Whilst it looks like it would provide plenty of slug fodder we're not sure that the conditions at Roodeplaat, the course where the South African Junior Champs are due to be held this week, aren't better suited for gardening than rowing...


And you though Peterborough was bad for weed...

A cautionary tale from Bedford head last weekend...

Several Oxford college crews were entered in the event and between them had enough boats to fill two trailers, so the lone boatman tasked with the prospect of transporting them, took one trailer to Bedford on Friday night and the other on Saturday morning before the race. However, on arriving by the course on Saturday, he drove trailer number two past the spot where he'd left trailer number one the night before only to realise with horror that trailer number one was no-where to be seen.

Puzzled as to how a trailer fully laden with four eights could have completely disappeared, the boatman, coaches and rowers, who had by then arrived, tried to find out what had happened to their boats.

To cut a long story slightly shorter - it turned out that the local Bedford Chavs had indulged in a spot of drunken fun the night before and thought it would be a jolly jape to push the trailer into the river, where it was found by the local constabulary in the early hours of the morning.

The old bill then called in a removal firm to pull it out of the river, which they duly did, breaking both the trailer and half of Keeble's second eight while they were at it.

Once it was recovered, the Police looked around, and seeing two rowing clubs and lots of other boats on trailers near by... proceeded to cart it off to the pound and impound it as a "stolen vehicle". During this process one half of the Wadham's first eight was removed from the trailer and left in the river, where it remained until it was fished out by the nice people from Bedford RC at 8am the following morning (this was half of the Sims buoyancy chambers prototype and therefore floated very nicely rather than sinking to the bottom of the river without trace).

After subsequently contacting the police, the crews were informed that the pound would not open until 9am on Monday morning and that getting the trailer and boats released would cost them £200. The boatman did manage to persuade them to let him in to assess the damage for insurance purposes on Sunday afternoon but the boats and trailer were only returned to Oxford earlier this week - leaving Wadham with 1/2 eight sitting on the side of the road in Bedford and no spare trailer space to put it on.

Happily Abingdon came to their rescue and the two halves of the Sims have now been reunited (following a 2km walk down the road by half the crew).

And the moral of the story? If you can't manage to load and transport all your boats the morning of your race, buy a bloody big wheel clamp for your trailer, or tie it to a tree...

While the newly super-skinny James Cracknell has been spotted out and about around Henley, with his "trousers hanging off him" and generally looking like he needs a good feed up, it would appear that Newton's third law has been upheld and the universe is safe -- for the weight he's lost has been liberally spread across a couple of his ex-crew mates.

the big manNow, it's a well known fact that giving up rowing (but not the calorie intake that goes with it), can quickly lead to a hefty increase in BMI, but you wouldn't normally expect that to apply to individuals who are allegedly training to run the London Marathon.

While suggestions that Steve Redgrave has been piling on the pounds can not yet be backed up with photographic evidence, the attached picture of Matthew Pinsent would tend to suggest that he has indeed "pulled the rip cord" of late - that or the reports that his missus is 4 months pregant are slightly off the mark...

Of course, Steve and Matt have always been competitive, so it will be interesting to see who makes it round the course first (or who's knees give up last).

Mark my words, it'll be Celebrity fit club next.

James take note...

While rumours abound that certain elements are considering coaxing the Oxford / Cambridge women's blueboats to race on the Tideway course, the lastest news from OUWBC is that the girlies have just secured a new sponsor (their first in several years).

sponsor logoThe company providing the much needed financial aid is Pacific Alternative Asset Management Company ("PAAMCO"), the fund of hedge funds investment manager. OUWBC faces huge unavoidable costs each year, most of which have to be met by the students in the club. So as a result of PAAMCO generously sponsoring the squad for the Winter Term, they have been able to reduce costs substantially and put some money aside to invest in much needed equipment repairs and upgrades.

pink and blueThe OUWBC squad will also be rowing in the WEHORR in support of The Breast Cancer Haven, by rowing in pink (very Twickenham-esque) and every member of both boats is busily collecting donations. Last count has them up over £200, and they’ve only been at it for a week! (obviously got their eye on that free ergo...)

16-02-06 DEPTH GAUGE
welly guideReaders may wish to adopt the attached Barnes Bridge Ladies Welly Guide for their own use.

