|LIFE ON A LAUNCH|
The slug was amused to hear Chris Shea asking carefully about the seaworthiness of his launch for the Pairs head on Saturday... it appears his fours head swim last November has not been forgotten.
Others showed less foresight, as another marshall was towed back to Cygnet when his engine stopped working... though presumably this was not unrelated to him forgetting the fuel tank.
The Mercedes-Benz world rowing sprints took place on Saturday afternoon, unfortunately clashing with the pair’s head but providing an enjoyable day out for those who managed to make it down to Hyde Park to watch. The overall prize was claimed by team GB, providing a small distraction for James Cracknell, from the serious business of his stag do.
Readers will be glad to hear that when asked by the slug if he was planning to “go on a bit of a bender”, James assured us that he would be “having a quiet night in” but might have a “couple of shandies” to celebrate….
Elsewhere at the Serpentine, extra points for anyone who can guess which FISA and UK umpire was overheard making the following comment (said with a suitable level of disdain):
“I drive a Bentley, a Morgan and a Jag…. I really don’t think I’ll be wearing a Mercedes baseball cap…”
(Who says rowing isn’t a sport for the masses…)
There was bemusement all round at the Hammersmith Cafe recently when members of Sons of the Thames were approached by a nameless Furnivall SC official and told that they would be racing each other for the infamous Dewar Shield on November 9th. Not knowing what the Dewar Shield was, further investigation by curious Sons members revealed that it was in fact, the impressively large eyesore that has been adorning the clubhouse bar, unmolested for these last seven or so years.
The shield is the Hammersmith equivalent of the Boustead cup, and is supposed to be raced for by the Hammersmith Clubs, however, after it (in the words of a Funeral member) “somehow ended up in Sons” it was forgotten about (er…presumably it somehow ended up at Sons because they won it) but it would seem that Furnivall want it in their bar in time for their club dinner on the 9th.
Sons found it particularly amusing that, at the time of approach, the nameless Furnivall official appeared not have invited the “other” Hammersmith club to the party for fear that they might be too good, and had clearly dismissed the possibility that Sons might actually win...
But is seems that the Funeral plans may not go as hoped as AK have now got in on the act and Sons are refusing to race, until a date when they can cajole enough ringers into their boats to guarantee victory…
Though the Rabbit’s guide to Henley is written rather tongue in cheek, one area it rings very true in, is the whole issue of snobbery around blazer hierarchy, as this tale from one of the UK high performance centres, Thames RC, illustrates nicely…
Picture the scene, it’s the TRC AGM and the agenda has got round to AOB. Suddenly, out of the blue, one member of the club in red, white and black, springs it upon the gathering, that the club should change the rules around who can wear the hallowed white “regatta” blazer.
His proposal being that the wearing of the white blazer should no longer be restricted to those who have rowed for Thames at HRR and HWR, giving the committee the additional power to award it to those individuals deemed worthy of reward for their “services to Thames”.
As the AGM had not been given advanced notice, a vote on the rule change is not possible, and the hopeful TRC member is informed that it will have to be voted on at the Captain’s meeting, after the Royal.
Months pass and HRR is upon us. The scene moves to Remenham club, enter stage right, a certain TRC member resplendent in er… a brand new, white regatta blazer that he has apparently "awarded to himself".
A punch up between said member and some other TRC types, who are sporting their hard earned, white blazers, is narrowly avoided and he is told in no uncertain terms that he is not entitled to wear white and he can wear the normal blazer like everyone else has to.
Time moves on. It’s the TRC captain’s meeting and Blazergate is up for discussion again, a discussion that takes more time than the rest of the items on the agenda put together and ends in a tied vote of 20 for and 20 against. With the motion not passed by a majority, a suggestion is mooted that perhaps the committee should be able to award a “similar” but “different” blazer for services rendered.
