Monmouth Regatta Report 2010


It is dark.  Two furtive, shadowy creatures, one unnaturally tall, the other very short, move from boat to boat in a trailer park somewhere in Wales.

Sound of hacksaw on metal can be clearly heard over the rumbling sky on this windy, rainy night in May.

Screek, screek, screek.  Screek, screek, screek.

Whispers.  "Ow 'bout that one over there, then", says the short one.

"Boyo" says the tall, "say boyo so if anyone over'ears, they will think it's an inside job!".

"Ow 'bout that one over there, then... boyo".

 "Do 'em all, my precious, do 'em all".

Saturday 29th May

Spring Bank Holiday in Wales is going to be wet, and we were not disappointed.  Yet despite the squalls, the beauty of the Wye came as a sharp and pleasant contrast to the beast that is the Lea.  We came as a Vets and Senior male team in roughly equal numbers, along with a few carefully chosen, tolerant camp follwers.  We bonded well.  The old 'uns brought civilsation to the campsite: deckchairs, canopies with cute little lilac and black flags, tables, cutlery, beer, little children and boring tales of yester year. And the youngsters repaid in kind, by getting drunk, eating as much as they could, running amok, hiding cars in the woods, doing silly things to tents and in tents, and being noisy at 3am.

The seniors played experimentally for most of the weekend.  Not wanting to pick up unnecessary wins that would jeopardise Henley, they relearned the ancient art of sculling, in all it's forms, and returned home at the end of the day potless, except for a Maidstone v Maidstone IM3 4x straight final.  I don't want to decry their efforts.  The novice single scullers, Ridgeway, Charlie and Tom (now known as Poppet), all won one or two rounds and did very credibly.

The boys did show the Welsh that we can row, and row well, with the one crew who aren't at Henley triumphing at IM3 4+. 

IM3 4+ win (3.07 mins into clip)

The experienced Vets were shown the door, by some very capable opposition. Huggy and Henry (no slouches on home turf), were seen off by 2 lengths by the Bradford-on-Avon half of a composite that won Vet D at the Fours Head.  The fledgling Vet C 4+ were beaten by the same distance by a Llandaff crew that had won Vet C at the Fours Head the year before.  We were really picking our opposition.

Olly and Gerraint continued to discover how hard it is sculling at Vet Novice, but did win a round.  Your time will come gentlemen.

The Vet Novices, however, came into their own this weekend.  The outrageous mismatch of their 8+ against Cardiff University did not result in their expected capitulation.  They lost, but only by a length or so, and they looked neat and tidy.

The 8 then split into 2 coxed 4s, both in straight finals against Upton RC and Ross County respectively and... they both won!!  The perfect result.  Pots all round, and as they were non qualifying events, they stayed novices.  Among them big Richard (yes another one).  He, who looks like Thor and is so new to the rowing and the club, I don't know his last name.  An extraordinary achievement.

Vet Novice 4+ - featuring Thor at bow.

So day one closed with a respectable return of 4 Maidstone wins.  That night, the seniors got up to their normal tricks, and the Vets hit a curry house and were by and large good that night.  The key exception being Coach Abraham, who drank to excess, with the normal consequences the following morning.

That night, a tall, lean chap and a very short one, slipped away when no one was looking to attend to some business...


Screek, screek, screek.  Screek, screek, screek.

"I fort we 'ad dun 'em all last night... boyo".

"Nah, forgot the ones in the boat house, didn't we, my precious".

"Fing is, I've lorst count of what we 'av dun.  In fact, I've a nasty feeling we dun our own boats too... boyo".

"Oh no, you plonker.  Get on wif it,  I'll go get some araldite"...

Sunday 30th May

We were all surprised with it being a gloriously sunny day on the Wye.  But less surprised as the Senior experiment at sculling continued to fail.  Their best result (and, in fact, the gutsiest row of the weekend for me, was Tom losing the Novice Scull final by a length).  His Reading Uni opposition out rated him by 4 pips all the way down, but still Tom hung on in there and was slowly catching at the end.

Also, a similar story for our experienced Vets.  The Monmouth Vet C4+ - possibly the best crew at the regatta, coasted home easily against our Vet C4+ (though Lois had at least taught them how to do a decent start).

