Peterhouse Boat Club

Race Reports

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

W3 99s Regatta 2012

Posted by Rebecca Tsao on Sunday 20th May 2012
Despite not having a cox box, W3 set off boldly where no Peterhouse W3 has gone before! Progress was shaky to begin with, although things improved once we manage to borrow a cox box from the returning M2 crew. Our first race was against King's W2, unfortunately they were able to pull away early, securing a lead from the start, even though, thanks to the determination of the Peterhouse Ladies, we were able to match their pace for the majority of the race, the King's girls managed to stay ahead.

Despite being tired from the first race, the ladies of W3 were able to put in another fine effort against Selywn W2. The start was much more even this time, although unfortunately Selwyn were able to pull away, but this didn't deter Peterhouse and just before the railway bridge it looked like we were beginning to catch up, but unfortunately it was too late and Selywn went on for the victory.

Overall it was a good day of racing for W3, even with a new cox they were able to give 2nd second boats from larger colleges a good race which is something they should all be very proud of!

Michael Wheeldon (2nd year Engineering, cox)

M1 99s Regatta 2012

Posted by Rebecca Tsao on Sunday 20th May 2012
99s Spring Regatta was M1's first race as a crew since Manuel and Matt returned from representing the University at BUCS. We were drawn against LMBC for our first race. The crew was keen to race. Off the start we got up to rate 42 and were moving well.

As we settling into our racing rate me kept moving and kept relaxed. As we passed under the railway bridge they were half a length ahead. We built the rate up as we went to the finish, but couldn't catch them and finished half a length behind.

Our second race was against Kings. We had another good start and settled into a lower rhythm than before. They pushed half a length ahead of us along the Long Reach. Out of the Railway Bridge we built it up again and were gaining on them. We crossed the line only a foot behind Kings.

Despite the results we were happy with how we raced given the crew has only been together for a week and we know there is more speed to come.

Simon Kirk (Men's Officer)

W1 99s Regatta 2012

Posted by Rebecca Tsao on Sunday 20th May 2012
On a cold, damp, windy weekend in May a flotilla of Peterhouse women’s boats set off to race in the 99’s regatta. For a lot of people this was their first ever serious side by side race, and the first chance the crews had to show off all the effort that they’d put in since training week. The format of the race was simple - a knock-out tournament with a pot being the ultimate goal. Crews who lost their first round race were put into the plate competition - a second knockout tournament to decide the best of the worst, if you like...

W1 were drawn against Caius W1 in the first round. Caius sit fairly high up in the first division of May bumps, so we knew we were going to be up against some tough competition but were still looking forward to the opportunity to go out there and show that whilst we may in the 2nd division, we’ve still got a lot of boat speed. After a long time spent marshalling at the Plough Reach we lined up for the race. We got off to a bit of a shaky start and despite holding our ground for the first minute slowly fell behind, eventually losing by about 1 1/2 lengths. As we span at Green Dragon Bridge we learnt that our next opponents were Kings W1, the crew that starts behind us in May Bumps. After a pep talk from Bomber we were ready to show them just what we were made off. We got off to a strong start, and maintained the power throughout the race, gaining clear water just before passing under the Railway Bridge. As we crossed the finish line we could see Kings, now a long way off, and it was announced that we had won by 1 1/2 lengths. Bomber later told us that we’d been 4 seconds quicker than in our previous race - a massive achievement over such a short course!

Due to Girton scratching our next race was to be against Churchill W1 who had only had to race once to be there, a crew placed higher than us in Mays and with fresh legs. However, their bright pink boat did look a bit ridiculous next to the beautiful Chris Calladine, so we definitely had the aesthetic advantage! We got off to a strong start again, and stayed strong throughout. A beautiful push out of the railway bridge left Churchill nowhere to be seen and we went on to win the plate by 3 1/2 lengths, again a very impressive result for such a short course race!

During the row back to the boathouse we learnt that W2 had also won their last race by 6 inches, and had therefore won pots in their division. Once all the boats were away and all the congratulations were done we of course had to have a group photo - 24 smiling rowers, three very proud coxes and the largest women’s section Peterhouse has ever seen!

Beth Keith

Small Boats Regatta 2012

Posted by Rebecca Tsao on Sunday 29th April 2012
Maiden Sculls: Zoë Watson
Going into the race, I had some confidence in myself, I hadn’t yet fallen in (an important quality for success in the novice sculling) and when I rowed properly, I could go quite fast (or at least I thought so!). I was up against a girl from Christ’s in the semi-finals.

The race started well, we were both level for a while, and then after some dodgy strokes, she pulled in front by about half a length. As I went for a final sprint finish and starting making ground very quickly, she caught a mini-crab and ended up on my side of the river, almost directly in front of me. Having nowhere to go, she won the race by half a length. In hindsight, I should have appealed on the finish line, but it was a really good, well fought race.

