... or "how to be a gallant winner"

We know that you're always looking for alternative insights into training which can be applied to your own approach to rowing and coaching. Well reproduced here for your education and entertainment is a memorandum on the Conibeare style of rowing - with a note of its practical application by Staines BC in the season 1953-4.

Memorandum on the Conibeare style of rowing (PDF file)

To give you an insight into the treat that awaits - the summary is rather good:

  1. Hook on with knees together and hands together
  2. Great crescendo of power
  3. All hell at the finish
  4. Out of bow and round the turn
  5. Shove on the brakes
  6. Heads up and feather late
I especially like the author's view on "light paddling". Can't all be bad mind, as Brian Griffin who is referred to in the text went on to win the Wyfold with The Royal Engineers, though as one reader points out
"The fact that the RAF won 2 events (albeit 2nd tier ones) at Henley in 1953 might have as much to do with the fact that many considered them professionals, having been posted there so that they could row, as it had to do with their rowing style. They were booed by the crowd."

Anyway, I'm sure this will be debated at the National Coaching Conference...

Picture the scene.

It's Sunday afternoon and after their respective Christmas races, most people from London and Thames are having a quiet drink at the Dukes (alternated with the odd round of Jaggermeister & Redbull).

Suddenly, out of nowhere, the Thames Social Secretary throws down the gauntlet.
"London, we challenge you to a duel... pick six of your best men and two of your women, and we will have a strawpedos drink-off!"

The challenge is accepted. Drinks are ordered. London scrambles to locate their two only women present. As the teams line up and face each other, the atmosphere is tense. Itís the Boustead Cup all over again (as you can tell from the attached photo of the "start").

"Are you ready? Go!"

The noise is deafening, shouts for "Looooondon" and Thames, Thames, Thames fill the air. The roar is louder than having London and Thames racing each other past Remenham.

Thames takes an early lead as London struggles to finish its second bottle. Yes, Thames have been taking their strawpedos training seriously this year -- so itís with a certain ease that they step up their rate to 2 bottles per minute. The boys in blue make a desperate push for the line, but the mighty Thames girls hold their ground firmly.

The end result is a Thames victory by two clear bottles. Mayhem ensues.

Cab ride to the Swan: £17

Entry to the Swan: £6

Round of Jagerbombs: £20

Watching Sparrow singing on Youtube: Priceless


There really are somethings that money just can't buy...

Well, they were using a KCS 8x and were all somewhat hung-over from Saturday evening's activities...

Lots more pics on www.flickr.com

Most of the club in Red, White and Black turned out for their xmas pudding eights races on Sunday morning, racing a course from Wandsworth bridge to the club's mobile phone mast (shurely flag pole?...Ed).

Whilst it was suggested in some quarters, that the event was merely a cunning ploy to clear the boat house of every vessel larger than a pair, so it could be given a seasonal spring clean, this theory was soon disregarded due to an obvious absence of cleaning - though the infamous 12 oar did get it's second bath of the year.

The boats, crewed by a selection of nuns, fairies, fame-wannabes and an 8ft tall Slyvester the cat (who was suffering from heat stroke by the end of the race) managed to get out of the way before the boys in blue started their version - well, all except one crew who failed to make it to the start after losing about 6 inches of their bows on the Black Buoy's big brother - which is located en route to Wandsworth bridge and is cunningly disguised as... er, a large black buoy.

As one conversation summarised:
"It's massive, how can you miss it?"
"he didn't... that's the problem"

Oh dear...

The attached photo shows one of our ex-Olympians apparently coming out of retirement to "go for gold" one last time at a recent Goldfinger Party.

Can you tell who it is?

(hint, make sure you're looking at the right person...)

The Fuller's HOR4s prizegiving, which took place last Thursday in the Hock cellar at the Griffin Brewery, was rather well attended this year. The good turn out was due in part to the late date of the ceremony, but in the main was probably down to Fuller's generous hospitality (lets face it a free bar always adds to the atmosphere of such occasions).

Though most of the GB men's sweep squad members couldn't make it in the end, the only crews who didn't have some representation on the night were Agecroft (well, Manchester is a bit far to travel for one evening); Cambridge (who were tucked up in bed in advance of their trial 8's races the following day), and Molesey (who apparently can't face travelling as far into London as the South circular after dark - that or they just don't like free beer... Ahem.)

True to their club ethos, Scrubbers got well into the spirit of the event, being first in and last out -- though with Cop back in Slovenia and Mahe having to leave the country following the XXX party last weekend (talking of which - if anyone has those photos of Alan showing off his Portrush tan in a pair of speedos, please, drop me a note...), the head crew were represented by Mssrs Hennessey and Campbell, with added drinking support from a selection of TSS coaches.

The top placed women's quad were all in attendance along with coach Miles F-T, and the Brookes locusts were out in force, salivating over the food as soon as it appeared - egged on by Peter-Peter-Mini-Cheese-Cake-Eater Haining, who's inability to let covered food lie, must surely be down to some deep psychological trauma inflicted on his psyche from years of lightweight rowing.

A few pics from the evening can be seen below, and you can expect the offical prizegiving pics to appear on the HOR4s website over the next day or so.

As far as the race goes you can expect a few changes to the entries process next year. Confirmed is that Women's Elite 4+ is being dropped and replaced by Women's S2 4-, a change that's been needed for some time and which should be well received.

As to whether Fuller's can be persuaded to donate a firkin of beer to the fastest men's crew and women's crew in 2007 is yet to be confirmed, but might just prove to be something worth training for...

Whilst up-river Thames events were forced to cancel this weekend, the Scullers head took advantage of the Tideway's ability to swallow extra land water and went ahead on Saturday afternoon in fast but pretty good racing conditions.

There were six swimmers this year - three going in before the race started, one of whom managed to get back in the boat pretty quickly. However, the main casualties seemed to be the plastic bow numbers (all to easily knocked off while marshalling) which caused a few problems for the timing team but nothing unsurmountable.

With the GB squad absent on training camp (a slightly sore point for the organisers who moved the event from March to November a couple of years ago so the squad could take part) the race was dominated by Tideway Scullers, who won 13 of the 36 categories. Mahe Drysdale continued his winning streak, overtaking fellow scrubber Tom Gale before Barnes bridge and winning ME and the overall event by a clear 25 seconds. Second placed was Tim Male who won the Elite lwt event.

Lwt Jen Goldsack picked up the Women's Elite pennant, coming a very respectable 81st overall and securing one of Wallingford's five wins. The women's Elite lwt event went to London's Laura Ralston who came 85th overall.

Of the 398 entries, 327 started - not bad considering the forecast conditions. There were a few steering issues evident in the fast stream with scullers being pushed wide round the bends by the water. This had one odd side effect - the eddies round the bridge butresses were actually pushing sculls away from, so those taking a close line found themselves being lifted sideways by the water.

Full results are available on the Vesta website

and there's a selection of pics ( mainly of LRC / Thames + a few others in the top 200 taken from Hammersmith Bridge) at:

If you want a full size copy of any of the pics, email Dave at the address on the website and he'll forward them on to you.

It's worthy of note that the fourth photo is, in fact, a very rare sighting of both the Treasurer and membership secretary from the club in red, white and black... perhaps they were stood on Hammersmith Bridge together checking up on whether people racing in club colours had paid up their subs??