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Video: Why rowing with SCCBC is so great

Row to Ely (and back!), May Week 2013

When Jet suggested we row to Ely and back in May Week, I think we all envisaged a sunny afternoon's row to the Cathedral City, where we could have a nice pub lunch before sauntering back up the river to Cambridge.

How wrong we were.

Our first mistake was underestimating the distance. 52km is a long, long way.

Our second mistake was expecting it to be sunny. No-one bothered to look at a weather forecast, and so we weren't exactly well prepared for the downpour. Fortunately for Harriet though someone for some reason brought an umbrella, so at least she could cox in the relative dry. In the end the rain didn't last too long, and at least it was warm, if muggy.

Navigating Bottisham lock was nearly our next mistake, although just in time Jet managed to find a key and we were able to make our way through with the assistance of our heroic bank party, Chris Eddy. Incidentally, navigating a lock in an eight when the lock is considerably narrower than the bladespan is rather exciting.

What was so heroic about the bank party? Well, none of us knew what the towpath had in store beyond Bottisham, but thanks to some google earth investigation Chris was sure that it would be possible, if rather nettly. We lost Chris immediately after the lock, but assumed that he would catch up. Except for the occasional confused phone call where he would update us with the latest lake he'd had to wade or nettle thicket he'd fallen into, we had no contact with Chris until Ely.

I was the first to see the bedraggled figure arrive. The poor man was soaked to the skin, pushing his bike beside him. Evidently the bike chain's resolve was not as strong as the rider's, and had snapped several miles back, leaving Chris to walk the remaining distance to Ely. I have never seen nettle stings like those on Chris's legs. No-one quite knows what happened to Chris on the path from Bottisham to Ely. He tells us that just as he had lost his way and was losing hope just as rapidly a fisherman appeared in a clearing in the nettles, who guided him back to safety.

In Ely, we hadn't considered what to do with our boat. Based on absolutely no evidence we decided that CUBC wouldn't be using their boathouse that day and dumped the Honourable Alistair outside whilst we dashed into town to get fish and  chips. Of course CUBC were using their boathouse, but fortunately were in a good mood so let us off for parking on their doorstep.

For the row home, there was no way that Chris was going to confront the terrors of that tow path again, and Harriet had to be back in Cambridge (we had made considerably slower progress than we expected) so caught the train whilst Chris coxed us back. The row back was long and hard, but largely uneventful. Aided by Chris's entertaining coxing we made fairly good time on the way home.

We staggered back into the boathouse at around 8.30pm, exhausted. It had been a filthy day and I think we had all underestimated it, but it was really good fun and a nice conclusion to the year, particularly for those leaving us who might not know when they will next be getting into a boat!

A photo taken outside CUBC at Ely is attached.

May Bumps 2013, M1 Day 4

Rowed over 5th on the river

After sitting for much of the course with overlap on LMBC's stern on Friday we knew that, given the course, we could hit them. Unfortunately they didn't give us the course, and 3 days late, pulled their finger out to bump the much slower Jesus crew off of the start. With Caius bumping Downing back, we ended up rowing over at the head of the division, a long way ahead of FaT.

+1 is nothing to be ashamed of at the top of the 1st division, especially in a year where all of the top crews had been training seriously, with large contingents of university rowers. I had a great week and I'm looking forward to next year's Mays campaign with headship in sight once again.

Henley Women's Regatta 2013

On 21st June W1 competed in the prestigious Henley Women’s Regatta in the Academic 8s category. It has been many years since Catz has competed at Henley and so we were very proud to be able to represent our college and compete against much larger universities.

In the time trial we had a good strong row, and although we just missed out on qualifying by 6seconds, we beat 7 universities and the other competing Cambridge college, Fitzwilliam.

This was in fact the longest we had ever sprinted in a straight line, and now that we have a precedent for participating and know more about how to prepare ourselves for this kind of event I am sure that next year we will be able to qualify.

The crew would like to thank Dan Stein, Georgie Plunkett, Mr and Mrs Stevens, and especially Graham Summer for their support which made our participation possible.

May Bumps 2013

May Bumps starts on Wednesday and we're looking forward to strong performance across the board from the six crews that we have on the river. For information on where to watch the bumps from see here. The times for each division, given below, will be updated with the result when available. The results are linked to race reports where available.

The quickest way to get the latest updates from the river is to follow us on twitter - @SCCBC_Cam

  Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
M1 Bumped FaT Rowed Over Rowed Over Rowed Over
W1 Bumped Girton Bumped Trinity Hall Rowed Over Rowed Over
M2 Bumped Emma II Bumped FaT III Bumped Selwyn II Bumped Clare II
W2 Bumped Selwyn II  Rowed Over Rowed Over Bumped Trinity Hall II
M3 Rowed Over Bumped Selwyn III  Bumped Wolfson II Bumped Darwin II 
M4 Rowed Over Bumped by Churchill III Bumped by Hughes Hall III Rowed Over

Click results to read race reports where available.

May Bumps 2013, M3 Day 4

Bumped Darwin M2 on the reach for +3 overall. Good job guys!! :)

PS: Dare to halve race report length every day pretty much successful haha

May Bumps 2013, M2 Day 4 - Blades!

