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!