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May Bumps 2013

Wednesday 12th - Saturday 15th June

Previous event: Bedford Star Regatta - Following event: Kingston Amateur Regatta

1st Men's VIII

Bow: Chensong Gao, 2: Jonathan Waite, 3: Sean True, 4: Callum McKenzie, 5: James Frake, 6: Ben Oseroff, 7: David Hardeman, Stroke: Joel Jennings, Cox: Dominic Carr

STAYED LEVEL. Day 1: Rowed over, Day 2: Bumped Pembroke, Day 3: Bumped by Pembroke, Day 4: Rowed over

Chensong Gao reports:

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Day One

Chasing Queens', being chased by Fitzwilliam

Good warm up, but could feel the 'day one nerves' just before the gun. The start was decent - we wound up to our normal rate despite the headwind, and managed to stay on top of the boat past the outflow. The settle call came after the first minute, but from where I was sitting, it didn't feel like we ever got onto a strong sustainable rhythm like we had in training, and the rowing felt slightly unnecessarily tiring. However, this wasn't too big an issue as Fitz, behind us, dropped away after the first minute and a half, and we managed to keep up with Queens' despite the lack of an efficient rhythm. Surprisingly, Queens' managed to bump out after Ditton, and as the rest of the division had pretty much all bumped, we tactically wound down to a steady-state paddle halfway down the Reach to save ourselves for the next day's race.

Day Two

Chasing Pembroke, being chased by Christs

Good race today - the first half exciting, second half painful. The warm up was a bit shaky and wasn't as good as the previous day's, but I think this actually helped us to be more focused for the race. Just before the start, the wind had died down slightly and everyone seemed a lot more composed. Off goes the gun. The start was good and we managed to settle into a rhythm of just tapping the boat along. As we'd suspected, Christs had loaded everything into the start, so all along First Post reach and the Gut they gained gradually closer and closer. But we just focused on our own rowing and were completely unfazed by their approach. Christs probably got to within half a length at Grassy, creating maximum dramatic suspense for the crowds along the bank. Will Clare get bumped by Christs? No. Not today. Big push out of Grassy, then a lift at the Plough and we'd left Christs far behind and leapt onto Pembroke. By Ditton we were within a quarter of a length on Pembroke, and by the Reach, we had overlap. However, Pembroke proved to be extremely hard to finish off. The most frustrating thing was that I could see them out of the corner of my eye for almost the entirety of the Reach, but we just somehow couldn't seem to make contact. Finally, after about 4 'kill'/'empty the tank' calls, we hit them under the Railway Bridge. Overall, it was much better row than Day One. A lot more tiring, but it was worth it.

Day Three

Chasing Queen's, being chased by Pembroke

Standard warm-up. We all went into the race feeling good about hitting Queen's, but unfortunately Pembroke seemed to have gained 10 seconds over 1k between the previous day and today. The start was good and we stayed at a higher rate than the previous two days. The first minute and a half was standard - we stayed on station with both Queen's and Pembroke; however, after First Post, Pembroke started to move in on us. Our rowing wasn't affected too much by this, and we just kept tapping the boat along as we thought that Pembroke had just gone for a burst and would die soon. We took a very wide line around Grassy, and Pembroke came to within half a length on us, but we were within station on Queen's. We did our big move out of Grassy, which was affective and we managed to move away from Pembroke slightly and close in on Queen's. Unfortunately, along the Plough, Pembroke managed to steer onto the inside of us, which meant we had to take Ditton Corner wide. Around Ditton, Queen's we dying, so we moved to within a length on them and still gaining fast, but Pembroke already had overlap. Our last empty the tanks call, in attempt to move away from Pembroke took us even closer to Queen's, but Pembroke was just faster and we got bumped just coming onto the Reach. It was a very good row, the rate stayed above 37 for the whole race, but did just miraculously become a lot faster, so they got the revenge bump.

Day Four

Chasing Pembroke, being chased by King's

With the new Pembroke, there was almost zero chance of us getting them, but we still went out there and gave it a shot. The more realistic plan was to row over in front of King's, therefore denying them Blades. After the results of the previous day, and with this race being the last bumps race for 5 of our crew members, everyone was super focused in. The result of W1's success reached us whilst we were marshalling, which made us even more determined to end on a positive result, so as to not spoil the celebrations later. The warm-up was the best we'd had all week, and after an inspiring speech from coach Andy J, we were all roaring to go. All out at the start, wind to rate 50, settled at 42 - we were moving! By First Post, we were within a length on Pembroke, and holding station with King's. King's started inching into us in the Gut, but we were unaffected. The line round Grassy was good, but King's still managed to get to within half a length. Then Dom made the call Andy J had suggested - to tell that little guy in your heading telling you you're tired to F off. We kept moving along the Plough, not thinking bout saving any energy for after Ditton and always staying above rate 40. King's had gone up three in the previous three days, and were hungry for blades, and by Ditton Corner, they were possibly within a quarter of a length on us (hard to judge distance from bow). Coming onto the Reach, King's stayed threateningly close still, their bank party were going crazy with the whistles and started getting their flag ready for celebrations, but we knew this was not over yet. By this point, Pembroke had got the bump on Queen's, and we strided out in the flat water and started moving away from King's. We were so confident in our ability to move on the Reach, that we knew by this point that it was all over for King's. By the Railway bridge, we were back on station,. King's were station 10, so they chased us all the way to Top Finish, but this only meant we hd more time to increase the gap between us, and by the end, we were well over 2 and a half lengths clear of King's. An epic row over, the best row we've had all week and the 'row over face' on the charts should definitely look a lot happier. BCD was good.

