|WE HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY
A concerned rower recently contacted the slug with disturbing evidence that Funeral scullers have been dabbling in genetic engineering, following their narrow defeat by the Reading RC infadels in the Thames cup, on Wenesday of HRR last year.
It appears that after securing the services of a one "Dr Frankenstein" - allegedly an expert in Oral Microbiology (thats like Listermint and stuff), some subtle changes to the crew have occured... but can you spot the difference between the before and after photos on the right..? (click to enlarge)The slug feels they may have made a mistake with the newly designed cox, who looks more like the girl from the exorcist and is surely bound to run up the booms with her head on backwards...
bow - Mungo Jerry 2 - Red Fraggle 3 - Rene from Allo allo 4 - Monkeyboy 5 - Cartman 6 - Timmy Mallet 7 - some ginger c*nt str - The 13th Duke of Wynbourne Cox - Heidi kids tv show.
|BLACK AND BLUE
The slug's little twitchy feelers have been picking up on rumours emanating from Oxford, which indicate that OUBC president, Matt Smith may have been given some time off to re-cooperate following a bit of a 'barny', exact details of which are proving rather evasive.
Mr Smith was allegedly set upon after leaving the 'top' Oxford venue Club Latinos (usually a favourite hangout of teenaged language students) last week.
While conspiracy theories fly around among the more fervent dark blue supporters, others are pointing to an altercation within the club during a post-GB trials OUBC social outing (Several OUBC crews took part in the GB Trials on February 8th)
On leaving the club alone (to phone his girlfriend), some "Cubans, Colombians or something" were predicatbly waiting to get their own back, because he'd managed to get them chucked out earlier from what was a student night. As far as we've been told, the result is that Matt's going to be out for a couple of weeks, with a hand injury.
Not the best timing with the final crew announcement due on 10th March...
|WORDS OF WISDOM?
As it's always worthwhile looking for advice from those who have gone before, the slug has been chewing on a copy of WG East's book "Rowing" circa 1904.
For a book that's nearly 100 yrs old, a lot of what it says is still relevant but it also contains, some real classic gems of wisdom in it, which are in danger of being lost to the rowing world (though somehow, I suspect the TwRC men's squad are already familiar with this rowing bible - especially his stance on training and drinking).
So in the interests of education and enlightenment, the slug has reproduced some of these for your enjoyment.
"SUGARING - Rowing apparently correctly, but avoiding putting in a full share of work."
"rowing stands alone, in that the exercise in the boat, in addition to walking, is all that is required to get the oarsman fit. No ball-punching exercises or dumb-bells should be practised during actual training. Walking and the boat will do all that is required."
"A rowing man should not confine his preparation entirely to the strict traing period, he should keep fairly fit through the winter if he desires to be at his best in the spring and summer. To this end he should row leisurely once or twice a week if convenient and practise ball-punching, skipping and Indian clubs. Indian club swinging is possibly the best of exercises for oarsmen during the winter months"
The day's Routine
"Turn out of bed at 6:30, certainly not later than 7 o'clock. No cup of tea before getting up, nor immediately after rising, as this is most detrimental."
"If there is any weakness or impurity in the blood a hard course of rowing will generally bring it out in the form of boils"
"The food at meals should be just whatever one fancies so long as it is plain and wholesome. Pork, rabbit, hare, venison and boiled beef are not allowed. Potatoes must be sparing partaken of. Bacon, shell fish, suet puddings, pastry and cheese complete, I think, the list of banned foods."
"Three half-pints of ale a day are, I think, the best and sufficient drink for a man in training. the Varsity crews include a glass of port after dinner, but I think this is a mistake. If any man or crew seems low or stale I advise soup and an extra half-pint of old ale for a day or two, or a glass of champagne on three days in a week"
Staleness at the end of training, say two or three days before the race, is much more serious, but can be cured in a well trained crew by a trip for a couple of days or a weekend to the seaside, with, of course, no rowing during this rest.
