Posted: Thursday 28 April 2016, 10:58AM by Lois Overvoorde
SSBC has a shiny new website under construction, where you can find all new content, plus tickets to the SSBC Garden Party. Click the link below to enter it!
Posted: Monday 07 December 2015, 12:20PM by Camille Lardy
Report by Zach Lande:
The infamous Fairbairn cup is shrouded in myth and legend. The courageous rowers of Homer had heard the stories of this race recounted to them by their coaches Chad and Rob, seasoned veterans of this grueling 2.7 km challenge. As our final race of term, we intended to continue our success from Emma Sprints and bring further glory to SSBC (by far the greatest boat club the world has ever seen etc.)
The transition from sprint training to endurance training was not an easy one. Leo “bleeding heart” Penrose learnt the hard way that it is not in fact possible to do Fairbairns at rate 40, his preferred tactic for Queen’s Ergs. Nonetheless, the Homies quickly learnt to embrace the “mileage makes champions” philosophy of the renowned Steve Fairbairns. We grit our teeth and developed an unusual love for the extended periods of time we spent together in the gym preparing for the big day, whilst making some serious #gainz along the way. One of these sessions included a guest appearance from the illustrious Emma Flint of Woods, who found herself coaching the 5 freshers of Homer. This was an enviable position to be in, which we are sure she very much enjoyed.
The 3rd December swiftly dawned upon us, and the unforgiving waters of the Cam glistened in the morning sunlight as we congregated at the boathouse. As we put on our bespoke Fairbairns T-shirts, our first proper piece of rowing stash, we knew that expectations were high, and that we would have to go hard or go Homer. We heaved the crumbling, rickety, finger-slicing, yet somewhat loveable relic that is the Lord Protector out onto the water, and prepared to do battle against the other 40 boats of the Men’s first division. As an NM3 boat, we weren’t really supposed to be there, but this was not to deter us from the task at hand. Homer was the second last boat to race, and after an excruciatingly long wait, we built up a rolling start and glided past the ominous flag of Jesus boathouse, sporting its 3 black cocks.
The race itself was a game of mind over matter. The Fairbairns burn started to gradually creep through our muscles as we powered on, eating up the meters. We settled into our rhythm, aided by the encouraging calls of Jess, the coxiest of coxy ladies. Tim, who was probably thinking about his Mom, was suddenly caught unawares by a crazy crab, which nearly caused us to swerve into the bank. Fortunately, a rapid response from the bold bowsiders re-aligned the boat, and set us forth on the home straight. As we began to pound towards the finish, the wise words of Chad “the Lad” Stacey echoed through our minds: “those power 10s will carry you home boys”. And they did just that. As Homer crossed the finish line, our first term of rowing came to a dramatic close. After the official times were released, we discovered that we had beaten Marsh crew, the notoriously powerful protégés of Captain Chris Radoux. Furthermore, our time placed us 5th out of all the NM3 crews, and a full 30 seconds ahead of last year’s novice crew, two achievements of which we are immensely proud.
The end of Fairbairns signified the final time which team Homer would row together as one. The row back to the boathouse was an emotional one, as we reminisced on all the boatie banter we had shared together. Boat Club Dinner was an unforgettable opportunity to celebrate our accomplishments of the term, but also to thank Rob and Chad for all their efforts and sheer dedication to the crew. We would also like to collectively thank the entirety of SSBC for making our first term as novice rowers so enjoyable and memorable!
Posted: Sunday 29 November 2015, 2:14PM by Lois Overvoorde
Report by Dennis Jussen
Saturday the 28th of November 2015 was cold, rainy and windy. On any other day the flag would have been yellow, but not today. Today was the day on which Casey was going to write history. Today was the day on which Casey was going to make SSBC proud. Making it to the finals of Clare Novices, today was almost that day. Unfortunately, luck was not on our side.
