A typical Holme Pierrepont cross-head breeze favoured heavyweight crews who were confident in rough water and lucky with the lane draw. The MasE.4x qualified from a tight heat but did not unduly trouble the timekeepers in the final. This was a satisfactory result given more than usual disruption to training from injuries, work and family commitments. Mirko and Tomaso won a straight final in MasA.2x at a canter. MasE.1x was challenging for Dave in conditions that did not suit him and carrying a knee injury. A scratch MasC.4x produced a great performance in their heat, picking the rate up from 36 in the final 200m to edge into third place by 0.35 seconds. The final was, unfortunately, a race too far for them.
Congratulations to the W.4x and M.MasA.2x on wins at Hammersmith Regatta on Saturday.
Pat, Vee, Mel and Georgie showed good cohesion and sharpness in the Womens quad final despite the early stage of the season. They forced Auriol Kensington into an error on the Harrods bend and then cantered home easily. Mirko and Tomaso looked powerful in the Mens Masters A double and were never challenged by Fulham Reach. A good start to racing for the summer.
Day 2 of the busy Head Race weekend saw SONS host a variety of domestic and international visiting crews. Saturday's good conditions continued, making it a brilliant March Sunday on the Tideway for the 313 entries.
British Rowing describes HoRR as "the pinnacle of head racing" and "a gruelling test of endurance"... Near perfect words to set the expectations for the race.
A SONS half-senior half-novice crew worked their way down the Tideway passing 3 crews just after Hammersmith Bridge (a new adrenalin rush for the novice half), eventually finishing after 22mins 51secs of gruelling endurancein 282nd position.
Crew: Emily (c), Arturo, Stephen B, Charlie, Stephen M, Greg H, Daniel, Jonathan, Greg F
Sons hosted 21 visiting crews as they took part in the largest women’s rowing race in the world. It was a bright, warm day and conditions were very good for March on the Tideway! Great conditions meant for a very solid row, and the women’s crew finished in 114th position. Peter was very pleased with our speed until it dropped past our benchmark and then we heard ‘I don’t like this…this isn’t good’ through the cox box for a few lengths! Honesty is always the best motivation .... I think.
Crew: Peter(c), Georgie, George, Jo, Veronika, Eleanor, Lena, Jenno, Colleen
The womens squad entered a 4+ into this relatively new Head race hosted by University Hospital. There were no points associated with the race so some bigger clubs like Tideway fielded quite a few crews. A great course starting at Pink Lodge, which meant a nice long row to warm up. It was the first race of the season in the 4+ and we were pleased to finish 2nd in our category. Fantastic coxing from Susi who had the call of the year “catches win matches”.
Crew: Susi(c), Eleanor, George, Jo, Veronika
Despite our race initiation taking place back in the Autumn at Henley, the Quintin Head Race still held many firsts for the Novice crews. Our first Tideway head. Our first experience of a large-scale race (and marshalling). Our first race in Winter and all the cold, rain, wind and waves that come with that. And, most importantly (& startlingly) the first for many in Lycra!
In short, few of us knew what to expect, except that the 4.8k would likely feel a great deal longer on race day than it did during weekend training sessions. On this, we were proved correct.
With support from senior members of the Club, the Men’s crew were entered in IM3 and the Ladies’ crew became a mixed boat. This meant we were competing against a rather different set of rowers, many with more experience – even if they did still need ID to buy a pint.
As our first Tideway Head, this was always targeted as a learning experience: a chance for us to test out our technique with added pace and show the coaching team our progress and where we need to focus our development plans as a team. For the crews, we gained valuable experience and confidence as we look ahead to WHORR and HORR in March. So a positive day all round.
Following a tough day of racing we had one more first…the benefit of the club house bar after a Tideway Head Race
Congratulations to our local rivals Auriol Kensington on winning the Dewar Shield 2018, and thanks to Furnivall for running it.
The three clubs fielded 18 eights, which was an achievement in itself. [Ed: It also explains the lack of a photo: our cameraman was required as a last-minute substitute.] Conditions were fast with times for the Mortlake to Hammersmith course ranging from 11:14 to 11:47. AK Womens 1 were the most impressive crew finishing 4th overall. The Sons senior crews achieved respectable times but our best performances came from the Veteran and Novice crews. The event will help everyone involved to prepare for the forthcoming Head Races.
