2004 Regatta Season

Following the success of the Eights HORR and a somewhat wet and windy training camp in Hazewinkel, the main regatta season for the women’s squad kicked off at Wallingford.  Clare Haley and Kim Wilson successfully defended MRC’s title in WE 2x, beating the reigning National Champions in WLwt 2x from UTRC.  No other wins, but plenty of good racing in singles and crew sculling boats from the rest of the squad.

The following weekend saw a somewhat depleted squad of four (Clare, Kim, Helen “Kev” Selden and Louise Ainley) go across the channel to Ghent for the Belgian National Champs and Ghent International Regatta.  The 4x qualified for the final on the Saturday only to be plagued by ultra bendy riggers which caused no end of steering and sculling problems as the pitch slowly adjusted as the pressure went on!     On the Sunday, Clare & Kim qualified for the final in the 2x, but their form of the week before wasn’t to be repeated and in a strong field came in 6th. 

3 weeks later and the potential Henley crews raced at the Met Regatta.  There were great performances on the Saturday from the 4+ (Emily Booker, Vic Richmond, Tash Wase and Louise, coxed by Ella Waddingham), who came 2nd in WS3 and 3rd in WS2, and the 4x (Clare, Kim, Kev and Caroline Hillaby) who just missed out to Durham in WS2.  On the Sunday, the 4x (with Louise instead of Caroline) came 4th in WE, and Kim (5th in WS2), Emily (4th in WE Lwt) and Helen (3rd in WS1) all had good sculls.

Trials and traumas caused by illness and availability meant the eventual crews that raced at HWR did not have the benefit of racing earlier in the season.  The 4+ (Emily, Vic, Louise, Caroline and Ella) raced extremely well and lost by 1 ¾ l in the second round to the finalists Princeton USA.  The 4x (Clare, Helen, Kim and Tash Wase) were also knocked out in the second round by Henley (verdict: a canvas) – the only consolation being that Henley went on to race (but lose) the final against Durham Uni.  The composite four of Lisa Knill, Tamsin Knill and two girls from UTRC faced the cruelest of fates when a boat stopping crab caught shortly after the start forced them into the booms and sadly out of contention.

The focus after HWR shifted to the Nationals, and en route HRR.  Yet again illness and availability proved a huge headache for coaches Andy and Russ.  The first eight managed to race at HRR qualifiers and got the second fastest non-qualifying time (the qualifying boats all looking suspiciously like HWR finalists and winners). 

In a pre-Nationals warm-up, the 4x went to Bedford Quarts Sprint Regatta for a bit of “sharpening up” – more like frantic paddling but at least they got a win and a fabulous 2 pint tankard out of it! 

Meanwhile, Sally Reay and Catrin Williams-Jones won WS3 2x at Reading Town and raced the 2x again at Henley Veterans Regatta, narrowly losing out by ½ l to Strathclyde Park in round 1.

At the Nationals, the 4x (with super sub Jo Chesney for Tash), 4- and eight all qualified for the finals, with the 4- bringing home silver behind City of Oxford, and the 4x and eight finishing 5th and 6th respectively.

August saw a few die-hards attend Henley T&V (with Emma Mitchell, Louise, Tamsin and Sophie Lutter sculling with grace and pace to win WS3 4x), Maidenhead (a win for Emily in WE 1x over Kev) and Peterborough (2nd place in WS2 eights and WE 1x) regattas, bringing to an end a reasonably successful, if somewhat frustrating, summer regatta season!