Plouch Reach it was obvious they were gaining substantially, and my best guess is that they had over 10s on us 800m in. However at that point John clipped the inside of Grassy (probably the steering error with the best excuse, it being necessary to be quite close to have a half-decent line), Gonzalo threw up, and an angry narrowboater shouted at them. After that it seems they were struggling; we didn't really get any faster until the last 250m, and the margins at the three sets of posts were 5s down, level, and 5s up. A very impressive bit of rowing (and steering, for the majority of the course), and I imagine with a day's notice of the crew for the race, Gonzalo and John might well have had us easily. Go and get it next year! (Peter)
Semi finals
Won by 14s
Time: 7:52
Our hour of gentle paddling around with a few starts seemed to be vaguely working, I was rowing in time with John more often than not and slowly working out how long to row. Improved further on the paddle down to the start, and set off reasonably aggressively. I was slightly worried down First post reach that this might be an erg difference to far for me, but Kiely told me afterwards I just put the rudder on and sat there happily. Much better lines round the corners than yesterday, and we steadily pulled away over the course in a relatively uneventful race. (Peter)
Lost, by 13 small seconds
Time: 7:45
This was better than last year, sadly the jesus pair were actually quite quick. I'd wanted to get my name up in gold, and double my uni medal count, but instead my blue lycra was stained by defeat. Oh well...

I haven't written one of these for a while, so I think this is the part where I put the excuses. Having had some time to consider them, I believe that they were worth at least a minute, and possibly two. Firstly, it was too warm, and I'm not used to rowing in these conditions, or at this time of the day. Second, I wasn't allowed to use the C2s, and instead spent the row failing to find any connection with the crokers. Third, they had a filippi, and we had a burgashell, whose bow had had a non-aerodynamic hole put in it. Fourth, we were unable to get out of the boat before the start, so I wasn't able to scare them by tensing and making them feel intimidated/sorry for my malnutrition (this alone was worth at least 30s). Fifth, we'd only had one practice outing, which was an unpleasant race yesterday. Sixth, I was confused by having a bowman who tried.

On the plus side, we rated quite high, and were the fastest trinity pair (by time anyway), going over the course in a reasonable time. I also pushed peter hard enough to make him vom. And I got a sun tan, although unfortunately this turned in to sun burn during my later outing. The jesus guys had trained a lot, and are the second fastest pair on the river, which isn't bad considering who's in the top pair. They probably also set a record time for this event, though someone else will probably check this for me. So they may have deserved it. (John)
I think I'll go for something in between Kiely's amusing extravagance and 2001-era "Didn't pull hard enough" reports.
We probably didn't pull hard enough, and that wasn't helped by the cold that had come on hard the day before; on Plough reach I attempted a 3 word call and nearly threw up, so went back to the relative safety of monosyllabic grunts after that. Being able to breathe is useful.
However, we probably also put too much effort into pulling against each other, pulling against the rudder (must try not to put rudder on and quiche...), and trying to make the Cam go backwards at speed. The C2s would have helped on the last front, because you can actually push as soon as the blades in the water with them, but they weren't to be had, and the problems would more have been solved by either spending more time in the boat, or me being better at rowing.

In any case, it's not clear that the things we could have changed (like training) would have been enough, the Jesus pair went very fast. Glad tho to finally produce a decent time in a pair since leaving school, so thanks to John for helping me do that. Finally, many thanks to Emma for both keeping me on the river during my abysmal steering on Monday, and not getting scared when I went back to 6-12" margins for days 2 and 3.
I'll be back. (Peter)

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