Veterans Head of the River - 2012

Maidstone Invicta's Veterans continued their impressive start to the season with a 20.18 min 45th place at this year's Vesta Veterans' Head of the River.

We came to the event pretty confident in our abilities, and buoyed up in the knowledge that we would be using the "Ray Long". 

Liz Ridgway accepted our offer as cox and we were buoyed further that her timely bout of "food poisoning" last week made her 1 stone lighter on the day.  Not sure if anyone actually asked how she was ;).

I advised Liz to keep the number of pushes to one or two maximum, given we are old men; so she dutifully packed about 20 in.  The first 3 coming immediately after the start in order to overtake Bewl's Sunday crew.

The Bewl looking better than they rowed - 2 min 20 behind us.  Notice their equipment!

I advised our stroke, Geraint, to rate about 30, given that we are old men; so he dutifully maintained a rock solid 32 all the way.

I advised the crew to beware of the nasty chop and wind that always hits you after Hammersmith, and of course, the chop happened at Barnes.  It was much calmer after Hammersmith.

The relative calm after Hammersmith Bridge.  3 miles in and some of us are panting hard.

I gave up offering advice and sank back into my own annual private hell, which is rowing the Championship Course, and vowing never to do it again.

The crew behind us were noisy mustachioed Frenchmen from Boulogne, festooned in all sorts of strange clothing and looking like extras from "'Allo, 'allo".  They looked like they were only here for 'le Rost Bif', but they really pushed us all the way, only fading at the end and losing to us by just 7 seconds. 

Johnny Frenchman from Boulogne in the chop at Barnes.  They rowed much better than they looked!

We didn't see anybody else in the race, though we caught up on the 3 crews ahead of Bewl, so we knew we had done well.

We came 8th out of 40 in the Vet D category, and 5th of the UK crews.  Still lots to work on, but a good place to be.

Thanks to Kate Povall and Archie Hodgkinson for support and welly monitoring.

Women's Head of the River - 2012

After months of training the day finally arrived for the WEHORR. Unfortunately we
had been denied any race practice by the cancellation of Henley Head and illness had dogged the crew in the weeks running up to the race.


However we all gathered early on the Saturday morning at Cygnet, keeping a close eye on the sky for rain. It was forecast for midday and the race was due to start at 11am. However in true British style the unpredictable weather dumped some rain on us just as we lined up to boat.

After the usual scrum to boat we were afloat and off, heading upstream towards our marshalling position between Barnes Bridge and Tideway Scullers. After some ‘polite’ requests to crews failing to marshal properly from our cox Tom we found our slot, although the crew in front seemed to be number dyslexic!

We watched the first few crews race pass, being armchair critics looking at style, kit, and admiring their boats and were off again to our final marshalling position above Chiswick Bridge.

The sun then came out and a discussion ensued as to whether we were going to race in skins or with tops under the all in ones! The final outcome was a mixture. Having stripped down to racing layers the sun went in and a chilly wind blew up. Those of us who had kept our tech tops on were laughing!

Then we were off. A steady paddle down towards Chiswick Bridge and then a build to race pace. We went through the start at 30/32 and Tom called for a build on the rate. We pushed a couple of pips higher and quickly began to reel in the crew in front. Passing them before Barnes Bridge we then set about reeling in the next crew. Their cox was determined to make our passage more difficult and a discussion ensued between Tom our cox and Laura our stroke about which side we could overtake on. They were eventually warned by the umpire and we went through. That was 2 crews down.

We then settled through the next sector, boosted by the cheer from Kate and Robin at The Bandstand, aiming for Hammersmith Bridge. 

Although we had pulled away from the crew immediately behind us, they began to reel us in again and we went under Hammersmith Bridge just ahead of them. They then took the inside of the bend and as we hit the infamous rougher water, pushed past us.

However we held things together and drove on to the finish, catching up some of the crews further ahead. We finished 171st out of 287 but were lying 130th at Barnes Bridge and 129th at Hammersmith, so again it was the last part of the race that did us in.

Well done to everyone who raced, some for the first time, others who were more experienced and knew what to expect and those who had struggled through illness and survived (just). An umpires launch was heard to call to us ‘Maidstone if you need some help raise your hand’ as we rowed back up after the race. Some of the crew were looking quite rough!!!

Anne Salmon

Pictures courtesy Hugh Gabriel.

Maidstone Spring Small Boats Head - 2012

MIRC put out no less than 30 crews at our local Spring Head on March 11.  We were gifted with some benign Spring-like weather, and opponents from all over the South-East joined us in some stiff and enjoyable competition.

In total, we won 9 events: 4 for the Juniors, 3 for the Masters and 2 for the Seniors.

Our Masters B4x+ of James Knight, Richard Ridgway, Lewin Hynes and Mark Tompkins, coxed by Lois Birrell, blasted their way down the course to win the Masters B/C/D event and Penant for the fastest boat in a very fast time of 8.27.

 Masters B 4x+... timing!!

The juniors also put up an extraordinarily strong performance with the J164+ of R Porter, J Grace, A Collins and J Harris, coxed by I Terry in an impressive 9.11.

Also, A Collins won the J17 1x in a fast time of 9.57. 

A popular Masters win came in the form of the BBQ crew, who taking time out from their duties with the burgers, won the ME/F4+ event in 10.02.  They were Alan Leeson, Bert Deters, Tom Fuller and Alan Rickwood, coxed by the irrepressable Tui Thain.

The BBQs mid race!  Note the special resting technique employed.

Tom Fuller and Rachel Rickwood on duty at the food stall.

S Marlow from the seniors won the Novice 1x just two seconds behind the Masters 4+ in 10.03.

There was another terrific result for the Juniors - this time the girls when the J164x+ of  B. Arscott, A Gordon-Reid, L Maunsell and L Gilchrist, coxed by C Gilchrist, and rowing in the J18 event won with the fast time of 10.17.

L Gilchrist and L Maunsell went on to win the WJ16 2x in 10.44

Maunsell and Gilchrist on the way to their win.

Ray Phillips in his MIRC debut won the Masters D/E/F 1x in 10.48.

Finally, another popular victory was that of C Devereaux and J Whyman in the ladies N2x.  This was their first ever win, and J Whyman's first race!  Their time was 11.08.

There was some excellent organisation on the day: a big thank-you goes to all who helped make it a success.

Sue Marden keeping the landing stage ship-shape!

Finally, a special mention for the Demon Double in Green, who managed to take out no less than 4 other crews in their race.  Here we see them just after driving the Kings School Canterbury girls into the bank, and eyeing up Sara and Teri as their next target.

Phew - survived.  Is that standard MIRC racing kit Sarah?

Thanks to Alan Leeson for the pics.  Also see here for some video footage of our Juniors

Maidstone Head - Sun 11 March 2012 - DRAW