Casey’s long day of rowing started at 7.30 a.m. As the combined crew of Worral and Woods had taken our beloved ‘Reverend Wallace’, we lifted the ‘Lord Protector 400’ from its racks instead. Trying to get comfortable in the shoes of the boat, we set sail (hold on!) for the Reach, where a crew of eight Eddies were waiting for us. The first race was tense, especially at the start. For the first couple of meters, it seemed as if St. Edmunds was going to get away from us.
However, even though I caught what appeared to be a crab, we soon overtook them. By the time we passed under the railway bridge, we were at least a boat length ahead. Not sure whether we had passed the finish or not, we kept on going. The whistle was like music to our ears.
After some well-deserved apple-cinnamon pancakes, we made our way back to the boathouse. As Ollie’s feet were not really made for the shoes in the boat, our wonderful coach Lois sacrificed her own socks. (Apparently, that is how committed she is.)
Reaching the marshalling zone, we heard that Wolfson was going to be our opponent for the second race. The bit of luck we had was probably spilled at that very moment. Wolfson did not show up; Casey’s journey into the semi-finals turned out to be an easy one.
Since we had some time to kill and did not want to wait in the cold, we did what rowers do, and had some scrambled egg. With our stomachs once more filled, we set off for the third time that day. The wait at the bank was long and cold, but seemed like the perfect opportunity to crack some puns about our opponent. (Jesus puns are always great, especially when our coach Elliot is on the loose.) By the time both boats were lining up for the start, the wind had gone crazy. With marshals screaming from the bank, it took some while before both boats were finally lined up. Basically, the only thing I can remember from that race is that we were beasts. Not only in terms of rowing, but also in terms of sound. With Cassiano and Kit grunting behind me like bears, we did some strong rowing against the winds. Immediately supplementing our draw starts with a power ten and racing on in pair pushes, we finished first. In turned out Jesus should have kept to walking on water, instead of rowing. (Yes, Elliot, I can do it too!)
Chattering teeth at the bank, but getting warm by singing the YMCA, we prepared for the climax of the day. Just before our final race against Fitzwilliam, however, our cox-box ran out of battery. This seemed not to bother anyone though, because we completely smashed Fitzwilliam. At some point, we were leading by an incredible four boat lengths. Passing under the railway bridge, it looked as if Fitzwilliam was going to give up. The win seemed to be in the pocket, especially when Corin called out for another power ten.
Unfortunately, it was in the last hundreds of meters that bad luck hit us like in Greek tragedy. Close to the finish, we suddenly found ourselves crashing into the bank. Thinking bow-side had messed up in some impossible way, we recovered ourselves, getting back on to the river as quick as we could. Although Fitzwilliam had started to believe in themselves again, we were still miles ahead. Even when we crashed into the bank for the second time and Fitzwilliam overtook us, we did not give up. With Philip taking the stroke-rate over a nine thousand, Casey initiated an impressive chase. Once more, however, we crashed into the bank.
By then it was pretty clear that the impossible had happened: our rudder had broken somewhere during the race. Rowing back to the boathouse in yellow flag conditions with no rudder was impressive. If there is an award for this (HINT, HINT!), it would definitely go to our cox. Rowing in fours and using stroke and seven as her rudder, Corin brought us back home safely. Special thanks goes to Ollie, Franz, Sergio and Gerard, the bow-four that did all the work.
In the end, Casey did write history. Improving every single race, they made the impossible possible. Sadly, you can read that in two ways.
PS: In Casey (YEAH!) you still do not believe it, the attached photo will make you cry!
Posted: Sunday 22 November 2015, 5:49PM by Camille Lardy
Report by Zach Lande:
The 22nd November 2015 was a big day for team Homer aka “the Homies”. On this bright, calm, but absolutely freezing morning we woke up to the news that Marcelo’s wife was going into labour. We are now extremely proud to welcome Helena “Homer” R. to the team. It was also Sergio’s birthday, but we were a little more excited about the baby. In order to replace Marcelo, we had to enlist the help of the brilliantly buff bowsider that is Tom “Big T-bone Steakison” from team Marsh. As we all congregated at the boathouse, we came to the realization that our costume idea hadn’t really worked out. Our theme was supposed to be “Sports” (except for rowing), but in our collective sports gear we just ended up looking like a bunch of rowers.