(WON) Lowe Double Sculls (Men): Matt White and Emanuel Malek
With pressing deadlines we were apprehensive to enter this event as we feared we may not get enough practice in before race day. Thankfully Manners forced me to enter and I’m now glad we did. We set off very aggressively into a slight headwind down first post reach rating around 42 keen to open up some margin on our competition which we did, we then settled into a race rhythm of 33 ready to take on the corners.

Thanks to some brilliantly aggressive bank steering from Annie we opened up some more distance on them around First Post Corner and I was actually worried at one point when I couldn’t see them coming around the corner. As we came out of First Post we hit a storming rhythm that just saw the boat lift out of the water and we were clocked as taking 7-8s out of them in the middle 500m thanks to this increase in speed. Annie again took us in aggressively for Grassy Corner, but Manners got scared and called it straight meaning that we missed the corner and took a wide line around the bend.

Once we got onto Plough Reach, it was business as usual and we set about churning out a stonking rhythm which again saw our boat speed jump out of the corner. We had discussed before the race the importance of getting Ditton Corner right as going wide can mean the wind gets hold of you and makes it tough to steer. We took Ditton nicely and by now our opponents looked well out of harm’s way - I remember thinking “right all we have to do now is not crash”.

Manners took us straight down the middle of the Long Reach where there was a cross-tail wind, our coach John pointing out that we were right against the stream at that point, despite this we still moved away and tried winding it for the finish. This was frantic and was a very useful exercise as it made us aware that we need to practice our finish wind for BUCS in two weeks’ time.

We set a time of 7:20 - the fastest time recorded in the SBR and won by a margin of 20s. We knew we got a lot of things wrong in the race but there were also a lot of positives to take from it; the race left us excited for our semi-final and final. Unfortunately due to illness (Christ’s) and timetable clashes (LMBC) we were unable to race our finals so won by default. All in all, it was a good experience resulting in a medal despite the frustrations of not being able to row our finals and show our true speed. We’ve had some great pieces in training now - just bring on BUCS!

Lowe Double Sculls (Mixed): Simon Kirk and Reanna Maier (of Murray Edwards)
Small Boats Regatta took place during a stretch of the most miserable weather I've seen since living in Cambridge. I woke to find Wednesday morning much the same as it had been the past two weeks - windy, rainy and cold. Not exactly ideal conditions for my first race in a scull. When I arrived at the boathouse, Simon Kirk (Captain Kirk to me, because it's cooler) my Peterhouse mixed double partner, seemed completely unfazed by the crosswind, rain and chilly temperatures, telling me that it would work to our advantage since we're actually a bit overweighted for our boat. We'd be more stable. Though I could see the logic of this, I wasn't really convinced. You see, I've never steered the whole course at race pace before. The corners were slightly terrifying me, partly because I knew that if I crashed or capsized us, Captain Kirk would likely never scull with me again. Just kidding. But not really.

The row up to marshal felt surprisingly good, together and strong, despite getting increasingly soaked the closer we came to the starting stations, and a few Power 10s helped to settle my nerves a little. We marshalled near the Motorway Bridge, waiting for the other entrants in the event to arrive. For some reason, the mixed doubles was hugely popular this year. I asked Simon if he was nervous. No. Of course not. Captain Kirk does not get nervous.

The umpires told us to take our places, and we attempted to align ourselves next to the upstream station. The crosswind was heavy, though, and it was obvious that we'd have to fight to keep from being pushed into the towpath bank. After a decent start, we were off, settling into a racing rhythm as we came out from under the Motorway Bridge on our way to First Post Corner. My hands were cold, and the blades were slippery from backsplash and rain, making it a little difficult to keep a good grip, but the rowing felt fairly strong. In between checking our line, maintaining the rhythm and trying not to crab, I couldn't help but notice that something felt strange, though I couldn't quite put my finger on it. I suddenly realised that it was oddly quiet - there was no cox. However, I didn't have time to really ponder the weirdness of not being shouted at during a race.

We took a decent line around Grassy corner and made a good push past the Plough. The double chasing us, a Jesus/Downing team, didn't look like they were making any ground on us, but also didn't look like they were falling much behind. The line around Ditton Corner was a bit tight, which brought us onto the Long Reach closer to the bank than was ideal. Under normal conditions, this wouldn't have been a problem, but with the crosswind, we had to give a good bowside push more than once to keep our blades from hitting the bank. A final surge toward the railway bridge saw us across the finish line . . . just a second after the Jesus/Downing team crossed their finish line.

Though I was disappointed we didn't win, I was still quite happy with things - first race in a scull, no crashes, no capsizing, and a close finish, not to mention the prospect of being dry again soon. Captain Kirk wasn't too upset about our loss, either, perhaps due to the consoling effect of post-race chocolate chip cookies back at the boathouse. We live to scull another day.

