Peterhouse Boat Club


This page lists the general news. For race reports see here and here for alumni-related news.

Michaelmas 2013 - Senior Men (Race Report)

Posted by Andrei Lebed on Tuesday 14th January 2014

This term started with problems that continued to pester us all the way through: injury and side-issues. Due to this two members had to double up.

The first race, of the IV-B, went of stroke rate 36 and settle there. Although originally feeling good the fast start hit us as we passed the Plough, resulting in the rate dropping to about 31. From there it was a struggle to the finish, but we kept our form and pushed all the way through. Not a bad start of the term.

The second race, the IV-A decided to not repeat the IV-B's mistake and went for a steady rate 32, probably too low. But never mind, we won anyway!

WINTER HEAD MEN'S SECTION (IV-A, VIII (formed of both fours approximately), IV-B)

Today was going to be a long day, with three races, from the first division to the last. More doubling/trebling up was required.

The event itself was quite uneventful. People rowed, people died, people finished. The results were promising: both the IV-A and IV-B beat the respective other colleges first and second IVs, which is a good sign for more to come for Fairbairns!

The VIII was lagging, understandably, as we had been focusing on the IVs.

VETERAN FOURS HEAD IV-A (written by the whole crew)

As all good crews do in Peterhouse, no race is complete without a crew pasta the night before the race. This is a time where the crew can get together and talk race tactics, motivational calls, how Sirius Black actually died by falling into a curtain, who Tom Bomberdil from the LOTR universe is and why he has a “hot” wife (complete with Nick reading the “Song of Tom Bomberdil”), and eating “The Queen Mother’s Favourite Cake”. All present concluded she must have had a very good taste in cake as it was delicious.

Our plan of action the next day was to simply hop on the 6:30 train to London, and then from Kings Cross get the tube across London to where our boat was being dropped off. Not liking the prospect of being late and the boat being one mile away from our launch site, we were eager to get to the train station early. However, upon arrival, all trains to London were cancelled. Unsurprisingly, the engineers who were working on the lines the night before had decided to work on both lines rather than one and had, as most British Engineering Works do, overran. The nice people at the station gave us all compensation forms, and ushered us out back into the cold air of a 6am Sunday morning.

Fortunately, Captain “international” Henk knew that there was a coach to London from Cambridge, and crew members who had “Non-stupid” phones discovered that the coach would be leaving from Parker’s Piece very soon. For reasons mentioned previously, we did not want to be late, carrying a coxed IV down the streets of London did not seem like an appealing option. A brisk walk followed, and after forking out more money, we were finally on the way to London (albeit a while after we had originally planned). Soon we were graced by the sights of London, and after working our way round onto the tube train we should be on, finally arrived at the place we were going to launch off, only half an hour later than originally planned. With the boat ready and rigged to go it was soon time to push off for our paddle up to the startline!

Rowing in tide was a new experience to all but one of the crew, and as we paddled up we joined the other 200 or so crews parading up the side of the Thames. Being marshalled by Ribs like a sheep dog herding us up to the bank, we had to keep moving in order to stay in our position and prevent piling into the boats behind us. There was one main worry coxing the tideway - Hammersmith Bridge. On the racing instructions it was written in massive red text -if you miss the line under the bridge (going under the second lamp post from the left of the buttress), you could be swept into the pier by the tide on the other side of the bridge, which has in the past, “nearly caused fatalities”. Concluding that that part of the course would be less daunting had the text been written in nice big friendly letters, we therefore renamed these two points as the “Bridge of Doom” and the “Pier of Death”.

So the race began, and we set off at a good rate of 34, settling down to 32 1/2/33 for the rest of the course. Following the parade of boats down the Thames, we quickly started to overtake crews in front of us. It was a bit strange being on such a wide river as the Thames, being used to the Cam where we have to fight for our bit of the river. Furthermore, rowing with the tide made it feel like every stroke made us go even faster. The hardest part of taking the correct lines was around the large bends, because unlike on the Cam, where the quickest course is to take a wide line into and narrow out of the corner, the quickest route around the bends on the Thames was to follow the line of the quickest stream.

