Saturday, 17 September 2011

Onwards Boat Club into 2011/12

Once again, greetings boat clubbers!

Freshers week is looming ahead of us and preparations must be made for another year of success! The olympic flame of blogging has been passed onto me, Natasha, and I will be publishing the tales of our beloved boat club this year!

Summer has been quiet without you all, though credit must be given to the mixed VIII who raced and won at Peterborough Regatta on 14th August. Congratulations to Owen Dyson, Daniel Morgan, Alex King and Natasha Iddin along with our soon to be coach, Neil Cobb, who joined forces with UWE and City of Bristol Rowing Club to annihilate their opposition on the Sunday and to waltz away with a shiny shiny tankard!

So as we brace ourselves for the new year, I am putting out a call to all freshers: if you want to get fit, get out and about and participate in the university’s most prestigious and elite sports club, JOIN NOW! Meet us at Fresher’s fair and sign up, whether you are a newbie, a postgrad or if you just fancy giving something new a try :D


Some news from the end of summer term

Hello to LUBC!

Before the new academic year commences, it seems appropriate to round off the last year efficiently. Therefore,I present you these reports were by Owen Dyson, a recent graduate of Lancaster University Boat Club. These were written during his final days as a member of our excellent club. He reports on BUCS Regatta, the annual Roses tournament and Nottingham City Regatta. Brace yourselves, for the longest blog yet! Take to the stage, Owen!

Battling the Storm!

Held at the National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham, BUCS Regatta is one of only two BUCS events for rowing each year, making it one of the highlights of LUBC’s regatta season.
Saturday morning showed signs that this year’s event may once again be blighted the strong winds that cause the rowing lake to resemble an ocean, not ideal conditions for fine racing boats.
The morning also saw the Beginner Men’s 4+ and Intermediate Men’s 8+ time trial over 1500m (3/4 of the racing distance). With the 4+ racing against 71 other crews for just 12 spaces in semi-finals and the VIII racing against 32 crews for 19 places in the semi-finals, the competition for qualification was high.
Both crews performed admirably, the Beginner 4+ ranking 34th out of the 71, not enough to qualify for the semi-finals but put them into the new style of sub-finals. This is BUCS’s new way of giving beginner crews that do not qualify for the main rounds essential experience of multi-lane, side-by-side racing. The Intermediate VIII came in 16th of the 32 crews putting them firmly into the semi-finals.
Unfortunately by the time racing was due to start wind conditions had deteriorated beyond acceptability resulting in 3ft waves and a tail wind that was almost impossible to walk into. Many events were cancelled, including LUBC’s Beginner 4’s sub-final, and the whole day was greatly delayed. Events that were still run were done so over just 1000m, half of the intended distance. The 8 struggled in the conditions and put in a performance that was below the standard required to make the final.
Sunday was the busiest day with four crews racing; Women’s Beginner 4+, Men’s Beginner 8, Women’s Intermediate 8 and Men’s Intermediate 4+. All crews except the WVIII were required to time trial after they pre-qualified for their event at BUCS Head Race which was held in February. Unfortunately none of the crews qualified for the main rounds though some positives were taken from the day for these crews with the Men’s Int. 4+ placing 22 out of 54 crews, Women’s Beg. 4+ coming in at 30th out of 53. The Men’s Beg. 8+ came in 27th out of 38 after a crab*-strewn 1500m courtesy of Mark ‘McCrabben’ McCracken.
The Women’s Int. 8+ faired considerably better. Coming a respectable 3rd in their heat, upping their game to come second in the semi final and eventually coming home 6th overall out of a field of 28 crews.
The final day of the regatta saw conditions return to the almost un-raceable winds and waves of Saturday afternoon. Only the Women’s Championship 4+ (that had also prequalified at BUCS Head) had to suffer these conditions and against an exceptionally strong field in the category that was above the crew’s level of competitiveness the boat unfortunately progressed no further than the first round.
All in all a typical weekend for LUBC with highs and lows for all members but one that will certainly be remembered for years as the weekend that LUBC virtually went coastal rowing!
A rowing error where the rower is unable to timely remove or release the oar from the water, the oar acting as a brake on the boat until it is removed from the water.