Our first race was against Hughes Hall. This was our first opportunity to put into practice our intense training; we had cut our fingers to pieces in The Lord Protector during our work on race starts, and hopefully wanted to avoid catching any unwanted crabs. Unfortunately, this was not the case. To quote Eazy-E, Tom caught “more crabs than a seafood platter”, but this was because his feet kept on slipping out of his boat shoes. However, we achieved a very convincing victory despite this setback, and confidently made our way into the quarter-finals. We had a short while to recover, during which we drank tea, ate Haribos, listened to Trinity 1st and 3rd playing “last Christmas” on their cox box, and even considering going to the pub for a cheeky pre-race pint.
After Lois had sacrificed the drawstrings of two of her bags in order to tie down Tom’s slippery feet to the boat, we lined up against Caius and gave them an intense stare down, still on a high from our previous victory. Caius had a very good start, and began to pull in front, but Jess’s motivational coxing carried us ahead of their boat. A surprise appearance from an unwanted crustacean in the Caius boat caused the last 50 meters to be neck and neck, as we clashed oars in a desperate thrust towards the finish line. As the two boats glided under the bridge together we hurriedly turned towards the marshals for a decision. Upon hearing “Sidney won”, the entire crew erupted into loud cheering and applause. To quote Rob, our inspirational coach, it was “the most epic race I ever watched”. Rob was also very keen to point out that he had matched with the Caius coach on tinder. Well done Rob.
The semi-finals were against Magdalene. This was a particularly tough race, which ended in a loss for the Homies. Nonetheless, we still had the 3rd and 4th playoffs to go against Wolfson, who looked particularly appeeling in their banana costumes (pardon the pun). The Homies were fatigued from their last race, and had to dig deep in order to rapidly spin the boat and line up for their final race of the day against the bunch of Wolfson rowers (yes, that was another banana-related pun). The Homies truly emptied out, but couldn’t quite catch up with Wolfson. Nevertheless, we placed 4th overall in the M2 division, which is an incredibly impressive result, of which we are all proud. We would like to thank our coaches Rob and Chad for all their time, dedication, wise words, and for putting up with our incessant demands for extra outings. Hopefully the Homies will see equal, if not more success in Fairbairns in December!
Posted: Sunday 17 May 2015, 5:26PM by Camille Lardy
Report by Philipp Hirsch:
With the term halfway through and its grand finale, May Bumps, drawing closer, M1 today competed in its second race since training resumed – Champs’ Eight Heads. For our crew it was an opportunity to see where we stand after a difficult start into the term. After all, a curse on all bowsiders had forced a number of rowers to drop out of our boat. In addition to that, injuries kept coming in over the past weeks, leading to repeated changes in the crews and a lack of continuity. Consequently, training had rather focused on getting the new crew to row together, stressing the basics rather than providing much race-related fine-tuning. Also, we were once again unable to compete with the full crew, as our stroke was unavailable for the weekend. Yet, things were brightening up recently. Over our last few outings, we felt continuous improvements as a crew, an impression which had been confirmed by our coaches. Also, our emergency stroke Chad “The Lad” Stacey had proven that he could be relied on for doing a class job. Finally, we had been able to get hold of James Houston as today’s sub, winning the skills of what is arguably the boat club’s most legendary rower to never had competed for the boat club in a race before. Thus, having lowered the boat on the water, we rowed on a wave of careful optimism to our starting position.
