Tideway Scullers have finally had the plans approved for their new two story boathouse with tank... except it's now a one story shed.... with no tank. However, it should provide lots of dearly needed undercover racking space.

The scheme had a fair amount of opposition from local groups, but as most of the concerns were based on things like them "destroying the gates by pisarros" (WTF?) they weren't too hard to overcome once TSS got some persuasive bods down to the meetings.

As part of the deal, the club are going to be doing alot of landscaping/tidying up around the boathouse so it should all look rather nice.

As far as I know they've already rasied most of the funds required and plans are up on their website for those who want to see what's coming

For those who missed it on Friday - Top Gear trash Sir Steve's back garden (and he doesn't look v. happy about it)

With typical March contrariness, last weekend came in like a lamb and went out like a lion. This year it was the Vets' head which drew the short, wet and windy straw whilst the organizers of the HORR breathed a long sigh of relief that they had managed to avoid a repeat of last year’s weather related nightmare.

410 crews started in the men’s head on Saturday, and for once all of them finished. Conditions were calm and mild - perfect for racing, though fast times were hard to come by, as the stream was slack and the big guns of the GB squad were absent.

Strathclyde University turned up to boat on Saturday morning only to find one of their eights was missing. Having arrived in London on Friday, they had left it overnight by Leaders gardens in Putney, tied to trestles with the oars in the swivels. The mystery was resolved sometime later when one of the blades and then the entire boat (still tied to its trestles) was pulled from the river by Chiswick Pier. It would appear that some local yoofs had decided it would be a hilarious idea to throw it in the river. At least they got seven of the oars back undamaged and presumably were able to borrow a boat as both of their crews raced.

It's just as well the weather was good considering the amount of muppetry on show in the marshalling areas. In these days of internet access for all and events publishing marshalling instructions on-line well in advance of races there is really NO excuse. And on the subject of marshalling, for some reason there was an abnormal amount of peeing going on upstream of Chiswick Bridge (not clever and certainly not big... ahem) - what those on the Surrey side may not have realised is that, depending on which direction they were facing, they were either exposing themselves to yours truely or to the Chairman of the Amateur Rowing Association - as Di put it afterwards "it was like being at the Trevi fountain"...

Other activities on the water were less eventful this year with the after effects of an asthma attack and a cut leg the only reported incidents on the day, though Leander 1 (Palmer, Laughton, Kennedy-Burn, Williamson, Broadway, Burton, Wilkinson, Burkitt coxed by Phelan Hill) apparently had to take avoiding action when then came through Barnes Bridge to find a marshalling crew, which had boated late, broadside on and attempting to spin in front of them - didn’t seem to do them any harm though, as the pink boys romped home to retain the headship, well in front of the second placed IC Italians. With three crews in the top 10 even without access to their national rowing treasures, it's safe to say it was a good day for Leander, their second crew (Davidson, Barry, Steeds, Lawson, Randolph, Ardron, Clark coxed by Zoe De Toledo) managed an impressive third place, some 15 secs behind the 1st crew.

Molesey 1, who started second, had a bit of a run in with Collegio Imperiale, picking up a penalty for impeding them in the process. Seb Pearce, the cox of the IC crew (Petrelli, Cervanti, Borghese, Rosselli, Battisti, Freeman-Pask, Hislop and Whittaker) was initially slapped with a penalty for swearing during the incident, however... following previous accusations, the coxns of all the IC crews were apparently taping their full race commentary and on playing the recording back it was clearly the dulcet tones of the Molesey cox and stroke uttering words of olde English... ahem.

The loss of the top end athletes from the event made for some unexpected results, though it doesn’t fully explain some of the peculiar placings in the final results. London collected the lightweight trophy again but only their first crew managed (just) to scrape into the top 20, quite surprising considering that they had ten eights entered... Thames’ first crew only managed to finish 32nd on their home water – coming in behind the Scrubbers, Agecroft, Grosvenor, Henley, Thames Tradesmen, Star and Kingston first crews.

Also of note - Durham university pulled an impressive one out of the bag to finish 6th, just ahead of Oxford Brookes. I’m not sure what Wade is feeding them, but it’s obviously working.