Uploaded Sunday 16th June, 14:16

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Callum McKenzie reports:

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Day One

Chasing Queens', being chased by Fitzwilliam

We had a good row, nothing spectacular or no horrendous crash downs. We went off strong hitting a 48.5 and had a really nice first few minutes, holding station with Queens the whole way. However as we came out of grassy along plough we slumped off a bit and as we came past ditton we went for a big push but the head wind was really starting to play in. By this point Queens had sneaked off slightly and were really pressing on Pembroke and got the bump. With boats being bumped behind us earlier and bumps happening further up the reach after a quick realisation we were the only boat racing on the reach. Lonely us. No point of keeping the rate up, so we had a leisurely row at rate 18 to the bridge. We are really pumped for tomorrow and to push up on Pembroke. Yellow fire!

Day Two

Chasing Pembroke, being chased by Christs

In the words of Borat: GREAT SUCCESS.

To start from the beginning... We did the same spiel on the warm up, being strong, albeit a bit shaky. We arrived at our station and the sun was beaming and the wind calming down. We were feeling good. Hit the start hard and the first few minutes were just as we planned - if anything slightly sharper than yesterday. By the time we got past first post we could see that Christs were really going for it, and they started to come into us. However, we knew they were going to push hard off the start and we really weren't phased by this and kept rowing. By grassy Christs were still putting up a hard race and were within half of a length. We thought now would be a good time to make a move. That was the last time we saw them. At this point we were getting single whistles on Pembroke and this carried on through past ditton and onto the reach. A few metres onto the reach the whistles really came on, getting within a quarter of a length on Pembroke. Then the bell went... for ages. We had overlap for about half the reach and we went through various kill calls but this just extended our overlap, and not a bump. A cheeky look by me (and a few others), Queens were being really pressed on Pembroke and they had overlap on Queens (according to coaches... I wasn't looking that much). Now was the time to go. We were preparing for a tactic we had practised in prior outings - called the flying Chinaman. We positioned ourselves neatly up beside them and Gao (at bow) was ready to jump off and board Pembrokes cox seat. He undone his laces. We were ready. BUT... in a fantastic effort we crashed into 7's rigger of Pembroke. As Borat says... great success. After what was a fantastic race on all accounts, we gave our cheers to Pembroke and rowed with our greenery. Nice one chaps. Here's to pressing on Queens tomorrow.

Day Three

Chasing Queens, being chased by Pembroke

Well that was a weird one...

Our race objective was simple. Bump Queens. All week we have pushed into them and we were given that opportunity today. We knew what we had to do, we had a very clear race plan, do the first 3 minutes as usual, push out of grassy, lift up plough, another push around ditton and just keep on Queens' stern until getting to the reach, where we were going to really explode and go for the bump. And we did just that, the race plan was perfect. We were rowing very nicely, probably the best we had out of the three days. Coming up the plough we had single whistles on Queens (although there was some confusion was to what whistles were ours... half of us didn't know we were so close to Queens), and going into Ditton we were at a length, and out of ditton we had closed it to half a length. Brilliant. Or so we thought... It transpired that Pembroke (on their downward slope) had changed crews before the race which included a current blue boat addition. Initially we were not too bothered by this, but as the race panned out it was obvious that they had gained a lot of speed. Pembroke went off hard and started to press on us between the gut and grassy. We had been in this position before, and we were going to push off them as they came close. But as we got to the plough (when we were getting whistles on Queens), Pembroke were still chunking away, and coming out of Ditton saw them quarter a length away. Again, there was some confusion as to whose whistles were theirs, and how close Pembroke actually were, as before we knew it Pembroke had overlap and soon thereafter got the bump. Devastating stuff. After the race we had (are having) very mixed emotions about the whole thing due to various reasons. We rowed nicely and the race plan was going perfectly for the bump, but a changing Pembroke crew put a spanner in the works. But, it all boils down to this. We have come together so much as a crew over this term and have done some great rowing. For the final day, we are going to race for ourselves, coaches and the Clare supporters. We will put absolutely everything into this.

Uploaded Saturday 15th June, 12:14

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Video of the 1st Men's VIII: click to watch the video.

