On Sunday 19th November Shipley faced their first race as a novice crew. After just a few weeks of training and a recent move to a new boat, we arrived on the morning of Emma Sprints feeling apprehensive but excited. The crucial preparations for the race included the finishing touches to the minion costumes. Once the application of the face paint was completed – and the crew resembled our favourite yellow and purple overall-wearing characters – we headed towards marshalling.
On the way to marshalling we experienced a premature taste of bumps as Lucy Cavendish decided to get a little too friendly and mount our bow at the P and E. However, despite the collision Shipley continued unphased and were cheered on from the bank by our biggest fan – a small child with a love of despicable me. We continued towards the start line to face our first opponents, First and Third. We eyed them up at the start but couldn’t quite work out what their costumes were supposed to be. A small hint of green tinsel suggested some nod to Christmas trees, but this was no match for our commitment to purple hair spray and eye-liner goggles.
We started the first race strong and took an early lead. Our lead then increased further down the reach, aided by some steering difficulties from first and third. Our opponents made a good recovery and, with their better directed performance towards the end of the reach, managed to close some of the gap between us. However, the Shipley crew remained strong, despite an unfortunate ‘dual crabbing’ incident, and crossed the finish line ahead of first and third to win our very first race.
We proceeded to marshalling for the next race, our spirits heightened by our first victory. Our second race was against Emma themselves, dressed as a boat of yellow ducks (complete with yellow shower caps). Shipley again had a confident start, the crew looking even stronger and more together going into the second race. We began neck and neck with Emma down the first section of the reach, everyone putting in a good performance. Emma then pulled away slightly and maintained a small lead, despite an exceptional performance from Shipley, crossing the line just ahead of us to snatch the victory.
We then headed home, and despite our loss against Emma remained in high spirits. The row home was accompanied by a musical performance that gains the crew the title of ‘most tuneful’ (or at least loudest) at Emma Sprints. A particular shout out goes to Chris for her knowledge of the lyrics of late 90s classics.
Once our concert on the cam was complete we returned to the boat house to enjoy our well- earned mince pies and reflect on our success. Though we had lost in the second race the crew were very pleased with the day and look set for an even stronger performance in novice Fairbairns next week.