Peterhouse Boat Club


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

Sponsored Row To Ely 2003 (Race Report)

Posted by Admin on Tuesday 17th June 2003
Arriving at the boathouse at 9am in the morning, the prospect of rowing, [coxing] 53 kilometres did not seem too daunting, it was, after all, only like doing 5 trips to the lock and back. We failed to take account of two minor details: firstly, that we had to get the boat over two locks each way, and secondly, the sadistic sense of humour of the man in charge of the weather.

Leaving the boathouse, with Aidan Roberson subbing in for Matthew, still suffering from his inebriated exploits at the Boat Club Dinner, we progressed swiftly, stopping only for a stretching session at Baits Bite Lock before reaching Bottisham, only 15km from Ely. We were confronted here with a combination of unsuitable landing station and nettle coated banks that we feared we would have to carry the boat half of the remaining distance. It was also at this point that Manu’s phone, tired of the claustrophobic conditions within the front of my lifejacket, decided to try its luck at swimming. Unfortunately, it was not buoyant. Lamenting the loss of Manu’s close companion we set a slow rate towards Ely, only picking up when I glimpsed the cathedral and ending in unfitting style with us steaming into Ely rating 32.

While some stared perplexingly at their hands wondering where they had left large chinks of flesh, others gorged in the gourmet delights of peanuts and cereal bars. The spitting rain was a cruel omen of the row back ahead of us. Jeremy Faro replaced Aidan for the return leg, and we were thankful of the fresh set of legs after about a minute when we began rowing into a ‘gale force’ headwind. Our impressive technical rowing quickly wasted away into a stubborn struggle against the elements. Only now did the safety waning “Do not set out if it is windy-you don't want to be trying to do any more than light pressure for this kind of distance” seem noteworthy. Our seemingly eternal struggle, interspersed by brief interludes to take on and release fluids, was made ever worse by optimistic distance landmarks and occasional boat stopping gusts. The sight of Bottisham Lock released a sigh of sheer relief [and that was just for the cox].

After traversing the lock the last 10km was relatively easy, our fluid, technical steady state accompanied by the mellow lyrics of John Mayer from the stereo which travelled with us, strategically rammed between my legs. Back at the Boat House they rowers didn’t even look tired, but they whined and groaned and moaned more than usual. Many thanks to Dave for organising the trip, to Aidan and Jeremy for subbing in and carting around our kit, food and drinks, and especially for everyone that sponsored our row to Ely. The £138.60 raised for Wintercomfort for the Homeless and the Stroke Association made it more than worthwhile!

May Bumps 2003 (Race Report)

Posted by Admin on Tuesday 10th June 2003
Day 1
1st Men
We knew today was going to be tough, although the plan was to try and catch FaT M2 before they could catch Emma M2. Our start was effective, although not as intense as others we had done. We initially gained on FaT, with Wolfson remaining on station, however, by the end of plough reach, and through Ditton, we had fallen back to our on station position. For all of this time FaT had overlap with Emma.

We pursued FaT up the reach, and when we reached the Railway bridge a call came through to harden and go for it. We had faced FaT from this position before - over a length down at the bridge, and won - so we knew we could do it. The push worked, and the boat speed increased dramatically, and we bumped FaT with a shock that shook the entire boat within 10 strokes, before Morleys Holt.

1st Women
We knew the first day would be tough: although well matched with Selwyn ahead of us, we were faced with a very strong crew behind. Girton were eager to wreak revenge for our bump on the last day of Mays last year, and despite our strong start at 45 and remarkable lack of panic as they shot towards us, they caught us just before First Post corner.

2nd Men
Race 1

Emma III ahead of us - we beat them a few weeks ago at 99s Regatta, but today was a new race and we knew they wouldn't hand the bump to us - they were head of the division, and we were determined to not row over.