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M1 Saturday

Sweet row over denying King's their blades


1st Women's VIII

Bow: Laura McCracken, 2: Clare Thakker, 3: Moos Peeters, 4: Rachel Boyd, 5: Jess Denman, 6: Annie Elkington, 7: Claire Watkins, Stroke: Ania Slotala, Cox: Esther Momcilovic

HEADSHIP! Day 1: Bumped Pembroke, Day 2: Bumped Newnham, Day 3: Bumped Jesus, Day 4: Bumped Downing W1

Esther Momcilovic reports:

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Day One

Chasing Pembroke, being chased by Emma

First day jitters were showing on the row down but the bursts felt powerful and ready. Our start was a little scrappy - the massive headwind making bladework less clean than it could be. Within 15 strokes or so, we had our first whistle, and were then combatting Pembroke's rough water along with the wind. Once we settled onto rhythm, things relaxed a bit, and the whistles progressed swiftly. Entering First Post we had the bell, for a speedy bump on the apex - about 1m40s after the gun! Tomorrow we need to take confidence from today and relax a little bit more into our rhythm. We have the tools - let's go out there and do this!

Day Two

Chasing Newnham, being chased by Pembroke

A much more confident row down today produced a stronger start. We had our first whistle as we settled onto rhythm, and the second followed on the exit of First Post. The third came in The Gut, and we got the bell as we entered Grassy. Some confusion then arose, as the umpire awarded a technical bump (due to our bowball passing their cox), and Anton stopped ringing the bell, but the "Grassy Roar" masked any communication from the bank party! We kept going to be on the safe side, and their cox conceded as we came round the second apex. Another speedy bump, and we have the confidence to take it to Jesus tomorrow.

Day Three

Chasing Jesus, being chased by Newnham

After two quick bumps, I think today was a bit of a shock to the system. We remained on station with Jesus coming into First Post Corner, and then, as they gained whistles on Downing, we moved outside station. Coming out of Grassy, we were around 2 lengths away from Jesus, who moved to 3 whistles on Downing by Ditton. As we came onto the Reach though, we gritted our teeth and pushed on HARD. Jesus failed to close the deal on Downing and we started to regain our belief. A series of phenomenal lifts brought us back into contention, and we finally gained our first whistle at the railings. The second whistle came at the Railway Bridge, and we knew we would have to do something really special to get this bump. Luckily, we somehow had enough in the tanks to lift, and lift again. Three whistles came on the corner before Peter's Posts. It was do or die. With about 20 strokes til the finish, we got the bell and unbelievably found yet another gear to shift up to. Jesus had nothing to offer in response, and we bumped them with about 20m to go to the finish line. A fantastic race, and a bump that we'll remember for a long long time.

Day Four

Chasing Downing, being chased by Jesus

This was it. To have even come far enough to have the chance at headship was a fantastic achievement, and we knew that whatever happened, we had a lot to be proud of. Our plan was similar to what Jesus had done the day before - use the chasing crew to push us on to Downing. Jesus came into us a little off the start, but soon dropped back. It was all about us and Downing. Coming through the corners onto Plough Reach we were still on station, but we weren't worried - we knew we could do this, and had suspected it would happen on the Reach. As we came round Ditton, we took advantage of the headwind hitting Downing first, and made a lift into them, gaining our first whistle. We stayed on one whistle until about the Railings, and then Downing began to crack. Three whistles and we tasted blood. The bell swiftly followed and there was no way we were letting this get away. The lift came and we surged forwards more powerfully than we had ever before. As we came level with the Pink House, Downing's cox conceded. WE HAD DONE IT. The celebrations that followed were amazing. Cheers, shouts, whoops and yells. It felt like the entire river was celebrating with us as we jumped up and down on the bank hugging each other. CLARE W1 HEAD OF THE RIVER.

We could not have done this without the support of everyone in Clare. Thank you to our coaches, thank you to the brilliant crowds on Grassy cheering us on every day, and thank you to any Clare woman who has ever "put the yellow bit in the wet bit". We started going back up in 2010, and I've coxed our bumps on Girton, FaT, Caius, LMBC, Emma, Christ's, Pembroke, Newnham, Jesus and Downing. History has been made - now to maintain it!

Uploaded Sunday 16th June, 12:44

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Rachel Boyd reports:

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Day Four

Chasing Downing, being chased by Jesus

HEAD OF THE RIVER MAYS 2013

We'll upload a more detailed race report later but GIRLS, WE DID IT. Blading to Headship. I still can't believe it's happened. It was a fantastic race. Massive thank-yous to everyone - our wonderful bank party and coaches, and the amazing Clare support with your cheering all the way down the river. We couldn't have done it without you.

Uploaded Saturday 15th June, 19:08

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Claire Watkins reports:

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Day Three

Chasing Jesus, being chased by Newnham

We did it. Now on to tomorrow.

Uploaded Friday 14th June, 21:37

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Videos of the 1st Women's VIII: click to watch the video.

