…I will wear the green willow. Yes, we went up: yay! Though that doesn’t begin to capture it.
L to R: Andy Southgate (4); Steven Andrews (5); Chris Wood (2); Ollie Crabb (S); James Tidy (Cox); Chris Metcalfe (3); William Connolley (B); James Howard (7; with George); Chris Smith (6).
Yesterday, Tabs 3 caught City 3 round about Grassy; and since we mostly held station with Tabs, we were happy that we could get City in a fair fight. But! Behind us, Champs 2 had caught Nines 3 not much after the motorway bridge: and while we’d pulled away from Nines by at least 1/2 a length, that was still a touch disquieting. We told ourselves that Champs had a start but nothing more.
And so it proved. We got a marginally better start than yesterday, Champs maybe took 1/2 a length off us, but stopped coming after the motorway bridge and had faded by first post. We started getting whistles around the motorway bridge – very good to hear. It was very choppy there – its bad enough normally, worse when closing on a crew. We stayed on one whistle for a while, then up to two whistles a little after first post – it was all going beautifully, all we needed was to keep going. And we did. somewhere – it felt like the corner coming out of the Plough, though things are a touch hazy to be honest – we made a token effort to stuff it up: James T took a superb line around the corner: superb except for the fact that there was a boat bumped out there. they pulled their blades in as best they could but #3 clipped them and caught a mini-crab, just as I could see City’s stern oh-so-close out of the corner of my eye.
That must have lost us half a length, but we soon pulled it back and caught City 3 at the top of the Reach (we came up on their inside, so there was a time – maybe 3 strokes – when I could have reached across and bopped their stern. Which might have been cool, but had I stuffed it up, missed, crabbed, and ruined a certain bump I’d have been killed). Thanks to them for being quality opposition and not giving up – it was a good race. In fact it was an excellent race; once we got into our stride, which takes us a while – first post maybe – it was a pleasure to row, despite the pain.
And back for drinks – the beer tree had run out, so Waterman again – and congratulations to M2 who also went up.
Oh – and I nearly forgot to mention – we were touched by the presence of the excellent Chris “you’re all rubbish” Smith, subbing in for Tom Watt who took the tapering a bit too seriously and collapsed a lung, again, the silly boy. Best wishes to him for a speedy recovery.
And since yesterday’s plan went so well today, what is the plan for tomorrow? We think we have the measure of City 3 behind us; which will do wonders to relax us. Ahead, Tabs 3 have sent down Champs 1, which is intriguing – we should have a fair to decent chance at them, which would be very satisfying.
Oh very well, though I know you don’t care. It is traditional for crews that bump up to show this as they row back by taking some willow from the bank and putting it on themselves. The whistles: to encourage crews (who can’t see what is ahead of them, of course) the bank party that cycles along will blow whistles in an arranged scheme: one whistle for a length down; two whistles for 1/2 length; 3 whistles for “really close”; and continuous for overlap. First Post is First Post corner, which is about 2 minutes in to the race from our starting chain. Chains are 150 feet apart, which is 46 meters, which is ~2.5 boat length (a boat being about 18 meters), which means you have 1.5 boat lengths to gain (about 30 meters) plus a bit more to actually get the bump. Plus the wash from the boat ahead is worth about an extra half length advantage.