Last Sunday saw the Auriol Kensington boys out doing a spot of pairs racing while being videoed from the coaching launch. During one particular piece, all was going well... very well in fact for Jim "it's not a disease" Mott who was stroking one of the pairs, for his boat was storming ahead, against what was supposed to be a better crew combination.

The end of the piece approached and just as a triumphant bar story was in the making, the fickle finger of fate got well stuck in, in the form of one of the AK scullers who was having a bit of a problem with the conditions and was sort of in the wrong place in the river.

Yup, you guessed it..... CRUNCH....

Those watching held their breaths as the unfortunate sculler, his blade caught under the pair, started to wobble... surely nothing could stop the inevitable from happening?? But then the fickle finger of fate got stuck in again, for Mr Mott threw a strop. His moment of glory having passed him by, just out of reach, he chucked a couple of Action men out the boat and erm...with them his oar...

Now slamming your blade down in frustration in an VIII, certainly has an effect, and it defn looks good on film (just watch any rowing movies and you're bound to see at least 2 examples) but doing it in a pair has an altogether different result and is not really to be advised.

In a matter of milliseconds Jim realised his mistake, and omitting to inform his bowman of their predicament, he decided instead to carefully reach out for his handle... and over and in they went. (The sculler stayed nice and dry).

To add insult to injury, the whole incident was caught in all its glory on video and was watched in slow motion back at the boathouse at least twelve times on Sunday, while the rest of the club fell about laughing. So If you're all good boys and girls the slug might even be able to get a little mpeg for your enjoyment....

Though the slug as to ask, was it all a cunning ploy, staged by Jim in the hope that he'd get a rub down from the women's squad???

You may or may not be aware of Jurgen's great comment to Matt Pinsent before the Barcelona Olympics final - for whilst Matt was bricking it, Jurgen sauntered into the tent and simply said

"Today I zink we Win".

However, to go one better than even that, the slug will take you back to Penrith lakes, on September 23rd 2000...

...James Cracknell is about to go into his first Olympic Final, and he's nervous.. after all, the others already have an olympic medal or two or four. "It's OK, we've got Steve on board he'll say something to inspire us" thinks Crackers ..but the great man remains quiet.

They boat, warm up and then come into their lane ..."NOW - please" thinks James..the call over starts and the boot comes up , by this stage Jim is REALLY bricking it and thinking "please say something, please say something"

Steve turns and looks down the course and clears his throat.. "At last" Jim thinks.. Steve looks again and says

"Well we'd better not F*ck this one up then "


Picture the scene, the Olympics are approaching and having spent three years on the development of the Ax2 for the GB IV- boys, the vessels are complete, along with super duper carbon riggers and not a gram over minimum FISA weight. Content their work is done Aylings proudly despatch two of the lovingly crafted boats to Sydney (One for training and one for the racing), while one stays behind for use in the UK before they head out to the Gold Coast. Supposedly all three boats are cloned.

It's now Three weeks before departure, and suddenly the boys announce that they aren't confident about the riggers and would prefer aluminium ones instead....PANIC, indeed, they've even gone back to one of the old heavy boats with Aluminium riggers on.

So, Aylings get some aluminium riggers designed and made with an aerofoil section, hoping to reduce the drag..... Lo and behold, the boat is now too heavy... even after filing off and shaving everything they can (fnar fnar.), it's still 4.5 Kg over.

Only one thing for it.. build a new hull...there is now a mere 1.5 weeks (and counting) until the squads ETD for down under.

Aylings work flat out and finally the boat at minimum weight is ready...the morning of the departure for the Gold Coast, it is brought to Henley and the boys get in it paddle to the mile and the eight and back. "That's fine" they say. "We'll take it" and promptly leap in the car to head for Heathrow.

"Oh s**t" thinks Adrian Morris... " now we've got to get it there". His boys build a nice box for the boat and it is air freighted to the gold coast. It's not easy to send a coxless IV Airmail and this little endeavour takes about 1 week so in the meantime the Four are sitting around kicking their heels as Jurgen has told them that they are only to row that boat.

Finally it arrives safely, after they have sat around for four days waiting, they put the (aluminium) riggers on, zoom off the landing stage and the rest is history ....

As for what came of the other two boats..? Well, the slug can only presume they have been shipped back, still wrapped in cellophane!!