With the banks of the Thames at Henley, under a thick coating of slugs for this weekend's Henley women's regatta, it didn't take long to spot the signs up and around the course, threatening that any men's crews caught rowing on the course after the river closed at 1pm on Friday would be banned from competing at Henley Royal regatta.

It also didn't take long to notice a single men's pair heading out from Leander club and rowing down towards the start, around 1:30pm. "oh, well" thought the slug... "they can have the benefit of the doubt, after all, they're not strictly on the course..."

but this little oversight was soon remedied, when said pair proceeded to turn and row BACK UP THE COURSE, a whole 10 minutes before racing was scheduled to commence.

Not really the sort of behaviour one would hope to see from the Captain of Leander club and a Steward of Henley Royal regatta, so hardly surprising that it managed to raise more than a few eyebrows amongst the officials on duty.

Sadly, their mutterings of "yes, well they could probably row down the course in the middle of a race and the stewards still wouldn't do anything about it" suddenly seemed rather close to the truth on Saturday morning when our "national rowing treasures" demonstrated their apparent contempt for Henley women's regatta and women's rowing in general, by again rowing down the course during a river closure, but this time between races.

As "the pink untouchables" passed the competitors enclosure, the following announcement came over they tannoy:

"would the men's crew, currently training on the race course, move to the navigation lane immediately"... and a huge cheer erupted from the appalled spectators at the barn bar.

Far be it from the slug to suggest that Mssrs Cracknell and Pinsent might believe themselves sufficiently above the law that they can ignore river closures without risk of retribution, but do you really think that any other men's crew trying the same stunt would get away with it??? Or indeed, a women's crew, if they tried the same thing during the Royal?

Shame on you.

21-06-02 YOU KNOW IT'S BAD WHEN...
Readers of the slug may like to attempt to guess, from which Putney based club the coach, who made the following statement at Docks, hails.

"We've decided to turn the club into a pub, as we're really not very good at rowing"

Muttering about how forgetful their coaches can sometimes be, the Thames Ward double (showing off their dressage skills) virtously backed down to retrieve their Club's run-away launch, that they'd spotted quietly drifting away on the tide.

Gingerly, they sidled up to the tin fish and demonstrating their balance and poise reached in for a rope to bring it under tow.

As they approached the hard (where shurely the most self-respecting Tideway coaches would NOT leave their launch for the incoming tide to take away) a breathless Mr Billy Mason (atumibr) came running down from his Cherry wood, soft lighting etc boaty towers to reclaim the errant craft, all the while thanking them profusely for retrieving his launch and muttering something about Thames not usually being that kind to IC.

"His launch"? What? They thought it was "their" launch! A brief discussion about ownership ensued - followed by a rather sterner "converstation" about "salvage rights" and the like...

Nice try Thames!

The slug has been hearing about Black Sheep's rather amusing naked exploits at Peterborough spring recently.. However, the amusing part was not the nakedness but rather the fact that their cox, who should know much better, decided to do a firm piece down the course.

Alas, he had (of course) forgotten that the stakeboats get moved down the course for the 500 m racing the next day and slammed the blades in to one of them - managing to destroy bow, 3 , and 5's blades in one fell swoop!

the slug was also very impressed by the loan nude sculler who rather than deboating and running for his clothes, quite happily picked up scull and blades, while still starkers and wandered off to put it on its rack...

Now that's hardcore!

The slug has been informed that there is a video of some of the naked rowing which is being converted into an MPEG as I type. It would, of course, be rude not to share... so watch this space.

21-06-02 SPOT THE BALL(S)...
The slug was most amused to receive the attached Bosporos BC crew photo taken at the Caserta Palace regatta, near Naples last weekend (15 June) where Bosporos and Crabtree represented Oxford and Cambridge in races against crews from around Italy.

Dressed for the presentation ceremony, Mr Guy Blanchard of Bosporos and TRC wears his trousers in the local Neapolitan style.

14-06-02 TELL ME WHY
The Fenland Poly, Summer Festival of Comedy Rowing takes place but once a year, but when it does, it provides plenty of amusement for the Slug as it munches on the willow by the towpath.

This year the standard of umpiring (or rather lack thereof) seems to have stolen the show and successfully annoyed a considerable number of people. To take but some examples which have come to the Slug's attention:

  • Why were Tit Hall W2 fined three times over, for bank party failure to show bank passes to marshals, despite actually having done so?

  • How could Magdalene W1 be fined for "failure to clear" after having bumped way over the far side of the Reach and not impeding anyone whatsoever?