Bumped Clare II

With 7/9 of the crew having coming so agonisingly close to blades in Lents, it's fair to say that there were some nerves before the race on Saturday. Just to add to the tension, we were chasing a Clare II crew who on the first day had already come within a canvas of the boat they were chasing, Corpus Christi, before dying and being bumped themselves.

So the plan was to go hard. With the bank being so busy on the last day, we knew that communication between the bank and the boat would be difficult. Fortunately, we knew that Clare's boatman Anton would start ringing his bell when they got within a canvas of Corpus, so this would be our signal to kill.

Naturally I took a massive airstroke again off the start, but otherwise it was solid, and fast. We didn't really stride. Going around First Post Corner the rate maybe dropped to 38, but not for long before Alistair made the kill call in the Gut, and it came back up above 40. We were closing on Clare, but they were closing on Corpus. Running on adrenaline and raw emotion we flew up the Gut and hit Clare on Grassy Corner, moments before they would have hit Corpus.

Blades.

It was unique row. The context, and the sheer guts from the crew, made it a truly special performance.

Every member of the crew worked hard for our success this term and I'd like to thank all of them. Thibaut may be going to the other place, but I'm pleased that he will continue rowing. Hopefully Sam won't let his talents as a strokeman go to waste once he leaves the Cam. Dr Wothers is a rock in M2; his experience and reliability are such an asset to the club. As for Alistair, Dan, Anthony, James and Chris, I look forward to rowing with them next year!

Finally, I'm sure that our term would have been nowhere near so successful had it not been masterminded by Simon and Dr Scales. Not only their ruthless ergs and excellent coaching, but also their tactical nous was vital to our bumps week. A special thank you to Simon for all of the hours he put into coaching and organising us this term.

Roll on next year: Michaelmas seems a long way away!

May Bumps 2013 W1 Day 4

Row over behind Queens W1

After rowing over behind Queens on day three the aim today was to make a massive move off the start to try to gain on Queens as much as possible to give us the best chance of getting the bump. We had a very strong start and had almost got a whistle on Queens by Grassy. However, we were too evenly matched and crossed the finsh line with a strong row over.

Although we met our match in Queens W1 (well done to them), we did succeed in reaching our goal of crossing the finish line knowing that we had rowed our absolute best and emptied the tanks. 

W1 finished +2 and 12th on the river, which we believe is the highest Catz has been placed since the early 2000s. This puts us in a fantastic place to push to get into the top 10 in the first division next year. 

Thank you to Georgie Plunkett for coaching us this term and preparing us mentally and physically so we peaked at exactly the right time, we couldn't have done it without you.

Next in the schedule for W1 is Henley Women's Regatta 21st-23rd June.

 

May Bumps 2013 W1 Day 3

Row over.

After our incredibly early bumps on day 1 and 2 there had been a few whispered mentions of the possibility of blades in the W1 camp, but we knew that in the first division that is a very rare event and so didn't dare get our hopes up too much.

On day three we came up against our toughest challenge yet: Queens W1. We have a lot of history with Queens from Lent bumps, and from races earlier in the term we knew that we were fairly equal. We did not have the best start and it took us a while to get up to our full race speed which gave Queens the advantage from the start. We stayed on station with Queens for pretty much the whole race until the reach when a series of immense builds saw us eat into their lead, but it was too late to get close enough to bump. We ended up with a good strong row over as did both Queens and Trinity Hall around us so well done to them too :)

On day four we will have another go at getting Queens and we know where we can improve on our race from yesterday. We may not be pushing for blades, but we are edging ever closer to the top 10 of the first division. Whatever happens we will aim to row home knowing that we raced as well as we possibly could to make the wheel proud. Bring on Day 4!

May Bumps 2013, M2 Day 3

Bumped Selwyn II

We knew that Selwyn II were a decent crew, and that they would do everything they could to hit Clare II before we could get to them, so we had a slight change of plan today: to go hard off the start and try to gain on Selwyn quickly before they could ruin our chances of a bump.

All the excitement got to us a little, and my massive air stroke on the second draw stroke illustrated nicely the tension in the boat going up First Post Reach. All in all the rowing was pretty good though and we held a lively 38 on the rating until the Gut. This all out attack was working - we were making good ground on Selwyn II. There was only so long we could hold this rate for though and soon we had to let it drop. Fortunately this wasn't too much of a problem as Selwyn weren't making any ground on Clare, so we began to relax and the rowing got tidier.

A great line from Alistair around Grassy brought us even closer and soon we were getting the whistles for half a length then a canvas along Plough Reach. Around Ditton corner Alistair made one of those brilliant coxing decisions that we never want him to make again, and steered for the bump with about a foot of overlap. Fortunately we made contact and got the bump.

Today certainly wasn't our tidiest rowing, but clearly it was pretty fast, since we hit the relativley quick Selwyn II relatively quickly. Even the hard to impress Dr Wothers seemed happy with our performance today, so it must have been ok!

Tomorrow sees us chasing Clare II, themselves chasing Corpus Christi at the top of the division.