The war of the ROSES

As many are aware, rowing was the founding event of Roses way back in 1964 during the university’s year of inception. To honour this position within Roses, York made rowing their headline event inviting the chancellor and vice-chancellor of the University of York to attend as well as having ample media coverage of all the races. Needless to say, the pressure was on LUBC to put on a good show.
The afternoon started with the Fresher Men’s 4+, an event that is not raced for Roses points but as an opening exhibition race. The crew consisted of M.McCracken, S.Spavound, R.Quelch, J.Osbourne and E.Davidson (cox). They began the day well for Lancaster winning very comfortably indeed to boost confidence in the LUBC camp after York’s coxswain failed to steer a good course resulting in the crew making contact with the river bank.
Quickly followed was the Senior Women’s 4+ made up of A.Lees, B.Hoose, J.Tonkins, L.Allen and T.Iddin (cox). This was much more closely contested. The stretch of river rowed on for Roses is intended to be fair however there is a clear benefit to being on the eastern station, which gets the inside of a significant bend in the river. Due to this Lancaster’s women were half a length down (roughly 6m) coming out of the bend, having started on the western side. The grit and determination that has characterised LUBC’s women over recent years yet again showed through and on the final 400m straight they powered through York to take the victory by ¾ of a length (around 8m). Two wins from two so far Lancaster and a 4-0 lead in the overall standings.
A small break was followed by the commencing of racing with the Novice Women’s 4+, Novice Men’s 8+ and the Senior Men’s 4+.
The women’s 4+ made up of K.Ross, A.Fairer, J.Brough, D.Oakley and N.Iddin (cox) were newly formed and with limited experience rowing their 4+ were beaten by a York crew that exhibited a great deal more power.
Racing for the Novice Men’s 8+ (A.Hunton, M.Depping, J.Campbell, S.Miller, G.Frazier, M.Whitehead, S.Spavound, M.McCracken, E.Davidson (cox) began ignominiously with a capsizing while pushing off from the landing steps, a practice LUBC is not adept with as boating is done from a slip way on the Lune rather than the awkward steps of the Ouse. After gathering themselves and drying off as best they could the 8+ raced admirably, losing by only half a length (c.8m) which was disappointing for the crew but given the circumstances was a good showing.
The third race of the second division was the Senior Men’s 4+, containing O.Dyson, D.Morgan, S.Lyons, A.King and R.Sugden (cox). Having been firmly beaten by York’s 4+ at BUCS Regatta the weekend previously the trend continued and despite a gutsy row by Lancaster’s men the York crew dominated from start to finish, winning comfortably by 2 or more lengths (25m). With York aiming to qualify this 4+ for Henley Royal Regatta this year the result was no surprise. LUBC wishes the best of luck to this crew in their Henley preparations.
With senior races being worth four points and novice races worth two points this put York into a lead of 8-4 after shrugging off their slow start and dictating the second division.
The third division was made up of the two most prestigious races, Senior Women’s 8+ and Senior Men’s 8+ topping the bill. With 8 points available the overall victory was still up for grabs!
The Women’s 8+ (made up of the Senior 4+ in the stern section and Novice 4+ in the bow section) was another closely contested battle. Being caught off guard by an over-zealous starting marshal Lancaster’s women were down off the line and despite a huge effort from every member of the crew never managed to claw back the distance lost and were eventually beaten by York’s women who by the end of the kilometre had stretched their legs and won by just over a length (18m). This gave York the points they needed to win Roses rowing overall. So with the points at 12-4, Lancaster’s Senior Men’s 8+ (A.Hunton, O.Dyson, D.Morgan, S.Miller, J.Campbell, S.Lysons, A.King, A.Bainbridge and R.Sugden (cox)) were racing for pride and to hopefully prevent a 16-4 thrashing.
This last race finally began after a wind-complicated line up of both crews. York went off hard, knowing Lancaster had the advantage of the bend. By the start of the bend York had 1/3 of a length advantage over Lancaster but this was quickly reeled back in. As the course began to straighten Lancaster were still moving on York when the second collision of the day occurred; York’s coxswain attempting to cut the corner too tightly meaning when a member of York’s crew crabbed* the two boats were brought together with a great deal of clashing of oars. Lancaster quickly recovered and sprinted the final 400m to the finish line to leave York veering wildly across the course. It was later found out that the fin on York’s boat had fallen out, a very rare occurrence indeed.
The overall result was 12-8 to York. Despite being beaten LUBC were still proud of the performances put in as well as being able to contribute 8 points to Lancaster’s Roses total.
* A rowing error where the rower is unable to timely remove or release the oar from the water, the oar acting as a brake on the boat until it is removed from the water.