However, please note that holes in BBLRC boats are a lot less of an issue than they used to be, mainly because Barnes Bridge's new coach seems much more interested in putting boats on slings and re-rigging them, than actually getting them wet.

Anyone know a wellie manufacturer?

Last Sunday morning was generally cold, wet and miserable but the women of both Thames and London all had cheeky grins on their faces.

As for the reason for this unusual event? Well, the 120 Valentine cards and chocolates that the London boys managed to sneak into the girls' changing rooms, in the early hours of the morning, may have had something to do with it…

Yes, after weeks of planning, secrecy and trickery (trying to get all their names), all 59 girls (there were a couple of misses, dully rectified) got a Valentine card each and quite a few got more than one... like 17 more.

The cards, signed by "a boy in blue" carried an invitation for some afternoon fun and games at the regular hangout for the Putney rowers. The boys in blue, all wearing London tops, were quickly outnumbered (but never outgunned) by the Thames girls, who turned up en masse, all wearing black and red.

As for the London girls, it turns out they had outsmarted the boys and knew about "Operation Valentine" all along. They stole the show making quite an entry wearing white and blue fitted tops, with LRC Love Squadron and Reporting for Duty printed on the back.

In numbers, 123 Valentine cards, 59 girls, 18 boys in blue and one big box of chocolates. Number of cards received by one lucky Thames girl, 18. Number of Thames boys present, 0 (nil).

Which all goes to show that the London boys are actually nice guys and do not take the lay-deez for granted.

Apologies are due to the Twickenham burds that got the news of the action at a late stage and couldn’t join the fun.

Rumour has it that, following their success, other Tideway clubs are already in the LRC boys sights (well, there are 60 men in the squad after all...)

Time for the male members of the other Tideway clubs to up their ante perhaps?

...including the recently nicked UTRC trailer which was put on sale this week but which happily was spotted by their eagle eyed chairman and then retrieved by the plod from a nearby scrap yard on Wednesday...

Seems that the item has already been removed from the ebay site so no link possible.

Actually, it is still there if you know where to look:


Ho hum!

08-02-06 WHAT'S IN A NAME
The slug was interested to see that Canadian Oxford residents and well known internationals, Barney and Buffy Williams who produced a big, bouncing, baby boy last month, have named their first child Tavin Alexander Hammersmith Williams.

With that parentage, we can only hope that Tavin lives up to his name and doesn't take up darts instead.

Still, gotta wonder, just what they got up to under that third lampost...

2006 Launch Poll
who's been washing you down
Oxford Uni
Cambridge Uni
Dulwich college
Putney Town
St Pauls
Now, it's been a couple of years since the slug last ran a launch poll to find out who was causing you the most wash related aggro out there.

So, we've decided it's about time to resurrect what used to be an annual favourite, mainly to see if coach behaviour has become more considerate and changed for the better (or if IC are still being ignorant so-and-sos).

and here it is... your chance to vote for the "King of Wash 2006".

We've kept to listing entrants by club, rather than specific launch drivers (as the list gets too long), but if you feel the need to vent about anyone in particular or want to tell the rowing world why your vote goes to one individual, please let us know (slug@twrc.org) and I'll post sanitised versions of the most entertaining ones for your amusement.

Of course, the slug realises that the considerate launch drivers out there (and they do exist) deserve a bit of recognition too, so we're more than happy to post "nice" comments about people too.

Play nicely.


  • A controversial point of view here I know, but it's Head season for Lords sake and wash from launches accompanying scores of VIIIs is inevitable surely? Of course everyone has the equal right to use the river but some wash is an unwelcome but unavoidable part of the Tideway experience. If we're honest many of us have probably dished a bit out as well, however inadvertently. I'm not defending or condoning washing down but it's a very busy river (and international seaway to boot) which I'm sure we'd all enjoy more if there was bit more acceptance, politeness and common sense rather than selfishness, profanity and unrealistic expectation?

  • May I gladly say that there are some considerate coaches on the tideway. I have been out this week sculling around Hammersmith, and it appears to be Latymer's half term. There is one coach, of a very professional looking, yet rather young VIII, that wears aviators and sometimes a cowboy hat who would probably gladly stop for anyone, even if his crew were doing a piece and it prevented his coaching. Please can we have more coaches like this on the tideway. I was thoroughly surprised that he stopped to let me cross whilst shouting at his crew "You're rowing you're best ever! You look like a 1st VIII not J15 VIII".