This was generally felt to be a good alternative, and when asked in the bar afterward what this new blazer could look like, the person who suggested it clarified his ideas : “Make it the same as the regatta blazer, but with the word c*nt on the back”
The slug suspects the whole thing may come up again at next year’s AGM, but just in-case it doesn’t, Henley bound TRC oarsmen may benefit from keeping half an eye on the classifieds columns in the local Putney papers….
|SONS RULE THE (OCEAN) WAVES|
Last weekend saw red faces at London Corinthians sailing club, as their annual off-shore rally (raced around the Solent off Cowes), saw the Sons of the Thames crew (comprising of 7 rowers, one former Mortlake cox (now an LCSC member), and a coach who had been press ganged in the club bar) showing a clean pair of heels to the fleet of 21 boats.
Indeed so impressed was their coach with the rowers' winch grinding and rope pulling ability, that it has been suggested that they swap codes, and plans to take on more than just Corinthians are indeed afoot. Though he slug can confirm that rumours Drago has been poached by the Bulgarian America's Cup team are, however, wide of the mark.
Meanwhile mutterings from Corinthians imply that the invitation to join their jolly gathering may mot be forthcoming next year....
|WORLD CLASS SWIMMING|
Our slug in Seville was looking forward to seeimg the general technical competence of so called 'international' rowers at the Worlds last week, and was not disappointed with what was on offer.
Yes faithful reader, fear not, for there is hope for those in club land... as during the champs the slug counted at least six crews that fell in! (And those are the ones we heard about! )
So who are they?
The Hungarian double, - the new World Champions, fell in after they crossed the line - but you could probably have seen that on TV. An American pair, containing the one and only Adam Holland fell in whilst in a qualifying spot for the semis ( the slug's not sure if he still tapes a knife to the bows of the boat when racing, but if so, we hope it was stainless steel)... One guy simply blew before the line, the rest is history. An Australian W2- (I think!) fell in, but this was apparently caused by somebody else hitting them. But the best swimming incident has to go to the US heavy four! Yup a four - that takes world class effort. So how did they manage it? Well, they rowed to close to a large marker bouy, the two rowers on that side simulataneously pulled their blades in .... and the laws of physics took over. That leaves just two more soggy individuals to report... And those two were British!!!! (any excuse to take your kit off, eh?...)
With the new season upon us, it's time to play musical coaches again, as the annual "change of scenary" fest gets underway and the slug hears mutterings about who's moving where...
Big changes afoot on the Tideway this year starting with Billy Mason coming to the end of his current contract with Imperial College. It's unclear if Billy will continue to have some input to the coaching at IC, taking on a "director of rowing" type role, or whether he will move on to completely new pastures. Westminster has been mentioned as a possibility, though some have also suggested that he might be increasing the number of Masons at the pink palace (the coaching type of mason that is... there are already plenty of the other). No doubt time will tell, but whatever he decides to do, Billy's old role at IC, is generally seen as a job worth having and several coaches have made it clear that they're coveting the position.
Rumours have been floating around for some time that Simon Dennis is being lined up to take over, but when last asked, lips remained tightly sealed at the IC cherry wood and soft lighting trust house forte boathouse.
Next door at Thames, young Mike Owen has returned to coaching at the club in red white and black after his brief return to LRC last year and slightly further upstream, Richard Tinkler has taken over the role of head coach at Mortlake, apparently taking most of Thames Tradesmen with him. His split from TTRC has been attributed to a "difference of opinion" with their new captain, but whatever the cause, Tradesmen's membership has clearly suffered as a result. Mr Tinkler has taken on a lot of responsibility at Mortlake, looking after both the men's and women's squads, but he seems to be coping admirably so far.
Boyd Lyttle has taken over the women's squad at Twickenham and Ross Smitheman has taken up a position back at Sons of the Thames. Elsewhere in Hammersmith, the Slug's twitchy feelers are currently directed towards Auriol Kensington, as we wait to see whether Nick Wilde carries out his threat of leaving, after Fiona Richmond was voted in as the new AK captain at the weekend.
Up river, Simon Cox's position in the Black death is up for renewal, but we've also heard suggestions that the ARA may be running one of their high performance coaches out of Molesey, so another wait and see...
|TOP O' THE WORLDS MA|
Ahhhh, God's in his heaven, Matthew's got another gold WC medal, and all's right with the world.
