Last Saturday saw the annual pairs head, with many non-Tideway crews getting to sample at first hand the true joys of wind against tide on a big river. But an additional hazard, for those electing to have a pratice paddle earlier in the day, was the morning sailing race from London Corinthian Sailing Club in Hammersmith...
LCSC has been persuaded by Sons of the Thames not to sail races on the mornings of the fours and eights heads; although the rules of the river are that sailing boats have right of way over rowing boats, both should take action to avoid a collision, and avoiding rowing boats that long is very tricky. But LCSC and Sons had worked on the assumption that sailing boats and pairs - which are shorter, go slower and are more manouevrable than larger boats - could miss each other...
Not so one OUBC pair which succeeded in spearing an LCSC Enterprise. (See photo on the right for the end result...)
To add to the OUBC pair's woes, while the hole in the Enteprise was safely 'plugged' by part of the rowing boat's bow, the rowers failed to communicate to the sailing club safety boat that they would need rescuing - and proceeded to sink before reaching the bank.
In a further twist of fate, the head of risk for Oxford University sport just happened to be on site at LCSC to witness the result of the crash, and is looking forward to receiving the incident report from his rowing club.
In the interests of promoting Sport England's admirable aim of shared river usage - which looked a tad challenged on Saturday - thanks are owing from LCSC to the London RC coach during Sunday's very windy race. He not only helped his two coxless fours keep clear of a number of sailing boats rounding a race mark in his boats' path, but also cheered us on with the comments 'that looks like fun' (it was when we were upright) and 'enjoy the tailwind' as we shot back off down wind.
|THAMES GET OUT THE FERRERO ROCHER|
With the rabbit off on his round the world stint (heading towards the Canary Islands in 5th place the last time i looked), his society stand-in Ship's Cat made his first public appearance at Thames RC last Friday evening.
The event was a reception to celebrate the bronze Olympic medal, won in the women's double scull in Athens, by Thames member Elise Laverick. Though also present were members of the women's quad and coxless pair who have rowed from Thames in the past. All these crews were jointly coached by Paul Thompson and Miles Forbes -Thomas, who is the major coaching force at Thames.
This was also a good opportunity for TRC to celebrate both the gold medal win in the coxless IV at the World Under 23 Championships by Alison Knowles and Beth Rodford, and those members of the club who competed in the Home Championship Regatta for England and won gold in the eight, gold in the coxed four and gold in the coxless pair...
.. .. .. .. .. ..
Elsewhere at Thames, the building work out the back on their extension / new gym is proceeding at a pace, and now resembles a car park with a big hole for the jacuzzi (shurely rowing tank... ED) -- as you can see from the attached photo on the right, though you may need to use your imagination to fill in a few features... like um, walls.
Estimates put the completion date around March 2005, at which point they'll be able to move into the new building and allow the old one continue to fall down... i mean get renovated.
Rumours that Cambridge rowers may be abandoning slides, has been discounted by the team behind a new route for a guided bus system proposed for the City.
"Just because rowing is the only sport to use a railway, admittedly very narrow gauge and only a couple of feet long, doesn't mean that our support for a guided bus to take over the closed Cambridge - St Ives railway line means we shall be abandoning the traditional slide" stated a member of the project team, still punch drunk after trying to put their case to the Public Inquiry now taking place, into the aforementioned guided bus scheme.
Of course, What success of this project would really mean, is a nice new crossing over the river Cam - that crossing in turn generates the need for flood risk alleviation measures, measures which will take the form of a second river...
The project, known as The camToo Project could see work on a new mile of the river Cam start within 3 years if the new bus route gets the go ahead.
More info here http://www.camtoo.co.uk
|YOU DON'T WANNA DO IT LIKE THAT|
Reports of some quality comedy bank marshalling at Wallingford head last weekend...
Marshall (helpfullly): "Head scull",...
about 20 scullers: "who, me?"..."
This was immediately followed by about half of them pausing to take a look -- the ensuing pile up resulted in at least one swimmer...
|LET THERE BE LIGHT|
Safety Slug's first slap on the wrist of the season (and here's hoping it's also the last), goes to the club in Red, White and black, after the slug's infra-red night vision spotted a wimmin's 8 and 4+ both out together on Thursday evening without lights.
The launch with them had a light that was visible from in front at a certain angle, but not at all from behind.
