CROSS COUNTRY ROWING
More bumps related boat cruelty for your entertainment. This week it's the turn of Fenland poly and, judging by the attached photo, Downing's second women's crew have started off the light blue's lent bumps with style.

Oh course, readers with a long memory may recollect that it's only two years since they did this the last time, so they do have some experience.

See www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=543081573380&oid=12281715922, for some quality video of the 2006 crash (abut 2 mins 20 secs in).

I have it on good authority that DCBC would like to make known two facts about the actions of their wonderful W2.

Firstly it is exactly the same boat which mounted the bank two years ago and
secondly the boat was not damaged during either occurrence -- particularly impressive this time seeing as the bank is concrete at that point.


TORPID TALES
Imagine the scene - a wealthy benefactor has just presented your college boat club with a brand new Empacher. Do you:
  1. Forget to add the new vessel to your insurance policy
  2. Decide it's a good idea to use a boat designed for straight lane racing for bumps without putting on a larger rudder to help you round the corners
  3. Smash the three week old boat into the bank and some trees
  4. All of the above...
Such a conundrum faced University college as they took part in Iffley special school's Torpids last week. Judging from the attached photos (not for the faint at heart), you can probably take a good guess as to which of the above applied...

New college also had a less than ideal few days. Their first Men's crew conceeded to Pembroke on Wednesday after ejecting a member of the crew into the river (and to add injury to insult, the poor sod apparently got a dislocated shoulder for his troubles). There's even a clip of the moment captured on youtube for posterity. Not too clear, but at about 39 seconds there is an obvious wobble in the 3rd boat and you can then see his head bobbing in the water behind the boat from about 51 seconds onwards.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=UG_CEB9zWzM

The crew then continued their run of back luck by plummenting from 3rd on the river to 10th over the next few days

Also heading downwards were Oriel, who had lost both the men's and women's head postions by Saturday, meaning that for the first time in many a long year, they don't hold any summer eights or torpids headships.

(Should have kept the dayglo-white lycra...)


REMEMBERING PAUL
City of Oxford Rowing Club held a boat naming ceremony for its new eight on Sunday 24 February 2008, as an affectionate tribute to the clubís valued friend Paul Hiscock, who died in late 2006. The purchase of the boat had been made possible by the generous donations of a large number of Paulís friends, colleagues and family.

Paul began rowing as a teenager in Oxford for Hannington Rowing Club which amalgamated with Neptune Rowing Club in 1968 to form City of Oxford Rowing Club. He enjoyed many regatta successes across the country. In the early 1970s Paul left the club to travel and went to live abroad; on his return he turned his hand to coaching, and his knowledge and absolute love of the sport was transferred to novices and experienced rowers Ė many in the club today were guided by him.

His eye for a crew was legendary and other coaches would often look to him for advice. He developed enduring friendships with many in the rowing world. His loss has been deeply felt by the club and a large boat, named for a larger-than-life character, seems a fitting tribute to this witty and wise man who loved rowing and all the good things in life.


AGE BEHIND BEAUTY?
Overheard at Inverness eights head on Saturday, as a veteran male sculler was being overtaken by a women's double.

"I'm 52...(gasp), arthritic...(gasp), and alcoholic....(gasp) -- so after you ladies!"


COAT AND BADGE
The annual Doggett's Coat and Badge race for newly qualified Thames Watermen and Lightermen was first contested in 1715 and is thought to be the oldest continuing sporting contest in the World.

The prize giving for the 292nd race took place in the civilised surroundings of Waterman's hall on Monday evening and was well attended by representatives of the Tideway clubs, who give the competitors lots of help and support every year.

The winner of the 2007 race, Jude McGrane was sporting his lovely new outfit (which appears to have been cut to allow room for expansion). Prizes were presented by current master Ken Dwan, while the master in waiting (ex-sec of HRR) Richard Goddard, was showing off his Mistress to be (has anyone told Iain yet...?)


