09-06-04 FUN IN THE FENS
men's Div 1 startThe approaching end of yet another academic year brings us to the Funfest at Fenland Poly that is the Cambridge May Bumps. This year, the Slug only managed to get there for the final divisions on Saturday, the last day (it’s a long crawl to the Cam)

then a little later - this...Much of the Slug’s time was spent by the start, always the most exciting bit of any race, and especially when you’ve got 17 VIII’s charging off at the sound of a dirty great cannon.

Slug did manage to slither up towards the Plough as the Mens 2nd Division was practicing their starts (and managed to stop two crews from killing each other as one wound down to avoid the ferry, whilst the other was steaming up behind them)

Having declined the Plough’s kind offer of £2.50 to be punted across to their pub to (allegedly) smelly loos and very expensive beer (note to self – take hip flask next time, instead of several bottles of wine).

Huddling under the willow tree near Grassy Corner during a cloudburst gave a good view of Fitzwilliam 1 in mens div 2 who took the long way round, and ran straight up the bank (anyone got any pics??) -- without another crew being anywhere near them -- and leaving 1st & 3rd 2 to simply row past them as they sat in the bank.

The Slug always enjoys the, shall we say, informal aspects of such events. Entertainment was assured throughout the day by judging highly unofficial contests for the two most important trends in comedy rowing:

  1. Which seat is the place of choice for the pie eater in the crew? (they're may be more than one)

  2. Which seat is the place of choice for the totally unco-ordinated muppet who should never have been allowed to set foot it a boat?

The Slug has to admit that the standard of these two events was, as usual, very good, with an excellent turn out from a number of crews, and many fine individual entries in each category.

ooof...As The Highlander used to say, ‘in the end, there can be only one’. The outstanding winner of the day was a tremendous individual submission in both events at once, from the a Women's 2nd VIII, who appeared to be slightly down on bowside-

For those not familiar with bumps racing, apparently, there is actually a point to all this student effort; something to do with heads and blades (We stopped that sort of thing in town at the Tower a few years back, but out in the Provinces, well its wild, I can tell you)

blade winnerblade winnerThese happy campers from Magdelen Womens 1st VIII apparently ran into something every day, and were off home to get blades for their wall –

Slug thought this was probably just as well; the Cam is a bit bendy, they hadn’t actually gone round the first corner at this point, and that their cox had a big flag in one hand, and an almost as big bottle of ‘poo in the other.

Still, its nice to see the youngsters looking happy, eh?

It seems that, while everyone is trying to cash in the corporate appeal of rowing, those cheeky eastenders at Curlew have managed to get in on the act -- having been spotted moonlighting as some Deutsche Bank employees in their latest promotional literature. The scullers in question apparently being El Greco, Mr Buns, Nick Dandruff and Mr. White..? (ahem -- Ed)

Apparently, it was an arduous process for the poor chaps... what with a day of makeup and hairspray, and some serious cramps whilst posing at frontstops for 30 minutes at a time.

awh, poor babies... (the slug trusts they were suitably financially compensated.)

(click on thumbnail to see full size)

Another opportunity (this time for single scullers) to test what you're made of in mainland Europe...

The Silver Skiff, a 11 km head race for single scullers will be held on Sunday 14th November in Turin (2006 Winter Olympic Games venue). The regatta is open to all categories of scullers, including masters, and allows world champions, club scullers and amateurs of all ages to compete on the beautiful river Po.

Last year the event had 205 entries, from Brazil, Mexico, Austria, Spain, France, Germany, Denmark, England, Switzerland and, of course, Italy. 1st, 2nd and 3rd places were taken by the Olympic champions Willms and Volkert from Germany and Rubio from Spain, the latter having already participated in 2001 and 2002.

However, surely the most impressive win of the event went to a young French man -A Giovannoni - at a mere 78 years old , who was a participant in the Helsinki Olympic games.

The event is sponsored by Empacher (who will make 5 single sculls available for the 5 competitors who come the longest distance) and big prizes are on offer : apart from the usual cups and medals for the winners of each category, there will be

  • a special prize of 700 Euros for the fastest sculler;
  • a prize of 1000 Euros for the sculler who sets a new race record (the present record holder is André Willms, in 40' 53")
  • A bicycle will be given to the sculler who's name is drawn from all those present at the prize giving.
  • And Empacher boatmakers,

    On Saturday 13th the Kinderskiff, reserved for 10-13 year olds, will take place on a 4 Km. course. A bicycle will be presented to the overall winner, and there will be many other prizes.

    To find out about the course, the rules, the discounted hotel prices offered by the Best Western Hotel chain, how to enter and lots of other news, check out their website at www.silverskiff.org/

  • 20-05-04 CHEAP AS CHIPS
    The slug was rather peturbed after turning the TV on, Wednesday evening, to see Bargain Hunt orange wonder David Dickinson sitting in a rowing boat...

    It quickly became obvious that the reason behind this disturbing footage was an episode of Bargain Hunt starring two teams of Oxford college rowers, one male and one female.

    To cut a long story short, the girls won thanks to the advice of their antiques expert, the boys were pants and they all sang "row, row, row your boat" in an embarrssed manner (and so they should be - ED) at the end...