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W1 Headship Victorylap

Clare W1 Head of the River Victorylap Mays 2013

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Headship Bump

W1 bumped Downing on the 4th day, gaining HEADSHIP


2nd Men's VIII

Bow: CJ Uy, 2: Ben Low, 3: Adam Sanders, 4: Yihan Pei, 5: Quentin Gouil, 6: Ross Buckingham, 7: Pete Davies, Stroke: Jordan Ward‑Williams, Cox: Jin‑Hyung Lee

DOWN THREE. Day 1: Bumped by Hughes Hall, Day 2: Bumped by Darwin, Day 3: Rowed over, Day 4: Bumped by Catz II

Jordan Ward-Williams reports:

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Day one: The oh so nearly a bump

Chasing Corpus M1. Chased by Hughes Hall M1

It's not been an easy term for M2 for various reasons, and the crew felt a little bit nervous on the row up. However, as soon as the start gun went we forgot all about our past and focused on the job ahead. After an alright start we settled into a strong racing rhythm and quickly moved up on Corpus, whilst holding Hughes on station. The whistles came at a steady rate, then the bell, then more bell, then more whistles, then even more bell... Right the way down first post reach and into the gut Corpus were digging deep to hold us off and to their credit they managed it. Rowing for so long in their dirty water had drained us and Hughes behind us capitalised on this by making an excellent move coming into Grassy to secure the bump on us.

It may not have been the result we wanted today, but there's plenty of good things we can take away from this. We rowed for longer (and better) than we had planned to and there was great commitment. We know we're faster than Corpus and by rowing a little neater we can get them later in the week. Tomorrow we've got clean water for the whole course - let's show everyone what we can do!

Uploaded Wednesday 12th June, 22:56

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Video of the 2nd Men's VIII: click to watch the video.

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Day 3 May Bumps Clare M2 chasing Darwin M1

Nice rowing from Clare M2


2nd Women's VIII

Bow: Kerstin Timm, 2: Riana Betzler, 3: Sabrina Papazian, 4: Chrysoula Litina, 5: Kate Jernigan, 6: Helen Waters, 7: Louisa Salmon, Stroke: Christina Pettit, Cox: Harriet Boswell

UP THREE. Day 1: Bumped Downing II, Day 2: Bumped LMBC II, Day 3: Rowed over, Day 4: Bumped Homerton

Harriet Boswell reports:

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Day 1

Chasing Downing W2, being chased by Caius W2

A confident start and great rhythm. First whistle near First Post Corner and a bit of a surge down the Gut. Cheered on by the Clare supporters, we made another move round Grassy to get our third whistle on the exit. Strong pair pushes down Plough Reach pushed us closer to Downing and when the bell arrived, we made an almighty lift to bump just before Ditton Corner. Well done girls - a great row!

Day2

Chasing LMBC W2, being chased by Downing W2

Today's start was not quite as good as yesterday's and we settled into a comfortable rhythm later than planned...but...once we found our rhythm, we really started moving. The roar on Grassy again gave us a fantastic energy boost round the corner and we were all really keen to bump before the Reach as it was very windy. Fortunately, the bell rang just outside of the Plough and we went for it and bumped LMBC! Things to improve on for tomorrow: less tension and more confidence! Let's work together to have an even better row than on Wednesday.

Uploaded Friday 14th June, 14:44

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3rd Men's VIII

Bow: Joe Thompson, 2: Tom Watson, 3: Ivan Mechkov, 4: Jake Robertson, 5: James Nisbet, 6: Matej Jovanovic, 7: Rob Norton, Stroke: Matt Causier, Cox: Sasha Rubinstein

UP FOUR. Day 1: Bumped Downing III, Day 2: Bumped Caius III and King's II, Day 3: Rowed over, Day 4: Bumped Fitz II

Tom Watson reports:

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Day One: Chasing Downing M3, chased by Clare Hall M1

Possibly the best we've yet rowed as a crew this term. Through some bizarre twist of fortune, having a crew trying to bump us at our 6 o'clock seems to actually keep our heads in the boat rather than elsewhere, which bodes well for the rest of the competition. A few repeat performances and we shouldn't have too much to worry about for the rest of this tournament.

Crucially, we used the 'lengthen' strokes in our start sequence for what they were designed for, and settled into a pace that not only had the rate we wanted, it had enough cover to be worth the high rate and was relaxed enough that we could have carried it on for significantly longer if we'd had to.

From what others have told me, Downing had a stronger start than us and pulled away initially, but that's not all too important since we had our first whistle before First Post corner. Even if we did wish to entertain the notion that Anton uses the whistle before it would be technically accurate to do so, and made an allowance for such, the gains we made on Downing by rowing quickly but calmly speak for themselves. We faltered slightly around First Post, but what matters is that we recovered our form as soon as we were straightened up down the gut, and ate into Downing even more.