The slug is glad to see that our national rowing treasures are back on form after a spectacular race in the mens 2- A final in Seville on Saturday. The much expected battle with Tompkins and Ginn never materialised and, as a result, we suspect that any Putney based Australian coaches may be getting a bit of a ribbing on their return.
The Australian camp didn't have a particuarly good time off the river either, with a couple of the Aussie girls finding a body hanging from a tree by the course early in the week, not the best thing to help you mentally prepare for a race. I've also heard that several of the men's squad were held up at knife point, but no more details on that one.
There were a few other notable performances from the GB camp both in the skinny and fat boats. Golds also being picked up by the men's coxed IV, and the girlies in the Lightwight pair... a perfect end to great year for Naomi Ashcroft, with pairs partner Leonie Barron proving she did the right thing by trialing after Nat champs -well done girls.
Ned and Nick picked up Bronze in the LM pair -(see, all that nekkid training paid off...). As did Tracey "nice to see you to see you nice" Langlands and Helen Casey in the LW double
The men's coxless four just missed gold on the line, then had to put up with the BBC's one and only Steve Ryder inflicting his usual tact free interview style on a crew who were obviously disappointed and beating themselves up quite badly. We felt your pain...
Sadly, the standard of TV rowing commentary is usually on the lame side. In the most part it's not fair to blame the reporters who are stuck with the spector of a mainly non-rowing audience to entertain. An end they tend to accomplish with dumbed down comments like "and the yellow boat is ahead of the white boat". Sometimes however those on the end of the mike have only themselves to blame... The slug had a bit of a chuckle watching Mr Ryder interviewing Steve Redgrave after the fours race, when he asked Redgrave what he thought of the men's 4+ result.
Sir Steve's response...
"actually that was the COXLESS four, the coxed four is tomorrow..."
For more info check out the excellent Fisa site for full race results, and Row2K for the juicy bits you didn't read in the papers and some good photos.
|WOMAN IN BLACK|
The slug saw a few raised eyebrows at the Commonwealth rowing championships last weekend, when the cox of the New Zealand men's IV arrived at the podium to pick up her bronze medal. Those in the know were quick to identify the smiling cox'n as none other than Rowing Service web mistress and Telegraph rowing hack, Rachel Quarrell (click on the thumbnail for photgraphic evidence!)
Could it be, that despite her decidely English accent, Q really comes from a land down under???
Alas, nothing so exciting... it turns out Rachel was asked by the crew, on the suggestion of the organisers, when the NZ coxless 4 decided they'd like to double up, and despite failing to meet the nationality rules, the organisers made an exception and gave the nod as the New Zealanders hadn't been planning to do the coxed event and didn't have a cox with them.
This has, of course, happened before.. so should the same rules apply to cox'ns as rowers anyway??
Another ‘Catt-astrophe’ occurred at Peterboro' Regatta recently, where the US Navy were apparently testing their new invisable vessel out on the River Nene.
The slug can report that the ‘stealth’ craft - cunningly disguised as a (very) Narrow boat, has proven to be a most effective maritime craft... creeping through the rushes... and was only spotted when the hapless cox of the Twickenham Men’s S3 VI+ ploughed into it.
When asked after the event how she's managed to hit the boat, for surely it was the proverbial "needle in a haystack" - being so narrow and all that, Ms Campbell pleaded innocence, telling her crew 'This is the first time that I have ever hit anything’ .
Other members of her former squad may beg to differ . . . . . . .
It's saturday night / Early sunday morning at Peterborough regatta and two juniors boys are talking to a female rower. With a look of deadly seriousness, they tell her about how they do so much training - all of one hour a week, well... they go on, they are novices after all...
Having caught the poor girl's attention, they then go on to ask her for lots of advice on how to become elite rowers... and keen to help these new-comers to the world of rowing, she willingly gives them a few handy tips.
Alas, what the oarswomen in question failed to recognise, was the true identity of the two "novices" - being Mr Sam Dixon ( 4x at this years Coupe ) and Mr Pete Gostling - winner of S2 at the HORR and owner of two 2002 Henley medals.
ooooh, you are awful.