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!