Grit squad 2018

On Wednesday, there was widespread disappointment as freezing temperatures meant that conditions on the towpath had become unsafe, so racing was cancelled halfway through the afternoon, leaving W1 and M1 without their first day of racing and M2 without their second.

Boaties Cambridge-wide waited in suspense for news of the next day's racing.

It was not good. The Beast from the East continued to show its claws as the significantly negative temperatures meant that the compacted ice on the towpath was there to stay. Thursday cancelled. W1, M1 and M3 down another day.

But, on Thursday afternoon, a glimmer of hope. CUCBC announced that they had successfully gained permission from the council for an independent gritting operation to be conducted along the towpath. Boaties mobilised. Bumps had not been cancelled for weather since the great winter of 1963, and we were not about to let the great winter of 2018 produce the same fate. Online groups were set up, emails sent out, tools obtained and a hardy (some might say gritty) team of volunteers descended on the P&E on Thursday evening. The assault began as several hundred boaties from across the college boat clubs joined forces to clear the path by any means necessary. Good progress was made, as a couple of hours' work resulted in a clear path from P&E to the plough. Round 1: 1-0 to the boaties.

Round 2 was similarly successful, with the remainder of the course cleared on Friday morning and the towpath declared safe to use. Alas, the Beast from the East was not done yet and unleashed its secret weapon (its panic kill call if you will). Extremely windy conditions around lunchtime on Friday meant that the first two divisions to race were cancelled, so M2 and W2 lost out on the day's racing. W1 and M1 ploughed on through the storm to finally complete their first day.

The Beast has continued to bite and further snowfall on Friday evening means that the gritters will once again be mobilised over the next 24h to save our beloved bumps. Catz is making a substantial contribution to the collective effort, and there is optimism that tomorrow's predicted tropical temperatures (where did the minus sign go?) and windspeed will mean that these efforts allow every boat a successful final day of racing on Saturday.

Lent Bumps 2018 will no doubt go down in history, thanks to the heroic endeavours of those who would not let a bit of weather stand between them and their sport.


Pictured: Catz 1st women's curling team

W2 Lents 2018: Day 2

W2 arrived at the boathouse, excited from yesterday’s success and feeling confident chasing First and Third W2, but nevertheless it was a blizzard outside and we couldn’t quite believe that we were going to be rowing bumps in these conditions. Warm up seemed to be going well as we did our usual front stops build in fours, rowing (somewhat) merrily down the stream. This merriment quickly ended when bow’s blade ended up caught in a crack in a wall near Green Dragon. Unfortunately, the blade became logged and almost in slow motion, snapped. Oh no, we all thought! This was NOT good. We had no bank party at this point, so Fiona was frantically calling anyone who may have been within the vicinity of the boat house, to try and source a new blade. We managed to contact M3 and got them to leave one of their blades near the start of the course. After much debate about the difference in gearing between women’s and men’s blades, and many a random coach inspecting the blade, it was decided that we should opt for the men’s blade. Suffice to say we felt rather guilty as M3 rowed past us in 7s (apologies to the guy who was inevitably freezing due to unexpectedly not rowing!).

A detailed commentary of the race itself is offered below by Sid: ‘It was epic. Picture the scene, icy breeze, snow everywhere, gunpowder in the air. A bang! And we were off. Pretty soon we realised we underestimated the incompetence of Jesus W3, who decided they liked the bank more than the river. Pathetic! So the First and Third machine took revenge for a bloody first day. Then, in the distance ahead of us....there they were... looking...ermmm...out of time. Like a coiled viper, we decided to strike. First post, 4 lengths , we kept it tidy, we stalked our prey. Grassy was a tight corner for us too, they ran wide, clearly horrified at their impending doom. They decided to go wide around Ditton, and Fiona saw the opportunity! She dived down the inside and it was neck and neck coming out of the corner. And Catz took the lead of the race! Not content with being done nor both crews stopping despite what the umpires said was a bump, they both kept racing! Eventually we took the lead and the racing line, our stern past the bow ball. And Fiona still cracked the whip, before we decided that we had pounded them into submission by enough and that this was not a formula one race. But twas not over! For queens decided to keep racing toward Catz! Eventually sanity prevailed and an astronomical shelacking from the umpire afterwards really drove the message home for Queens, quit when you're done!!!!’

