On Tuesday the 15th of March, the 4th VIII raced in the Talbott Cup. It was a beautiful sunny day; spirits were high and people were out enjoying the weather. Slowly, the crew began to arrive at the patch of grass, ready to smash another day of racing. To begin with, half the crew had the misfortune of standing under the resident pooping bird, just as it had one of its typical downloads. They decided to take it as a sign of good luck and remain optimistic. After this minor incident, we moved onto getting the boat and blades out for the race ahead, making some minor repairs to the boat, and pinning on our race numbers. We all got into the boat and were ready to go.
The crew then rowed up in all 8s continuous rowing, seeing all the scullers returning from their races. We luckily managed to avoid some potential crashes there, as Asma weaved our way through the oncoming traffic. The row-up was uneventful, with luckily no hiccups to report.
We then rowed up for marshalling and experienced the chaos of spinning in seemingly the narrowest part of the river. After many urgent cries of “SIX AND STROKE BACK IT DOWN”, we managed to turn and park up 🙂
We then proceeded to eat so many jelly babies and fruit pastilles that we were essentially running on pure sugar and waited an eternity for the race to start. During this time, Kate noticed that her blade was falling apart, so mission ‘fix the blade’ began. This involved multiple rounds of tape (including Katherine’s hand tape) and begging Amy to bring duct tape from the boathouse for last-minute repairs. We even had to pull over on our way to the start line to make the final adjustments before we were ready to begin. Once the blade was back in action, it was time to race.
Our first race was against Downing W3. We rowed to the top of the reach, Asma got us in line and then we came to front stops for a daunting standing start. We then proceeded to race down the Reach. From the start, we pulled ahead. It was a close race, with blades nearly bumping and Downing coming closer to us as we approached the Railway Bridge, but we managed to maintain our lead and put down a final power 10 to get us over the finish line. Hurrah!
We then had to spin (this time in a more accessible part of the river), marshal at the P&E, and proceed to row up for our second race. Luckily this time we were prepared for the joys of spinning, so we seamlessly(ish) turned around and awaited further instruction. After a few minutes of marshalling and an ungodly number of sweets, it was time for our second race, this time against Christ’s W3. Unfortunately, things went awry very quickly.
Within the first stroke, two catastrophic events occurred simultaneously. Firstly, Eliza’s rails came off of the boat and placed themselves diagonally, preventing our crucial stroke from being able to take full strokes for the rest of the race. This did not do wonders for the rate. Eliza’s seat then proceeded to screech for the rest of the race, and Nikita recalled hearing the desperate cries of the seat as it painfully moved back and forth across the broken rails. Eliza had tried to inform Asma of her predicament but sadly she was unable to assist in the circumstances for obvious reasons. At the same time, April had managed to suspend over her seat and so it was, for a while, in front of her. Very quickly though, it fell off of the rails, meaning she was left shuffling and suspending for the next 600m or so. Becca was a gem, shouting motivational help from the bank in response to April’s obvious fear, but sadly with two rowers down Christ’s managed to pull ahead and win at the very end. Despite the obvious mishaps, the race was exciting and one which the crew will surely never forget!
We then rowed back, spent a long amount of time attempting to fix Eliza’s rails, and finally put the boat away before heading back to college.
Overall, despite the technical issues, the 4th VIII gave it their best effort and had a lot of fun! Thank you to Emma and Asma for subbing into the boat so that we could have one last rowing experience together as a crew. Also thank you to Becca for being an amazing bank party; we could not have made it through the race without you!
April and Eliza – Seat 3 and Stroke