On Selecting a Stroke
"good heavyweight oarsmen are generally hard to find, for big, strong men as a general rule are not the best watermen, and do not pull with strength proportionate to their weight. The best weight for a stroke is 11 to 12 stone, over 12 stone a man is apt to be too slow, and few big men are stylish oarsmen"
Rules of racing (1904)
"15. every competitor must wear complete clothing from the shoulders to the knees, including a sleeved jersey (rule 15 is to prevent the use of the objectionable sleeveless jerseys, exposing the naked flanks and armpits, which have been introduced into amateur regattas by oarsmen of questionable status)"
|AMBER ALERT - SAILORS AHOY
Luckily, most rowers appeared to have taken heed of last week's 'amber terror alert' on the Tideway, and the river was pretty much clear of nervous scullers by the time Oxford and Cambridge crews raced through Hammersmith Bridge alongside those from LRC.
Not so the intrepid sailors of London Corinthian Sailing Club, who were undeterred by such warnings and continued with their sailing race as scheduled. Spare a thought for the Laser (a small and tippy single handed boat), which appeared like a rabbit caught in the headlights as Cambridge and London shot through Hammersmith Bridge as he rounded the windward mark (a buoy moored off Dove pier), and set off back up the middle of the river.
Alas, cries of 'power gives way to sail' were unlikely to be heard (never mind heeded) over the noise of the two coxswains exhorting their crews to better efforts, and the rest of the sailing fleet watched on in concern (or perhaps not in the case of those languishing down the back of the fleet).
The Laser sailor fortunately managed to hold his boat in a straight line up river, and not fall in, while the two crews shot past on either side.
It has since been pointed out by the rowing members of Corinthians that it is simply is not possible to expect a 60ft long rowing boat to keep out of the way of a gaggle of sailing boats zig-zagging apparently haphazardly across the river - and that sailing races on the mornings of the two heads of the river, ahead of the river closure but when the river is likely to be full of non-Tideway coxswains arming their crews up is likely to prove frustrating at best.
Debate continues at LCSC on the lines of 'it's our right of way and we've never stopped racing before'.... watch this space nearer the time for another amber alert.
For those of you who are looking for a flutter on this year's boatrace, and hoping for some inside info from LRC on which crew to stake your pennies, I'm afraid we can't shed much light on their relative speeds, as the work LRC did with each camp was quite different.
The LRC lightweights had a very useful paddle from Putney road bridge to Kew Road bridge with Cambridge, The Cambridge crew generally a few pips lower than London enabling the crews to stay within a length or 2 of each other and providing good steering practice for both coxes, as well as a run through all the various conditions that were on offer on the Tideway on Saturday!
No muppetness to report from either crew, even in the most difficult of the water. Both Phelan and Jim Osmartian clearly had good control of their boats, both made some little mistakes but practise makes perfect.
Meanwhile, Oxford did some 3 minute pieces with the LRC heavyweights, and Isis played with a crew that was about 3/4 lightweight, the Oxford crews being quicker against both. The Oxford boys went on to play with the IC boys on Sunday and we can probably expect to see a lot more of them on the Tideway in the run up to the main event.
|NICE HELPFUL COACHES... OR NOT
The slug has noticed an interesting new trend on the Tideway... coaches offering 'helpful advice' to other clubs cox'ns . We're not quite sure what to make of this… perhaps 'giving advice' is fine but interferring isn't. While it's undeniable that sometimes experienced coxes get into sticky situations caused by other crews or by stream conditions, it must be said that jumping in and doing their job for them, may be more likely to cause an accident than avert one.
Take some recent examples...
Incident number 1 - how to do it
Busy, busy stretch of water just by the Bandstand, the MAA eights span to join eights, fours and other boats from IC, Furnival and Thames (I think) going upstream. Someone useful informed 'those two yellow eights' that they might want to move out to avoid the eight that had just stopped on the bank.
Incident number 2 - possibly a bit patronising
Just a bit further down river, MAA crews finish a piece after the crossing point and one of the boats doesn't cross the river properly but stays on the middlesex bank past the lifeboats and the barges, proceeding slowly and watching the scullers proceeding downstream carefully - to cross in front of them would probably be more dangerous! Launch driver from another club calls the crew "silly girls" for doing so.
