The Peterborough Spring Regatta saw 28 club members experience the highs and lows of competitive racing in the heady atmosphere of Thorpe Meadows Country Park.  Following on from the huge success of the Easter training camp, all rowers enjoyed the opportunity to practice racing on the 1,000 metre laned course, in eager anticipation of the forthcoming World Masters Regatta in Hungary.  Some rowers might prefer to race over 2,000 metres into a fierce headwind wind, just like the real thing at Holme Pierrepoint, but fortunately whoever excavated the lake at Peterborough stopped digging at are far more sensible distance and also put the start line at the correct (upwind) end, thus creating a very enjoyable course.

Choppy water on Sunday made conditions difficult for the Men’s Eight in Lane 1, not helped by rapidly encroaching weed and two very chilled-out swans who, unlike the well hard Soar variety, showed no inclination to chase the fast moving intruder and thus boost the efforts of the crew to row for their lives. However, the team still managed to record a very creditable time of 3.38. The Ladies Eight also struggled a little, albeit elegantly, in the conditions, but luckily Mike’s ’50 shots a second’ setting on his camera enabled a detailed search to produce a photo where all the oars were tidily pointing in the same direction.

Captain Tim also ran into difficulty in his single scull, when his specially engineered foot-levelling insert could not compensate for the 45 degree angle that the stretcher ended up in after his ‘explosion of power’ off the start. (His words, not mine). However, he had more success on day 2 and just missed out on a place in the final when he narrowly finished second in the repecharge.

With the standard of many of the competing boats higher than at the Club’s normal backwater bashes, all crews were reminded of what they should be aiming for – although the Men’s Coxless Four is perhaps justified in thinking that their opponents winning time of 3 minutes 08 seconds (5.32 metres per second average!) is perhaps always going to be out of their reach: if only the crew were 25 years younger and even better looking it might have been a different story!

With exam season in full swing there were fewer Juniors competing than usual, which somewhat reduced the Club’s trophy count, but Thomasin did well to reach the repecharge in a big field of Junior scullers.  Hannah and Tilda had an excellent race in the Open Ladies Pair, although there was apparently some debate as to the steering which was easily resolved by them designating themselves ‘Lane fluid’.  At one stage photos reveal that Vicky and Emily were also ‘forced’ over the edge of their lane, although the Ladies had cunningly decided that the lane allocation system is purely optional and so they had not bothered to fit an Empacher number slot to Artic Light, thus suitably confusing the Umpire.

Tom ’n Jerry steered a perfect course (says Jerry) but unfortunately photos show that they were playing more cat than mouse with their opponents, which is a bad idea in a ‘first over the line’ scenario. 

In his first regatta for 25 years Tom showed that he had lost nothing of the essential rowing skills that Jerry had been teaching him, e.g. when to look good for a camera shot and how to reduce boat speed significantly at the halfway marker so you can benefit from an exciting ‘comeback sprint’ in the final 100 metres, which is always a crowd-pleaser.  (We just need to work on that comeback sprint, Tom…)

Mike and Scott also competed but were less visible than usual, perhaps because the organisers had wisely put them in Lane 4, as far away from the spectators as possible.  But there was a noticeable improvement from the Open Coxed Four, when Jonathan Laurence Adam and Tim produced a time of 4.08 which was well up with the pack of other LBC crews.  Zoe, Erica, and Charlotte also had a successful weekend, in various pairings.