Cheered on by the veritable horde of Clare supporters at Grassy Corner (and aided hugely by Sasha's masterful racing line) we heard the bell during our first ten strokes down Plough Reach, by which point all that remained was to remain strong and together until our bow was finally buried into Downing and they had to concede. What's more, we kept Clare Hall pretty much on station with us throughout the race (except after we'd bumped, when our slow clearing may have led them to sort-of-almost plough into our stern, but ssssh!). Only two things remain to be said about tomorrow - (in the immortal words of Han Solo) don't get cocky kid, and (in the immortal words of CBC's legions of supporters past, present and future) Yellow Fire!!!

Day Two, Race One: Chasing Caius M3, chased by Downing M3

I'll admit I was a little worried as we prepared for our first race today. Something about the atmosphere in the boat felt different - we'd tasted blood yesterday, and if Caius proved to be made of sterner stuff who knows how we'd react. We also had a Downing crew at our stern looking for revenge. On the plus side, we expected Clare Hall to make reasonably short work of Downing, and we had the whole course to grind Caius down.

Once we were racing though, it all went like clockwork. We settled into our rhythm and held it all the way. Downing harried us off the start and made up some ground, before dying away and getting eaten up by Clare Hall in the gut. By that time we already had our first whistle, and with another flawless racing line from Sasha around Grassy we were up to two, then three, and then we heard the bell just after the Plough. It took us until Ditton corner to catch them, but whether they had a last-gasp push or whether Anton was just playing mindgames by using the bell early (surely not!), the headwind on the reach finished them off and we took the bump. Then our bow smacked into one of their riggers and it was entirely unambiguous. Credit goes to Jake for recovering quickly from a crab down Plough Reach that could have meant disaster for us.

Day Two, Race Two: Chasing Kings M2 as sandwich boat

After a division's rest, we were off again. Still a little tired from the earlier race, the row down was distinctly dodgy and the bump seemed in no way certain. However, with a horrifically quick Churchill M2 in front of them, it was unlikely that King's would bump out of our clutches, so again we had the whole course if needed.

By this time the weather had taken a turn for the worse, and our start suffered a bit from it. Once we got into our rhythm King's had already taken a decent lead on us. Fortunately, due to carnage up ahead, all crews except the top 5 had to return to the start and rerow. Sat in the rain waiting to spin, the King's boatman's assurances to his crew that we were nowhere near catching them and nothing to worry about ringing in our ears, a new determination overtook us. As Joe put it: "We can't get bumped, a rowover seems like far too much effort and it means even more effort tomorrow, so I suppose we'd probably better bump them."

Day Two, Race Two-and-a-Half:

Fired up by Joe's inspiring rhetoric, we started our third race of the day. The first whistle took an absolute age to arrive; King's must have started as if there was a shark behind them, rather than 8 distinctly tired rowers. But arrive it did, around First Post, at which point it became utterly inaudible over the noise of crews banked up in the gut and a huge number supporters on Grassy, from Clare and other colleges, all cheering us on. Some of them may have been cheering for Kings, it was a little unclear, but we pushed off the crowd to great effect, again with a fantastic line from Sasha.

Once we got onto Plough Reach we could all of a sudden hear the whistle again. This time there were three. It would be a lie to say we didn't turn a bit technically scrappy at this point - calm rowing be damned, we were knackered by this stage and squeezing out every iota of power we could muster. Sasha too seemed to get caught up in the excitement, taking a line around Ditton that could only be described as kamikaze tactics. It worked though; as Joe and Mechy's blades were wrenched out of their hands by the concrete, it felt for a second that we might have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Fortunately the Kings cox had conceded half a second before, so the bump was ours. Banzai!

Oh and I've not looked, but there's a very good chance that Mechy took a colossal airstroke right in front of spannerspotter's camera.

Day Three: Chasing Churchill M2, chased by Kings M2

It was never particularly likely that we'd get a bump today; Churchill thrashed us at Nines Regatta, and although we've come a long way since then they're still unquestionably one of the best crews in the division. Meanwhile Fitz M2 in front of them kicked off their bumps campaign this year by steering entirely the wrong way around a corner, and crashing into the bank within their first ten strokes. So, the plan was to overbump. More realistically, it was to make sure we stayed safe in Div 3 with as comfortable a rowover as possible. We heard whilst banked up that Kings were hoping we'd bump Churchill so they could get the overbump on Fitz. Stifling a few giggles but nonetheless impressed by their audacity, we prepared for what would inevitably be our longest race so far.

Off the start, Kings were slightly quicker than us - I think I even heard a (very optimistic) whistle coming from their bank party - but we were never in any real danger. Sticking to our own rhythm, we held them off down First Post reach (where to no-one's surprise we saw Churchill and Fitz banked up), then started making up ground once we were around the corner. We extended our lead by a few lengths down the gut, and after another excellent line around Grassy Kings were so far away that they wouldn't have been on station if they'd been trying to overbump us. We kept the power on down Plough Reach, expecting the wind around Ditton to hit us like a wall, which it did.