COACH EDUCASHUN
The Thames region is rapidly drifting down UKCC creek without a paddle, as despite being home to over 40% of England's rowers, a severe lack of coach educators and assessors in the region means that it is highly unlikely, if not impossible, that the ARA's stated targets for qualifying coaches can be met.

To put it bluntly, the ARA's decision to get into bed with the UK Coaching Certifcate scheme and play footsie with Sport England, appears to have been rather ill thought out, as the profile of the UKCC, who declare one of their aims to be "professionalising the role of the coach", doesn't sit comfortably alongside a sport which relies heavily on amateur (read volunteer unpaid) coaches.

For example, conversion courses to UKCC Level 3 for existing bronze and silver qualified coaches, are currently expected to cost in the order of £750 (non-residential) - but why would a volunteer coach who has already got a silver or bronze qualification, pay that amount of money to convert to a UKCC level 3, when it is not going to bring any additional earning potential with it??? It is also unlikely that many clubs will be amenable to coughing up that sort of money in support of their volunteer coaches, so where exactly does that leave us?

It would appear that a basic need (that of coaches who simply want to expand their rowing knowledge or pick up new techniques without having to pay vast amounts of money or do structured exams) has been totally overlooked by the Mafia in their rush to sign up for government funding.

Since their introduction into rowing, a number of UKCC level 2 courses (pitched as roughly equivalent to the old IA award, but with some content from the old Bronze level) have been organised within the Thames region, but two years into the new set-up the majority (around 80%) of people who have done a course are still to be assessed. The design of the coaching courses means that the assessors have to go to the would-be coaches rather than the other way round, and finding individuals who are willing to give up their spare time for free, in order to travel around assessing people, is easier said than done (note, assessors MUST be different people to those who taught the coaches being assessed) .

The TRRC is highly concerned about the number of tutors assessors in the region, as getting more names on the regional list is critical if our local coaches are going to have the opportunity to get a qualification. There is a course scheduled for people who are willing to become UKCC Level 2 course tutors, on the 8th and 9th of March (venue Molesey) ,as well a course for potential assessors on the 29th and 30th March (venue TBC)... But these aren't free, so basically you'll have to pay in order to help the ARA meet their targets...

  • The cost of the CTS Tutor course will be £321 (non ARA members) £300 (ARA members).
  • The cost of IAPís Assessor course will be £381 (non ARA members) £360 (ARA members) of which 50% is funded by the ARA.

    As well as the ARA funding 50% of the Assessor Training centrally (though not the tutor training), there has been some discussion about the TRRC funding some of the costs for anyone based in the region, and Sport England funding may also be available to some candidates.

    Candidates must therefore be potential Saints (or wealthy) as well as needing to be Bronze or Level 3 qualified. For more details or to express an interest, please contact phil.simmons@ara-rowing.org or sarah.birch@ara-rowing.org

    Finally, for insurance purposes, rowing coaches without an IA are highly recommended to ensure they have the UKCC Level 2 award, so if you're one of the 100 or so people in the Thames region who have completed a L2 course but who still haven't been assessed (and it's within two years from the date you started the course), please contact your CDOs (same contacts as above) and they will do their best to get you through the last step.


  • 2008 DEWAR SHIELD RESULTS
    Auriol Kensington and Furnival SC share the Dewar Shield this year, after receiving equal points in the race and finally ending AK's run of five successive years in which they won outright.

    Somewhat ironically Sons, who organised the race this year and who were behind a change to the points system (It used to be 6pts for first place down to 1pt for sixth) would have won if they'd kept the old points system...

    Full results on the AK website at
    www.akrowing.com/results.php?result=2008-dewar


    BOUSTEAD '08
    The annual London vs Thames grudge match, otherwise known as the Boustead Cup, took place on a cold, fast Tideway on Sunday morning. It was unclear in advance whether crews would be able to to the full course, or even if it would be cancelled, however in the end, once the tide had turned it rapidly became clear to the umpires (the two Martins - Haycock and Levy) that racing on the ebb tide, beyond Hammersmith was out of the question. So the course was shortened (Chiswick to the flagpole on Dove Pier opposite St Paul's.

