29-04-03 THE YOUTH OF TODAY...
It was a busy day at Dorney lake on Sunday, with both senior squad lightweights and Junior trialists trying to share the water... It soon became apparent that the lake just wasn't big enough for all of them, when a junior single sculler, who was racing down one lane, objected to having a lightweight men's double being coached whilst next to him.

At the finish line, the angry sculler made his objections clear to the coach:

"Don't you coach that crew with a f*cking mega-phone when I'm racing a trial!!!"

To which the coach calmly replied...

"I am David Tanner, International Rowing Manager and you will report to me when you get off the water."

We suspect the chances of him becoming the next Steve Redgrave, may just have been significantly reduced...

25-04-03 HOT LETTUCE
The slug was munching through the magazines in the local newsagents recently, when suddenly its little twitcy feelers came over all a quiver. The cause of all this excitment was New Woman magazine, or rather an article in said magazine entitled "HOT BLOKES YOU CAN DATE"...

Yes, faithful reader-burds, your dreams may have come true -- for there on the page were two of GB rowing's most desperate.. er... I mean finest, male specimens.

Quite what has reduced the lovely Steve Williams and Rick Dunn, to resort to placing lonely hearts adds in a national magazine, the slug may never know (though we're guessing lack of sex may come into it), but anyway, it makes amusing reading and as with all rowers, food seems to be the true way to their hearts...

Click on the thumbnails to enlarge (and for the special dial-a-date numbers) and of course, I expect an invite to the wedding.

25-04-03 SHUSH!
One of the hidden dangers of rowing, are attacks from the "lesser tolerant axe-wielding house-boat owner", as the attached article from the Daily Mirror a couple of weeks ago, testify. The attack was on a bowloader coxed IV from Trafford Rowing Club.

The article is attached for those who missed it at the time... read and be warned

Perhaps the only valid reason you'll ever get to tell your coach to keep quiet...

Any rowing teens out there, wanting to keep up with the latest in top rowing fashion may be interested to know that Mike Hennessy made an excellent fashion purchase whilst on training camp in Italy and has transformed his alter-ego into 'Ali T' from the East Scullers Massive.

The slug thinks it may be no-coincidence, given that Dorney lake is really not that far from Staines... Just see the attached photos (click to enlarge) for an outfit which even puts J-Lo to shame. With those moves, surely Mr H is destined to be the pin-up for LEH girls for the new millenium?

Cool or un-cool?.... er, probably best not to answer that!

It appears that OUWBC are not the only women who were pissed off with the BBC's recent coverage of the boatrace, indeed Barnes Bridge Ladies are also none too impressed with how their interview with Tony Hawks was edited.

BBLRC Captain, Helen Sanderson confirmed that during the interview they told the BBC team all about the Women's Boatrace (which they didn't seem to know already), the history of the WHoRR (even consulting the organisers to get the facts right), and rise of women's rowing in general. Alas, for some reason known only to the BBC, they chose to edit this out, using only a tiny bit of the footage and in the process managing to suggest that rowers from Barnes Bridge Ladies only do so because they get to see men in lycra, and lets face it - those of us who have seen the Cygnet men will know that can't be true (n.b. that was a joke, before you start sending me hate mail...Ed)

Of course on the issue of media coverage, there are a whole bundle of issues; why are the birds/lightweights races held in Henley? Why can't they be raced on the same course/ river closure as the men's? Wouldn't it be easier for the TV companies to cover the race if they didn't have to tramp to Henley? (Besides which, it HAS been covered in the past)

One slug reader points out "As one who wore neither light nor dark blue nor would cry too much if the Boat Race was pulled entirely from the BBC, I can't say I'm a big supporter of the requests to cover the Women's race as well - but I'm not against it on equality grounds, I'm against it because I don't think it shows rowing as it is.

Yes, all that coverage means that "real" people see rowing, and they might even appreciate it given the quality of the recent races, but it underlines their thoughts that the sum of rowing is Sir SteveRedgrave, Matthew Cracknell, people in funny blazers at Henley with their strange rules about jackets and ladies' skirts - and a couple of dozen public schoolboys and a few tall foreigners from our alleged two best universities

What we really need is wider televising of the rest of the calendar - the main Tideway Heads (Men's, Women's, Schools, Vets, Fours, Pairs *and* Scullers), or the Met, or HRR and HWR, or the Nat Champs and Nat Schools, or the Inter-Regionals, or the HIR - or even Putney Town or Peterborough Summer, because that shows rowing as it is to the rowers; novices, elites, veterans, juniors, men, women..."

On this point, The slug has been told that Sky have been in touch with the Henley Women's Regatta about possible coverage, but that HWR baulked at the suggestion that they should have to "pay" for the privilege... they were naturally hoping that they would receive some money, not have to spend it.

Let's campaign to show rowing as it is in the 21st Century, not as it was in the middle of the 19th.

