With temperatures hovering around freezing point, and a colourful range of winter bobble hats on display, Loughborough Boat Club opened their 2019 racing season on an icy River Nene at Peterborough. The event offered options of a 2.5 km course for smaller boats or a gruelling 5km race for the Eights, featuring 161 crews split into 42 categories. A total of 40 visiting clubs and schools provided 501 individual rowers of all ages and sexes, once again demonstrating the popularity and inclusiveness of the sport.
Launching from the scenic city embankment with the Cathedral as a backdrop, Emily Quinton and Vicky Haines raced as Loughborough’s Ladies Masters Pair for an elegant first outing in their newly restored wooden boat, appropriately named ‘Arctic Lite’. In the same opening Division, Vicky’s husband Tom returned to competitive racing after a 20 year break, teaming up with Jerry Heygate in the Open Masters Coxless Pair, whilst the experienced crew of Mike Targett and Scott Ferris produced a notable display in their Open Masters Double Scull, finishing third in their class.
Division 2 saw winning success for Loughborough’s Open Eight, which put in an excellent effort to beat home club Peterborough City by 2 seconds and finish first in their category, taking home the winners’ tankards. In the Masters Quadruple Scull, the Club experimented with a new crew combination of Tim Ives, Nick Maker, Jonathan Cox and Mike Targett, fielding an impressive age difference of 40 years between youngest (Tim) and oldest (Nick) crewmember.
Loughborough’s Mens Eight was back on the water for the 5km final division, in the Masters category, together with the Club’s Ladies Masters Eight. A strong northerly crosswind blowing against the 20 meter long hull of the Eights caused big problems for the all the coxwains, who have to steer with a rudder that is just a couple of square inches in size. Many crews struggled to line up for the start or to hold their course during the race, with Loughborough’s immediate opponents from Derby being blown onto the lee bank. However, Loughborough’s experienced coxwains Mike Targett and Rachel Cox both showed how it should be done and kept their respective boats out of difficulty, with the ladies finishing in third place in their category, a satisfying 5 seconds ahead of Peterborough City over the 20 minute race.