It's not easy being a student these days, what with all those worries about mounting debt, the stress of exams and coping with beer injuries.... so it's hardly surprising if they forget the odd thing or two - like say, entering the college's crews in their main race of the year... (ahem)

The slug has been watching recent developments at Iffley Special School with mounting entertainment, after a few of their more special students (Magdalen, Catz men, and Somerville women) all forgot to enter Summer Eights.


Apparently, the Senior Treasurer of Magdalen College Boat Club (4th men's crew on the river) had to take a phone call while in a meeting at the ARA earlier this week - the captain was panicking, trying to find out how to get entry information for the Oxford festival of comedy rowing that is Eights.

As Magdalen and St Catz have about half the blue boat, Isis and various lwts between them, you can imagine there has been quite a hoo-hah over the whole thing, with some of the college captains rubbing their hands in glee at the prospect of getting one over on their esteemed colleagues. Indeed the resulting debate on the OURC notive board, has generated an impressive list of ferociously boring posts about putative fines, withdrawal from competition etc.


The outcome was finally decided at Thursday evening's captains meeting...

Entries re-open for 12 hours (from midnight) and any crews entering during that time, will have to do an extra 6 hours marshalling per crew.

We're sure they could have been much more creative than that...

tsk, tsk...

Following on from yesterday's BUSA report, special mention should really go to a particular BUSA championship bronze medalist in the mens VIII’s...

The student in question is an MBA postgraduate from Durham University who goes by the name of Wade Hall-Craggs... he who represented Great Britain at the 1992 Olympics in the Men's fatweight single sculls and who also happens to be the DUBC head coach)

Wade's appearance in the boat was a last minute change as he had to sub in at the 11th hour due to illness/injury of their bow man. This particular change of crew would probably have gone unnoticed by most of the other competitors, if said new bow-man had not gone off the start screaming “Yeee-haaa!!!”.

To further motivate his prodigies and distract the opposition, Mr Hall-Craggs let rip in the last 500 metres of the race by screaming to his 3 man:

“Harris, pull harder you CNUT!” while at the finish of every stroke exhaling loudly with the words “CNUT, CNUT, CNUT, CNUT!!!!”.

Exactly what his reasons were, we may never know... but his words managed to motivate his men to third from fifth and secured durham the Victor Ludorum.

Announced by commentry as "the oldest man to ever get a BUSA medal, the imperial boys were, apparently, particularly miffed by being beaten by a 38 year old, but duely showed their respect after the race.

This was more than could be said for the Nottingham Head Coach, and BUSA organiser. Obviously feeling a little miffed that his rules had not resulted in another VL win for Nottingham (despite great efforts), handed the medals to the boys in Palatinate with a sportsmanlike “there you go you B*stard!”

tut, tut...

The bank holiday weekend saw the UK's student rowers head to Nottingham for the 10th BUSA (British Universities Student Associaion) regatta at Holme Pierrepoint. It's amazing to think that this event, which started as a couple of races in the lunchbreak of another regatta ten years ago, is now the biggest regatta in the UK, with a whopping 750+ entries, a very positive sign of the health of UK student rowing.

The usual bank holiday traffic chaos meant quite a few trailers were late arriving Friday night (the M1, M5 and M6 were all closed for a while) but Saturday's racing started on time with only a few withdrawals.

New this year was the introduction of time trials for Novice 4s and 8s. In previous years the early heats of the novice races have caused long delays to the racing, as inexperienced crews can take a long time getting on the start, so as well eliminating that problem, the time trials allowed a large number of crews to take part, with the fastest 24 crews going on to race normal heats for medals.

Applauded as a success all round, we can most likely expect to see time trials again next year, as this approach also meant that the quality of crews in the heats, semis and finals was very, very high - lets face it, how many of us have won our novice pot by being the fastest out of 90 odd crews and after racing 2000m four times in one day..?

So congrats must go to: Newcastle (women's novice VIIIs); Manchester (mens' novice VIIIs); Newcastle (women's novice IVs) and Nottingham (men's novice IVs)

Elsewhere on the lake, the usual suspects were out and about in force. Imperial College took home golds in Champ men's coxed IVs and champ men's coxless IVs; Glasgow were also out in force, taking home gold in Lwt women's IV-; Lwt women's 2x; Lwt women's 2-; Champ men's 2x and Lwt men's singles; Brookes who traditionally only turn up for one day - for the men's champ VIIIs, took their gold medal of choice home, as well as Junior men's VIIIs (gold and silver) and gold in women's champ coxed IVs.

Brookes are planning to start building up the women's side of their club over the next couple of years, so here's hoping 2005 will see them at BUSA for 2 days for the first time...

Oxford continued to show their dominance on the women's side, winning most of their events without much trouble and taking home golds in Champ VIIIs, Junior VIIIs and Junior coxed IVs

The Victor Ludorum turned out to be a bit of a bun fight between Durham and Nottingham - the winner being decided on the last race on Sunday, when Durham took bronze in the men's champ VIIIs, and just squeezed ahead of Nottingham in the points total.

Monday's racing was trial run for sprint racing as the 10th anniversary BUSA sprints -- The Monday sprints will become a fuly fledged points earning event in 2005. A good time was had by all even if a few crews were obviously suffering from the excesses of the night before and there were a large percentage of no-shows in the morning.

The slug made an impromptu appearance at the infamous "tiger bar" regatta party on Sunday night, but was saddened to see that the "rowing youth of today" aren't quite up to the partying standards of the "rowing not-so-youth of today", I mean, there were SIX poles in that tent, and we didn't see even one person trying to climb any of them, nevermind doing it nekkid... what is the world coming to? Well, we did see "the Child become a Man"... but more of that on the Tradesmen noticeboard (for those with access), once Ali's posted the pics...

heh, heh, heh...

