Sunday, 8 March 2009

The Tideway

On Saturday, James and I went to London for the Women's Eights Head of the River Race, on the Tidal Thames. James was coxing his City of Cambridge first womens crew, and I was supporting the Chesterton women's crew.

After heading to Putney Bridge to hand James his all important wellies and arriving literally minutes before they were to push off, I took a bus to Hammersmith where the Chesterton women were boating at Furnival Rowing Club. Alas, I was too late to help them push off too, but was luck enough to run into the Chesterton supporters, and went to the neareat pub to wait with them until the race began. Three hundred crews were racing, and I was determined not to miss James' City crew but also to see some of the best women's rowing in the country passing below me as I stood above the racing line (second lamp post from the right, on Hammersmith Bridge). The course in on the same stretch of water as the Varsity Boat Race but rowed in the opposite direction (both races are rowed with the tide however). James' City crew were no.199, and Chesterton no. 267. I manages to see, cheer for and photograph both crews without dropping my camera in the Thames!

City W1 overtaking a slower crew


I didn't then see James until we met up for celebrations in Cambridge that evening, but went down to Furnival to help the Chesterton women back in. I was the only one of the supporters wearing wellies, and the tide was low by that point, so it was up to me to wade out and grab a blade. Then I helped carry the boat up the ramp to the trailer, pack up, take the boat apart, and head back to Cambridge on the train with the crew. I helped put the boat back together, and then James and I retired to the Old Spring for meals with our separate crews. He and his crew were in high spirits, having been ranked 28th overall, only 10 seconds behind the university women who rowed much earlier when the tide was stronger. The Chesterton women also rowed really well, especially considering that for many of them it was their first experience of rowing (and coxing) on the Thames. I really hope I'll be able to row with them next year!

No comments:

Post a Comment