From Swimming to Winning: Nottingham City Regatta.

Having not attended this regatta in a number of years, LUBC was unsure as to what the level of competition would be like. However excited to be racing for the third consecutive weekend the club set off on Friday for a night of camping with high hopes for the racing on Saturday!

The highlight of the weekend was the Novice Men’s 8+ which was racing in the afternoon division. Having been embarrassed by a just-off-the-landing-stage capsizing at Roses just 7 days before hand the crew was eager to show their ability with a good result over the 2km course.

Their racing started with a semi-final against St. Peter’s College and Reading Blue. Lancaster cruised to a victory by 5.5seconds over St. P’s and RB after taking an unassailable lead at the 1000m mark and easing it in over the latter half of the race in order to preserve their energy for the final. LUBC’s men were pitted against Bedford School and Reading Blue. Yet again Lancaster took a strong lead after just 500m despite having being dropped off the start due to a signalling error. By 1000m the advantage was still firmly with Lancaster’s Novice men who took no chances and powered it home to take the victory in Novice 8+’s by 7.4seconds. The entire club was very happy to see the novice men win so emphatically and each earn themselves a British Rowing point (making them no longer ‘Novice’ but ‘Intermediate 3’ rowers) as well as a beautiful tankard each, the standard award for winning an event in rowing.

Also competing for LUBC’s men’s squad was an Intermediate 2 4+ and an Intermediate 3 4+. The IM2 4+ was outclassed in their heat by clubs such as Goldie (the name given Cambridge University’s 2nd crews, usually made up of people who were competing to be in the Blue Boats for the Boat Race) Rob Roy (based in Cambridge) and Warwick University.

The Intermediate 3 4+ fared better, coming second to Derby University in their semi-final and comfortably making it through to the final, beating Royal Chester Boat Club and City of Sheffield Rowing Club. The performance they put in, in the final however was poor, only improving by improving by only 10 seconds from semi-final to final when other crews managed to go up to 35 seconds faster in the improving conditions.

The women’s squad was also present in their 4’s, a Senior 4+ and a Novice 4+.

The Novice 4+, in their first side-by-side 2 kilometre race held their own against much larger and experience crews. To this end they came in a respectable third in a straight final of four.

To gain extra race experience the Senior 4+ was entered in their correct racing category (Intermediate 2) in the morning division as well as Intermediate 1 in the afternoon.

The IM2 semi-final saw the women pitted against Agecroft, Marlow, Tyne and Durham Amateur; a very tough field for the women to compete in. The result was a win for Agecroft followed by Tyne and Marlow with Lancaster in 4th, 14 seconds behind Agecroft who were the eventual winners of the WIM2 4+.

It was also a similar story for the IM1 race which was a straight final. Against crews from Agecroft, Marlow, Nottingham, York City and Tyne the women managed a respectable 4th beating York City and Tyne into 5th and 6th respectively and coming in around 30 seconds to the Agecroft crew who had also won the IM2 earlier in the day.
Despite the results from the senior crews over the day LUBC returned to Lancaster proud to boats a men’s squad made up of almost entirely Intermediate 3 rowers.