    Phelan Hill got a welcome change from cycling at Caversham, having been called back to cox the LRC 1st VIII but would he be able to demonstrate the level of clashing 'expertise' of his Olympic VIIIs rival Acer Nuttercox?

    After the safety briefing, umpire Haycock took the Captains of LRC & TRC plus their 1st VIII coxes aside for the toss for stations...

    Umpire (to captains): "So do you know which stations you'll choose if you win the toss"
    Captains: "Yes"

    TRC correctly call heads.

    Umpire: "Thames, which station do you want?"
    TRC Captain: "Surrey." (A somewhat unusual choice when starting from Chiswick, I'm sure you'll agree)
    Umpire: "Thames choose the Surrey station. London , you have Middlesex"
    TRC Cox to Captain (looking aghast): "Err, but we wanted Middlesex"
    TRC Captain: "Ahm, When we said 'Surrey', we meant for the other race. Can we have Middlesex for this one please?"
    Umpire (Taken aback): "No."

    The races themselves were in many ways the least exciting part of the day. Though the slug never did find out why TRC arrived at Chiswick late for the start and some 15 minutes after LRC.... That aside both races were started cleanly, all coxes behaved impeccably and LRC won by 14 and 28 secs in races 1 and 2 respectively.

    Racing over, the final piece of fun was getting the crews back to Putney safely, as conditions past Hammersmith were truly horrendous, so the umpires and support launches accompanied the boats back home to a nice slap up lunch at LRC.


    COX NAVIGATION?
    Heard at the Hampton Head on Saturday (yes it did go ahead), from the cox of an exhausted S/J 4+ hailing from a school which is located a good way north of the Thames Region.

    As they passed the green doors the cox bellowed:
    "NOT FAR NOW !!!!!!" (pause) "I DONíT KNOW FAR IT IS !!!!!"

    Shortly after which a kindly old umpire helpfully offered "about 400 metres" via his loudhailer...

    whoever said umpires have no sense of humour ?


    QUINTIN HEAD '08
    Saturday morning dawned cold and clear as the Tideway played host to what is becoming a rare event these days - a head race that hasn't been cancelled due to the conditions... (the slug can only suspect that the mustachioed one has started sacrificing pigeons to the weather gods again)

    The Quintin head was particularly well attended this year, no doubt due in part to the lack of racing anywhere else on the Thames. Over eighty crews made it down the course, though by this stage the weather wasnít quite so pleasant and a number of crews were a tad late to the start.

    Last years winners, University of Bristol, were back again to successfully defend their title, the stream helping them to knock an impressive thirty seconds from their 2007 time. Imperial collegeís top two boats and Westminster School took the following three places (obviously no worse for their rush to the start).

    Notable and pleasing on the day was the strength of junior rowing on show, with four of the winning boats coming from local schools. Worthy of mention are the Lady Eleanor Holles J18 crew who were the fastest womenís crew on the day, and Kingston Grammar Schoolís second eight who fought off five crews to win S4. Full results are available at
    quintinboatclub.org/Head/QuintinHeadResults_2008.htm


    RICHARD MOODY
    It is with great shock and sadness that we report the tragic death of Vesta member Richard Moody over the Christmas break.

    Richard, who had also rowed with the University of Leicester and in the Nottingham Rowing Clubs, was a much liked member of the men's senior squad who had a great enthusiasm for rowing and club camaraderie at Vesta. Joining in the spring of 2007, Richard rowed for Vesta in the Thames Cup at Henley Royal Regatta last year and was also successful at Kingston Regatta and the gruelling Boston Marathon. His modesty, sense of humour and easy-going nature will be sadly missed. Our deepest condolences go to his family and friends.

    Details of the funeral arrangements will be posted here shortly. Informal drinks in his memory will be held in the club bar on Saturday 5th January from 12 noon.