  • BBLRC would love to be nominated. It would prove that their launch actually works, because generally it's only ever seen being towed back towards Barnes Bridge by the pansy Cygnet launch.

  • The legendary Mr Mason was out coaching a Westminster School girls' quad from Hammersmith down to Putney. I managed to hold them off for a while but then they did a piece and overtook me (on the inside - I moved out to let them through). Bill then decides to move out into the middle of the river in his launch whilst his girls continue their peice, so I scull through his wake and the big lumpy hell he's created by doing a doughnut about 100 metres ahead of me. Managed to keep the "Bloody hell, Bill!" to barely under a whisper whilst rowing through the rest of this crappy wash all the way to the Putney hard.

    ...Later, in the Crew Room cafe, I encounter our esteemed Olympic Silver medallist. He has the cheek to say "Alright feller, how you doing? I haven't seen you since I washed you down!".

  • So the real name of the Fat B@stard of Mortlake is Merv? His zen-like obliviousness to the world around him (in particular his special manoeuvre of speeding up and slowing down that allows him to wash down other boats multiple times in an outing with nary a care in the world) shows a dedication to the art of creating wash that approaches the mastery of London and Thames.

  • "Could you please add Cygnet to your list please. Their launch is often called "the wash maker" by even those who drive it. Coz Cygnet are a bunch of pansies, it has an electric start, therefore a big battery. Combine this with so much safety kit, it would put the Lifeboat to shame, and a very lardy ex captain driver, it sits just above the water line and literally shovels water forward...."

  • "I've been very amused by London scullers out for their early morning outing who scream hysterically at other clubs' coaching launches, entirely forgetful of the mayhem caused by their own coaches launches the rest of the time. Perhaps it's true - perhaps they really do own the river?"

  • "westminster should be nominated. Thay have no regard for anyone else on the river"

  • "One particular river rage incident does stick in my mind... A genuine error on our cox's part entirely enraged the IC launch driver who proceeded to accelerate in between our 2 IVs, narrowly missing the blades of both boats (including one that had crossed without incident).

    Barely clear of the bows the launch driver proceeded to perform the Tideway equivalent of a 90` handbrake turn at full speed creating a swathe of wash and dumping substantial quantities of water in both IVs.

    While fully acknowledging our cox's part in the incident, the reaction struck me as somewhat excessive"

  • "I would like to point out that the best and most considerate coaching launches are;
    a) Those that run out of petrol
    b) Those still tied to the bank
    c) Those that are run up on the shallows because the driver didn’t look where he was going..."

  • "I'd like to nominate the man from London with the walrus moustache... he doesn't give two hoots about anyone else on the river when following his crews"

  • "It seems to me most of those launching from Chas Newens missed the primary school lesson of how to share. Last weekend a boat created wash enough to pour over the sides of our VIII and, after seeing what they had done, gave us the one-fingered salute. Clearly, we deliberately tried to swamp ourselves. Who doesn't?!? "

  • "I am shocked that we are not top of the list - I will have to get the driftwood barge up there more often!"

  • "Favourite launch driver has to be Merv in the Mortlake launch. He's had it rigged up with a chair inside. Speeding down the Tideway behind the Mortlake mens VIII he looks like he's in some James Bond contraption.""

  • 06-02-06 L8 GOING GREAT
    The Liverpool 8 boys were out playing at Henley this weekend (boating from UTRC), and on Sunday quite a crowd had gathered on the bank to watch them.

    The guys have been in the boat for just seven weeks but by all accounts they are getting some tricky bits right already, no doubt down to the efforts of coaches Paul Rafferty (Northwich) and Paul Turner (Royal Chester)

    More traumatic things were a foot at UTRC later in the day, when one unfortunate member had his car nicked from the carpark (nothing whatsoever to do with the L8, I hasten to add) after some reprebate managed to find a way in unchallenged to go and check out the contents of the changing rooms.

    Both UTRC and Leander have had trailers nicked in the last couple of months, so a good time for a reminder to other to tighten up on security, and please don't hesitate to challenge anyone you don't recoginse, after all - better a few ruffled feathers than stolen belongings...