No accidents, no angry scullers, no need for the comment.
Incident number 3 - interferring and downright dangerous.
An experienced cox'n with an experienced crew, is attempting a slightly tricky spinning manouver outside Café Rouge at Kew (near those nasty barges) when a launch driver from another club, comes up and starts yelling that they are about to have an accident, giving commands to the crew and panicing the rowers. Fortunately the crew listened to their cox and didn't even come within 4 feet of the obstacle.
So, a help or a hinderance? How many coaches have ever sat in the cox'ns seat and really know what steering a boat takes.
Let us know what you think
|YOUR MESSAGES OF LOVE
(I do worry sometimes...)
oh my black, red, white pixie, you are coxing me up love creek… lovingly from your smitten stroke Is Dot Blackie still around? I'd like to send her a big *kiss*. Please don't tell my wife. The stroke of the ic novice girls that passed us today should join me to form a pair. Roses are red
London is blue
Sculling is sweet
and I'll do it with you
Dearest Monkey i love you with all my heart... your gutteral cries of 'im the daddy' make me go all hot and funny..i want to feel you pound away at me, like your catch in your single.. be my valentine? Dearest Try-athlete, I look forward to grinding my shaft and rollox in your well oiled gate. I will be your seven man if you stroke me!! River is red
Fingers are blue
Whatever the weather
I will always love you.
Small forty something Kiwi coach looking for a mixed double to coach thru love... your choice of my fleet of singles as a proof of my love for the right lady replies to Dirty Don Humbug. Spare a thought for oppressed single people on Friday! To the small but perfectly formed red-headed Kings Hospital cox… Everytime you shout 'stroke' - i do.
Spud, why not try licking salt off your cox? Tequila drinking mystery blonde x Mole 4 Badger Oh Trigger, I'd really love to pull yours... fluffy Dear TSS Tracey, Roses are red, Violets have grace if i give you a fiver, would you sit on my face? PB Nanny loves you, little pink schoolboy....
TERROR WARNINGThe Tideway was put on Amber alert terror alert last night and rowers warned to remain vigilant over the coming weekend, after government informants indicated that a wash attach by the "axil of evil" is planned for Saturday morning.
Though details have not been previously disclosed to prevent widespread panic, the slug can confirm that Oxford and Cambridge have chosen to take to the tideway this weekend, both doing work along side LRC crews on Saturday Morning.
Terror expert Mr I C Launch expressed his concern at the news
"the destructive force of their combined wash could be phenominal. Though inspectors failed to uncover any evidence of a training camp during a recent trip to Dorney lake, we have reasons to believe that Oxford have been honing their launches of mass destruction for some time now.
This would indicate that Oxford and Cambridge are actually working together, a very worrying deveopment for the civilised rowing clubs"
Be careful out there.
BUOYANCY - WHAT NEXT?The buoyancy seminar at MAABC last Sunday was attended by around 40 people with varying interests and responsibilities within the sport. Presentations made by the Blockleys, Caroline Smith and Carl Douglas painted a very convincing picture as to why we, as rowers, should want to row (if not demand to row) in 8's and fours with improved buoyancy, and I choose the word 'improved' carefully, for part of the problem those concerned have had with progressing better buoyancy standards appears to lie with a reluctance by the ARA to hang itself with words.
The undeniable truth of the matter is that, where people are involved, accidents will happen. You can't legislate for panic and you simply can't remove all risks from any activity. Although in many cases you could remove practically all risk, this can only be accomplished by radically changing the experience of the activity, and none of us want that to happen to the sport we love.
But understand, this is not one of these cases... for what we can do, without any impact on performance or enjoyment, and with a negligible impact on cost, is to easily improve one small part of the saftey equation. The part that relates to larger boat buoyancy.
In my view (and please feel free to disagree), if we start from the premise that performance must NOT be affected, there can never be a standard which is totally "adequate" or "sufficient" for 100% of swamping cases, as there will ALWAYS be odd instances where due to external conditions, a crew will have to leave the boat - e.g it high amplitude waves preventing adequate manoeuvering of the blades, combined with a strong cross wind and danger of being swept sideways onto a weir or under a barge.
