03-02-06 TVH
It would appear that the new Thames Valley Trial Head had a few organisational hiccups last Sunday. The race took place at Dorney lake, and while the phrases "head race" and "2k rowing lake" are terms that the slug normally views as mutually exclusive, they still managed a healthy turnout with over 200 crews entering -- a good number of them juniors -- so there's obviously a market for it.

Problems with the marshalling resulted in a big log jam at the start pontoons for the first division (see pics) and there were no marshals on the cycling side (next to return lane) at the start so crews just piled up and up.

One observer reproted: "The start marshal, then the marshal at 250m, stood and watched as a 4x did racing pieces into oncoming traffic and it took a coach to tell him and draw it to his attention, he then started to shout at the crew rather than use the megaphone by his feet."

mind you, doesn't look that different from certain Dorney based regattas last summer...

Full results at www.marlowregatta.org.uk/index.asp?page=68

After much consideration, Tideway Scullers have decided that they are not going to run the Tideway Scullers Head or the Veteran Scullers head this year as the costs and effort they have to put in to run it are too great for the entry received.

The organisers suspect that people just donít want to do a single sculling head at this time of year and as running an evnt has large fixed overhead costs with safety etc requirements, they have actually lost money on a race size of 200 to 250 entries.

So it looks like the insane amongst you will have to wait until the original "Vesta nutter's head" takes place on 2nd December.

The inagural Quintin Eights Head ran very smoothly on Saturday morning, which was sunny and bright but bleedin' freezing.

Thirty one crews from a variety of clubs raced over the course, with a Quintin S1 crew winning overall (to cries of "FIX..! FIX..!" in the bar afterwards). While a MAA S2 crew were the fastest women's crew.

Any non racing crews in the vicinty were well behaved, indeed, the Cambridge University crews who were out deserve a particular mention as their good manners and rigorous following of the navigation rules would put many local crews to shame.

The only glitch in the running of the event was a tendancy for the officials' launches to break down - I think there were a total of four that went U/S at some point during the proceedings but the fine spread of food at the QBC clubhouse afterwards has probably ensured that they'll have plenty of umpires next year, should they decide to repeat the event.

Full results are available at quintinboatclub.org/Head/QuintinHeadResults.htm

The clubs in the ARA SE Coast region have never (we think - possibly once or twice, but more or less never) entered the WeHoRR - mostly due to a lack of women as much as a lack of boats. So four of the clubs in Kent (Herne Bay, Deal, Dover and Folkestone) have got together to put in a composite entry. And they're raising money for charity as well.

Nothing spectacular in that so far...

Except, if they manage to raise £500 before race date - they've promised to row in their bras!

Whilst most women umpires will be shivering at the thought, the slug can make a good guess at what the response from the male Officials on duty will be - well provided the crew's visible underwear is "matching" and in the appropriate "club colours" for a composite...

They've raised £151 at the time of writing, so if you want to find out what happens, why not sponsor them online at www.justgiving.com/whorrcara

Must be a couple of generous "altruistic" (cough, cough) readers out there...

Fogle and Crackers may back in the country and doing TV interviews (complete with ginger beards) - but don't forget that quite a few of the competitors are still slogging it out mid-atlantic, in difficult condidtions.

Six of the pairs have now withdrawn from the race following capsizes / damage to their boats and the organisers will undoutably have to review both the timing and rules of the race in future years, for reasons that this open letter from Bill butler spells out very clearly. (click on link and page down)


The race organisers are also facing critisism that they have been "pandering to celebrity" in giving first place to Cracknell and chum (who broke into their ballast water) on their website, rather than Team C2 who didn't.


class 2On a lighter note Chris Martin, who celebrated his 25th birthday at sea on Friday, continues solidering on alone, after breaking yet more oars and a rudder and fixing them in true Blue Peter style.

Chris has picked up a fanclub in Class 2 High Bentham Primary School who have incorporated him into their lessons, leave nice messages of support on his weblog and their following of Chris's exploits has even got into their local paper.

how cute are they!!!

28-01-06 VANDALISM
Apparently, after the HOR4s in November, a number of visiting clubs left their boats on trailers ready for the vet 4s the next day.

Overnight, vandals attacked the City of Bristol trailer and untied a couple of boats, leaving one on the ground next to the trailer but throwing the other into the river. Luckily this was later recovered by Sons.

A week later (17/11/2005) Emanuel School loaded a 4+ and an 8 onto their trailer on the Thursday night before trailing up to Cambridge. The boats were still there late on Friday but when Ross turned up early on Saturday morning the 4 had been thrown down the bank and the stern section of the 8 was missing. It was later found caught in the over-hanging trees next to UL.

The police have been informed and Emmanuel School have incident numbers should anyone need to contact the police about any further damage or to ask for more patrols around club premises.

More patrol cars have been spotted in the area over last few weeks so they may be taking a more active interest in security but it's important that any damage is reported to ensure the level is maintained or increased accordingly.

Clubs should also consider ensuring that trailers are only loaded at the last possible moment rather than days in advance, so as to minimise the period of risk.

Those Dewar Shield results (almost) in full
AK1 - 11.20
AK2 - 12.28
Sons1 - 12.34
AK3 - 12.38
Sons2- 13:03

FSC - 12.48
AK1 - 13.02
Sons1 - 13:35
Sons2 - 13:36

Luckily, it would appear that the Colombian authorities are much happier with visiting Europeans who are interested in training rowers than they are with visiting Europeans who are interested in training rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, for you may (or may not) be aware that Scrubbers stalwart Phil Rowley was appointed as (their first ever) national coach by the Colombian Rowing Federation last September after he visited Colombia for "discussions".

Up to now, Colombia has only been represented three times on the international rowing stage. In 2003, Rafael Mora was at the World Championships in the Lightweight single sculls and Rodrigo Ideus competed at the 2004 and 2005 World Junior Championships.

Colombia currently have a senior team of 5 people, and their first ever female international competitor will be racing this summer in the Lightweight single.

Since there is not an official training base set up in Colombia, the Federation and Olympic Committee have agreed that all training for the next three years, will be based in London, although, there will be athletes training in the countries where they live, coming together in London from time to time during the winter for training and the summer for racing at the World Cup and World Championship regattas.

Colombia is eager to have applications from any rowers or scullers who are of Colombian parentage and are currently training to a high level within a Club or University. All applicants should first make contact with the National Coach ( piprow@aol.com).

To say that the ARA's published responses to the coroners' letters (see link in previous article below) have got some people spitting blood, would be something of an understatement.

Alas, rather than giving the sport a chance to take on the lessons of both incidents and learn from them, the spoutings from our national governing body, appear only to have kicked off a new round of accusations of lying & misrepresentation and despair & disbelief - mainly from those involved directly in the Amposta incident.

Caroline Smith the cox of the eight in which Leo Blockely was rowing, has asked that her informal response to one of the letters published on the ARA website be posted here

Informal response to "7. Letter, dated 19th December, 2005 replying to Mr. John S. Pollard from Mr. Gary Harris."

(link fixed now)

Coroners Letters and responses have finally been posted on the mafia's website.


The letters at the bottom are worth a read if you have time, very telling...