  • Why was Caius 1 fined for "failure to clear" when the Slug itself had to scarper pretty sharpish from its leisurely repose upon the bank when they came in? (And why was their resultant fine 40, when Caius 4's "failure to clear", labelled as a "more serious offence", was 30?)

  • How could Peterhouse W1 be fined for "failure to clear" when they were sandwich boat and there was sod all other boats behind them?

  • Why was Downing W2 fined for "coxing error of judgement" for taking the perfect racing line around Grassy Corner instead of veering ridiculously wide like most of the other coxes?

  • And most seriously of all, why was Queens' 1 given a re-row after ploughing straight into Catz 1 and attempting to decapitate its crew, and not fined for dangerous coxing?
    (See the video for yourself at )www.caths.cam.ac.uk/boatclub/video/Queens-Catz.avi)

    The slug would like to make clear at this point, that any accusations of total incompetence/biased umpiring/a scam by CUCBC to raise lots of money -- are all, of course, totally unfounded...

    Meanwhile, in an interesting turn of events, TV 'personality', Cambridge resident and famous fat bloke, Rory McGrath, was to be seen heading down the towpath with a film crew trailing along behnind...

    Further investigation revealed that Selwyn College BC had written to "Look East" (a dull as dishwater local news programme ) and "asked to be filmed". Quite why this required Mr McGrath to become involved is unclear, but what seems certain is that for some reason the Bearded One was rather more interested in the Selwyn lay-deez ( and indeed in the lay-deez of pretty much every other boat club) than in the Selwyn men....

    Apparently there will be a programme going out involving the Selwyn burds sometime in September/October. Rumours that this is actually an edition of "They Think It's All Over" with Rory feeling up the lycra-clad lovelies in the blindfold round, are as yet unconfirmed....

  • 14-06-02 LOOKALIKE

    The Gonz

    The Fonz


    Has anyone noticed, I wonder, the growing resemblance between
    LRC king of wash Richard Phillips and UTRC virtual
    coach Peter Haining?

    Are they, perchance, related?

    Concerned of Putney

    Heard over the radio at Reading regatta during a heat of men's elite coxless fours between Molesey BC and Upper Thames:

    "Umpire 1 to umpire 2, handing over race 131.... good luck."

    12-06-02 THAMES GET DOCKED
    It appears that the club in red, white and black managed to alienate themselves from the organisers of Docklands regatta last weekend. The trouble started after they got off to a cracking start on Saturday, receiving an official warning for "obscene behaviour in the pen" after the Thames flasher (rumoured to be one Mr Dan Gaffney) could hold on no longer and got his bits out for a pee.

    Whether or not this small incident was the cause of their troubles, the TRC contingent were moaning that they had been made to race 12 races in lane 1 (worst affected by pocket cyclones/wash/mini tsunamis) on Sunday, even when they felt they had earned lanes (1-2) due to times/positions in the heats.

    The slug can only hope that the flasher restrains himself during the upcoming royal visit at the club, or they'll never get that lottery bid...

    12-06-02 BROOKES DIET TIPS
    Worried about carrying extra weight? Need to get rid of some unwanted pounds? Well, the answer seems to be to order your boats from Mr Sims, as Oxford Brookes' spanking new VIII apparently tops the scales at a slimline 55kg, yes faithful reader your eyes do not deceive you, that's about 30kg under FISA minimum weight guidelines.

    Not a problem of course, because the ARA don't enforce minimum weight criteria at UK regattas (they haven't got a set of scales big enough) but still, 30kg is a lot of beer and curry...

    12-06-02 YOU FAT BANKER
    The slug has heard a tale of woe from the recent Metropolitan regatta which illustrates nicely why 45 yr old, slightly lardy bankers tend not to be put on stakeboat duty.

    Picture the scene.. the crews are lining up on the start for a semifinal of the men's elite coxless IVs, along with the rest of the field, Worcester rowing club get attached to the start pontoon in their lovely new boat, bought specially for their upcoming attempt at the Wyfronts at HRR, but standing next to the stakeboat boy is a certain ex-captain of London Rowing club.

    "Attention... go" flags are waved and the crews power off down the course... er except for the poor Worcester boys, for the "additional weight" on the pontoon has resulted in their rudder stem being caught under the overhang, the laws of physics take over, the rudder gets ripped off along with most of the stern and they start to disappear below the blue waters of Dorney lake...

    Cue one very pissed off crew, one embarrased official and one rather large bill for the regatta organisers... oh dear...