And if it happens to you - it wasn't adequate.
Now, don't get me wrong, this isn't an excuse for doing nothing, but it does impact how best to progress the issue, to protect rowers as best as possible in the future.
With this in mind, the ARA may understandably be nervous about putting their name to an "adequate" standard - for where does the legal liability lie if someone dies when a boat deemed to be "adequate" is swamped? Yet this could be overcome by simply setting a standard for "better" or "improved" buoyancy, and that doesn't need the ARA and it doesn't need FISA either... it needs marketing.
Don't sell it as being a panacea, sell it for what it is - a better chance for survival.
So how can we move on? Well, the first thing we need is a stake in the ground, defining a buoyancy standard - it won't be perfect but it will be a standard that will allow buyers to demand an understood level of performance, from the boat builders (and if the ARA and FISA endorse it, all the better.)
The second thing we need is the education and buy-in of the rowing public, because this simple rule applies: "if the customer wants it, the manufacturers will provide it".
Of course, there is a problem, for UK Rowers are very undemanding customers... they don't complain about poor quality and they never ask why they pay £13000 for a boat but never get a users manual or service book (would you settle for that with a new car?)
Everytime you set foot in a boat, you open yourself to a risk of swamping, even if that risk appears to be very small. In short, buoyancy is an issue that impacts rowers, so let the demand for change come from rowers...
Ask and you will receive.
OVERBUMP?The slug recently recieved a e-mail complaining about one of the Vesta coxns, suggesting that perhaps someone should point out that Bumps rules don't apply this far south.
The cause of the problem was said cox'n ramming their women's 8 into a Son's men's pair under Barnes bridge on saturday morning..., while telling the pair, they should have got out of the way and were zigzagging in front . (Though the bowman of the pair recalls hugging the bank in the strong stream and trying to give the VIII room to take the outside lane.)
The fuming pair were unceremoniously left by Barnes Bridge to check out the damage to their stern, as the Vesta cox took the crew on without apology.
After checking with Vesta about their recollection of the incident, the other side emerged...
"I don't think their version of hugging, and ours, agree. Think they might have found themselves getting off scot free if they hadn't decided to veer back in front of us, having not been able to decide whether to keep to the inside or the outside of us. (if he was hugging the bank, why was he on our outside?)."
Guess it all depends on which boat you were in, but on a serious note the stream is a nightmare at the moment and when you move out it's pratically impossible to get past anyone.
Of course, the tideway is still small fry compared to Dorney lake which is awash with half-wits.
As one exasperated rower pointed out to the slug " I don't know how they organise numbers, but there were (in most people's opinion) far too many boats of differing ability on the water for it to be safe. Plus they have the cheek of charging everyone for its use. Shambles! I Don't think anyone came away without damaged equipment of some kind!"
Anyone for an erg?
VROOM VROOMThe Embankment at Putney is evidently rather good for motoring high jinks - being both quiet and fairly straight, with numerous escape routes available, should PC Plod show up.
Indeed, during the heavy snow on Thursday night, a black Seat chose to exploit this prime location, to execute antics such as handbrake turns, skids, spinning wheels etc... All of which was great fun, er.... until he got it wrong and ended up in the river...
Essex man is alive and well, and drying out in an airing cupboard somewhere!
OLD HABITS DIE HARDThe slug was amused to note that a mere two days into his 'retirement', Peter Haining was busy winning the Veteran's Team prize, with team-mates Ian Watson, C.D. Riches and Paul Roche, for Westminster School's "Team On The Edge" at the Oarsman's Thames Valley Cross-Country running race, organised by Windsor Boys' School Boat Club.
By all accounts Peter was a bit 'worse for wear' to start off with, following the London Rowing Club dinner the night before, but sobered up half way up the first hill and managed to finish in the top 20, only just achieving his race aim of beating his wife...
Pictures from the LRC dinner are available HERE (apologies for the annoying pop-ups but it's the curse of free webspace.)