And now for a rower's perspective: we went into the start smoothly, as we were almost last of the division. We immediately saw the crew behind us fading away, after which we ended up in a vacuum. As we were coming up to Hamersmith we overtook the first boat, after which we kept overtaking boats (about 7 in total). That is not to say it was easy, though the plan was to stick at 33 we could not maintain it. We tried our best but averaged 32 1/2.

After the finish we started the long, long row back to the boating location, after which it was not until much later we could eat some McDonald's and head to Cambridge to sleeeeep...

We came a third, 20s behind the winner. All in all, it was a learning curve for us all.


With our parachuted in Blondie-colours cox, unbeaten status on the Cam this term by college crews nothing could go wrong for this IV-A. We were nervous before the start. Bomber told us that this was our race---we started first with the IV-B following us---this was our chance to show the Cam what we've got.

And so we did. Going off hard at rate 38, settling at about rate 35 dropping to not below 33 1/2. The pain was insufferable from Tesco/White Bridge but we pushed on, with motivational and technical feedback coming from Matt Bryan. We seemed to be doing well, the IV-B was nowhere in sight.

As we were coming under Chesterton---passed halfway we were told to stay strong, and that we were doing well. We soldiered on to the railway bridge, and we showed no signs of faltering. We knew what we were going for, and nothing except divine intervention would be able to stop us.

As we made our entrance to Ditton corner, the unspeakable happened. No, it was not bowside having blown up, the rudder snapped right off. By the time Matt realized it was too late, and we crashed on the outside.of Ditton corner.

We lost by about 20 seconds, let us say it was an emotional Boat Club Dinner. The crew will forever remember Bomber's summary of the result. Next year will be when we set things right for losing Fairbairns two years running: third time lucky.

Looking at this result, and of the rest of the term I can only say one things: it has been amazing, we have shown ourselves we can row hard, even if injury, side-issues and equipment try to prevent us. Bring on the Lents!

Race report written by Henk-Jaap Wagenaar

Michaelmas 2013 - Novice Men (Race Report)

Posted by Andrei Lebed on Tuesday 14th January 2014
Novice Men Rowing Report - written by Jack Lewis and Tim Beach
This term saw Jack and I take on the challenge of training 16 novice men the rowing basics ready for their blades campaign in the Lent bumps.
After another successful BBQ at the beginning of term, the commitment, enthusiasm and determination of the 16 who willingly (although perhaps naively) signed the dotted line at no point wavered, and not one missed a single session.
By week 3 we were already rowing all 8, the structure of the stroke was looking good and the novices were catching together, coupled with some pretty impressive erg times. Peterhouse Novice Men were already a formidable force on the Cam.
Our first opportunity to compare ourselves with the other colleges was Queen Erg’s and an average split of 1.37.1 saw us come 7th in our division, a promising start!
Our first race was Emma Sprints and unfortunately a seat issue meant 5 had to stop rowing and once overcome it was too late to close the distance between us and Magdalene, however we were looking strong up to that point and had gained almost half a boat length. Unfortunately a slight crash in our second race meant we were unable to unleash our full potential yet again. No matter, it was a great introduction to racing and excuse to dress up as the Pope on holiday!
Next was Clare Novice Regatta, unfortunately a crab off the start meant that Downing were able to open up a too larger gap for the Novices to close although a courageous effort was made and we saw some of their best rowing yet.
Finally Fairbairn’s arrived with two novice men boats scheduled to race. However, having to contend with an injury and Jonas and Thomas being out of the country, we had to double-up. The weather on the day was miserable, and high winds meant the reach was more akin to coastal rowing. No matter our first boat had a great race, settling into a strong rhythm that meant they easily tackled the waves and wind finishing with a competitive time of 12:15.7 despite a boat stopping crab near the start. To our dismay, the weather worsened as the day went on meaning the second race was called off. However, the novices had already done Jack and I proud and we are looking forward to rowing with them next term, whenthey will be a great asset to the club.
Also a big thank you to Charlotte Coles for providing us with 3 novice coxes who showed great intuition, rudder skill and coxing ability in a variety of situations from high winds to high traffic, all those who helped us out with coaching – Kate Ashley, Hannah Laidley, Henk-JaapWagenaar, David Walsh and Nick Friend, and our suitably excessive Fairbairn’s bankparty!