Full results at:
(page down)

The Vet's head was abandoned due to shite weather on Sunday. I have it on good authority that the three foot standing wave under Barnes Bridge had something to do with the decision to cancel, though conditions were pretty horrible from there round to Hammersmith with rolling waves and white horses evident as the north-easterly wind gusted against the tide..

Nobody sank.


With their top squad athletes currently under lock and key at GB pre-olympic training camp, it was the Molesey old guard who steeped up to the line to race against the Cambridge blue boat on Friday afternoon. The Molesey crew, coxed by Tori Sethard-wright, was a somewhat eclectic mix of ex-blues and ex-internationals, some of whom, we suspect, have been doing more training than others... It's a pity that the black death were unable to field their top crew, especially as plans were afoot to fly in Ginn and Free to join the line-up for the Cambridge race and the HORR, had Hodge etc been available to play, but such is life in an Olympic year.

Cambridge, fielding the recently announced blue-boat line up (including Toby Garnett) don't give the impression of being a particularly big crew (with the exception of 6, 5 and 4) but have clearly moved on considerably since their last public race against the Canadians.

The conditions on the Tideway were bright but challenging as a strong head wind, against the incoming tide, whipped up the water at several places along the course, making it all a bit lumpy.

It was agreed that the crews would race over the course as three, four-minute pieces, the first of which was held up slightly while Molesey sorted out their cox-box (note to remember - parcel tape isn't waterproof). With the flag down, youth soon showed it's advantage over experience as Cambridge on Surrey started to move through the Molesey crew. With a length lead by the end of the embankment, the light blues (with a much 'livlier' rhythm than their opposition) relaxed into their stride and finished the piece just past the milepost with around 3L of clear water.

The crews swapped stations for the second piece (raced from just past the milepost to the Chiswick Steps). Molesey were given 1/2 length at the start and did their best to hold onto it as Cambridge dealt with the outside of the bend but were level by the time the crews went through Hammersmith, Molesey being warned continually.

Conditions were pretty mucky round by St Pauls. Both crews coped well, though there was something odd going on with either bow or three in the Cambridge crew (which is bow rigged). The light blues had a length lead by St Pauls and just over a length of clear water by the end of the four minutes.

After swapping stations again for their third tussel, Molesey, who were given a length at the start, went off strongly and steered a very good course, pushing Cambridge over towards the Surrey arch of Barnes bridge. After much frantic shouting and flag waving by the umpire, the crews both got a good line through Barnes, after which Cambridge again edged through Molesey despite the rough water and were clear by the brewery.

There was some more entertainment when everyone got back to Putney afterwards, as Molesey Coach Tom Courtney rather sheepishly announced that he thought he had dropped the keys to their towing vehicle into the river - happily they turned up in his pocket later on (but not until after someone had been dispatched with the spare set)...

Oxford race a US crew on Saturday. The Americans were spotted heading out for an outing after Cambridge were off the water - well, actually they were spotted acting like big girls' blouses - whinging about having to get their feet wet in the cold waters of the tideway (poor diddums).

S - Mark Webber
7 - Graham Smith
6 - Dave Gillard
5 - Scott Rennie
4 - Grant Biggar
3 - Jonny Searle
2 - Phil Simmons
B - Bobby Thatcher
C - Tori Sethard-Wright
S - Shane O'Mara
7 - Tom Edwards
6 - Tom Ransley
5 - Peter Marsland
4 - Tobias Garnett
3 - Henry Pelly
2 - Tim Perkins
B - Colin Scott
C - Rebecca Dowbiggin

. . . . . .

If you live and row in the Thames basin, where the water is of the flat variety, you're probably not even aware that the ARA is the National Governing body for Gig racing (though the numerous articles on gigs in "Mowing Rag" might have clued you up that something was afoot). Indeed, unless you row in a region with coastal clubs there would be very little reason for it to ever get above the radar...

Well, except there is the small issue of Sea-scouts.

As a result of the tough-as-nails coastal gig rowers adopting the mafia, the Scout Association (who isn't affliated) changed their internal qualification from a skills based assessment to the ARA NGB Coaching certificates in September 2007.

All of which isn't very good for the poor scouts, as none of their previous assessors can now carry out assessments. This means there will be no new 'permits' or renewals of permits until they can find an ARA UKCC level 2 Coach who understands the black arts of fixed seat pulling.