We went off at a speedy 45, striding to 36 by First Post Corner. Simon (6)'s shoe came off on the fifth stroke, but we kept going no matter what. A tight First Post Corner followed by an almost as tight Grassy corner put us under the length distance behind Emma III with St. Catherine's III behind us nowhere to be seen. A strong push in the Plough Reach brought the distance down to 3/4 length was followed by a VERY close Ditton Corner. Emma III went wide at Ditton and we found ourselves going side-by-side up the reach - never chancing to swing for the bump, a bump was awarded close to the Railings once our bow ball past theirs - sucess.

Race 2

Quite tired, but with a replaced footplate we made our way down to the lock - from the top of division four to the bottom of division three as sandwich boat. The gun goes and we wind up to 45 again, striding to about 35. It starts to hurt quite quickly, but the feeling in the crew was clear that we will give it our all. We didn't know what to expect from Jesus III, or Clare III in front of them, although we expected Fitzwilliam II would bump in front of Clare III. We quite quickly make it up to a length distance, and after that is was simply a question of slowly reeling them in, pushing through the tiredness to get them, which we did after Grassy Corner. Phew!

3rd Men
We took advantage of the bend (below the motorway bridge) to gain a little distance off the start. FaT went off in a bad direction and immeadiately lost half a length to us. At the end of the starting 20 we were within half a length of them and closing, they were likewise closing on their target crew. A power 10 was called but it proved not enough, a few strokes were taken to get the rhythm back and another power 10 finished the job, straight into their stroke's blade. Getting Tom clear proved a little tricky as FaT didn't row on for far enough, but no harm was done to the division.

First bump for a lot of people in the boat, and nothing behind ever got a look in. Great row by this ringer crew!

Day 2
1st Men
With several areas for improvement from Day 1, we knew we had to be fast. We had to catch Emma M2 before they could catch Downing M2. Our start was faster, and we kept the boat speed up. Going into first post reach we were at a length and going for a whistle build. Coming into grassy we were down to half a length, and still wanting to keep pushing, to keep decreasing the separation. A push out of grassy saw us drop within 10 strokes to a canvas, and then getting overlap and bumping in the next 10. We bumped immediately in front of The Plough - so ensuring spectators a good bump!

1st Women
Sandwiched between Girton ahead and Magdalene behind who were predicted for blades, its fair to say that we were apprehensive for todays race! However we focussed on building on our strong start and breaking through Girton's two minute barrier-they go off like a rocket but seem to peak at two minutes. We prepared ourselves for a long battle or at least a row over. However Magdalene suprised us and shot off the start, despite a gutsy effort they caught us again just before first post corner.

2nd Men
Two bumps under our belt and Clare III in our sights. Jesus III behind us, after having to row over in front of Emma II so they were quite tired.

We started at a bit of an angle after snagging the bumps chain, but quickly recovered after a rather panicky three draw strokes. Finding our rhythym by Little Bridge, we passed through Fitzwilliam who had caught Sidney Sussex, and drove on to 3/4 length about 50m from the A14 bridge. A push for ten really lifted and refocussed the crew, again reeling in Clare III quite nicely to catch them at First Post Corner.

3rd Men
The threat from below was considered low, so eyes moved to St Catz V which had rowed over the previous day. It took a little longer this time and the cox held off a long time before acknowledging. We sat with overlap for about 10 strokes before I got bored of the wait and impatiently tried to move over on them, but the big rudder on Tom slowed us down a little and we fell back a couple of feet. A last Power 10 (going on Power 15) got them just like we did yesterday this time about 50 metres beyond the motorway bridge.

Again a little Men's 6 carnage with FaT running into us having been bumped but no damage was done to boat or crew. Another great row and a the crew now are beginning to feel its no longer total fluke that they're getting foliage in their hair.

Day 3
1st Men
Race 1


Today started at 9.30am with a light technical paddle to the Pike and Eel. An exercise in getting us all working as one unit, and to help give us that little bit extra when it came to this afternoon. We knew it was going to be a challenging day.