The Crews

Popes on Holiday- Jonas Baier
Daumantas Kavolis
Phil Ovington
Lukas Helfinger
Jack Yates
Alex Fairclough
Qubekani Moyo
Thomas Wagner

Clare Novice Regatta – Max Schinke
Ollie Bell
Jonas Baier
Kevin Dialdestoro
Phil McKeown
Adrito Das
Harry Ruffell
Duncan Palka

Fairbairn’s I – Max Schinke
Ollie Bell
Arnas Gercas
Daumantas Kavolis
Phil McKeown
Lukas Helfinger
Thomas Wagner
Duncan Palka

Fairbairn’s II – Phil Ovington
Qubekani Moyo
Kevin Dialdestoro
Harry Ruffell
Adrito Das
Alex Fairclough
Jack Kayes
Jonas Baier

Very well done to Daumantas, Ollie and Max who agreed to double-up for Fairbairn’s!

Michaelmas 2013 - Novice Women (Race Report)

Posted by Andrei Lebed on Friday 27th December 2013
Race Report written by Oli Wettern, LBO

The term has been an extremely productive one for the Novice Women, proving that success can be attained without having to undergo the cold hinterland of Michaelmas term early-morning outings! The squad quickly settled into a keen and motivated group of eleven, who along with a fresh crop of novice coxes, have developed a real sense of teamwork in the course of the term.
The first few weeks went well, with the crew progressing extremely quickly to rowing as an VIII, feathered blades. Having set down this benchmark early on the coaching could therefore concentrate on improving individual technique and getting the crew to row more coherently, rather than still worrying about the absolute basics of the rowing stroke. As the crew became more confident going down to the Lock became the norm for our outings, rather than the end of term rarity that it can sometimes seem for novice crews. With the distance put in, the rhythm and timing improved, and the potential in the boat became clear.
The crew’s first test was Emma Sprint – eschewing the distractions of fancy dress, they overcame technical difficulties to power through the opening rounds, including an excellent fight back from being half a length down to come through and win by a length. Unfortunately our opponents in the semi-final combined with windy conditions to prove too strong for us; nevertheless, being in the top four crews is in itself a great achievement, and we were extremely pleased. The crew’s ability to remain relaxed under pressure boded well for the altogether more daunting Fairbairn’s race.
This proved to be an absolute nightmare weather-wise – white-topped waves on the Long Reach were a new experience for crews normally restricted to only rowing under green flags. However the girls managed admirably, keeping a solid race-pace all the way through to the finish, and posting an excellent upper half time, well within the top portion of the other novice crews. The row back against the wind was certainly interesting, but the celebrations of Boat Club Dinner more than made up for any next day soreness!
It has been great fun coaching the Novice Squad this term – we look forward to seeing them carry their dedication into the Senior Squad next term, and realise the potential they undoubtedly have, both as a crew and as individuals.

May Bumps 2013 - M2 (Race Report)

Posted by Andrei Lebed on Friday 16th August 2013
Day 1 - Row Over
Day 2 - Row Over
Day 3 - Row Over
Day 4 - Bumped First and Third Trinity III

Bow: Timothy Beach 2: Cornelius Riethdorf 3: Andrew Sultana 4: Henk-Jaap Wagenaar 5: Oliver Wettern 6: Yohei Rosen 7: Jack Lewis Stroke: Titas Sokolovas Cox: Charlotte Coles

Coaches: Frank Suess, Andy Muston

Report written by Henk-Jaap Wagenaar

During Easter M2 participated in a few races, and we knew we were amongst the faster boats in the pack.

