Fresh off winning Headship and after one hungover, post-BCD practice training session on the tideway, the 1st VIII ventured down to London to race WEHoRR on the Thames. Thanks to Rosanna (the newbie causing issues again), we were in the Senior University pennant, but at least that meant we would have to spend less time marshalling. Turns out Headship does have some standing off the Cam, as we were starting ahead of the 2016 GB Rio Olympic Silver Medallists!
Setting off bright and early, with hair plaiting on the train and lots of coffee consumed, we arrived at University of London boat house, where we were boating from (a real boat house rather than a patch of grass – luxury!!! Thanks for having us!). Millie (the boat!) had made it safely from Cambridge and, although we were probably the only Janousek in our pennant, it was nice to be back racing in a familiar boat. After wading into the river and chaotically chucking our wellies back onto land, we were off to marshal in our very snazzy matching splash jackets.
The first half of the race flew by. We were strong, relaxed and had loose grip (for once!). We soon had to overtake City of Cambridge, who did not concede the racing line (tut tut), but with a small blade clash we were soon pushing them away.
And thennnnn the tideway turned into an ocean (*cue Titanic music*). Under Hammersmith Bridge, the river became incredibly rough. Waves crashed over our heads, filling the boat with so much water that Cat was floating in the cox seat. Cat’s cox calls changed from blades in sharp at the front to just try and put your blade in the water, if you can find it! While Cat kept reassuring us that calmer water was ahead, that 1k or so felt a long long way!
But, we kept calm and were determined to finish the race strong. Crossing the line (without getting overtaken by the Olympians or anyone else), we were proud of our rowing and the perseverance we had shown.
The row back was loooonng – against the stream and the whole 6.8 km distance again! Of course, it wouldn’t be NCBC without some equipment issues but once Beth worked out how to tighten and not loosen her backstay, it was quickly resolved. Although we were very wet, we made it back to UL feeling like we had accomplished our aim, simply by not capsizing.
NCBC placed 10th in our pennant, a pretty amazing achievement against whole universities. WEHoRR was an incredible experience and we’re so proud of everything the 1st VIII has achieved this term. A big thanks to Gemma for all her support today and a shout-out to Ed for taking us down to the tideway last week!