Peterhouse Boat Club

Race Reports

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

W2 Pembroke Regatta 2012

Posted by Admin on Saturday 18th February 2012
After the havoc played on our outing schedule by two weeks of ice, Pembroke Regatta was a chance for W2 to pull together and show what we were capable of once we got onto the water- unfortunately, this proved not to be our day. The conditions were less than ideal; we were confronted by a wind-blown, choppy reach, resulting in rather a lot of manoeuvring at the starting line to get both boats straight and sufficiently apart.

A sudden call to go off took us by surprise, and the slightly rushed start that came as a result was exacerbated by the loss of a seat, resulting in us going down to six rowers. That said, those six rowers performed creditably, and though St Catherine’s took advantage of our problems, we were able to keep them from getting any further ahead. The seat that came off was re-attached about halfway along the course, and the return to eight rowers saw us really catching up on St Catherine’s with some good, technical rowing.

We will say little about the steady stream of crabs caught by our crew in the first few minutes of racing, except that all ten or so were well-recovered, especially for a crew with so little racing experience, and especially in such blustery conditions. Unfortunately, the brevity of the race meant that time was just too short to allow us to overtake, and we were beaten by three lengths, having battled the tempest-like waves almost every stroke of the course. No amount of enthusiasm could save what was essentially a very difficult race, but it was, however, valuable experience for a boat composed largely of ex-novices, and very good practice indeed for the Getting On Race a fortnight later.

M2 Fairbairns 2011

Posted by Pete Wilkes on Saturday 28th January 2012
Fairbairns' morn dawned bright and cold.

The clocks had struck eight well before we put the noble Sir John (our eight) onto the cruel Cam. He still bore the scars from a recent assault by Caius II, who claimed not to have seen our resplendent and well lit crew, a lack of awareness probably unsurprising considering their declaration of having stormed to victory in their Autumn Head division, (a division that we won by two seconds). It would be a lie to claim that a certain lingering rancour towards them did not exist.

However, this lingering feeling was infinitely preferable to the lingering scent of Chris Stanton's lycra. This was a scent of a nature that the crew had previously only dreamed of, a scent that curled and furled into all corners of the boathouse. Chemical warfare was being waged. It made the mould culture that we had seen on Ellis's kit earlier that term seem like a glimpse of Eden. It made our intrepid strokeman Dearden stop and retch on a run when running downwind of him. In short, it had almost, Dementor like, devoured our souls. Even Nearly Headless Nick pressure wasn't helping any more. Yet on Fairbairn's morn, this stench was ameliorated by the sweet scent of soap. It felt as if a collective ball and chain had been lifted from around our necks (and lungs.)

The plan was simple- to race the distance. Only one of us had ever actually raced as far as this before, so we couldn't exactly picture the harsh, gritty truth of what faced us. Between the idea and the reality lay the shadow. However, this spectre seemed distant, and a brief game of baseball to warm up lifted any crew spirits that were still flagging. We even had a cox that our strokeman hadn't yet flirted with. When one has the second best posterior in college, and a devastating smoulder to go with it, Dearden often finds it difficult to fend the ladies off him. We strode resolutely to the water, hoping to woo it into being a kind mistress. Around this point, Chris made the confession that he spent each stroke reaching forward to try and touch John. After a mercifully brief period of sitting around on the water, it was our chance to shine.

We set off at a reasonable pace, striding to rate 32 and a half, which soon settled at rate 32. This was within our remit, and teeth were gritted to try and stop things flagging. However, as hard as I pushed, my legs seemed to be lacking a certain magic, and this seems to have been a feeling across the rest of the crew. Perhaps my toes hadn't yet become toes of the world, and were consequently unable to make meaningful decisions about whether or not they loved or hated the footrest. I fear they just didn't know what love was. If they had, I suspect the race would have panned out very differently.

Gutsy pushes at Grassy and First Post corners kept things ticking over smoothly, and the technical aspects of the race were fairly well polished, but we lacked a killer edge. Although we slowly pulled away from the Lady Margaret crew immediately behind us, things remained firmly at the solid rather than spectacular end of the spectrum. The stroke rate was maintained at 31-32 throughout, which wasn't sufficient to produce the result of top second boat that we craved. Nevertheless, our beating Caius II at Autumn Head had given us a false impression of their ability, as here they finished an mpressive 13th to our 29th (out of 65.) Even had we been able to row over a couple of pips higher, I doubt we would have been able to master them.

However, our final finishing position was still respectable, and if we had had the pungent aroma of unwashed lycra to make us row harder, who knows what might have happened?

-- Pete Wilkes

Christmas Head 2011 (Men's IV And 2-)

Posted by Lizzie Bennett on Tuesday 20th December 2011
On Saturday 10th December six intrepid members of Peterhouse Boat Club, who had stayed after Fairbairns for extra training with Frank, took to the water to tackle foes as worthy as Downing, Queens’, CULRC and the worst that the town rowers could throw at us. First of all, the ‘Unicorn’ IV raced, so called because of the numerous encounters between its members and the famous unicorn of First Post Corner. This boat consisted of (bow-cox) Simon Neville, John Harris, Pete Wilkes, Richard Dearden and Lizzie Bennett. This was always destined to be an exciting race. It would be Lizzie’s first Peterhouse appearance out of the dreaded bowloader since Autumn Head (alumni, if you feel like giving money then a heavyweight men’s sternloader IV would be nice), and it was the first opportunity for those in the club of a more light-hearted disposition to race under a name which may have seemed frivolous and unthreatening to the opposition, but which resonated deeply in the heart of every true Petrean. Christmas Head is traditionally a fancy-dress race which is not necessarily taken seriously by its competitors. However, the Unicorn Four (plus cox) proved that fancy dress could be combined with rowing excellence.

