(Head of the Charles Regatta) – CUWBC posted a time that would put them in second position in the Womens’ Club VIIIs category. Full Report by Jen Hawton and Jimmy Appleton.
On October 19th, after three months of anticipation and some hard training, a crew from CUWBC, led by their president, Lorna Collins, headed off to Boston, USA for one of the world’s largest regattas.
Held on the Charles River, which divides Boston from Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Head of the Charles Regatta attracts some of the world’s best athletes. Its three-mile course is widely regarded as one of the most challenging in the world, with multiple bridges and tight corners.
We arrived in Boston late on the Wednesday evening, made our way across the city and over the river into the neighbouring city of Cambridge, which was to be our base for the next few days, and bedded down for an early night.
The next day we had two outings in a Resolute VIII borrowed from MIT, which inevitably took a bit of getting used to. A little tweaking by our Head Coach, Roger Silk, and we were able to settle down and make some real progress. By the end of the afternoon, we were fully prepared for the race and raring to go.
On race day, Saturday morning, the weather took a turn for the worse with the warm-up area not only packed with crews, but also very rough and choppy, making it difficult for everyone involved. However our crew’s initial confidence prevailed over the conditions and we got off to a storming start, settling into a solid and aggressive rhythm. Within a minute we had caught the crew in front, and powered past comfortably. The race continued in similar fashion and another two crews were left in our wake, thanks to the unwavering rhythm and a great racing line around the corners.
Entering the last two minutes, where most crews begin to fade, we notched it up a level and took lengths off the crew in front, who happened to be from Caius Boat Club, Cambridge. Continuing to push on, we steamed past them, crossing the line just a few metres ahead.
The race over, we knew that we’d had the best row we could have hoped for and on return to the boathouse, we learned that we’d achieved a solid 2nd place finish overall – a fantastic result, well earned, and well worth the trip.
Unfortunately, due to irregularities between competitions in the USA and the UK, the success of several members of the crew at the UK National Rowing Championships earlier in the year, rendered us ineligible to claim our deserved position in the finishing order. However, this has only increased everyone’s determination to return next year and we’ll definitely be back to chase that elusive winners’ medal!
The crew: Philippa Rock (bow), Lorna Collins (2), Jen Tavernor (3), Lucy Wordley (4), Jen Hawton (5), Ali Alexander (6), Elslijn Kingma (7), Lizzie Woolley (stroke), Jimmy “safe hands” Appleton (cox)