The Club's Results

May Term 2010

1st men's VIII

Wallingford Regatta (Intermediate 2 VIIIs)

Heats
2nd of 4 crews
Time: 6:35.57
With Coker trying to race with the lightweights, we were racing with both Gonzalo and me in the boat prior to final selection. From what I remember of the heat, we were leading reasonably happily at 1500, before disagreements in the last 500 about whether racing for the win was worthwhile or whether we should wind down with our place in the final secure. The result was parts of the crew going for one strategy and other parts going for the other, before shouting about it after crossing the line. (Peter)
Final
DSQ
It was a typical cross-windy day at Dorney, and so we carefully backed onto the stakeboat at quite an angle, and then sat there tapping for ages while Jesus spectacularly failed to attach.
We went off the start quite nicely, although I was a bit confused about why Natasha had us sat on the buoyline for ages. Apparently she was even more confused, as the rudder was entirely unresponsive. In light of the situation, it seems a bit remarkable that we made it to the 750m mark in more or less a straight line.
At that point, however, we started veering into the lane to our left, containing Jesus, who with a fast start were half a length up on us and in second (I think?). We blade clashed with them, got shouted at by an (understandably) angry Jesus cox, and headed off away from them once Natasha called for some of bowside to drop out. We veered a couple of lanes to bowside, then veered leftwards again and hit Jesus again, still only half a length down. After extricating ourselves we stopped in disarray and allowed the race to continue before being given a talking to by the umpire.
The umpire at this point attempted to stop the race and order a rerow as we had somewhat obstructed Jesus. Unfortunately all of the crews ignored the umpire and continued to the finish line, where they were told they needed to go to back to the start to rerow. With the regatta substantially delayed by the wind, King's Chester (who would probably have won even without our assistance) decided to go home and the rerow took place without them.

When we made it to the landing stage and got the boat out, it turned out the rudder had sheered off at the hull. The conclusions we came to were that we must have snagged a buoyline and damaged the rudder pin while reversing across lanes onto the stakeboats, and that when Natasha had to steer to bring us straight after a wobble in the start the rudder gave up and sheered off.

Personally, I was quite surprised by how difficult it was to keep straight once we'd lost the rudder, even paddling back to the landing stages. As soon as I realised something was up with the steering, I started giving steering calls to Matt and Tom in an attempt to pressure steer; I would back us to stay in lane in a rudderless 4-, if not manage to stay straight. The dramatic ineffectiveness of this makes it seem likely that the rudder is acting as a large part of the fin when there, so the eight was very unstable with just its Dunleavy-modified fin to guide it.

A disappointing end to the day, but encouraging speed for the brief periods we were making use of it. (Peter)
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Champion of the Thames Eights Head (Men's 1st Div. Mays)

3rd out of M1 boats, raced as time-only
Time: 4:36
Unfortunately the only other serious college scratched, so we were left to race against the clock. We kept the start light and loose rather than unleashing our full power, crossing the timing line at a crisp 48 strokes per minute. After the Wallingford disaster, we had agreed that Natasha would practise getting us round Ditton without using the rudder. Her hands were a little small and unwebbed to secure the best coxing prize, but there was never any danger of hitting the outside bank.

So far so good, but our clock-shaped nemesis hit back on the reach by delivering a sturdy headwind. We didn't quite maintain the precision at the front end, but the aggression was there, and we never let the rate drop below 40 except briefly when Fordy caught a boat stopping crab. Apparently this was due to a progressive rounding error in his optimal blade depth calculations which caused him to attempt to place the top of the spoon 1964.3mm below the surface on stroke 130. This wasn't anticipated in our simulations of the method, the most likely explanation being that we misunderestimated the parameter of thundering awesomeness.

When the results came in we were disappointed to find that we had narrowly missed out on the course record by just 12 seconds, but given that we were a scratch crew with a sub who hasn't rowed for ages and the crab and we hadn't even tried rating above 32 until the day before the race it really isn't too bad, and I'm 110% confident that come bumps we'll be breaking the record and killing their dreams. (Tom C)
This race saw our first sustained high rate piece of term. As such parts of it lacked the finesse we had found in paddling and short bursts and we were slightly taken by surprise by the headwind on the reach. However, there was plenty of aggression and it is clear that our technical work is paying off. It was a shame to not be able to field the full crew, but Jon proved an admirable temporary Strawson.

If nothing else, we now have 9 bottles of champs to sustain us on these hot outings. (Rich)
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Cambridge 99's Regatta (1st division)

Semi finals
Beat Magdalene by 2/3 of a course length
This race, being our first outing of the year, was the real acid test of the revolutionary weight training and "nutrition" programme that we've been following since September.

