Our first lazy race of the day. Wound high, got hit by cruiser wash badly enough that waves ran over the saxboard, found we were more or less level 250m in and were in danger of blade clashing (fairly mutually on the steering). Separated, got into the calm water next to the island and had what was described as "150m of passable rowing", which earned us a 3/4 of a length lead. Pushed it on a little more to get almost to clear water, then sat and spannered around allowing them to row us down, with the finish line coming just in time. (Peter)
Even more lazy. We had been told that Thames weren't going to be particularly fast and hope that this race would be easier than the semi-final. When 250m in we had managed a better start than the previous race but were a seat or two down, I was starting to doubt this advice.
Then Thames' stroke caught a crab. In the ~12 strokes they were rowing bow six and we had "called a push", we took less than a length out of them. I still have no idea how. We then played the game from the previous race of sitting and watching them row back through us, but with 500m to survive this time. Somehow we slogged our way across the line first.
Thanks to all who made today somehow work out (I've still no idea how it all hung together in the end...). 15 hours spent either outside in the sunshine and high-twenties temperatures, or on even warmer trains, might be considered unpleasant but I think everyone survived, and the promised thunderstorms never turned up. Somehow a plan involving multiple trips up and down the Thames by bike and by borrowed VIII got us to the right places at the right times, and we somehow scraped our way to novice "pots" (nobody told me we would only get medals! admittedly nobody told me anything, because this started with "hey Matt, we should go and watch the girls race at Molesey. We might as well take a boat to race in") for six of you.
The above writing seems verging on incomprehensible. I blame 15 hours of dehydration and far too many miles of badly surfaced roads/towpaths on a road bike...
I believe the winners of this race went on to win all of their IM3 4+ races comfortably. More of a fight might have been put up if the crew had ignored the marshals and done a bit more of a warm-up, or indeed if the final crew had been decided upon more than two hours before racing... (Peter)
"First and Third, return to the course". I don't think this was actually called by the umpire, but it should have been.
We were awarded a bye to the final, so took advantage of the opportunity to watch our opponents race their semifinal an hour or two before. They didn't look particularly inspiring, but I later concluded this was probably because they were so far ahead that they were trying to paddle at 20, and struggling to do low rate in the chop. It turned out the practise would definitely have been useful for us.
The only crew entered which we had managed to do any outings in was the IM1 4-, which failed to get any opposition, so a random pair of Jon and I was proposed as an alternative. We'd managed to get an outing in on Friday afternoon, and had discovered we naturally fitted together surprisingly well, so had reasonably high hopes as we lined up for the final. Our opposition kindly warned us that they had found it tricky not to drift wide on the bowside corner which made up the first 300m of the race, so I lined up on the start pointing at the apex of the corner.
Unfortunately, racing on either the Cam or buoyed straight courses had left me unused to needing to look round in races. I aimed for the apex of the corner, and it seems that's where we went, clipping the buoy with Jon's blade at around a minute in. At that point we were around a length up, thanks in part to a minor shipwreck by Kingston, but clipping the buoy and restarting dropped us to a couple of seats behind. We struggled on a little behind but were starting to run out of steam and dropped back to clear water down, at which point our increased efforts made directional stability less and less secure; I think I left the course a couple of times and clipped buoys with Jon's blade a few more times. By the end we were a long way down, and I feel we would have lost even with perfect steering, but it was frustrating to be proved quite so ineffectual at something I've previously managed to do quite well. (Peter)
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