As for messers Huggins and Coach Abraham who were due yet again to meet the Bradford boys.  Hmmm.  Huggins took Abraham to a Little Chef and tried to sober him up with coffee.  When he could speak, the tall green giant leant over the table and amidst the stale curry and beer fumes, earnestly said: "listen old chap, I better tell you now that I fully expect you to do all the rowing - I'll just be a passenger, if that's alright". And he slumped back, comatose.

"No, no" I cried, "listen, I've spoken to them and they admit that 1k is their distance. 1500 meters is unknown territory for them.  1500 is our distance, we'll take them at the end... are you listening, Henry... why are you sleeping?"

So, Huggins pulled the snoring lard arse down the course for 1k, looked round and saw the Bradford boys 4 lengths up.  Dutifully, he shouted "LEGS", at which point, Coach Abraham woke up, the boat surged forward, and the Bradford boys had to work to keep their winning distance to 1.5 lengths.  If there had been a handicap, things may have gone differently.

So to the Vet Novices.  Same trick, an 8+ and 2 4+s.  The fours lost this time, but the 8+, in their first heat are ahead as they came into the final straight.  But look, something is very odd.  Bert isn't rowing, in fact his backstay has fallen off.  So why are they winning?  Well look, the Llandaff opposition stroke and seven aren't rowing either.  Bits have mysteriously fallen off their boat too.  It's a very strange sight.  How odd.

In the final, our boys are up against another University - Swansea.  As they came into the final straight, Swansea are just up.  But look, they are slowing down as they come to the line.  Oh and look, the Swansea stroke man's whole rigger, gate and pin have disintegrated.  And look, our boys surge past them and win their Novice pot!!!!

Oh and look, the Swansea stroke man's whole rigger, gate and pin have disintegrated - 5mins into the clip


Seriously, the boys rowed brilliantly, unfairly placed among kids half their age, they took their chances, and as Big Bill said... "if you can't stand the heat..."

Pics, lawsuits and subsequent amendments to come.

Monmouth Draw Now Up

Check this link

Monmouth Draw

At a first look for the Vets, I can't say I'm estatic.  Many of us seem to have been moved to younger categories and James tells me there will be no handicap - I mean, what's the point of getting older if you can't get a little headstart once in a while.  Example - Vet Novice 8 now in the Novice 8 category - Saturday v Cardiff Uni Boat Club,  Hmmm, 20 year olds v 40 to 50 year olds.  

Not fair, Monmouth!!

Kelsie is selected to represent Great Britain in the World Cup

Kelsie is selected to represent Great Britain in the World Cup
Kelsie has been selected to represent Great Britain at the rowing world cup in Bled, Slovenia, over the weekend of May 28-30.
To see Kelsie on the BBC coverage: World Cup - Bled 28-30 May, Watch live on red button/online (UK only), highlights on BBC Two, 31 May, 1300 BST

Morgan at Munich Regatta

Morgan at Munich Regatta

On Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th May Morgan Hellen raced at the Munich Junior International Regatta representing Great Britain. On the Saturday he raced in the Junior Mens 2- finishing 6th in the A Final. On Sunday he then raced in the Junior Mens 8o finishing 3rd overall behind two German crews. It was an excellent weekend of success for Morgan with a promising summer of international racing ahead of him.

Guide to the Rowing Year

I knocked this up for newcomers to the Development Squad, and thought it might be useful for others to read.  It's not official, just my view on things.  Obviously the performance Seniors and Juniors would want to do more :), and the young'uns and recreationals do less.

We have two seasons in rowing:

Head Season from October to April roughly.  In this season we build our fitness for the Regatta Season.  We normally start in October at our lowest level of fitness in the year, and so build up fitness, by doing long sessions on the ergo or on the water.  Typically 5k, and occasionally 10k.  We start very slowly at what we call UT2 and UT1 aerobic levels.  Makes you sweat, great for fat burning, but does not kill you.  Here’s a guide to the various rowing intensities:

Don’t worry about the ridiculous suggested times, that’s for the top athletes.  We very rarely do more than 40 mins in one session, and mostly 20 mins or so.

By December, we move to AT Training – Typically hard 5ks.

During the Head season, we test ourselves at Head races – usually one a month.  These are processional races, where they set us off every 15 seconds or so, and time us to the end of the course.  They are typically 2.5k – 5k long, and fit in with the training schedule.  You win prizes at these things, but they are just building blocks for the main Regatta season.