Six of the Sons Mens Masters entered the Scullers Head this year. This has been one of the toughest events in the rowing calendar since it was rescheduled from April to December. The 2017 race was no exception. Early starters had little help from a slack flood tide over the course from the Mile Post to Chiswick Staithe. Later starters had to endure a numbingly cold wait before racing and were still showing the effects as they passed Sons. Congratulations to Mirko for finishing first and fastest of the Sons scullers in a time of 19m44s. And also to Pete, Greg, Dave, Tim and Bruno for rising to the challenge: four miles flat out in a single is very demanding both mentally and physically.
Seals have been visiting the Tideway since the river was cleaned up and oxygenated in the 1980s. This one was enjoying the sun on the sailors' pontoon on 17 November 2017.
Mirko, Dave, Tomaso and Pete retained the MMasA.4- pennant at the Veteran Fours Head, finishing fifth overall behind four quads. The crew has been short of training this year – too many weddings, too few ergos - but they looked good value for their win over opposition from Thames and Warsaw.
The race ran on the ebb tide as usual but finished at Ranelagh so as to avoid the tunnel works below Putney. No veterans were complaining about the shortened course: the Pairs Head finish at Harrods would have been quite sufficient for most of us. Racing conditions were excellent with early drizzle clearing before the race started and flat water apart from launch washes. The club entered six crews in all. The WMasA.4+ almost matched the MMasA.4- achievement but finished just 7 seconds off the pennant for their division. The older crews were outshone on this occasion by the youngsters but generally rowed or sculled well enough to enjoy the day.
The Learn to Row course graduates made their competitive debut at the Upper Thames Autumn Head in Henley on 29 October 2017. They were joined by some very special guests from the senior crews (ahem, ringers) who generously donated their time – and bodies – to ensure the newbies didn’t miss out on their first race.
Despite numerous head count and administrative challenges, when the men’s and women’s teams reached their respective starts they were fully focussed on completing the 3km in good time to show off what they’ve learnt since they first hit the water back in July. With no other Novice 8 teams participating this year, neither team was able to match the opposition times. However - both teams had a cracking day, learning so much and experiencing first-hand the satisfaction of racing other teams.
It’s safe to say that we’ve got the bug, and are now proudly showing off our aches, pains and blisters in preparation for the next opportunity to represent SONS in head competition.
Six Sons crews raced in the Pairs Head on 14 October, mostly in double sculls. Les and Brad were the fastest of our men in 14:54, Mel and Colleen were the fastest of our women in 16:40.
The race committee had unwisely decided to use the new performance ranking indicators to divide the entries into divisions. This cunning plan did not go well but nobody let that spoil the race. The water was pleasantly flat for the Tideway and a stiff tailwind helped the less fit to keep the rating up from Mortlake to Harrods. The Sons crews generally did well against those that they would regard as peers.
Eight of the mens masters squad travelled to Lake Bled to compete in the 2017 World Rowing Masters Regatta. (With help much appreciated from two TSS rowers, Hilary and a Thames cox.) Results were disappointing due to a combination of strong competition and unsuitable hired boats. That apart, the regatta was a fine experience with eight lane racing in a spectacularly good location and ample opportunities for socialising. It was a suitable finale to a long and demanding season for the mens masters.
What a fun day racing on the river Lea - clashes with blades and riverboats guaranteed.
Nine races, nine crews and four pots! A stellar effort from Sons to kick start the 2017/2018 season.
W.IM2.4x Ruth, Sanne, Coops, Jenny
Mx.MasC.2x Dave Smith and Coops (winner)
Mx.MasC.2x Drago and Darlings
MasD.1x Dave Smith (winner)
Senior Women's crews:
Mx.IM2.4+ Emily, Georgie, V, George, Darlings
W.IM3.4+ Emily, Georgie, V, Laura, Eleanor (winner)
W.IM2.2x Georgie and George
W.NOV.2x Darlings and V (winner)
W.NOV.2x Laura and Eleanor
Special mention to Eleanor taking home a pot in her first race with Sons, Dave Smith continuing his winning form in the single, and finally to Laura and her brownies which were a big hit after boat loading.