Fortunately, by this stage Kings were miles behind and no threat to us. Unfortunately, we saw pretty much all the other boats near us in the division banked up, including Emma M3 who were our overbump target. We'd apparently gained a length on them before their bump, but a rowover was now inevitable. We kept putting power down and fighting the headwind until we finally saw Kings come round Ditton at steady state, at which point we allowed ourselves to relax and enjoy a successful rowover.

PS: Sources on the towpath have indicated to me that Churchill's bank party were heard saying the boat had to put in a push earlier than expected to catch Fitz because we were gaining on them. Now, they may have been going light because they wanted to bump around Grassy, but at the very least this show's that we're no longer the pushover we were at Nines. Yellow Fire boys, let's round this campaign off with Fitz in the last race, and then have the champagne ready for W1.

Day Four: Chasing Fitzwilliam M2, chased by Clare Hall M1

Not much to be said about this race. We knew we could bump Fitz, but we also knew Clare Hall really wanted to bump us, and that despite having already raced a few hours earlier, they wouldn't give us the opportunity to settle into a nice steady rhythm and grind down the weaker crew in front. Meanwhile, said crew in front was understandably desperate to pull out all the stops and avoid the ignominy of spooning. For all three boats at the bottom of our division, it was a do-or-die sprint. Fortunately, we did. Our start was weaker than in previous races, the nerves clearly getting to us at last. Clare Hall had no such problems, closing quickly to within a whistle of us. Our first whistle was slower in coming, not that we could really hear it anyway, but we kept on pushing, knowing that Fitz would die soon. Die they did; shortly after Clare Hall got their second whistle on us under the motorway bridge, Dirk began screaming 'Bell! Bell!' (in lieu of the actual bell which was with Anton and M2), and then it was all over. We'd done it. Up 4 in 4 days, and I offer my thanks to Jonny for granting us discretionary blades despite our having not bumped on Day 3. Clare M3 ended Mays 2013 as the 5th highest-ranked third men's crew, above 9 M2s and an M1, having won blades for the second year in a row. No mean feat. Bad luck Clare Hall, but you gave us the race of our lives and we wish you the best of luck for next year.

We'd won our blades. The question on all of our minds, however, was whether W1 would be able to do the same, and for that I suggest you read their race reports - they're much better written than mine.

Uploaded Monday 17th June, 13:51

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Matthew Causier reports:

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Day 2, race 1 : chasing Caius M3, chased by Downing M3

Following a typically scrappy row down we settled down into the serious business of the day: as yesterday we discovered we seem to row better with other crews around us.

We had a strong start and steadily ground down the distance between us and Caius, until coming out of grassy we had three whistles (just about audible over the cheers from the crowds). We stayed on three whistles until the entrance to Ditton where Anton decided he was bored of this whistling lark and got the bell out, we decided we really didn't want to race in the headwind awaiting us on the reach. We bumped.

Day 2, race 2 : chasing Kings M2

For the first time in my time in bumps I got to investigate the lower starting stations and see if the last boat really did start with the stern in the lock. I can confirm this is just a myth however it may feel. After a scrappy start where we initially lost ground on Kings we managed to find a rhythm to take the distance back as we came under the motorway bridge. We were then told to hold it up due to some carnage ahead of us. Despite the King's bank party insisting nothing would have happened anyway (maybe he knew what was to come) and we didn't need a re row the bottom half of the division was rerowed, another first for me.

Second time around we managed a better start and we strarted to move on Kings, slowly at first but with increasing momentum. Coming into Ditton again (our favourite spot today) we heard the bell and went for the bump. At this point things got a little confusing as we hit the bank. However it turned out that within a second of bow's blade hitting the bank the King's cox had conceeded so I think we can put it down to overeager and pre-emptive clearing from Sasha after our warning on day 1. Then all that was left for us to do was to row back with greenery for the second time in a day!

Thanks to all the banked up crews who cheered us through the gut and around grassy, and to the random gentleman who came to complement Sasha on some excellent steering.

Day 4 : chasing Fitz M2, chased by Clare Hall M1

Well if the previous days were a chance to show our fitness in grinding down other crews today was a day to show some raw speed.

I must admit to a certian amount of confusion during this race as I still don't have a clue about anything that happened in front of us. I do know the Clare Hall boat behind us seem to have installed jet thrusters since the first day. They had a great start and started eating into the distance between us. Our rowing was scrappier than in previous days, probably due to the much higher levels of power going down and we slowed the rate at which they were approaching. This was the first time we'd been put under serious pressure this bumps and we responded well as a crew. At this point I've been told we were getting whistles on Fitz but quite honestly I couldn't hear them over the Clare Hall bank party. Just after the A14 bridge Clare Hall were within half a length when Sasha suddenly called hold it up. We'd bumped. After much efficient clearing than on the first day we let Clare Hall through unimpeded and celebrated our up 4. I must say it's far more relaxing clearing at the bottom of a division as you only have to let one boat through which is nice.

To everyone who bank partied and coached us this term I'd like to say a big thank-you.

