|SALVAGE ASSOCIATION RESPONSE
The Thames Regional Rowing council have submitted their response to the Salvage Association Report to the PLA.
The response includes: points raised at the Full Council Meeting on 16 May; comments from an especial Technical Sub-Committee; and comments sent to the Chairman and Regional Water Safety Adviser.
Thanks are due to those of you who took the time and effort to input. Though, as there is likely to be a lot of work and fine tuning ahead, those who didn't may still get an opportunity to comment.
|THE RISE OF THE ZIP CONTINUES
It's official, tattoos are 'over' and comical hair dye is just 'soooo last century'... yes faithful readers, the must-be-seen rowing fashion accessory for 2005 is the gimp suit...
You've all seen the Scrubbers version, but UL were also spotted wearing them at Metrosexual regatta last weekend, and the latest whisper on the grapevine, is that Thames tradesmen are also planning gimps of their very own.
Where will it all end?
|THE LONG ARM
The slug was having a cheeky beverage at the Duke's Head on Sunday evening when, two RNLI lifeboats were spotted going hell for leather downstream on the Hammersmith-Putney stretch.
Their appearance left the slug pondering what terrible emerging disaster had just occured, somewhere below the Putney bridges (and presently unseen from the Duke's Head), as they were obviously in a great hurry to get to it.
However, with such an obviously life or death situation unfolding downstream, it was strange the lifeboats didn't have their blues and twos flashing..., but then again it was a quiet evening with no river traffic, and no need to disturb local residents sipping a G&T in the late evening sunshine.
Concurrently, the star destroyer of a Police launch was idling upstream passing the Putney boathouses, apparently having not received any communication about the disaster to which the two lifeboats were now heading.
As the lifeboats spotted the Police launch heading their way, they abruptly slowed to a snail's pace... as obviously they wanted to tell the Police of the terrible tragedy that had just happened? The outcome of their conversation was surely obvious - the Police launch would turn round and follow the lifeboats to the emergency.
But that was not to be. The Police launch continued on its way upstream. The lifeboats continued downstream, however at the much more sedate speed limit of 8kts... somewhat lower than the 40kts they were travelling at prior to spotting the Police.
Dare it be suggested that lifeboats were perhaps, um.... racing?
I am concerned about the growing similarity between Sooper Dooper high-performance coach Miles Forbes Thomas, and up and coming GB oarsman Tom Stallard. Could it be that they are perchance related?
As part of the 200th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of Trafalgar, plans are afoot for a symbolic recreation, along the Thames, of Nelson's waterborne funeral procession from Greenwich to Whitehall.
Following his death at Trafalgar, on 21 October 1805, Admiral Lord Nelson's body was preserved in a barrel of brandy and taken back to England for the first state funeral ever given to a commoner, held in January 1806.
Nelson’s body lay in state at Greenwich Hospital for three days from the 5th of January; so great were the numbers who came to pay their respects that there were serious concerns the crowds would riot. On January 8th, his coffin was carried from Greenwich to Whitehall Stairs on the royal shallop 'in one of the greatest Aquatic Processions that ever was beheld on the River Thames' He was finally buried in the crypt at St. Paul's cathedral on January 9th, after an overnight sojourn at the Admiralty.
On 16th September this year, the re-enactment plans to gather the largest flotilla seen on the Thames in modern times, with a view to entering the Guinness Book of Records. Vessel types taking part include traditional Thames craft, Dunkirk Little Ships, City and Guilds and Livery Company barges, and HMS Victory's cutter.
The Royal Barge Jubilant, which resembles the original funeral barge, will take centre stage.
A crew from Poplar Blackwall have already had a test run in the Jubilant, clocking a very respectible 45 minutes for the row up from Greenwich. Unfortunately, their spirited pace has been deemed too undignified for a funeral procession, and they have now apparently been dropped from selection.
In their place, the organisers are negotiating to engage a crack team from Twickenham RC. The core of this group is the same as the crew who gave the Jubilant its first outing in the Great River Race in September 2004, having honed their fixed seat skills in previous years at the same event in an Australian surf rescue boat, and a bathtub commandeered from (or was it ‘condemned by’ ?) a local sea scout group.
Based on this previous form, the re-enactment organising committee are increasingly convinced that only TwRC have the necessary skill and talent to row Jubilant slowly enough...
At the weekend, a women’s quad from the club in red, white and black, were pounding down the Tideway doing a 20 minute piece rating 26 against another boat from their club.
Having starting at Chiswick Bridge, they expected to finish the piece somwhere beyond Hammersmith, perhaps around the Milepost.