From all accounts the river racing over 600m was well worth the trip to N/E London. See you next Autumn, Lea!
Members turned out in force for a boat christening in honour of Colin Price, the club president. Colin rowed for Furnivall SC in the 1970s in a number of successful club crews. He moved to Sons in 1981 with a group from FSC and set about revitalising the club. Les, naming his double, shared a few anecdotes from those days and explained how important Colin's boundless energy and enthusiasm had been for him personally and the club as a whole. Mel had arranged a fine barbecue, the sun was shining, many old members had come along to reminisce, the Becky M was rechristened after refurbishment and a good time was had by all.
The first rule of the Voga Longa, is that no one puts in a write up about the Voga Longa. As a result we never really know what happens out there in Venice. The bare facts appear to be that five from our women's masters squad were invited last year, and liked it so much that they all went again in 2017. Guarded verbal accounts hint at a long distance tour of Venice in an atmosphere of aquatic carnival. Specific details, detailing a group rendition of the song from the Cornetto ad, for example, have not been supplied, leading us to conclude that what happens in Venice stays in Venice. In fact, pretty much all we have is this photo.
When Henley Royal Regatta comes to an end, the booms stay out a little longer for the increasingly well-attended masters' event which uses a shortened course of around 1000 meters. With no doubling up allowed, Sons of the Thames Rowing Club put out a quad in MasE4x, Stephen replacing Ed in the line up that lost in the final last year to a Howarth/Hollingworth Lake Composite. After a bye in the first round, Stephen, Les, Brad and Bruce came up against Norwich Rowing Club whose crew included Audinis, the current national champion at Mas E 1x. Our quartet sculled tidily and sustained a split time of around 1:50 per 500m, but Norwich went faster with a final verdict to them of three lengths. The Hammersmith crew took some comfort to see that Norwich beat Peterborough in the final by a greater margin of five lengths.
Henley Masters seems to have been an enjoyable regatta though. As Les comments, "The 1000m boomed course from Temple Island to Upper Thames is excellent. The sun was shining this year, the wind was barely stirring the trees and the water was good."
All Sons of the Thames crews reached their finals at the British Masters on 10 June, Brad and Tim taking bronze in MasE.2x. This was a great result for Tim who joined the club late last year, sculling right over left which is how he learnt as a boy. He adapted to the more conventional left over right pattern surprisingly quickly and paired well with Brad who currently holds the Mas E 2x Pennant in the Pairs Head.
A strong and gusty cross-head wind made conditions difficult at Holme Pierrepont and impaired the quality of racing. The wind shadow in lane 1 was worth a five year age handicap in masters rowing terms. All four Sons crews progressed serenely through the elimination rounds despite the conditions. Brad and Tim sculled with length and power in the final of MasE.2x and looked good value for their bronze medal in a strong field. The MasA.2x, MasE.4x and MasC.4x raced respectably in their finals but fell short of the medal positions. Mirko and Tommy endured particularly bad luck with lane allocations and had the misfortune to be fourth placed in two events.
The veterans won MasE/F quadruple sculls in bank holiday sunshine at Twickenham, with only Dave remaining from the combination that won the same event in 2016. The regatta will be remembered mainly for the unusually high tide that flooded the trailer park and boating area in late afternoon. The jazz band played on as the water rose in the enclosure, the umpires continued to shout into their megaphones, the crews continued to race. Bruce, Andrew, Les and David had secured their quad win before the excitement with two age handicap races, reeling in MasF opposition. The MasE double scull and Mxd MasE double scull were both knocked out by eventual winners Bewl Bridge. All in all a good day for the Sons of the Thames Rowing Club veterans.
Brad and Les won MasE.2x at Borne at Chiswick Regatta on 6 May. The regatta ran smoothly despite a stiff crosswind, a credit to officials who were both competent and remarkably relaxed. Perhaps they spike the umpires' tea at the morning briefing? The race itself was uneventful: the TSS and Ardingly doubles sculled tidily but conditions suited the big Sons crew.
Les was too modest to mention that the winning margin was three lengths. Some might have expected no less of the Pennant holders in MasE2x in the Pairs Head of the River Race, but expectation can weigh a boat down. Ed