We had to catch Downing M2 before they caught Pembroke. We did not. We closed to about 1 length, and held this steady, with Downing gaining on Pembroke with every stroke. We kept pushing, still trying for the bump, however it didn't happen, Pembroke and Downing bumped out before we got overlap.

However, we had considered this possibility, and our plan was to switch to pushing for the over-bump on Sidney Sussex. We knew we could do it. Coming onto the reach, our heads lifted and we hit a wonderful rhythm around 35 that felt like you could stay in it all day. We were gaining on Sidney all the way up the reach, and by the White House we received an optimistic 1 length call. This was the rallying call we needed. Our kill instinct lifted its head, the rating squeezed up to 36, and we got a double whistle. We kept pushing, relentless. 3 whistles - down to a canvas - we really wanted this. Finally, just after the Railway bridge, the bump was ours.

Race 2

This was a case of give it everything, there was no issue with us blowing up - we couldn't be bumped. Our start worked well, and we held the rating high - we were going to try against Caius M2. We remained on station, however, they got the bump on Fitzwilliam before we made much progress. A good solid start, and just the kind of start we need to go for tomorrow.

1st Women
Friday saw Magdalene in front and Queens as the sandwich boat, eager to push their way into the first division. Despite a brilliant effort from everyone, we could only hold them off until the Plough reach. Nevertheless, the days events meant that we were determined to win back our first division place the following day.

2nd Men
The third day started early in the morning with a technical paddle to overcome the little effects that all the racing (& bumping!) was having on our technique.

Sidney Sussex II were in our sights and we went to the start with a strong confidence in our ability to get them quickly as Fitzwilliam II had on the previous day. We went off quite high, at 46, striding to a rushed 36, Clare III looked quite large behind us and the crew panicked a little. An emphasis on finishes brought the rate down to 35 with a noticeable improvement in cover. We had the length distance by Little Bridge, and 3/4 length by the A14 Bridge. A push into & out of the bridge quickly got that down to a canvas and a second push bumped them halfway between the A14 Bridge & First Post Corner.

Day 4
1st Men
The final day we were sitting head of Division 2. We knew we had to row over head, then we could take a shot at reclaiming Peterhouse's place in the First Division.

Race 1

We had a reasonable start - the first stroke was a little awry but we went off nicely, kept the rate reasonably high, always pushing to try to increase the gap between ourselves and Downing M2. By the time we had settled onto our rhythm around 45 seconds in, we had increased the gap to 2 lengths, but kept pushing - we wanted as much clear water as possible. By the 2 minute marker we had settled around 34 and there was a good rhythm in the boat.

Coming onto the reach, we hit 33 and sat on a great rhythm pushing away with every stroke. We cruised to a comfortable row over around 35 seconds ahead of Downing M2. Probably our best full course piece ever.

We had assured ourselves of our blades.

Race 2

Our start was fairly quick, and we again kept the rating high, however, we struggled to maintain the balance through the 'Motorway Bridge', where there was a lot of swell.

As we progressed through the race we moved up to a length on Fitz, and down to half a length, however we struggled to move beyond this. Coming up to the Pink house, we jumped to try and get the kill, and from here just kept pushing. We chased Fitz all the way to bottom finish, sadly we were a couple of feet off their stern. No bump sadly, but a good hard row.

1st Women
After a disheartening three days it was somewhat of a challenge for me to motivate the crew for the race today. Nevertheless, once again everyone surprised me with their determination and positive attitude, a fact which stands us in good stead for next year.

The first race was tough to start with until Darwin's cox managed to give us a break by steering her crew into the bank. We took our opportunity and our training finally paid off with a good hard row over.

With this behind us we moved on to getting back into the first division. In the next division we faced Queens in front of us and, despite a gutsy row with a perfect rhythm we couldn't quite catch them.