(here comes the boring lecture bit)
A couple of points...
- It is not adequate just to have lights on your boat, they have to be TURNED ON and they have to be VISIBLE. In fact, to quote the ARA Safety Code "At all times in poor visibility, (e.g. after sunset and early morning) craft shall be fitted with white lights showing fore and aft and visible through 360 degrees, as required by the "Rules for Mariners" published by the Department of Transport.
- The PLA recommend that all rowing and sailing boats should also carry a powerful, waterproof torch, ready to hand, to warn others of your presence -- so you can shine it towards approaching craft when you are out in twilight or darkness.
- the "My coach said it would be OK" defense, will not stand up in court.
Ultimately, nobody wants to see bits of kidney hanging off the bows of a boat (and yes, it has happened) especially not their own... so don't take risks. It can be difficult enough to see lit boats with the ambient light on the Tideway - unlit crews are disasters waiting to happen.
If you don't have lights and it's dark - DON'T GO OUT
|BETRAYED BY OUR OWN|
Regular readers will be more than aware of the recent PLA investigation into Tideway rowing rules; how it could have serious implications for the rowing community; and how rowers should be more willing to make formal complaints about other river users when they cause incidents.
Picture the scene...
It's Thursday morning, and a LRC pair is doing an early outing and trying their best to be "law obeying" respectful rowers -- sporting two bright white lights, keeping a good course (honest!) and ensuring they are in the right place on the river.
So when they hear the approaching sound of a engine propelled craft they look back to check their steering, and assume that, by being well visible, and being in the correct place on the river, there shouldn't be much to worry about, right?
...for before they could even quote the PLA pleasure users guide ("remember to proceed throughout the tidal Thames at such speed that will not cause wash and subsequent complaints against you")... they were very rudely and inconsiderately run over (literally) by the motorised craft.
Luckily or by grace of a small miracle, both rowers, boat and oars escaped unharmed by the episode.
So, is this is a great opportunity to make a formal complaint???
Well, one might suspect yes, but... err... I guess as the culprit was none other than LRC Head Coach Reedy in a launch, it might not help matters that much...
|PUT A SOCK IN IT|
While the rowing community at large is all too aware of the large black object at Putney, its relation at Brentford gets much less press coverage.
However, the slug is happy to be able to redress the balance following an incident last Thursday, when a senior male member of Sons of the Thames mysteriously managed to hit the aforementioned black buoy at Brentford while out sculling ,and successfully took a good foot off the bow in the process.
Faced with sculling back with a less than streamlined bow section, he somehow managed to 'cover' the hole with one of his socks ?!? (a good reason for not wearing flip-flops when boating???) - but then realised the return leg back to the club would still prove awkward... so for the first time ever he actually rowed all the way back to Hammersmith, being able to see where he was going.
The sculler in question? Jamie "who's that gorgeous person in the mirror? oh, it's me!" Pine.
|GOOD IDEA AT THE TIME?|
One of the Tideway clubs recently held a party to celebrate their successes last season. A pleasant evening ensued, with a mixture of the great and the good from the rowing world and a rather splendid free cocktail bar
Pride of place at the event was taken by two large silver trophies from a well known UK regatta, over which there was much oohing and aaaahing, and taking of pictures.
As the evening progressed the cocktails ran out, and, as the guests started to drift off, someone noticed that the little silver man from the top of one of the nice shiny cups appeared to have er, disappeared.
Much stressing and pulling of hair followed, along with a thorough search of the clubhouse. The head coach and others were seen to pale visibly as time ticked on, and still the missing oarsman failed to materialise.
With everyone else looking franticly, it didn't take long for the finger of suspicion to be pointed at some visiting members of an upstream club, who had spent the evening taking full advantage of the free cocktail bar... and, despite pleas of innocence when first cornered, the missing item was eventually produced from down the cleavage of a female member of the party...
Probably the most fun he's had in the last 157 years - though, now he's been safely returned, perhaps the owners should invest in some Superglue....
|BARE FACED CHEEK?|
Finally - actual proof on what happens on an LRC cycle tour...
(complete with 'additions' to protect the innocent and the guilty)
Who is the mystery cyclist putting the 'blue' into 'Boys in blue'?
(because it's not obvious at all is it?? cough, cough)
We suspect that now may be the perfect time to re asses the GB squad's training regime in favour of something a little more therapeutic.