This is probably my last set of bumps and it was a good one. Most crews painstakingly learn how to row with length and relaxation over the course of the term and then have their coaches watch in despair as they forget it all under the pressure of bumps. Not Clare M3: we made our coaches watch in despair as they tried to explain the meaning of the word 'lengthen' during our start, weep as they wanted us to relax. But then we arrived at bumps and with a boat 30m off our stern trying to catch us we thought this is the time we will relax and find a rhythm, this is the time we will use the lengthen strokes as they are intended, this is the time we will in fact row. As a trick it's not a bad one: thanks guys and

YELLOW FIRE.

Uploaded Sunday 16th June, 9:40

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Ivan Mechkov reports:

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Day One

Chasing Downing III, Being Chased by Clare Hall

We had a quite relaxed start which slowly transitioned into a painful (but still somehow relaxed) pushing to Downing with every stroke. Due to Sasha's great steering we were able to get a fairly quick bump slightly after Grassy.

Uploaded Wednesday 12th June, 19:41

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3rd Women's VIII

Bow: Sophie Meuwissen, 2: Rachel Wijsmuller, 3: Emma Cross, 4: Jo Kerr, 5: Maria Gorinova, 6: Anna Ritchie, 7: Betsy‑Ann Ward, Stroke: Molly Spink, Cox: Alice Harvey‑Fishenden

UP THREE. Day 1: Bumped Selwyn III, Day 2: Rowed Over, Day 3: Bumped Hughes Hall II, Day 4: Bumped Queens III

Alice Harvey-Fishenden reports:

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Day One

Chasing Selwyn W3, chased by Robinson W2: bumped Selwyn

Today's race was a little bit disappointing in that we only got to do 5 strokes. However, we dealt well with the difficult conditions, and would have got Selwyn even without their bank mounting escapades. On the row down and row back we were technically much better than the crews around us: it looks like we'll get a proper chance to test ourselves and show what we can do against Murray Edwards tomorrow. So a good result today, tomorrow will hopefully be even better.

Uploaded Wednesday 12th June, 23:25

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4th Men's VIII

Bow: Alex Gunawan, 2: Sanketh Rampes, 3: Christian Hampel, 4: Robin Elliott, 5: Joe Snelling, 6: Yinglun Teng, 7: Daniel Marquard, Stroke: Evan King, Cox: Nina Fletcher

DOWN SIX. Day 1: Bumped by Fitzwilliam III, Day 2: Bumped by Emmanuel IV, Day 3: Bumped Emmanuel IV, Day 4: Double-overbumped by Clare V


4th Women's VIII

Bow: Yinan Wan, 2: Federica Toniolo, 3: Jenny Overton, 4: Liz Phillips, 5: Sian Williams, 6: Sareeka Linton, 7: Luiza Peruffo, Stroke: Imogen Garner, Cox: Andrew Hunt

DOWN FOUR. Day 1: Bumped by King's III, Day 2: Bumped by Robinson II, Day 3: Bumped Robinson II, Day 4: Overbumped by Queens IV


5th Men's VIII

Bow: James Cooper, 2: Guy Norman, 3: David Jenkinson, 4: Sam Burnell, 5: Philip Garsed, 6: Michael Cole, 7: Nick Wise, Stroke: James Hynard, Cox: Rachel Wijsmuller

UP NINE. Day 1: Bumped Girton IV, Day 2: Bumped Downing IV, Day 3: Bumped Homerton III and then Selwyn IV, Day 4: Double-overbumped Clare IV

James Hynard reports:

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Day One

Chasing Girton IV, being chased by Emma V

A pretty simple bump on the first day. The row down felt good, and whilst our practice starts were a bit scrappy due to the extra adrenaline of race day, they maintained their characteristic rapidity and drew many admiring looks from the huge crowds massed on the banks who had come down to catch a glimpse of the best specimens that rowing at Cambridge has to offer. When it came to the real start it was again not super smooth, but pretty damn fast. The rate meter read 98 but the consensus is that that reading was a mechanical error: we reckon it was more like a steady 74. The whistles and subsequent bell came very fast and we found ourselves bumping Girton before first post corner before we'd really had a chance to get out of our start sequence and hit a nice steady rhythm, so we've yet to see how we'll row when tested over longer distances. But a good confidence booster on the first day which didn't test our fitness, much to the disappointment of all in our boat following our 2 month long intesive fitness regime and rigorous rowing schedule. We'd like to thank Girton for being excellent sportsmen and being very generous with their praise: best of luck for the rest of bumps. Same again tomorrow!

Day 2

Chasing Downing V, being chased by Girton IV

We were chasing a rugby boat today, so we knew that we'd be facing a crew who were as much finely tuned, highly prepared and immensely fit athletes as we were. As such we extended our warm up routine to make sure our bodies were raring to go. Eight 6.45 2ks on the ergs later (and that was just Rachel) and we were ready to go. It was pretty windy today, so we wanted to get the bump in the bag quickly. Following a more relaxed start, possibly due to the distraction of some interesting starting angles of the boats behind us, we found a nice rhythm off the start sequence and got the bump a few strokes later, again just on first post corner. We rowed back speedily in order to get Rachel back for her W3 campaign, and tackled the wind nicely on the reach. Some more humorous exercises once we'd passed our massed ranks of fans allowed us to relax out of our extremely focused racing mindsets. We're hoping for more of the same tomorrow, and if we do make it to a corner, we know that we've yet to unleash the fearsome cornering skills of Rachel. Bring it on.