Foster-Fairbairn Pairs (Men): Pete Wilkes and John Harris
First Round:
Despite the many (and not very varied) disparaging remarks we'd heard about our opposition ever since the draw, it would be fair to say that John and I weren't exactly brimming with confidence heading into the first round of the Foster-Fairbairn pairs against our Caius opposition. We had completed a fair few practice outings, and John had demonstrated his cornering prowess, which I like to imagine he took somewhat tighter than Watson's lycra, but the task at hand still seemed pretty daunting.

After John displayed severe boat envy on the paddle up, getting his humours all out of balance, a sense of determination had set in to do the best we could. Fortunately, it transpired that our opposition wasn't the Caius pair who had so resplendently rowed by in a Wintech- as John noticed- our foe had a wooden rudder. This immediately caused John to suffer existential angst. What if we weren't racing a Caius M1 pair? What if they were Caius M2? What did the wood mean? Although they looked less formidable than their Caius counterparts, they didn't exactly look like a pushover either. However, we had a goodly glimmer of confidence, and the starter didn't force us to tarry around for too long, which was lucky, as otherwise we'd probably have been blown into the bank. Note: as we lacked a stroke coach, I won't be able to provide you with specific rates over the racecourse, so I'll endeavour to describe them as well as I deem necessary.

We set off at a controlled yet powerful pace- imagine an antelope loping over the savannah, as yet unthreatened by any predators, and I was almost immediately heartened by the lion behind us taking a rather zig zag line over the first few strokes. We were applying power consistently, and hit the rhythm that would sustain us over the whole 2k course almost immediately. It was hard to judge distances accurately over the cut and thrust of the first 500m down to First Post Corner, but after the corner, we'd clearly pulled away.

It soon turned out that our opponents were somewhat cumbersome on the turn, and although John would be the last to say that his lines were spectacular, suffice to say, they were more than enough to gain us a free few seconds round both Grassy and Ditton, which accumulated to give us a fairly comfortable winning margin. This isn't to say that we weren't pulling away on the straights- because we were- albeit a bit slower than our fiery haired, snake-hipped social secretary manages in nightclubs. In summation, the first round was a well executed, reasonably technical row, during which we never came especially close to touching the upper echelons of our physicality.

Quarter Final:
The second day posed the additional challenge that neither of us had really expected to make it this far in the competition. We'd both had deadlines in the morning, and an outing in the morning, so weren't quite as fresh as we could have been, although I think this made scant difference to the final result.

Our opponents this time around were a burly looking First and Third pair, and buoyed up by our success, we felt as if we could give this one a good shot. After a productive session in the morning, we sprang from the blocks with far more aggression, looking to gain an edge from the first stroke. Despite our marked improvement, this wasn't quite how it turned out, with First and Third initially surging up on us. After John telling me to put my legs down (I felt slightly aggrieved, as I was), things stabilised, and our fight to stay in front of them was on. The rate was a couple of pips higher than yesterday, and each stroke comparably more powerful.

However, we didn't have quite the same cornering advantage- they could steer probably- and finding Stalin on the inside of Grassy didn't help matters. They were slowly eating into the distance between us as we plunged nobly down Plough Reach, Kate enthusiastically cheering us from the bank. At this point, I would make a comparison between Hector and Achilles. Although Hector was a mighty warrior- Achilles was a shade faster (perhaps aided by the fact that in their final combat, Achilles was mounted upon a chariot), and it doesn't take a master of analogy to work out which crew is which in this particular situation. By the time we'd reached Ditton, it was going to take something incredible to pull a victory out of the bag, and although we continued to row very credibly all the way to the line, they were simply a bit too strong for us, and we lost by 13 seconds, although our own time improved by over 20 seconds. Ultimately, I don't feel that we could have performed any better, and Small Boats Regatta was certainly a great rowing adventure.

M1 Kingston Head 2012

Posted by Rebecca Tsao on Thursday 22nd March 2012
Following Bumps the 1st Men’s VIII went to Kingston Head. After rigging up the boat and waiting to boat we got onto the river. We rowed down to Hampton Court and after a while we spun and went up to the start. We built up the rate as we went over the line and settled into a steady thirty-four and a half. We were in a good rhythm and were putting lots of power down. We were closing on Reading University II in front, but unfortunately we caught them up in the only part of the course where overtaking is not allowed and we had to wind it down. After we got past, we built it back up and got the boat moving again. As we passed under Kingston Bridge we caught up with another crew and this meant that we had to deviate from the racing line. We went through the wrong arch in the bridge to avoid the other crew, costing us more time. We got onto the final straight and began to build it up as we headed towards the finish. We crossed the line with a time of 17:24.5. Despite being held up by the other crews we put in a good row and the crew was really happy with the results.

Simon Kirk, Men’s Officer 2012-2013
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