Day 1 - Chasing St. Catherine's III, chased by Lady Margaret III

After a good start we started closing on Catz, very slowly, whilst we could hear Catz getting whistles on Emma II. Meanwhile, we were leaving Maggie eating dust, opening up more and more distance as we were coming up to Grassy Corner, after which we got our first whistle on Catz.

During the Plough Reach we pushed hard, however as we went on the Long Reach we rowed passed the parked Catz and Emma crew. The coaches on the bank told us to go for the 'overbump', which we could not achieve, and we wound it down as we got up to the P&E. Afterwards our coaches realised we were actually chasing a double overbump and doing quite well.

Overall a satisfying row-over.

Day 2 - Chasing Emmanuel II, chased by Lady Margaret III

We pushed off Maggie again easily, and we started closing on Emma. Suddenly we were closing quickly on Emma, a bit too quickly, and we careered into them as the division was halted since FaT III after being bumped failed to clear the river. After a restart with Emma starting from Top Station, we started closing again. We kept on closing slowly, getting signals in the Plough Reach, closing to canvas at the beginning of the Long Reach and getting overlap halfway along the way, which we maintained for about a minute after which we started to drop back again. In the distance we saw Maggie getting caught by Girton.

An extremely unsatisfying row-over.

Day 3 - Chasing Emmanuel II, chased by Girton II

Today we knew we hard to go off hard to get Emma, since they were chasing the spooning FaT III which was stacked last year with Headship blades. We never got close though and Emma caught FaT near grassy corner. We pushed Girton away easily, for a satisfying row-over, knowing tomorrow would finally be our day.

Day 4 - Chasing First and Third Trinity III, chased by Girton II

This was the day, our crew, who were all in their first year of bumps, we would do it. And we did. We caught them just after the cross-over point, and whilst the rain was pouring on us, our spectators were cheering us on in Grassy Corner were we parked and we cheered, also giving FaT III their well-deserved spoons for messing up the division two years running, and part of the PBC clean sweep of the day with bumps in all boats.

May Bumps 2013 M1 - Blades (Race Report)

Posted by Andrei Lebed on Wednesday 14th August 2013
Final result: Up 5 places from 20th to 15th (Blades)
Day one: Bumped Robinson
Day two: Bumped Churchill and bumped Trinity Hall as sandwich boat
Day three: Bumped Magdelene
Day four: Bumped Homerton

Day one - Andrei Lebed
We knew we were a fast crew by race results earlier in term, but the first day of Bumps is always nerve-wracking. One of my mates in the crew that we were chasing (Robinson) had requested that we ‘do it quickly’ in advance. No such luck I’m afraid - we chose to savour every stroke. In reality, our first bump was not much to be proud of. Once we hit 2 whistles, instead of mentally resetting and finishing the job, we got a bit sloppy in the dirty water in front of us and dragged out the bump until Ditton corner. For me, that was the first time I had ever bumped - and it wasn’t quite what I had expected. Nevermind, we vowed to spare the crews ahead of us the pain in future days. Retrospectively, I believe we did. Still, nothing to complain about, we got our first bump!

Day two, race one - Andrei Lebed
Having got our first bump out of the way, day two was a bit simpler. Having demonstrated to the crew in front during paddling earlier that week that we were a faster crew, we agreed that when we got 2 whistles on them we would refocus and finish the job, sparing everybody the pain of dragging it out. The gun went, and Churchill went off with an impressive start. Having finished our start sequence, we were just within distance. However we weren’t disheartened, we knew this was our tactic. As predicted, after a minute and a half, Churchill started wilting, and the whistles started coming. We had only settled into our monster rhythm, and once Mike called for us to add in the lower back swing along Plough reach we quickly ate up the distance between us, leading to a neater bump than day one. This was big news for us - we had just become sandwich boat, and had a chance that day of making it into the first division.