Of course, this raises the question of who is going to organise and run these tailored UKCC courses, especialy considering the coaching qualification mess already evident in the Thames region in relation to normal rowing (i.e. lots of would be coaches but not enough tutors and assessors). Perhaps it would be a good idea for the ARA to get its own coaching house in order before reaching out to fringe activities..?

Finally, Whether or not all new gigs are now required to fit bow balls and buoyancy compartments in line with the Water Safety Code of their NGB remains to be seen, however, on balance we're glad to see the fixed seat brigade back in the fold...

Those who have been at head races and regattas where the Army been taking part over the last couple of years, may be aware that the club has been experimenting with 'helmet cams' mounted on the stern over the last season or so.

The resulting footage has become established as a daily-use coaching tool, which is, I am assured, in no way related to their coach's unhealthy obsession with keeping an eye on everything they do... (Well, as long as he doesn't start thinking along the lines of erg-cam, the guys will be happy!).

Army crews have commented that although they always seem to attract derisory comments at the start they have found the cameras pretty useful, especially with Mike's 'scrapheap challenge' mount (it's amazing what can be done with an old rigger, spray paint and evil intent, even though none of them particularly enjoyed watching him go at their shiny Resolute with a power drill!), and are still regretting the decision not to mount it for last year's HORR.

The actual quality is rather better than can be uploaded to the web, but for an idea of what the footage looks like check out:
(Video clips are linked below the photos)

If anyone wants a custom fit, drop them a note (contact details on the website as linked)

It's interesting to note that the Schools Head's little brother (aka the National Junior Sculling Head) has now outgrown its older sibling in terms of number of competing crews. The event, which took place on Monday was back at Henley for 2008 after last year's impromtu weather-related visit to Dorney lake.

The number of crews entered in the race, which is limited to quads and octupules, would seem to indicate that the UK junior club and school rowing community is finally embracing sculling in line with ARA guidelines for juniors.

The winners' pennants were spread around a number of clubs. Tiffin won J16 4x- while Evesham took home the women's J16 4x- and Marlow went home with both open and women's J18 4x- wins.

Full results are available at:

The Schools' Head takes place on the Tideway on Tuesday 4th March.

It's worth while following up the WeHORR article below, with a mention for the Tyne RC Novice eight, who won the Club Novice Pennant (beating all the academic novices). The crew and the club as a whole are over the moon and their result rightly stands alongside that of Nottingham as another great one for the provinces.

It's also worth noting that the Tyne crew had a mother and daughter team at bow and stroke - Liz Bray and Sarah Percy respectively.

More pics at

With members of the GB heavyweight squad at pre-Olympic training camp in Varese, Saturday’s Women’s eights Head of the River Race was wide open for the first time in years. The impact of the missing squad women was noticable, not least in that, denied of their top athletes, Leander failed to enter any women’s crews at all, and all but three of the crews racing as Elite were from overseas.

On the day, the weather was clear but windy and the gusting conditions varied considerably throughout the race. A brisk south west wind blew ill for the London clubs, as UK universities showed fabulous form taking four of the top six places.

Setting off number one was a Thames S1 crew (FRANKUM, HAYES, JONES, THEODOROU, REID, CHICHESTER, KENNEDY and WORDLEY, coxed by Olivia Cook) who had been coached by Antonia “Bumble” Waite. To add to the competition Antonia’s husband - James - aka Krankie - was coaching the composite crew of lightweights going off at number 2 (CULLEN, SCOTT, H HAGON, DENNIS, ELLISON, BRADBURY, BRADBURY and PAULS, coxed by Phelan Hill). Though when asked if who bought dinner was riding on the result, Krankie replied that he was probably going to end up paying regardless of what happened.

In the end it was the dark blues of Osiris (SMITH, ROWLES, GALLOWAY, STAUNTON, PAULI, vAN MANEN, WHITLAM and LEE coxed by Laura Bottomley) who stepped up to the line to take the headship in a time of 19:32 – which I suspect is the first time the WeHORR has been won by a S2 crew. Starting 4th, Osiris had nearly caught Thames 1 by the time they reached the finish line. Oxford Brookes' women (BLAIKIE, LINDHOLT, BRYANT, ADAMS, MYLES, RAU, HODGES and JEFFERIES coxed by Liz O'Neill) continued to build on their HOR4s success by securing second place and the S1 pennant, five seconds behind Osiris.