There has been some consternation amongst the Oxford old girls regarding the quality of boat race coverage and indeed, the 2002-2003 OUWBC Press Officer (Milly Wingfield-Van-Digby-Manen) spent a number of hours trying to get the beeb to allow for some female input into their boat race coverage. Although she had to concede that they would not be able to show clips of the women's BB race itself, she was assured that they would "mention the race and the results".

On the day itself, however, the BBC actually showed a spiel by Tony Hawks claiming insultingly that "women have nothing to do with the boat race" and then interviewed some Barnes Bridge BC women, making the insinuation that the only reason that women row is to pull men in lycra.

It has been pointed out during this discussion that although the women's boat race may not yet have the weight and credence of the men's event, it has a history dating back to 1927 and Oxford University Women's Boat Club has been the launch pad for a number of former and current GB international rowers such as Ali Gill, Annabel Eyres, Helen Casey, Sarah Martin, Sarah Waldron, Louisa Rowbotham and Michelle Dollimore Furthermore, several of the Oxford old-girl rowers have admitted that their interest in the sport began with watching women's rowing on television.

Women's rowing is one of the major growth areas in the sport of rowing. Oxford Women have achieved some incredible results in the past few years, winning pennants in the major Tideway heads, and being regular finalists at the National Champioships. This year, the Blue Boat were extremely pleased to be placed within the top ten at the Women's Head (they were 6th), with their second (placed 18th) and lightweight (placed 8th) crews also appearing within the top 20 showing incredible depth as well as talent within the squad.

It does still seem quite amazing that the majority of reporters who are trotted out year after year, in order to cover the boat race, still don't seem to have any idea of what the sport entails and especially not how to make a boat go faster. Given the extent to which both the mens and womens boat race crews train (i.e. at least two 90 minute sessions a day), it would be nice if they actually got some well-researched pieces to accompany the race.

Milly is hoping to have a discussion with the director of Grandstand within the next couple of weeks regarding the potential inclusion of women's rowing in future boat race coverages. If you agree that television in this country displays a remarkably chauvinistic approach to their coverage of sport and that something should be done about it, she would be gratified if you could support her argument by voicing opinions and posting your views to the following address:

Director of Programming,
BBC Sport
Room 5090
BBC TV Centre
W12 7RJ

Alternatively, should you wish to contact Milly directly about this subject, please e-mail her at press@ouwbc.com

Last weekend saw rowers' navigational skills and knowledge much called into question, with Latymer School attempting to emulate Cambridge on Sunday by hitting an even larger vessel... and in so doing they successfully catapulted two crew members into the river...

Meanwhile Auriol Kensington showed a startling lack of appreciation both of navigation rules and of the generally supposed aim to peacefully share the river with other users.

Most rowers clog up the river in the morning, at an hour when other pleasure users are more sensibly tucked up in bed. Not so AK, whose quest for domination of the Hammersmith stretch has now extended to trying to force the sailors off the river. Saturday afternoon saw some 20 sailing boats from Corithinians (LCSC) set off racing down river against the tide, beating in a fickle wind and needing to hug the Surrey bank to make any headway.

Cue stage right a women's four from AK. But rather than noting the packed fleet of boats ahead and simply crossing the river early on their way back home, they tried to barge through the sailing fleet, causing havoc to the race and accompanying this disruption with some highly colourful language incorrectly asserting their right of way.

Navigation rules state that powered vessels (and under oars counts as powered, so yes that means rowing boats) give way to sail. - something AK clearly hadn't briefed their coxswain on. However while LCSC noted that the PLA might liked to be informed of this flagrant disregard of river rules and of the abusive language, the PLA themselves seem to have reacted to Friday's incident by attempting to keep all other river users off their patch - and helpfully parked their boat right in the middle of the sailing race course.

For the record, as well as power gives way to sail, and an unwritten rule that those not racing should try and keep clear of those racing (and thanks here to Orion who showed exemplary conduct two weeks ago in hiding under the trees while a sailing race made its painfully slow way past), there are some other points worth noting:

All river users apart from Tideway rowers will be following the internationally recognised 'port-to-port' rule - which basically means keep right. So if travelling with the stream it's sensible to try and do so.

It's also worth remembering that on, for example Head days, many of non-Tideway and particularly overseas crews may well try to follow this rule both up and downstream.

'Deep draught vessels' - ie large boats - may be 'restricted in their ability to manoevure', particularly at low tide and as such have right of way over everyone including sailing boats.

'Boats towing another vessel' (as apparently was the Harbour Master at the time of impact) may be similarly restricted. Any vessel thus constrained should theoretically hoist a black shape to indicate this - but then again I'm guessing that a cox who hasnt seen the vessel, probably wont see a black ball....

If a boat hoots once at you, he is moving to starboard (ie right).
Two hoots mean he's moving to port (left), three means he is trying to go astern, and
five times means he is 'unsure of your intentions' - more frequently translated as 'what the f... do you think you are doing'.

Alas for Cambridge this came a bit late.