Champs’ Eight Heads requires a standing start right before Ditton corner. An unusual position that requires the crew to pick up speed quickly but then to immediately readjust our pace so that stroke side can get the boat around the corner, for which bow side must ease off its pressure. Despite a good start, this odd situation did not help us to hit the beginning of our race on the head, and it took us a while to get the right feel for the corner. Once around Ditton, a second stride-call by our cox Amy was necessary to get the timing together for good. After this, however, our performance clearly improved and a rather powerful row down the Reach followed. But under the railway bridge, exhaustion took its toll and concentration dropped slightly. This resulted in our boat rocking around a bit, making it difficult for everyone to continue clean and technical rowing. But with the emotional support of our bank party and clear coxing instructions, these defects were soon corrected and the boat gained in stability and speed. Unfortunately, a little confusion ensued towards the end of the race, when the exact timing for our final strokes was not clear to everyone in the boat. This possibly cost us one or two seconds on the finish.
Yet, M1 can be happy with this result. We showed that despite a novel crew and continuous changes we can perform well in a race, getting a similar time to the much more experienced crew last year. Also, our performance today was a clear improvement to our first race. Overall, we probably went around half a minute faster than three weeks ago in the Head of the Cam race. Thus, the curve clearly shows upward, and this trend gives us reason to look forward to May Bumps.
Posted: Sunday 17 May 2015, 3:16PM by Camille Lardy
W1 took to the water this Sunday without having rowed as a full crew since Wednesday, and having lost their cox Elliot to an unstoppable nosebleed two hours before the race. Nevertheless, the generous step-in of W2’s cox Anna and the crew’s usual concentration allowed us to put in a good show, notably finishing ahead of the Newnham crew whom we will be chasing on the first day of Mays.
Champs’ Eights Head is a 1450m long race ‘from pub to pub’, between the Plough and the ex-P&E. In deference to the crews’ Bumps training, the start is a standing one, called a little before the start line, rather than rolling as in usual head races. Our start was neat: after controlled draws, we hit the start line and built our rating up to 34 with more confidence than in our practices starts on the way to marshalling. Anna called for a stride to settle at 30 right before we entered Ditton Corner. The wind had picked up during our 40 minutes’ marshalling, and we got scrappy around the corner due to the combination of unexpected headwind, the difference in pressure between both sides to get around Ditton, and the fact that we hadn’t quite settled into the stride yet. However, this scrapiness was ‘limited’ to a slight rush on the recovery: aware of the downward spiral rushing can bring, we were focused enough to remain long in the water and balanced.
Mid-Reach, Anna called for a lengthening in the stroke while navigating us closer to the bank and out of the stream: things picked up as she told us to ‘do it for Elliot and his bloody nose’. Rolling out our pair pushes, we took an excellent line in the last third of the Reach and approached the inside edge of the Railway Bridge with a middle-four burst. A power 10 after the Bridge showed our best rowing so far, the strong finishes and balance that we had kept throughout now being complemented with a longer recovery. We maintained these technical points all the way to the line at the P&E, clocking out at 6 minutes and 24s.
Back at the boathouse, we discussed how to be more effective in controlling the ratio for future races, yet also congratulated ourselves on having successfully brought our technique up to scratch in the second part—having shown that we do not ‘accept’ the mishaps that may happen at the start of a race, we must now work on engaging this improvement earlier on.
Many thanks to Anna for her gutsy coxing, which can be credited for galvanizing us into strengthening the second half! Thank you as well to Lois’s family for the support on the Reach, the post-race brownies, and the video which we will dissect for technical points. And of course, well done again to the ladies of W1!
Posted: Sunday 03 May 2015, 4:47PM by Camille Lardy
W1 started the morning in less-than-ideal conditions, having to decide at 10am whether to warm up before the race—but get drenched in the rain—or forego the warmup altogether. We chose the latter, and met at the boat house at 11am, knowing that our lack of pre-race prep would mean being absolutely focused as soon as we sat in the boat.