    (click images to enlarge and identify the guilty parties)

    20-05-04 KEEP TRUCKIN'
    With the regatta season full on, it's a good idea to re-read the detailed advice on towing trailers that's available on the ARA website.

  • Information on overhang

  • Advice on trailer driving

    Every year there are incidents where drivers get done for illegal overhang; trailers end up in hedges or jack-knifed across motorways; broken boats end up in piles of pig manure (you know who you are); or crews arrive to discover one of their boats is totally missing, having fallen off in a snowstorm (you know who you are too)...

    As well as the extra insurance costs and inconvenience of having all your boats trashed (and believe me I know all too well the problems it causes in the middle of the regatta season), more importantly, any event where a bit of boat comes off a trailer or the trailer goes out of control is obviously going to present a safety hazzard, not only to those in the tow vechicle, but also other drivers on the road.

    All too often inexperienced drivers are put in charge of towing boats without knowing if they are breaking the law or putting themselves at risk because the tow vechicle is not suitable for the weight of trailer and boats being transported.

    So, check out the available advice and help to protect yourself, as well as your club's equipment.

    See also the DVLA information on:

  • Driving a minibus

  • Driving licence requirements for towing a trailer

  • 20-05-04 NO, MINE'S BIGGER...
    Our recent coverage of really, really, really, really long races seems to have sparked a bit of a war about just who's is longest (pffff... rowers, they're all the same).

    On one side we have the Swiss with the world's longest NON-STOP regatta, the 160km "Tour du lac a la rame" - estimated completion time twelve to SEVENTEEN hours - where rowers, racing in coxed 4's or coxed quads and limited to an entry of 25 crews, row all the way round the Lake of Geneva clockwise non stop (there's a reason to row bowside if ever I heard one - ED) and without extraneous assistance.

    Departing from, and returning to Geneva, this little event takes place in September (so there's still time to enter this year, and yes, I can provide entry forms for those interested - slug@twrc.org) and has been going anually since 1972.

    One the other side, back in the Netherlands, we have possibly the longest race ever, but rowed over the two days of Ascension (that's today and Fri - so you are too late for this year).

    Known as the Eleven-towns-row (which is actually a skating competition really but it hasn't frozen enough since 1996 so they row it) it comes in at a stonking 200km! http://home.wanadoo.nl/lrvwetterwille/11stedenroeien/routekaarten.htm is an interactive map, for those interested.

    One reader has suggested that those who have been considering the mammoth challenge of the Eleven Towns Row might want to be aware of the multiple dangers of long outings in the low countries, as illustrated by one sentence on the race's homepage...

    "Houdt er rekening mee dat de laagste bruggen niet meer dan 60 cm boven het water liggen in verband met vlaggenstokken, verlichting en hoog stuurstoel"

    ... which means that the poor competitors will row under a very low bridge, where the ceiling will be just 60cm above the waterline... A situation Which usually requires lying flat in the boat and praying that the blades don't catch the bank!!!

    So, you're not just tired, have no skin left on your hands and have colonies of urchins developing on all your poor muscles, you also risk concussion!!!

    Observed at Thames Ditton Regatta, mid-afternoon...

    A drunken old man dressed in a Red blazer (club as yet to be confirmed by two totally independent witnesses) wanders up to the Canford School picnic encampment.

    He is clutching a can of Tennants Export. With his spare hand, he picks up the bows of the Canford eight, moves it clear of the trestle and promptly drops it onto the floor with an almightly thump.

    As the Canford lads rush up to reclaim their nice blue eight and check its nice new hole, the drunken old man wanders off...

    All very curious..

    19-05-04 ROSE TINTED ASSES?
    The following reminiscence appeared as an enchanting little aside in a Cygnet captain's earlier e-mail this week:

    "The Club Historian Writes: one of the loveliest sights ever seen by a Cygnet oarsmen, involved two naked Twickenham ladies doing breaststroke under the bridge at St. Neots as he walked home - both sets of cheeks slightly proud of the water, glistening in the moonlight - sigh..."


    If you thought the Murray River regatta was long at 92km, then you'll be even more impressed with the level of madness in Holland where last Wednesday saw the annual event of the Ringvaart Regatta, where the course record (set in a men's VIII), is a mere 6 hours and 7 minutes .

    check out http://www.ringvaartregatta.nl/ (there's some in English, click on the flag, and the link marked 'route' is easy enough, click on the maps to see).

    If we have our facts right, that's a row of 100km. You can do it in one crew with relays or for the true nutters, on your own, Indeed the slug knows of one madwoman from Die Leythe rowing club in Leiden who has apparently done it TWICE it in her SINGLE.

    It would appear that secret new innovations in the world of buoyancy aids are being tested by rowing's finest, as Safety Slug's feelers got all twitchy on Sunday morning after spotting the GB eight out and about, with cox Christian Cormack wearing one of the new ultra-small-invisible-to-the-naked-eye type buoyancy aids (ahem).

    While others have suggested that maybe he simply wasn't wearing one, this is, obviously, pure nonsense...

    la la la...