Also of note, a crew, from the recently formed Nottingham Rowing Club (LINEKER, MORTON, PARKER, RELPH, BLOOR, LARSEN, JUS-BURKE and ROUND coxed by Tasmin Cottle) created a first for the event by winning the Club pennant in 19:45 beating all the large south of England clubs. All of which beggars the question that in years when a non-london club wins the club pennant, perhaps the “Provincial” pennant should be replaced with a “Tideway” Pennant? (ahem).

It’s great to see Nottingham on the rise again and with the added confidence, which comes from having a WeHORR pennant under their belts, it will be interesting to see how the women of NRC perform in the summer regattas.

The race was well attended by overseas clubs, especially those from Germany and Italy. Belvoir Ruderclub Zurich, took home the overseas pennant and it was good to see that most of the overseas crews had carefully read their marshalling instructions – more than can be said for some of the British entries...

Observers at Putney were amused to see Gonzo shouting at one of the Italian crews while they were boating as someone simultaneously shouted the translation.

At the start, officials were surprised to see one crew, who after spinning, waited patiently for stroke to fix her hair before making their way to the start line (oh well, I suppose it’s important to look good for the cameras.)

Death wish of the race goes to the crew member who reportedly told Grumpy Bill to “shut-up” at the start – we suspect the associated penalty is a life ban at best, but members of the race committee were unable to comment when asked.

At Putney the parking wardens were out in force, at least one towing vehicle had been removed by the end of the day and slug spies spotted that the Kingston towing vehicle (still attached to its trailer) was sporting a parking ticket at 8:15am. A member of the race committee (who shall remain nameless) was also spotted attempting to bribe the parking wardens into giving a ticket to the second eight from her club, who’d left their boat in a parking space - though happily, the wardens seemed more focused on removing cars..

Provisional Pennant Winners
HeadOsiris BC (A)19:32.91
Senior 1Oxford Brookes University BC19:37.11
Senior 2Durham University BC (A) 19:38.62
ClubNottingham RC19:45.15
OverseasBelvoir Ruderclub Zurich19:59.63
Senior 4University of Birmingham BC (A) 20:24.08
Senior 3Durham University BC (B) 20:26.80
School/Junior Headington School BC20:44.79
Provincial Broxbourne RC (A) 20.48.50
Novice ClubTyne RC21:08.45
VeteranBarnes Bridge Ladies, Burway, Fredensborg,
Sons of the Thames, Thames RC and Wycliffe
19:05.92 (adj)
Novice AcademicUniversity of Birmingham BC (B)21:24.87

Full results are available at (PDF files)

The attached photos show Leander's senior member, Jock Fletcher-Campbell, aged 96, with Imre Hunyor, current Magdalen (Oxford) graduate medical student aged 27 from Australia.

Magdalen regained the Headship of Torpids last week - a position it has not occupied since 1934 -- Jock was in that last head crew, sitting in the 3 seat, as was Imre last week. Jock had also been in the 1932 and 1933 Torpid head crews.

The photos were taken by the Isis, opposite the finish line.

It would appear that the bods covering the boatrace at ITV, recently borrowed a boat from one of the Hammersmith Clubs so they could film some pre-race footage (as you do).

"er..Nothing comedic in that" I hear you declare, however when the TV bods had the boat set up for filming, they reportedly announced that they "didn't like the oars" as they were "too long".... Then, in that infinite logic unique to TV-land, decided it would be a good idea to REPLACE THEM ALL WITH SCULLING BLADES... as "nobody will notice".

So keep your eyes open for a continuity error of epic True Blue proportions when the trailers start showing.

It's also rumoured that the pre-race promo features a rower getting 'pumped-up' for his race by grabbing an oar and snapping it in half over his knee... (cough, cough, splutter.)

Now, as any fule kno, you really shouldn't try that at home unless you have a doctor handy... so it'll come as no surprise that Sims are reported to have made them a special easy-snap blade to use (we would like to point out that suggestions that it was, in fact, a normal Sims oar are completely unfounded).