Dressed in an outrageous unicorn hat, magical shiny foil and the requisite lifejacket (altogether a thoroughly convincing imitation of a unicorn), Lizzie coxed the valiant crew through the perilous waters upstream of Chesterton. The toes of the rowers, previously so frequently confused about their status as toes of the world, were balletically pointed at the finish, effortlessly weight-bearing in the recovery and unrepentantly unkind to the footplate in the drive. The strong and steady rhythm set up by Richard ‘Tubs’ Dearden was rigorously adhered to by the rest of the boat, and Danny, our craft, veritably flew through the water. A final push from the Emma footbridge to the finish assured an easy victory for the crew, not only in the Mays 3rd Division, but also out of all the fours entered for the day, both town and university. Indeed, with a time of 7’15’’ the crew came in joint 10th position, beaten only by men’s eights.

The race was followed by mince pies for some, and a race in the ‘Wyvern’ Coxless Pair for John Harris and Ellis Owen. Although they did not win, they did very well to beat a rather large and very competent Downing pair. Hopefully soon we will find the correct riggers to attach to the ancient coxed pair currently languishing in the boathouse, and Aidan the Boat will become a trusty steed once more. Whether or not a Peterhouse coxed pair will find any opposition is another matter entirely - although we can be certain of one thing: if there is no opposition to be found, it will be because of our fearsome reputation, and not because of our driving obsession to race in every kind of impractical boat possible.

Well done to everyone involved, and thank you very much to Frank Suess for all the extra coaching he put in.

bow - Simon Neville
2 - John Harris
3 - Pete Wilkes
stroke - Richard Dearden
cox - Lizzie Bennett

bow - John Harris (steering)
stroke - Ellis Owen

W2 Fairbairns 2011

Posted by Admin on Monday 5th December 2011
After missing out on the Winter Head race, a strong W2 were very excited for Fairbairns this year, and their performance certainly didn’t disappoint. A solid build at the very beginning set the boat up at a nice pace for the long race ahead, and the crew really got into their stride. We began to creep up on the crew ahead of us once we got clear of Chesterton, taking full advantage of the long straights for some very strong rowing, and we capably held off Robinson W1, who were rowing the course behind us. The length of the race began to take its toll as the boat approached the end of the long reach, but a few motivational calls kept the crew together, and we maintained our target rate of 32 for the whole length of the race, even around Grassy and Ditton Corners. The final push for the motorway bridge was every bit as composed the beginning of the race, and the boat crossed the finish line in an impressive time of 18 minutes and 49 seconds, placing us 25th in the league, and 3rd amongst the women’s’ second boats; a very well-deserved place and a true reflection of all the hard work put in over the course of Michaelmas term.

Cambridge Winter Head (M1)

Posted by Lizzie Bennett on Saturday 19th November 2011
Winter head 2011 - 19th November

It would be fair to say that this year’s Winter Head was a bit of a fiasco from start to (almost) finish for Peterhouse Boat Club. This was not the fault of any of the rowers: firstly, only one of the club’s six entries (two each for the first boats and one each for the second boats) was actually entered into the draw: M1’s IM3 entry. Although the other crews were disappointed (and M1 were really very unhappy only to be able to row the course once instead of twice), the M1 IV entered the race in good spirits, which perhaps had been elevated by the spectacle of Bomber locking one of our most supportive alumni in the fours bay (like a true Petrean, Gordon took it in his stride).

The row down to the marshalling area was neat and powerful, but there was quite a long wait in the cold during the marshalling. Unperturbed, Peterhouse took their place in the queue of boats to be sent off from the start (the Motorway Bridge), although for some reason a women’s eight from London had been moved into the position immediately before us. Despite having a slight time delay to account for the fact that we would be faster than the London crew, we still caught up with the London crew well before First Post Corner. The London crew refused to clear to the outside so that we could take the racing line, and we were forced to overtake on the outside. Unfortunately the London cox decided not to steer to the left round Grassy Corner, but instead to steer to the right, straight towards the bank and into us. Peterhouse M1 - somewhat miffed - disentangled themselves from the London crew and the towpath and stormed off down Plough Reach, attempting to relax and put in a good time for the rest of the course, despite having lost a good thirty seconds in the pile-up.

As a testament to the crew’s ability to reset mentally and settle straight back into a rhythm, they still put in a time which won the IM3 IV division, and which also beat the winning crew in the IM2 division. The presentation of an engraved hip flask to each member of the crew did calm our spirits a bit, especially when said hip flasks were filled with something stronger than water. One of the advantages of having put in a slow time was that our Fairbairns opposition would not know how quick we could actually be. It was a useful day which proved that the crew certainly had the right mindset when it came to racing, and that even our interrupted time was by no means slow.

bow - Bob Evans
2 - Simon Kirk
3 - Karel Kabelik
stroke - Rob Watson
cox - Lizzie Bennett
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