City Sprints is a side-by-side regatta from the white bridge at the far end of Midsummer Commons, to City Boathouse, 400m upstream. Our first race was against Clare W1, fourth from the top of the Mays charts, in the semi-finals of the student women’s VIII category. Our new cox, Elliot, had only coxed us once before, but was absolutely in control of the boat and of the crew when the start was given, the umpire’s fast “attentiongo” taking us slightly by surprise before we’d squared our blades. We still started better than Clare, whose stakeboat was slightly behind ours due to the curving nature of the course around the bend of the boathouses. There isn’t anything much to say about the race: we were in time, we were technical, Elliot called for strokeside to take us ‘round the bend and before we knew it, we were past Goldie and into the ‘last 10 strokes’. Having never let up on the power, we beat Clare by ¾ of a length.
We learned shortly afterwards that we would be facing Christ’s II in the finals—having bumped that particular crew last Lents gave us extra motivation, as well as the news that we would again be racing on the Commons side, which puts us on the outside of the bend but gives us the advantage of starting with our opponents slightly behind, in our sights. The wait at marshalling was much longer this time, but thankfully the rain had stopped. It was, however, replaced by a very strong headwind. We started off strong, more steadily than in the first race, but the wind made us veer very slightly and the strokeside blades clipped the banks. W1’s experience and focus were proven when all of bowside carried on rowing, and strokeside joined back without missing more than a couple strokes as Elliot skillfully steered us clear. Christ’s, on the inside of the bend, had gained on us to the point of almost overlapping—from the stroke seat, I believe I was level with their six woman. They still had the advantage of the bend, but we were determined not to let them get what we considered to be ‘our’ win. Elliot reminded us that we were still in the lead, however slightly, and the W1 Power Machine was engaged: rowing more smoothly that we had so far in the day, we lengthened our strokes as we rowed past Goldie for the second time. In less than a hundred meters, we ate up Christ’s and won the finals by an entire length.
Having won City Sprints, we collected our pots and celebrated with a pint of cider! Thank you to all our supporters, especially Pete, Tash, and Jaason. Very well done again to all: this was a first win for most of us, and a fitting welcome for Elliot into the crew! Now on to more races every weekend, and Bumps at the start of June, after the most solid start of term the crew could have hoped for.
Posted: Wednesday 11 March 2015, 6:00PM by Camille Lardy
Report by James Moore.
A term of upward momentum. Starting in a chilly January morning where it slowly became clear our crew had one more bowsider than was strictly necessary, and proceeding with a steady stream of subs and scratched outings over the term, no one really knew what to expect from Sidney M3. Yet as eight weeks passed we rather unexpectedly became a crew.
As we learned the Cambridgeshire railway schedule by heart from David, and were haunted in fevered dreams by the wailing moans of Darren to “Sit the boooooat!” (or was that just me?), slowly we tried to learn the principles of rowing together, rowing in time, rowing at race pace, and finally even doing a race start - upon which, in shocked words our usually steadfast coach Nathan remarked, “I think we’ve actually found something this crew can do”. Balance was, and remains, a mystery, but no matter.
Eventually the getting on race was upon us. And we rowed. Well. With a time faster than a host of other M3 boats, and even a couple of M2s, it was just ten seconds, a couple of crabs, and the eternal wisdom of CUCBC which kept us out of bumps - ‘the best dressed crew not to get on’. So instead, we set our eyes on the Talbott, and eventually on the distant Mays.
Come the day, and we pulled in behind a Clare Hall M3 (which was, I understand, suspiciously similar to Clare Hall M2), decked out in fetching yellow and red lycra. After a nervous wait, we lined up on the Long Reach, and as Luke stared wistfully into the Cambridge countryside with one hand on his blade, the race started. It couldn’t have made less of a difference, Sidney owns the reach, and we knew it. Within fifteen strokes, David from his coxswain seat could stare only at their bowman, and a couple of strokes later, we had clear water between us. Unsure how long the race was, our M3 pushed until we could push no more, and after a Sookias reset we pushed some more. Clare Hall clung to our wake and we pulled away no further, but M3 aren’t greedy. Winning by a length and a half is fine by us.