The first stroke, often cited as the most important of the race, was excellent, fully connected yet remarkably explosive. This, combined with some judicious bow pair tapping between "attention" and "go", gave us a 3/4 length lead. For the second stroke, we pushed for clear water. We drove the heels into the footplate and literally catapulted our stern clear of their bow. By the third stroke, the boat was moving quickly enough that we were able to stride into our "power clean" rhythm at rate 28.

After 20 strokes we had increased our lead to three lengths of clear water, and Natasha called a three stroke push to extend this to "a considerable margin". It felt good, but we heard a passer-by remark that we looked to be "some five lengths" ahead, so we put in another three stroke burn to remove any possible doubt that we were completely dicking on them.

At this stage, it became clear that our lack of aerobic conditioning could cost us in the second half of the race, so we conserved some energy by halving the stroke rate. This wasn't quite enough, so we easied at the railway bridge and allowed the boat to drift across the finishing line, leaving Mordling to flounder in our tsunami. (Tom C)
Final
Lost to Downing by 1/2 a boat length
This was an exciting race for us; Downing achieved "Champs" status last weekend and seem to be the crew to beat. Again we were on the meadows side and started well, but in the second half of the reach they established a solid lead. We came back a bit when the river turned in our favour, but never got within striking distance.

We were pleased with the improvement between the two races, in spite of tired legs, and the result is rather better than last year's sparring.

Thanks are due to Mr Gray for subbing, and to Downing and Magdalene for getting involved. (Tom C)
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Metropolitan Regatta (IM2 8+, Sunday)

Heats
1st
Time: 6:03.27
With exams on the Monday, Matt didn't fancy spending 12 hours in the sun with four 2k races, and we contemplated various possible super-subs. The discussions at one point were suggesting borrowing two blues and racing Eton and Durham 1st VIIIs in Senior, but eventually we decided that was a silly idea and stuck with John as a low-pointed and more than adequate sub. Once we had un-gimped the two seat and gimped the bow seat, we meandered our way down to sit in the mess of the warm up lane.
I don't remember much about the race other than it going quite nicely to plan; the feature of note was the 4:29.9 clocking at 1500m, suggesting that staying flat out would have brought us in under 6 minutes. However, with 3 going to the final and potentially another three races for stern four, we sat a comfortable 3/4 of a length up on the rest of the field and settled for 6:03. The wind changed a little later in the day and the opportunity was no longer there in the final. (Peter)
Final
2nd
Time: 6:04.29
After lounging around in a fire escape for much of the day, and watching stern four racing an Irish crew, we lined up for our final, racing for the George Hallowes Memorial Trophy.

After the flurry of the first minute, a UL crew headed the field by something over half a length, with us leading the chase. With a good display of commitment from the crew, we steadily took a few inches every stroke to row them down and narrowly lead the field entering the last 500, with UL now in second. Unfortunately, Nottingham Uni were creeping up on us relatively un-noticed, 3 lanes across by the bank. With a minute to go to the line, they produced an impressive lift and there was nothing we could do to prevent them moving from half a length down to half a length up; the surge from the whole field left UL 4th, less than a length down on the winners.

Thanks to the crew for one of the most enjoyable multi-lane races I've been in for years; just unfortunate that we didn't quite have the finish to hold on for the win. (Peter)
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May Bumps

Wednesday
Rowed over Head
Yay!! Well done :- ) such a relief to see that yellow face! (Charlotte)
Smoothly done - more of the same please. (JPD)
First day nerves out the way... (Thomas)
Thursday
Rowed over Head
Rah ! (Matt)
Our start was a bit tidier, and we settled to a sustainable pace a little earlier. We were still the best part of three lengths clear by Ditton, and had a solid but unspectacular row up the reach. (Tom C)
A determination to put distance on Caius on the reach meant that there was never any doubt. (Thomas)
Friday
Rowed over Head
Complacency Is Devastating. (Tom C)
Our poorest start of the week, leading to a failure for the expected gap between ourselves and Caius to materialise. We didn't really settle, and failed to start moving away.
Coming around Ditton corner we didn't have the pick-up of the previous two days, with a bit of a view that Caius were going to be caught by Pembroke.

By the railway bridge it was clear that Caius were surging back on us, and a desperate wind for the finish barely kept them off overlap. (Thomas)
Saturday
Rowed over Head
That'll learn 'em. (Tom C)
The day began badly with one of the Maggie guys trying, rather unsportingly, to cripple me. Fortunately the damage was superficial.

'No Regrets' was our motto for the day, with the idea of complacency firmly removed from our mind we decided to move earlier in the race to kill Caius off before they had a chance to launch their strong wind to the line, that caught us out on day 1 and day 3.

A good start and a good plough reach build, followed by a committed push out of Ditton gave us plenty of room, and the 'boring' row over well clear that our supporters and coaches were hoping for. (Thomas)
"glorious isolation" (Natasha)

1. Under the bridge
2. Rowing up to the start
3. Victory Lap
[more...]

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