Overall we maintained the place held two years ago by Peterhouse women-top of the second division. Now that we have an experienced crew for next year we should be able to wreak a bit of revenge for this year in the 2004 May Bumps!

As a final note I must thank Andrea Clarke and Sarah Jackson for their commitment and enthusiasm over the past three years with regards to Peterhouse Boat Club - good luck to both in the big wide world!

2nd Men
We'd bumped to blades yesterday, today was about bumping Fitzwilliam II for ourselves.

We went off hard and stayed on station up to the A14 bridge. Everything bumped out around both of us, and the battle really started. Both crews were giving it their all for the crowds on the banks. Between First Post Corner and Ditton, we repeatedly moved up to about a length distance but were matched by a determined Fitzwilliam II who were investing just as much effort as we were. The reach hurt a lot, (as the photos of fatigue show!) but nobody gave less than their all. We had fallen back to station by this point, and a huge final attempt before the Pink House was yet again matched to the end.

We'd rowed over behind a crew that we could call an equal; putting the 2nd Men back on a course for recovery for the years to come, that they really deserve. Beware Fitzwilliam II - we'll be coming for you!

3rd Men
There was something of a battle going on in front of us today. King's III had been bumped by St Edmund's II on day one, and on day three a technical bump saw Kings get them back. It was a borderline decision and the smart money said St Edmund's would get them today unless we had something to do with it.

The start was the best yet with the crew well aware of what lay in front. Wolfson behind us was never a threat. We closed in to about half a length and our momentum slowed a little. We then pulled 20 hard strokes out of the bag to close it to a canvas but things were getting hairy up front. St Edmunds were just a canvas off Kings. A premature, but urgently needed Push 10 for Blades took us neatly onto the stern canvas of Edmunds and Kings got away. For a first time a good thump was felt down the boat and the DU confirmed the bump.

Quote of the day: "I never heard the push 10 for blades, but by about stroke 3 or 4 of it I worked out that something was going on so I pulled a bit harder" Ollie @ 2

Lent Bumps 2003 (Race Report)

Posted by Admin on Monday 24th February 2003
1st Men - 7th in the 2nd Division
We were chasing Trinity II, being chased by King's. The Bumps Programme predicted that King's would get us, although we had consistently beaten them all year. The start went well, winding to 45 before settling at 37 after the stride. First Post Corner went well; coming out of it, we needed to refocus before we found our rowing pattern again. A good grassy saw us close in Trinity. We squeezed in on them down Plough Reach, and we raced them around Fen Ditton. Coming out of the corner, we executed a jump start, getting the rate back up to 39. In four strokes, we went from a foot of overlap to pushing Sir John Meurig on to the Trinity seven rigger, tearing the stern. We bumped Trinity at the top of Reach, between the University Course posts. A quick dose of polyfiller was necessary once we returned home...


1st Women - 11th in the 2nd Division
Found out last night that Gill has been admitted to Addenbrokes, so was up early this morning sorting out subs. Have persuaded Caroline to row, as she managed to sub in recently when we were practicing starts!

Get to the boathouse, having eaten essential chocolate supplies and raring to go! Do a visualisation and scare ourselves imagining what it is going to be like.

At the start Wolfson seem to be gaining on us for a while but luckily we pull away and hold them off, unfortunately all the crews in front of us have bumped out (although we didnt realise that at the time) The race is a blur of pulling hard, and pulling harder, making appropriate faces for the camera, and then finishing, a little exhausted having rowed over.

Well done!