After enjoying our victory, we waited for our next competition to be decided. Churchill M3 or First and Third M3? Both were strong, and we knew Sidney would be David to their Goliath no matter who won, but at least they’d tire each other out before we matched up against one of them. As we were marshalled for the race however, a fresh and spritely FaT M3 was sat next to us. Churchill had scratched! Having sparred with FaT M3 before, we knew the second highest M3 in both Lents and Mays would be tough competition, and facing them with a race already under our belts was far from ideal.
The whistle went, and once again our draws were strong. It may be the only thing we can do, but Sidney M3 can start, and so not only did we hold station, but from where I was sitting I think we moved a seat on FaT. Side by side down most of the Long Reach, eventually our fatigue and relative inexperience began to show, and when after the railway bridge a rogue whistle confused half our crew thinking we’d finished, the FaT advantage of half a length or so became a length or more, and the race was done.
Back at the boathouse, we celebrated as victors, and why not. In the space of eight weeks, Sidney M3 had gone from a collection of (sometimes as many as) nine people standing shivering on the side of the Cam to a competitive racing crew. Bring on May Bumps.
Posted: Wednesday 11 March 2015, 8:15AM by Camille Lardy
Report by Alex Bogomil
A most amazing Lent Term 2015 was coming to its end, and the epic adventures of the most unlucky and the least known of the Sidney Men's Boats, the fabulous M2B, were to reach their peak and be epitomised by the Talbott Cup 2015 Race.
Having missed the Lent Bumps which had taken place not long before the Talbott Cup, the M2B were enthusiastically anticipating their first race, which was expected to immortalise our names in the Boat Club history.
During the Term all of us have demonstrated an unprecedented degree of concentration, remaining invariably devoted and hard-working, reducing the number of training sessions with subs down to five and increasing the number of successful outings up to (maybe slightly over) five. The Crew was eager to bring all the necessary success components together, including finding the best boat for the race (and accidentally the oldest boat in the whole boat house): the legendary "Lord Protector". We all were fully determined to prove that M2B was actually a boat and not a concept. In that positive mood we approached the big day.
On the day of the race the Crew were highly motivated and focused. We knew that we had already made it into the semi-finals (having only four boats racing in the division), and there were only two boats which were to be taken over. However, the most unlucky boat simply was not allowed to have a boring ordinary race. So it started with… no keys for the boat house to unlock the cox box.
Now, technically this should not have happened in the first place if you are a normal boat, and secondly it would not have been a problem had it been a standard outing, but for a race a cox box is crucial as many of the more experienced readers of this report would probably know (Spoiler: it did not help.). Fortunately, our brave Vice-Captain Elliot Ford, who was kindly subbing for one of our crew members, got a brilliant idea how to save the situation and immediately set sail for the spare keys possessed by some of the higher administrative officers of SSBC who were at the other end of the river where the race was taking place.
While Captain was desperately hunting for the keys, the Crew took the boat on the water and No. 3 happily started his usual pre-outing procedure of fixing his seat to prevent it from getting off the rails during rowing (an amazing activity which always provides an entertaining reminder to No. 3 that his choice of Engineering as a degree was right; besides, it is always good to have an Engineer on board). The peaceful serenity was disrupted by another surprise - we were lacking oars. To crown it all, once the key had been found and the cox box was released from its confinement, the latter became inexcusably ungrateful and refused to work despite all the efforts of our noble Coxswain. Needless to say, once we had fixed everything, we found ourselves far behind schedule and possibly late for the start.
Surprisingly, apart from being more of a race rather than a relaxed rowing to the starting point, the way forwards went without notable accidents. The poor old broken bow ball was put in its legal place with some highly efficient modern piece of technology commonly known as cello tape in time for the race and the first ever picture of M2B with its current crew was taken while waiting for the start in a pleasant company of the graceful Sidney W3. In a short period of time we were to face the evil Queen's M5, someone even lesser known than us and who were said to had had just two outings together.