By April, the Head season is winding down, and you should be, aerobically, very fit.   April is a transitional month, when it gets light and we get into boats and practice sprints, racing starts and regatta length pieces (typically 500m to 1.5k).  

You do not get many 2k races on the local regatta circuit, but it is the de facto distance for Seniors at national and international levels.

Regatta Season

The season lasts from May through to August.  All the while concentrating on in-boat crew rowing, getting the all important starts right, and building the capability to row at anaerobic levels for 1k or so.  The races are head to head, and on a knock out basis.  So if there are 8 boats in a category and you keep winning, you will have 3 races over the day.

If you win, you win a "pot" (typically a pewter tankard).  If you are a Senior, you get a point added to your status, and slowly ascend from lowly Novice to supreme Elite (think black belt).  You only row against crews of your status, so it never gets easy... just harder and harder ;).

If you are a Junior, you race other kids of your own age: J12, J13, J14, J16 and J18, where you have to be under the age in that group, so if you are 13, you will be racing at J14.  

If you are a Master (above 27).  You row in categories based on the average age of the crew (denoted by a letter of the alphabet, where A is youngest and I is the oldest).  It's all very complicated, but can be figured out here:

Masters and Juniors probably go to an average of 1 regatta a month, Seniors may do more.

September is commonly regarded as the month off!  That’s when rowers without families go on holiday, or the insane do the Boston (Lincolnshire) marathon – 31 miles of agony.  Once was enough for me.

Because we haven’t been doing as much aerobic training in the summer, our fitness actually tails off over the season, while our anaerobic capabilities build up.  So by October, we have to get properly fit again.  

So the cycle continues.

Monmouth Regatta Entries

Reminder that final entry submissions are coming close 12 NOON SATURDAY 22nd May 2010.  And there is not much activity on this front from what I have seen so far.

Vet entries to my knowledge are:

Vet C 2x
Vet D 2x
Vet C 4+
2x Vet Novice 4+
1x Vet Novice 8+

Senior entries????

I believe Hugh Gabriel is submitting the entries.

Pink to Lilac

Sorry - the pink was doing my head in...

Kelsie wins 2 international golds!

Kelsie Gibson won two gold medals representing Great Britain in the LTA Coxed Four on Saturday 1st May and Sunday 2nd May at the Varese International Regatta in Italy.

Kelsie was selected in April to represent
Great Britain in the adaptive LTA Coxed Four. On her international debut she succeeded in winning two gold medals beating Ireland, Italy, Germany and Russia in the process. On Sunday the crew improved on their performance on Saturday to win by two lengths. Kelsie is joined in the crew by Ryan Chamberlain, James Roe and Naomi Riches, with cox Rhiannon Jones.
The results over the last weekend now put London 2012 as a real prospect. Kelsie is currently on training camp in Italy but will be back on Saturday 8th May at the club. She will compete again for Great Britain at the Rowing World Cup in Bled at the end of May.

IM1 4x comes second at Wallingford Regatta

Juniors Sam Blackwell and Ryan Mitchell competed with Matt Nicholls and Stuart Hampshire at the Wallingford Regatta at Dorney Lake on Sunday 2nd May.

As a new crew combination they competed well finishing 2nd in a time of 6:31.5 in the Intermediate 1 Quadruple Sculls. The results puts them in a good standing for greater success over the course of the summer season with an intention to attend Henley Royal Regatta in July.

Well done to the crew!

MIRC Race Night

Following recent emails, just wanted to post info about the next MIRC social and Fundraiser....

When: Friday 11th June

Where: Aylesford Village Community Centre (ME20 7AU).

Time: Bar opens 7.30, tote opens 8.00 and first race approx. 8.15.

How it works: Bets are £1 per horse, a tape is then selected at random and played on the big screen for everyone to cheer on their horses! The cash from each race will be split between the winners and the club.

All ages and everyone welcome, would be great to see everyone from all squads, non rowers and friends and family etc.

There are opportunities for local businesses to sponsor a race for £25, sponsorship will secure advertising on the event posters (logos will need to be supplied) and a special mention/thank you by the compare on the night.

I have yet to finalise the food arrangements and ticket prices, it is likely to be jacket potatoes with a choice of filling(s), salad and nibbles etc. to keep the ticket prices down. Let me know your thoughts.

For further information/
questions please get in touch or 07554 005717.