2nd Men - 3rd in the 4th Division
This is it. King's II look sharp in front of us, Queen's III look strong behind us. We have 7 ex-novices in the boat, none of them have raced bumps before... Everybody is nervous... We have trained hard but still... 4 minute cannon. Last talks, last hurdle and in the boat. 1 minute cannon. Tension is high: there is no second chance: we have to bump today. 20 seconds, 10 seconds, 7 seconds (come forward to row), 3 seconds (square the blade).... GO !!! First strokes are quite scrappy but strong... First corner - stroke corner - well taken... however Queen's is gaining on us, we can hear their coach's whistle - oh dear !!! And then... a whistle coming from our bank: we are gaining on King's !!!! Second corner is coming up, 2 sharp blows for us, we are doing it ! unfortunately the corner does not go well, we take it wide, 7 touches the bank... we recover. No idea what happened at that point but from Carl's words "it is the fastest we've ever rowed" !!! 2 sharp blows: 1/2 a length away: we can do it !!! Queen's get taken out by Caius (no we didn't look).... More whistle, more whistle and then.... Hold it up hard !!!!! Our first ever bump: the first one for Peterhouse II since 1996 !!!!!! We did it !!! Green looks good on us.


1st Men
Rest day. The crew went for a paddle, then did extended stretching during the day.


2nd Men - 2nd in the 4th Division
Reports tell us that Hughes Hall are not very good... are they really or did they catch a crab?? Were Trinity just lucky??? Who knows... Everybody's at the boathouse focusing on the race: we know we can do it, we proved it yesterday - let's just hope. We get on the boat and row down out starting position passing Hughes on the way (they all look big). 4 minute cannon, everybody's confident but worried (yes, that's possible). 1 minute cannon: we're all switched on. 20 seconds, 10 seconds.... GO. "Draw for one Draw for two Draw for three... Build for one Build for two" - short whistle blow from our bank (what already??) "Build for three Build for four Build for five Build for six Build for seven Rhythm in two Rhythm in one" - two short blows from our bank !!!! We settle in the rhythm for maybe 10 strokes and... we bump !!!!!!!! The practice starts we did were longer than that !!! Let's focus... time to get some greens and we'll race at the bottom of division 3 in 1 hour.

18th in the 3rd Division
1 hour after the last race, everybody is quite tired but no-one is ready to give up (two bumps in one day would be sweet). Our starting position is at the bottom on the reach by the lock (bad souvenirs). Start is given, we race well, we hear the first whistle for Trinity just before the motorway bridge and the first whistle for us seconds after !!! After the motorway bridge everything is over, Trinity caught Corpus II and we kinda crashed into them (they didn't clear the river). Despite some enthusiastic cheering from certain people in our crew, Trinity bumped Corpus. We lose time starting again and moving away from Trinity. We row over


1st Men - 6th in the 2nd Division
We were now chasing Downing II, and were being chased by Trinity II. We wound to 42, and settled at 36. We had an early whistle call after the start pattern. However, we were a little wooden in the second minute, although we relaxed into First Post and a powerful push saw us climb to a canvas off Downing II. A well executed jump start into Grassy Corner saw us wind to 39 again, before striding back to 36 as we quickly finished off Downing on the middle of the corner. We cleared well, but Downing II steered and parked into the inside of the corner, causing King's to go too wide, grazing the parked LMBC II boat.


1st Women - 11th in the 2nd Division
Today Bethan is our honorary Gill, we had a little practice yesterday morning to remind her of the start pattern....

Arrive at the boathouse determined to bump - rowing over was painful yesterday! Have the 'Nemesis' feeling at the start of the race - the feeling that you are strapped in and cant get out - and it's going to hurt!!

We hear the whistles quite soon, and close in on Emma II fast, and then they hold us a few feet away. With a last determined burst we catch them in the reach.

Celebrations and greenery!! Unfortunately looks like we are going to lose Olivia tomorrow - she deserves a medal for carrying on rowing today although her back hurt her so much it made her sick. No doubt who rower of the day goes to.