Day two, race two - Milan Bruncvik
Earlier that day we already bumped Churchill which qualified us as the sandwich boat in the 1st division. After that we were left with about an hour to refuel, recover and get prepared for another race. The morale was high the fatigue low! We were eager for our first race in the 1st division. High strokes, starts, all pumped up, ready, sitting in the boat waiting for the roar of the cannon to start off the race. The goal - bump anyone who happens to be in front of us - no mercy. The start was good. The high strokes and transition as well. We managed to settle in to a machine rhythm. Shortly we could already hear the whistle signals from the bank (getting closer and closer to a bump). Then Mike called a burst. A few powerful strokes and the race is over - we have just bumped the Trinity Hall boat! Confirming Peterhouse's place in the 1st division and a step closer to our blades.

Day three - Andrei Lebed
Perhaps one of our most memorable days. We were after Magdelene, who were spooning at the time. Bomber wanted us to take them out, fast. The cannon went, we executed our start, wind, started thinking about settling and suddenly BUMP! We had bumped them in 48 strokes, just before the Motorway Bridge. Bomber was happy. I’m surprised our boat stayed afloat on the way back given the size of our egos after that. One more day to go, and the ‘b’ word crept into all of our dreams that night like a cookie jar just out of reach. But not for long. The next day we had the chance to make history - the first women’s crew had already gone up three, and we had already gone up four. How anybody slept that night, I have no idea.

Day four - Mike Wheeldon

It'd be fair to say that the feelings were tense in the changing room before Saturday's race - so far everything had gone to plan, and although no one wanted to mention the 'b-word'; blades were on everyone's mind.

A few hours earlier we were with our W1 in the Master's Lodge, kindly invited by the Master for a solid pre-bumps breakfast (or a tantalising view of a spectacular breakfast for the two coxes). The next time we saw the women, we were on our warm up row and they were rowing home carrying the flag, which was the moment that we realised they'd got their 4th bump and therefore their blades - the pressure was really on now! After a congratulatory shout, heads were back in the boat and we continued with our warm up row.

The practice start just outside the plough was our fastest of the term, with a 500m split time of 1:14. Armed with that final confidence boost, we continued up to the lock and to the start of the final race of our Bumps campaign.

Every day of Bumps race is unpredictable and lining up we knew that this was no exception, Homerton were probably faster than Girton ahead of them, which meant that if we spent too much time catching Homerton, they might have bumped out and our only option for a final bump and the blades we all craved, would be the over-bump on Fitzwilliam - no mean feat in the mens' first division. Throughout the term the focus had been a very internal one: making our boat go as fast as possible and not worrying too much about what everyone else was up to. We all agreed that this final race was no different and with our race plan in mind, came forward at the start, waiting for the cannon.

We had a strong start, but unfortunately so did Homerton - for the first 30 seconds we were about on our distance, confirming that this wasn't going to be a quick bump like yesterday. Coming out of the first corner heading to the motorway bridge we settled into our power rhythm of 37 strokes per minute and started to close in on Homerton. All the way down the 2nd reach from the motorway bridge we continued with our determined and solid rhythm, encouraged by the fact that we were slowly gaining on Homerton, who were down to half a length's lead with about 150m to go into First Post corner. We were unsure how close Homerton were to Girton, but by that point it didn't matter, we could taste the final bump we were all so hungry for and coming up to First Post corner had the final bumping push that we'd perfected over the course of the week. Slowed down by having to steer for the corner, Homerton fell back towards us and we bumped them roughly at the apex of the corner.

Without wanting to sound too cliché, it's hard to describe the emotions for the next 60 seconds. Although the immediate concern was to clear the river for the crews racing behind us, our attention was quickly turned to the fact that we'd just bladed into the first division; a perfect end to a very successful term of rowing, that was also a number of our crew's last term with PBC. Fortunately our captain, Henk-Jaap had managed to cycle all the way back with the flag so we could complete our final row as a crew in real style, with greenery and the Peterhouse flag proudly flying. We returned to our boat house to find our women waiting there to celebrate double blades with us, celebrations that promptly evolved into our May's Dinner - a truly magnificent evening, breaking attendance records and providing a very fitting end to a term of very successful rowing for our first boats.
See Older Posts