Spring Head-to-Head

21/45 - 4th in 3rd Mays - 14:12

The Head-to-Head is always a tough race, but on this occasion the headwind that had picked up after a few days of brilliant weather made it an even harder prospect. After a delay due to a very late crew member, we pushed our new shinily painted blades off the bank and headed down to the start. Marshalling was chaotic and done in a light drizzle, all of which made it very hard to switch on just before the start of the race.

The headwind made it very difficult to bring the rate up on the downstream leg, and arms tired by the minute pushing the blade out again the wind. However, we managed to hold it steady between 30 and 31, with good calls by Alex making sure we brought it back up when it dropped. After what seemed like an eternity on First Post Reach, we passed under the motorway bridge for the end of the first leg.

The second leg was an altogether more pleasing row. The rate oscillated between 31 and 33, depending on where on the course we were, what the wind was like at the time, and how enthusiastically everyone was responding to the calls. A final call just after ditton saw the rate up to 34, and whilst it flagged a little from there, the boat moved significantly faster to the finish at the railway bridge.

We recorded 7:13 for the downstream leg and 6:59 for the upstream leg (a good indication of how strong the wind was - at Winter Head-to-Head, the time was 1:05 quicker downstream than up!). This gave us a total time of 14:12, placing us 4th in the division behind Christ's M2 (just in front of us in bumps), Pembroke M2 (just behind us in bumps, although the margin was only 6 seconds, and we were 1 second faster on the upstream leg) and LMBC M3 (who had several ringers from another college first boat). Overall, a satisfactory performance, but one that needs to be built on so that we can have a good chance at a successful bumps campaign from the first day.