Peterhouse Boat Club

Race Reports

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

M2: Lent Bumps 2013

Posted by Rebecca Tsao on Sunday 3rd March 2013
By Henk-Jaap Wagenaar

None of M2 had done Bumps before, and all except yours truly had noviced the term before. We started off second in the M3 division; however, a boat dropped out which made us the sandwich boat.

Day 1
On the first day we had to fend off Selwyn M2 coming from behind, and then try and bump Darwin M1 in the M2 division. Our test starts before marshalling to Top Station were quite bad, and this was also shown by our actual start: the nerves got the better of us and we did not do very well: in Grassy Corner Selwyn M2 almost had overlap. However their cox decided rudders are not a thing, and they went into the bank. They tried to recover; St. Edmunds M1 bumped them before that happened.

After that the overbump seemed unluckily, so on the Long Reach we wound it down so we would be ready for the second race. During the wait we tried to stay warm and get some food and water in our system. Paddling back to Bottom Station this time, our starts and pieces were getting better, the nerves taking off by the first race. During the race we were incapable of closing on Darwin M1, who bumped Emmanuel II just before the finish line.

Day 2

On this beautiful day we had St. Edmund’s M1 chasing us, and although we were better than the day before, we were not able to keep them off and were bumped as we came out of Ditton Corner after which we crashed into the bank as St. Edmund’s did not hold it up.

Day 3

On this, less beautiful day, after a well deserved rest day we had Hughes Hall M1, up four from an overbump and bump, and having beaten Peterhouse M1 in the Pembroke Regatta a few weeks back, we knew it was either bump or be bumped. We set off very strong, closing on St. Edmund’s very quickly, however it was not good enough and as we were moving to a third of a length on St. Edmunds we got bumped by Hughes Hall M1 in Grassy Corner, who went on to go up seven places in total with blades.

Day 4

With even more support on the bank today, we knew we could not lose. However the revenge bump on Hughes Hall M1 seemed unlikely unless they made a big error. Clare M2 was chasing us, with whom we stayed on station until the Plough Reach where they were bumped by Selwyn M2 (who had crashed again on Day 3). After this, part of the boat let their legs off. However, St. Catherine's M2 was being chased from behind for the overbump, and could therefore only row harder and try and go for blades and an overbump on us.

On the Long Reach St. Catherine's was at about four lengths, closing to about a length and a half at the Railway Bridge. The prospects were worrying. However the experience of the past days helped and we did not falter, did not panic and definitely did not surrender. We kept on fighting as they came to half a length at the Bottom Finish, kept on pushing as they came to canvas at the P&E and as they had overlap coming up to Top Finish. The stroke after the finish, we got bumped, leading to St. Catherine's thinking they had bumped us, which they had not, and the umpire unambiguously agreed.

Our crew learned a lot about Bumps races during these four days that the Bump charts do not do justice to: you should always keep pushing because you never know when they might crash (Selwyn M2), know where your finish line is (St. Catherine's M2), never wind it down except when sandwich boat (St. Catherine's again) and revenge bumping is possible (if Hughes Hall does not catch you before you get a chance). All in all it was a good week of racing where we improved a lot and we showed we can compete with first boats.

W2: Bedford Head 2013

Posted by Rebecca Tsao on Monday 18th February 2013
by Rebecca Tsao

If you've read the previous two reports, you'll find that Bedford Head took place on a day when it was cold and wet. I won't go over it again. However, we had stacks of layers and food, and we were all keen to unleash the Peterhouse fleet (minus the 'fluid' M1) onto a different river.

This term, PBC's women's section has become more driven than usual, with even stiff competition for seats in the third boat! The now-higher expectations for W2 were upon us, and without our regular coach (the Skirkasaurus Rex), we were a little nervous for our first race as a crew. However, we had a strong mix of experience and sheer power in our crew and we were certain that we were going to smash up any previous W2 record set (as long as we got those starts right....) We were also fuelled with the confidence that W2 was as banterous as ever, even though Hannah really needs to keep her tea towels to herself.

Fired up by watching W1 race past us in an earlier division, we took a strong paddle up to the start. The divisions were running late and the marshals were freaking out, but we were frequently slowed by the boats paddling ahead of us. Our cox Jenny's river rage floating through the speakers was definitely adequate mental preparation, as was the Mexican sit-up wave in the boat when marshalling in a tree.

The start was strong, winding to... (I have no idea. 38?) and settling to 34. Despite Jenny's earlier concerns, we whipped directly through the Bridge of Hell without hitting any blades, and Jenny took a brilliant line throughout. What else can I say? We raced, it hurt. We stayed steady until we got to 1500m, having dropped to rate 32/33 and then attempted the Peterhouse fashion of "getting stronger throughout the course". It worked quite well. The frequent landmarks of the bridges really helped and as we came through the last one, the Butterfly Bridge, Jenny called the time and ordered us to "FINISH this". We stormed to a brilliant (but painful) finish coming third in our division with a time of 7:54 - ten seconds off Queens W1 who won our division.

With the amount of strength and technical skill now accumulated in our boat, we are confident that we're going to beast Lent Bumps. If you don't believe us, here we are: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bv2EgMEUwAw. Watch this space.