04-04-03 "BREAKING" NEWS
News of more Americans involved in 'friendly fire' this afternoon, but this time on the Tideway after the Cambridge blue boat cox somehow managed to not see the Harbour Master, and steered his crew, into the advancing vessel at race pace -- infront of the watching world media.

Cambridge were practicing starts off the stake boats as the Harbour Master's launch appeared towing another large boat. Although witnesses confirm that a coaches launch was with the CUBC crew at the time, and was shouting at them to stop, it appears that ex-Harvard cox, Jim Omartian simply didn't hear the shouts or see the oncoming craft.

A source close by during the incident told the Slug: "I haven't been able to stop laughing since, how can anyone manage to not see the Harbour Master? It was obvious to those watching what was going to happen about 7 strokes out -- everyone was shouting at them to stop except the cox and the driver of the Harbour Master's launch (who was frantically trying to put his boat in reverse, and failed to sound a warning). When they hit there was a funny 'squishy noise' and the cameras started flashing..."

The crash happened about 15 strokes into a practice start, impacting on bowside and smacking bowman, Wayne Pommen (another ex-harvard type) against the hull of the boat. Reports indicate that the Wayne is now out for Sunday's race with ripped tendons and the Slug suspects that the cox has gone into hiding before he gets one....

Three of the blades and riggers on Bowside were damaged in the crash on top of which the boat is believed to have a broken shoulder.

However, following the success of Black Prince in the men's head at the weekend, Vesta RC are rumoured to have offered "Girobank" aka "the wardrobe" as a replacement. It may be slightly heavier that the Empacher VIII, the crew is used to rowing in, but at least it's indestructable.

With thanks to Bert Cocu (bert@nlroei.nl) forproviding the picture.

In recent years women's rowing has come on leaps and bounds and no-one will dispute that it is one of the major growth areas of the sport. This is even more true in the USA, where the masters women's segement in particular, has really come into its own in recent years.

However one unforseen side-effect of the increase in the no. of racing crews and available competitions is a growing problem in the US with 'female' master rowers who used to be um... blokes but who have had a sex change operation - and want to race as women .

Legally they can't, as their passport will still say they are male so, male vetetan rowers upset at being beaten by superior women's crews, may wish to note that if they suspect they are racing against particularly male looking 'women' it is worth protesting...

Just be careful of accusing real "women" incase they corner you in a dark alley and take their revenge...

Can't add much to this tale of woe except that BPBC are Black Prince Boat club aka Trinity college Cambridge old boys they had previously held the place of 186 for two years running and er... it makes me glad I went to Peterhouse...

Dear All,

On a gloriously sunny Saturday, the BPBC HORR crew assembled on Putney Embankment, ready to take on all-comers. Selected on the incredibly rigorous basis of there having been just enough people wanting to race, our lineup was (from the stern):

Miss B. Evans - R. Foster - S. Blackburn - R. Dewire - J. Glass - D.Micklethwaite - J. Were - G. Fisher - C. Ponsonby

BP2 was duly removed from the trailer, bolted together and rigged. With such a finely-honed crew, we could leave nothing to chance and thought long and hard about the minutiae of the rigging. Having come to a consensus on gate heights, we began making the necessary adjustments, only to discover that stroke had no rigger whatsoever.

Fine oarsman though Rob Foster may be, this omission was bound to cramp his style somewhat. A frantic search of the Putney clubs left us with no suitable replacement rigger - anything that would fit onto our Janousek was either in use or ludicrously elevated (having come from a rather differently-shaped pair).

At this point, we were faced with scratching the entry, but our hosts at Vesta saved the day, offering us use of an old VIII by the name of "Girobank". It was heavy, wooden, had seen better days and wasn't likely to go very fast - a perfect match between crew and craft.

Some very last minute adjustments (stroke's rigger being dismantled and raised a few notches as we paddled to our marshalling point) and we were off. Without a rate-meter, it's hard to say how many strokes per minute we were ticking over at, but I can assure you it was several.

Sat in our borrowed ark, the catches went in two-by-two, which was also on occasion how the overtaking crews came past us. However, nothing too disastrous happened to disrupt our rhythm and we held our form reasonably well to Hammersmith. From there home, I fear that stern pair (the only ones with any recent time spent rowing) were providing a worryingly high proportion of the crew's total power output and things became a little more ragged, but we huffed and puffed and scrambled over the line.

Unfortunately, we didn't quite maintain our 186th place, falling just a tad to 338th.

Leander I were a mere 3min 25sec ahead of us and, with plenty of overtaking opportunities to spur us on, I'm sure we'll get them next year. For a fuller account of the race and the shenanigans surrounding it, you'll find many of the crew at First Tuesday tomorrow, on the Boat Race pub crawl on Saturday and then watching the race itself on Sunday.

See you all in Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese.


The slug was chewing on the hedge at Mortlake following the Vets head on Sunday, when it noticed the LRC Vet G crew arriving ashore to leave their number back...

However, as you will see from the attached photos, the number wasn't the only thing they left on the bank...

Click on the thumbnails to enlarge.