2nd Men - 1st in the 4th Division
Today should be fairly easy: we are being chased by Hughes Hall who are being chased by Caius III. The start is given, firm pressure all the way, all the corners go well, Hughes Hall get bumped... we row over :)


1st Men - 5th in the 2nd Division
Today the First Men were chasing Magdalene, and being chased by Downing II (who finished over a minute after us). The start went well, as we closed within a length during our start pattern. We got a half-length whistle down the Gut. However, Magdalene started to hold us well. We raced them into the Reach, where we got a canvas whistle. A jump-start moved us to within four feet. However, Magdalene pushed off us again. We battled down the Reach, with Peterhouse M1 moving to only a few feet off the Magdalene First Men, only for them to push slightly away from us. A number of jump starts worked, but failed to be capitalised on. We rowed over about two feet away from Magdalene crew by Top Finish. A shame, but we know that with a bit more spark, we can finish the job tomorrow.


1st Women - 10th in the 2nd Division
Another day, and we are chasing Kings. Not sure what they are going to be like although we know Darwin bumped them fairly quickly.

Quite windy today so its a bit chilly as we row up to the start although there are lots of supporters around - yay!

Start off quite well although the wind is making the oars blow about a bit, hear the first whistle, then two whilstles, brace ourselves under the motorway bridge to go for another push but Robin calls us to wind down!

Short and sweet! Kings have caught a crab - and stopped!!


2nd Men - 18th in the 3rd Division
This is it: if we want blades we have to get Corpus II, no other choice. Unfortunately most minds are already set on tomorrow's race and today sounds just a like a "formality". Everybody gets in the boat, a bit nervous. The start is given. Not the best start ever but the builds go well and we row quite well. First whistle is given about half-way up grassy... we row harder... two short blows... harder... continuous blow !!! We bumped Corpus II just before the motorway bridge !!! Tomorrow is the final race: we are chasing Clare Hall and should be chased by Caius III (N.B. Clare Hall got bumped half way up grassy by Trinity that day)


1st Men - 5th in the 2nd Division
Saturday saw the First Men again chasing Magdalene, and being chased by Downing II. After the race on Friday, we decided that rather than change anything major such as the rigging, we would alter our race plan slightly, and also settle into a harder rhythm with more emphasis on the second half of the drive. We went off well again, and received a length whistle along the Gut. A tight Grassy saw us draw even closer along Plough Reach. A massive push off Fen Ditton Corner, winding the rate to 40, pushed us to within a canvas. Again, we closed to within a few feet, before Magdalene pushed off us, only to see us push again to within a few feet. A steering error from the Magdalene cox saw us make overlap, but we were coming out of a push, so we could not capitalise on it. Passing the Pike and Eel, we again got overlap, but Magdalene pushed us two feet clear. The final straight saw us wind up the rate to 37 again, but Magdalene held us well and we again rowed over. We rowed better on the Saturday than on the Friday, but so did Magdalene! Both crews put in a fine effort, in a series of races that have been the talking point of the towpath.


1st Women - 9th in the 2nd Division
Another day, another sub. This morning persuaded Rebecca Normansell to sub in for Olivia. She arrived at the boathouse half an hour earlier than the others so that we could give her a quick debriefing on how we do our starts and our race plan. A little worried when she asked whether we will be using cleavers or not!

Paddle down to the start - do some practice starts which go quite well - Becky is obviously secretly a rowing pro! There are loads of supporters on the bank which is fantastic too.

Carl counts down - has become a tradition now - and worries us again that he has got his watch wrong, but the gun goes at the right time and we are off.

We are chasing Maggie II. Takes a little bit longer this time but we put our 'rowing faces' on, and bump on first post corner - Yay!!!


2nd Men - 17th in the 3rd Division
Last day of bumps, so far we have done everything we needed in order to get blades. We are chasing Clare Hall, we know we will bump them but are we going to bump them before Caius bump us? The start is given. For once our racing start is not too bad. After roughly 20 strokes we hear the first whistle. We push harder.. 2 whistles.. Peter calls "Push for Blades". We push, we bump.. we made !!!!! We clear the river very quickly only to realise that Caius is at least 2 and 1/2 length away from us. That's it... the flag is ours, we get it back up the river: We have Blades !!!!!

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