Special thanks again today go to our bank party, comprising of Izzy, Jack and Sid. They risked some treacherous conditions cycling along the ice rink, which had become of the tow path, at the side of the river. A member of another bank party literally broke their collar bone during our division – so massive kudos! Overbump secured! A successful day, albeit it eventful. Who knows what will happen for the rest of the week considering the weather conditions. However, this W2 is prepared for any eventuality now and we will be hoping to chase St. Edmunds W1 in the next race.

W2 face the blizzard

W2 Lents 2018: Day 1

This was the picture. It was a freezing day; the temperature was -2. With concerns of hypothermia running rife around the boat club, W2 responded appropriately by layering up in multiple hoodies and fluffy socks. It appeared that the start cannon did not want to conform to the social construct of time, and went off during the countdown at 4 seconds to go. We dealt with this well and managed to get our standard start sequence in. Before we knew it, we had whistles coming from the bank and were gaining on Medwards W2. We stayed strong, kept our rhythm, and before the first corner we had overlap. As we went round the corner, we bumped the crew, but it took Bow’s blade physically engaging with the cox for a concession to be made. But it was. Day 1, Catz W2 + 1. Here's to another successful day tomorrow! FTW, Amy and Holly

Lent Bumps 2018

Lent Bumps starts on Tuesday 27th February and we have 5 Catz crews participating. M1 and W1 are racing in the respective first divisions, M2 and W2 are starting in the respective third divisions, and M3 is starting in the fourth division. 

Hover over a result to see if a race report is available. Click on the crew name to see its members.

  Division* Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4


 Cancelled Cancelled   Bumped Girton  Bumped Queens'


Cancelled  Cancelled   Rowed Over Bumped by Trinity Hall 


 Bumped by First and Third Cancelled  Cancelled Bumped by First and Third 


 Bumped Murray Edwards Overbumped Queens'  Cancelled Bumped St Edmunds 


 Bumped by Caius Bumped by Caius  Cancelled   Rowed Over

For information on where to watch the bumps from see 
here.   *Division times are here.
Follow the action on the radio at and see official results here
For a map, see here. Join the tow-path at the pink marker, and follow it to the North-East.
Grassy corner (the second big corner, the large right-hand bend) is a particularly popular spectator spot. 

Newnham Short Course 2018 - W2

It had been a tumultuous morning, with one of our rowers stricken down with the dreadful flu that has been on the news of late. The search for a sub ensued. Fortunately, Rosie came to our rescue! It was a bleak mid-winters Saturday afternoon and W2 plus Rosie assembled at the boat house, ready to conquer their first challenge of the term – Newnham Short Course. After a quick pep talk, we started off with a front stops and back stops build. It was in this early stage of our race preparation that we faced our second major obstacle. Unfortunately, Newnham had failed to invest in sturdy card for their race numbers, opting instead for mere flimsy paper. The result being, a soggy, mangled number, unreadable by those on the bank. We had barely made it to the P+E when a disgruntled marshal asked us to fix the number on our bow. It was at this moment that we had to inform them of the flaws in their numbering system. All things considered, the criticism was noted, and hopefully next year we’ll be seeing numbers made of card!

We eventually made it to the start line, after a short but freezing wait, we were off! We did a rolling start, Matt Temple style, consisting simply of “five builds”. We settled into a steady rhythm and managed to sustain this for the first half of the race. As we approached the reach, Fiona screamed “Medwards we’re coming through!” And from here on, our rate rapidly increased as we saw an opening in our peripheral vision. With some motivational pressure calls from our cox, we quickly found ourselves lining up with the crew and eventually overtaking them. We were now in the last 500m of the race, and as our energy waned Newnham Short course was no longer feeling quite so short! But we made it, and in a time of 8:26, enough to win us the W2 division and earn ourselves some gorgeous medals in the process.

St Catharine's W2 - 1st Place - Newnham Short Course 2018

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