Abouut 8 minutes into the piece (just along Chiswick Eyot) everything was going well. They were spot on the rate, they’d negotiated the corner well, had dealt with a tricky bit of launch wash beautifully, the rhythm was great… when suddenly the Bow steer who was also making the calls, shouted out “Wind Down!”.
The rest of the crew dutifully wound down – wondering what had caused them to stop the piece early – Was there a cruiser heading for them? Were they about to hit a flotilla of sailing boats out for an early race? or perhaps a rogue shopping trolley was in the way??
Yet, looking behind – the river was totally clear…
Curiouser and curiouser…
Indeed, it was only on being questioned that the Bow girl admitted she didn’t actually have a watch and had just guessed when she thought the 20 minutes was up…
Ah, if only all 20 minute pieces could finish so soon…
Wildlife enthuiasts are being asked to keep their eyes open following recent sightings of the lesser white zipped gimp.
At least one of the creatures was spotted at Dorney Lake recently, adorning the British mens quad scull - its characteristic glaring brightness eclipsing the wind and the cries of "pull harder ja wohl" from the bank.
Other verified sightings have been reported from the Tideway at early light. Where gimps were glimpsed in a rather nippy light quad and a double scull, as they dove out of sight behind the island at Brentford.
This shy creature needs to build confidence before it allows itself to be seen, and our first confirmed photographic evidence of its existence was provided at Wallingford regatta where, emboldened by gaining a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in the senior 2 quad sculls event - a family of 4 gimp suits walked out of the crowd to collect medals...
L to R - Antony Smith (it was his idea to get the white row suits), Simon Suthers (note curious right leg bulge/shadow - must be where he keeps his hanky), Nick Davenport and Seb 'alien' Butter.
In a more disturbing development, rumour has it that some long legged gimps are being looked after by Messrs A Campbell (GBR 4x) and Angus McAlister (winner of pairs head 2x).
More news of the PLA taking action over cruisers going too fast on the Tideway...
During the break in racing at Bourne regatta recently, five cruisers came downstream, very obviously breaking the speed limit and creating a large wash. Luckily, one cunning bystander happened to have his camcorder with him and filmed them, getting their names.
On phoning Harbour Control, they arranged for the cruisers to be stopped further downstream. The Lifeboat subsequently saw the same flotilla and the PLA launch stopped them at Battersea and had a word (though had it not happened during a break in racing when all boats were off the water, we suspect the PLA launch would have been having more than a quick word.)
If you see large boats rushing past, creating wash and want to report it , the number for Harbour Control - who seem very willing to help - is 020 8855 0315, note, they will expect (understandably) you to give all your details as well.
p.s. while I'm on the subject of cruisers - below is a list of sound signals used by power driven vessels, to indicate their own intended actions to other vessels (and that includes rowing boats)... How well do you understand what the boat bearing down on you is trying to tell you?
- 1 short blast
- 2 short blasts
- 3 short blasts
- 5 or more short blasts
- 4 short blasts followed by 1 short blast
- 4 short blasts followed by 2 short blasts
- 1 prolonged blast
- 2 long blasts followed by 1 short blast
- 2 long blasts followed by 2 short blasts
a 'short blast' lasts about 1 sec; a 'long blast' lasts for 4 - 6 seconds
If you don't know the Answers then learn them - MAKE SURE YOU KNOW THESE FOR YOUR OWN GOOD.
The slug was umpiring at Maidenhead Junior no-rules regatta on Sunday (and a fine event it is too), trying to get two J13 coxed quads suitably aligned and far enough apart from each other at the start so as to avoid instant clashing, when someone started shouting
"STOP THE RACE!!!! STOP THE RACE!!!!"
The source of all this angst turned out to be an Environment agency launch, but looking down the course, no race could be seen, just a small cruiser about half way down heading towards the finish, so the slug ignored the yelling and went back to sorting the crews out, when...
"STOP THE RACE!!!! STOP THE RACE!!!!" this time even more frantic.
Another look down the course... nope, still no race going on. now starting to suspect the EA driver might have some form of tourettes syndrome. Still trying to get the crews suitably aligned and the EA launch is now alongside...
"STOP THE RACE!!!! STOP THE RACE!!!! THERE'S A LAUNCH ON THE COURSE"
"um, I can't stop it as I haven't started it yet - and it's going to be a while yet..."
to which the EA driver, now looking somewhat deflated muttered "Well, they wouldn't give me a radio" and stropped off.
|SA TIDEWAY ROWING REPORT OPTION 2
For those of you who find the text file version of the report difficult to read, it is also available, fully formatted, as PDFs (in sections) on the PLA website: (so no excuse not to read it now)