03-05-04 A REMINDER
With regatta season upon us, the slug feels it might be worth putting up some kind of instructions about how to get out of boats on pontoons, particularly stressing the need to hold onto those riggers on the pontoon, when two of the eight are on the pontoon -- and all the other side have taken their blades out...

We would suggest that these instructions should be read and re-read several times by the women's novice squad at AK (when they've dried out and got the thames out of their hair, that is).


03-05-04 POOR PETE
A more detailed version of events concerning Peter Egbe's attempts to reach the Olympics has reached the slug's twitchy feelers.

Apparently in the final, our Pete was sitting in third place out of the African Olympic qualifiers and having the scull of his life... with the first four to qualify he could almost book his plane ticket to Athens....

...then he caught a crab and fell in.

This isn't all bad news however, for as a member of Tideway Scullers School , everyone in the club now knows that they cannot top this display of watermanship and Peter is now odds on favourite to win the coveted "Underwater Sculler of the Year" at the next TSS annual dinner.

Of course, there's no such thing a a sure bet and We wait for other TSS Olympians to show their merits, as the year isn't over just yet.

erm... I can't quite determine whether these are serious, or just someone "havin' a laf" but we felt you might wish to be aware of of a potentially important innovation, in the Noble Sport of Rowing.

If you click on the thumbnails you will see pictures of what is referred to as "THE FEATHERING FORE-OAR", a single Scull fitted with a pair of Feathering Fore-Oars that permit the Oarsman to face the direction in which he is rowing.

The inventor of this curious contraption is Ion Livas and the photographs were taken at the Piraeus Rowing Club, on June 21st, 2003 -- one of the top Rowing Clubs in Greece, founded in 1885.

However, it seems that forward facing sculling may not be so far fetched an idea after all, or indeed a new one, for George Parsonage (Scottish sculling champion and sculptor) tells me that he presented the River and Rowing Museum at Henley with a pair of wooden oars that fix to the gunwalls of a boat and by the use of levers allow you to row facing the way you are going but don't allow you to feather.

These oars are about 150yrs old and the Museum has at least one other pair.

As to what rowing with them is like? George reports:
"Great fun, but I dont think it will catch on".

If you're the sort of person who thinks that the Boston Marathon at a mere 50km, is a "soft" event, you might want to consider taking on a challenge slightly further afield...

The organisers of the annual long row on the Murray River (apparently Australia's only true river) are trying to raise some overseas interest in the event. This year it will be held on October 2nd (early spring in the southern regions) and, at a 'challenging' 92kms, is one of the longest organised one-day rows in the world (Though rumour has it there is a longer one in Oregon USA).

If the thought of rowing 92km suddenly makes you want to stand up, fear not, as rowers don't have to row the full distance, as they can row as many of four, roughly 25km stages, as they wish. Every year, however, a few (insane?..ED) rowers do row the full 92kms.

If you want more details on where, when and how to enter, check out their home page at http://www.geocities.com/roger_boyce/. It fully explains the Rowathon and shows a few pictures from last year's event. You will note from the home-page that the Rowathon raises funds for The Royal Flying Doctor Service.

One reason to consider the trip is the very 'Australian' nature of the area in which the Rowathon is held. Very briefly, it is almost a semi-desert area and it contains aboriginal historic sites. It is a major fruit and grape growing district with an immense amount of native bird and animal life (parrots, pelicans and other water birds and kangaroos etc.)

The population of the town of Robinvale (at the finish of the Rowathon) is reputedly the most multi-cultural town in Australia and, the Murray River itself was a major paddle-steamer trade route.

Check it out, for a once in a lifetime experience -- lets face it, you're not going to want to row 92km again in a hurry...!!

There was shock and disbelief at the Thames regional umpires meeting last week, but the competition review was not the source of the outrage, which was, in fact, directed at the closed bar in London Rowing Club...

While major changes to the rules may be afoot for 2005, the changes that were introducted on the 1st April 2004, are moderately minor and there are only a couple which are likely to impact the average club rower / coach.

  1. On the safety side, a rather odd situation now concerns hatches on underseat compartments -- if your boat is designed to have hatches they must all be present or you may not be allowed to boat for a race, whereas boats which aren't designed to have them will not be prevented from racing - not the easiest of rules to defend, but probably a necessary halfway house...

  2. Again on the equipment / safety side, you're best advised not to fit ergo style shoe holders in your boats, as those without heel restraints that can't be removed from the foot without use of the hands, may again result in you not being allowed to boat at a regatta.

  3. Umpires are no longer allowed to steer crews who are likely to hit either a temporary or permanent obstruction, as this may give the crew/sculler being steered an unfair advantage. Instead, anyone heading for disaster will be told to stop, and only allowed to continue the race once they have got themselves pointed in the correct direction.

  4. Finally, one for coxn's - the amount and description of any deadweight you have to carry, will now be written on your weight certificate, and you may be subject to checks after a race to ensure that "a few spanners haven't been lost on the way".

The on-going development of Dorney lake came up in Parliment in March when a seried of written questions (PQs) on rowing , were tabled following various meets with Richard Caborn the Minister of Sport.

The questions and answers as published in Hansard, are available to read on-line at:


Apparently road links were also discussed with the Minister, and are likely to be a topic for the next meeting in May. The local MP, Dominic Grieve, has also been briefed on what will be happening at Dorney..

Richard Caborn is now aware of the significance of getting the World Cup event right in May 2005, because the decision on the 2012 Olympics city will be taken at an IOC meeting in Singapore in June 2005.

Two crews raced on the Tideway on Sunday evening. There was lots of steering and quite a bit of swearing.

After the race they were all very tired, and the crew that lost wasn't very happy.