W3 WeHorr Report

W3 at WeHorr

After a fairly disastrous Head of the Trent experience, hampered by weather conditions which were considerably worse than those later in the day and losing the cox box on the start line (apparently relaying commands down the boat whilst racing isn't terribly effective...) W3 were keen to show what we could really do. Unfortunately we didn't make the most convincing start to our WeHORR campaign as much to the amusement of the watching Southampton crew we attempted without much success to put the boat back together before eventually realising that having two halves of the same boat might be helpful.

 (Perhaps doubts of our competence to get across London weren't too ill founded after all...)Reunited with our own bow the rest of our pre-race preparations went more smoothly.

Once on the water we settled into a good, consistent row up and negotiating the traffic fitted in three convincing practice starts .Two hours sat marshalling passed surprisingly quickly and it was soon our turn to spin. We wound up through Chiswick Bridge and despite the excitement and nerves, hit our race rhythm rapidly. Our plan was attack the first section of the race between the start line and Barnes bridge before a sustained focus on power and ratio through the middle of the course.

A push off Barnes bridge saw us move into the second stage of the race and we continued to hold off the strong Kingston crew behind we had been expecting to move up on us rapidly from the start. When we were eventually overtaken a committed City push coupled and a lack of aggression from the Kingston cox meant we held them for an uncomfortable fifty strokes of regatta style side by side racing. We kept the focus firmly in our boat, not letting the overtaking crew disrupt our rhythm.

Unfortunately much of the rest of the race is probably a blur of pain to the crew and for me a blur of adrenaline associated with my first Tideway experience. Approaching Chiswick Eyot it was our turn to overtake and despite the tiredness really setting in we made light work of an obviously exhausted and demoralised crew. At Hammersmith I called for another push for the City support on the bridge (I was hoping wasn't entirely fictitious...) and the crew responded well.

After the endless middle stretch the finish line was starting to seem closer. Fulham football club marked the beginning of the end and we began a series of lifts. The tiredness meant we couldn't quite produce the increase in rate and pressure we had in training but the commitment was definitely there. At the black buoy, 60 strokes to the finish, we emptied the tanks, squeezing out every bit of energy we had left. We wound down with nothing left to give and, very thankful to be boating from Putney, paddled the few minutes back to Vesta. After de-rigging only a brief toilet trip delayed us from a much needed drink at the bar and a chance to enjoy the atmosphere along the river side.

We didn't have to wait long for the results, checking them on arrival at Kings Cross. We had finished with a time of 21.43, on our target of one minute behind W2, but in 181st place, a long way off the position we had been told we were aiming for. Whilst we had a good row the number of strong crews between us and the top 100 coupled with exhaustion from a long hard day meant the 181st position hurt and it was a slightly disheartened journey back to Cambridge. However the next few days gave us chance to look more closely at the results. They showed we had beaten Cantabs W2 and Cambridge 99s W1 as well as a number college first boats. W3 moved up 47 places from last year and demonstrated the massive improvements the crew has made over the past three months. We can feel proud of our WeHoRR result and look forward to whatever the Regatta season may bring!

Aislinn

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