CUWBC represented at the 2015 International Huegel Regatta, Essen

On Thursday last week, three members of CUWBC flew to Essen in Germany to compete in the 2015 International Huegel Regatta. Fanny Belais contested the Lightweight 1x for the Swiss National team, while Melissa Wilson and Holly Hill raced the pair and coxless four for Cambridge and Great Britain respectively. The course is set in the middle of the River Ruhr with the racing made trickier as the rowers often had to compete with wash created by anything from water-skiers to very large cruise ships!

On the Saturday Melissa and Holly represented CUWBC in the U23 pairs event. Racing five boats from the German National team and another pair from Great Britain, they led the race from the start and crossed the line 14 seconds ahead of the rest of the field to take the win. “The conditions were a bit blustery but it was really rewarding to get the first international race of the season in the bag where the pair went properly to plan and the result was really positive” said Melissa. “We got off to a solid start and focussed on trying to stay stronger in the middle kilometre than we hoped the other pairs would be able to” added Holly. Later on the Saturday they also contested the Senior event in which they placed 3rd behind the senior GB and Dutch crews.

On the Sunday the pair swapped into the the GB U23 coxless four to come up against some Polish and German opposition. After another strong start the crew was well clear by 500m and continued to move away; finishing 15 seconds ahead of the Germans. Melissa Wilson commented that “there’s a bit more stability in a larger boat and it was fun combining ideas with another set of people to form a new and effective race plan”. Overall they had a really exciting weekend and are looking forward to the rest of the racing season.

Fanny’s experience over the weekend was a bit more variable, having had a limited amount of time back in a single scull since the Women’s Boat Race. In challenging conditions on the Saturday, she moved back on two boats after an unsatisfactory start and finished 6th out of a field of 8. The race on Sunday was again a straight A final. This time, with a better start, she stuck with the main group for the first few hundred meters before the race field dispersed with the German and Polish scullers taking the lead. Fanny finished a respectable fourth. Based on her performance, she’s now waiting to hear from the Swiss Rowing Federation regarding selection for the quadruple scull – we wish her luck!