M1: Pembroke Regatta 2013

Posted by Rebecca Tsao on Monday 18th February 2013
By Mike Wheeldon, cox

Due to the (to quote the Men's Officer) 'fluid' nature of the M1 crew this term, Saturday's Pembroke Regatta was our first chance to get out and race. A chance we were all relishing and looking forward to! The race is a short (~1.1 km) side by side race, which makes for some very exciting racing as senior side-by-side races are few and far between on the Cam.

Our first opponent was Hughes Hall, who we'd have to beat if we wanted to race again in the next round. Both crews had a strong start, although Peterhouse were slightly faster off the mark, with the pace controlled well, according to our start plan. Coming through the minute mark we were rating slightly higher than we'd expected and planned to, but finally settled into our race pace of 36 about 90 seconds in. Unfortunately by this point Hughes Hall had managed to claw back our early lead and their bow was about 1/2 a length ahead of ours.

Due to some solid rowing around our corner under the railway bridge, we began to reel Hughes Hall back in - however they responded by making a final push that we just couldn't match and ended up rowing to a close victory by about 1 length.

While we were obviously disappointed by our first race not ending in victory, we feel we've learnt a lot about how we race together as a crew, which we're using to focus our training over the next week or so in to the lead up to bumps. See you then!

M2: Bedford Head 2013

Posted by Rebecca Tsao on Friday 15th February 2013
By Charlotte Coles

On a cold, wet, early 7am start on a Sunday Peterhouse Boat Club was driven by coach to Bedford, for what would be one of the first times M2 had raced together. After the previous evening’s successful crew pasta, M2 stole the “cool kids” sections of the coach at the back and were quite excited for the racing ahead.

After we finally put the boat in the water after waiting for previous divisions to get their boats out of the water, we began the paddle up to the marshalling area. On the way, we got into a good rhythm to warm up and I as the cox eyed up both the “evil-arch-bridges-of-doom” and the “bridge-which-has-supports-at-weird-angles” to ensure no collisions would occur when we were racing at full speed.

The start started off strong and the guys relaxed into a good race pace of about 31/32. This being the first time we had raced together it was important we keep the pace up and kept driving the boat through the water. Pushing off the second of the “evil-arch-bridges-of-doom” we gave a final push to try and overtake the boat in front of us (because by this point we had already caught up with them even though they started a fair distance in front of us) and the guys gave it all they got, so that we finished in a very respectable time of 7:04, placing us 37th overall.

Tired, but pleased with our result, Sir John was dismantled, put back on the trailer, and after a very long trip to the pub which included drinking vast quantities of tea and ordering the place out of bowls of chips, we all got back on the coach back to Cambridge, looking forward to what will probably be a very exciting Lent Bumps.

W1: Bedford Head 2013

Posted by Rebecca Tsao on Wednesday 13th February 2013
By Paddy Alton - cox

“Why are you lot racing it twice!?”

Indeed. It was a cold, wet, overcast morning in Bedford, and Peterhouse Boat Club had once again descended in numbers on the town for a day of racing. Last year a frozen river had denied us our Lent pre-Bumps off-Cam experience, and W1 were making up for it by racing in two different divisions. Despite the weather, the usual spirit of camaraderie prospered and Callie, Natasha, and Sir John were swiftly removed from the trailer and re-assembled.

The row up to the top of the course gave us a chance to establish a good rhythm, and our practice starts were encouraging. Just as well: with many boats all trying not to drift about in the wind lined up on two sides of the river, the marshals were keen to get us moving as soon as possible. A strong start led on to a quick, relaxed rhythm which saw us tick off bridge after bridge in good time.
From the cox’s seat, I made full use of the echo-y properties of the town bridge’s arch to call a big push as we moved into the second half of the race; the echoing roar of the word ‘go’ appeared to have the desired effect, and the crew drove the boat along hard. We crossed the line in a respectable time of 7:25, which sadly was 14 seconds short of the fastest crew in the IM3 division and put us into fourth place.

A period of recuperation - involving lots of pasta, hot chocolate, coffee, and cake - followed, during which we made our way to the suspension bridge a few hundred metres from the finish line to cheer on the second boats, who were both racing in the division before our next race. Encouraged by their strong appearance, we made our way back to the boat to race for the second time.
Though we had undoubtedly pushed our limits on the first race, we were determined to go out just as hard on the second, and an even stronger start was the best way to begin. Once again we flew through the bridges on the first half of the course, not discernibly slower than we had done an hour before.

Exiting the town bridge and coming to the halfway mark, we found ourselves in range of an VIII from Balliol College, Oxford, albeit with a men’s IV similarly closing behind us. Perhaps some memory of Bumps racing was stirred, because the crew’s spirits seemed to lift as I started calling distances. Every stroke took Balliol’s lead away, until overlap - as we crossed the line. Our time of 7:33 - another fourth place, in the IM2 division this time - showed clearly that we had stepped up to the challenge of doing two good races in quick succession and done the club proud.

There followed, after some machinations involving de-rigging boats and putting them back on the trailer, a well deserved trip to the pub (and industrial quantities of cake), before Peterhouse Boat Club boarded the coach back to Cambridge - wet, cold, and tired, but happy.
See Newer Posts | See Older Posts