The start for the M2B could best be described using the analogy of the drag race of a Ferrari F12berlinetta (as M2B) against Tesla P85D (as Queen's M5), with one important correction that unlike Ferrari, M2B never made it there. Queen's took a good powerful start and a moment later we realised we were lagging by a quarter of a length. Having always believed in "No retreat, no surrender", Sidney adopted a wise strategy and increased both the power and the speed of the strokes, which, coupled with our experience, gave us a notable advantage and we started to gain velocity and soon were racing on par with the competitors.
Unfortunately, winning the race would have been too mainstream for our hipster boat, and to comply with the CUBC 2014 standards, we crabbed. And crabbed. And kept crabbing until it was done properly. According to our telemetry, the crab must have happened somewhere between No.2 and No.4, and it proved to have been fatal for our race, as it led to a recovery delay. Inevitably too much time was lost and Queen's took the lead. We never gave up and rowed wildly till the end, reaching a very good speed and approaching Queen's who seemed to have lost their stamina completely. Alas, on a short distance we were doomed. Queen's M5 won the race, and Sidney had to go.
Still by the opinion of many M2B had the most fashionable coxswain, wearing the most fashionable life-jacket and the most fashionable sun-glasses. Whatever the results of the race are, the Lent Term has been an unforgettable time both for the crew of "Lord Protector" and for "Lord Protector" herself. Good job, M2B, well done!
Posted: Tuesday 10 March 2015, 8:21PM by Camille Lardy
Report by Evie Butcher:
W3 came together on 10th March at 14:45pm (well, half of W3 and five various subs - including a cox). We were a mismatched crew, a jumble of individuals that broke all boundaries between boats (with individuals *somewhat legally* subbing from W1 and W2), and we had only rowed one outing together - that fateful day had left one crew-mate with a juicy rowing war wound in the guise of a black eye. However we were still confident; the sun was shining and we felt like it was our time, Sidney rows best as the underdog and we were up first against Jesus W3 who had rowed in Bumps - but we knew we could take them.
After a generally successful row up we pulled in by the P&E to stretch our legs, no sooner doing so than we were told to hop back in - no time for sunbathing, shades pulled down, we got our heads in the game. For the first race we had prepared ourselves that Jesus’s start might be more spectacular than our own, since they had a few practice goes under their belt from bumps, but as the umpire called for attention, in the pause before ‘go’, I think the whole boat felt that despite our lack of continuity, we COULD row together. We powered through on the draws and the winds, settling into a strong and steady rhythm for the lengthens, and before you knew it we were edging slightly ahead. Though eyes were in the boat, as they are at all times, ever, I think we all felt the Tomminox surging beneath us and realised that we had this - as I said, this was our time. There was a slight glitch in the middle when after apparent divine inspiration Jesus caught up with us, but in true bulldozing, battle-paddle style, we put all the power down in the legs with some pair pushes and power tens, and once we had passed under the railway bridge we knew it was a power twenty to the finish. Basically. And Jesus were left in Sidney W3s wake.
After this ecstasy we realised we would have to row again, but after a brief team talk, basking in the light of the approaching evening, we restored our spirits and our energies and rowed back up to the start once more. It was a mentally tough race against FaT W3; we knew they were fresh from the row up, without the extra 800 on their legs, but at the same time our confidence in each other as a crew had grown tenfold after that powerful win, and we were going to give everything we had. We kept up with FaT pretty well off the start, and successfully recovered after a crab, giving them hardly any slack, however a few malfunctions throughout the boat slowed us down, and getting back up to their speed, though we did it with surprising efficiency and great determination, was just a little bit too much to ask, and we lost the grip we had on FaT W3. But all in all we powered through to the end (not an easy thing to do in that situation), and we could hold our heads high after a physically then a mentally strong race.
The makeshift crew that was Sidney W3 this day went away winners in the end, and what better way to bask in the glory of a Spring evening?