Day 3

Race 1 in Division 6: Chasing Homerton III, being chased by Downing V

Race 2 in Division 5: Chasing Selwyn IV

3 races and 2 bumps today. Needless to say, our most tiring but also our most satisfying day today. We started off chasing Homerton III for leadership of Division 6. Despite a couple of very nice practice starts on the row down, our actual start was a bit scrappy, with a mixture of overconfidence and adrenaline making it a bit frantic. Nevertheless we closed on Homerton fairly quickly, getting the bump at the end of the gut, but we knew we'd have to up our game for the next race.

Having spun and rowed to the lock, we started the next race at the bottom of Division 5 chasing a decent Selwyn crew, who were chasing a Corpus gladiator boat in front. A much better start, and we were just about to get two whistles when carnage in front meant we had to hold it up. Thankfully a re-row was decreed for the bottom three boats, but we knew we had to row hard and well second time around because Selwyn had been on two whistles on Corpus when the race was stopped. We moved up the river to start under the motorway bridge, though thankfully with no cannons. The vagaries of pushing off meant we actually started closer to 2 than 1 1/2 lengths behind Selwyn, so even though we had another excellent start it took a while to get the first whistle. Thankfully Corpus had been rowing strongly in front of Selwyn, and the power notcieably surged through our boat as the whistles started coming thick and fast, leading to the bump on First Post corner. We've now consolidated M5's place in Divison 5, negating the need for the GoR race next year, which is fantastic, and blades is on! Yellow Fire!

Crew Profiles

As we head towards the last day of bumps, there have been calls from our large fanclub to be granted a bit of an insight into the nine spectacular but enigmatic specimens that constitute M5, so here's a quick intro to the crew.

At bow sits Copper. Don't be fooled by his boyish good looks and blonde locks, this one's a fighter! A member of the Cambridge Mixed Martial Arts club, his job is to physically persuade the opposition cox into conceding once we've got the overlap if they're showing some reluctance. At 2, Guy is the philosopher and the fashionable one of the boat. His immaculate dress sense sees him wearing such classics as the all-in-one under jeans, and as a student of philosophy he balances out the dominance of engineers in the rest of the boat. At 3 is David, who organises the crew outings and meeting times and is the resident expert on ales. Unfortunately, this expertise has been neglected as of late due to the lash ban which M5 has had in place for the last four weeks. At 4 is Sam, known as 'Buns' for his rear of steel. He's also a logistical deity who demonstrates an intimidating knowledge (and folder of excel spreadsheets) of French ski resorts. He's the keen one in the crew, always asking for one more piece or erg. At 5 is Gars, an old head on marginally older shoulders (he was a breech birth). He calculates that he's done 50 previous bumps races, and so brings an invaluable store of experience and wise advice to the boat. At 6 is Mikey, the dreamey one. With his charming and omnipresent smile and easygoing attitude, he's a hit with the ladies and a calming influence in the boat. At 7 is Nick, who as the Colonel of the world famous Colonel Spankey's Love Ensemble brings some jazz coolness to the boat, as well as a lifetime's supply of maltloaf and a wicked sense of humour which keeps the rest of the crew on their toes. At stroke is James, the hot one who refers to himself in the third person. Watch yourself on those cheekbones: they're sharp! And keeping these eight hunky men in line is the cox, Rachel, whose cornering is the best on the Cam. Her experience and agression are priceless assets. Also rowing in W3, she's showing the men how it should be done by already getting 6 bumps this Mays! And that's all of us, we look forward to enjoying your support tomorrow!

Day 4

Chasing Corpus III, chased by Selwyn. May have ended up kinda probably double-overbumping Clare M4. Awkward.

First of all, an apology to our M4. You have been very gracious about Saturday's events, but clearly our crews were the wrong way around and if we had got them right then we could have avoided having two Clare crews compete with each other and you may well have had a very successful campaign a bit lower down the order. But, as you know, we did not realise that M5 were the faster crew until yesterday, and the crew order was an honest reflection of our assumptions rather than a dishonest attempt to produce a successful Bumps campaign. We never seriously envisaged our crews directly competing.

Having offered our apologies, I hope no-one minds if I right a full race report for what was a good race. We were setting off second from last in Division 5, being chased by a Selwyn crew who had been bumped by us the day before but chasing a Corpus crew which we knew were strong. Our start was good and our rowing tidy, but we perhaps didn't put down as much power as we should have and althouhg we closed to two whistles on Corpus, they bumped Queens in front of them before the motorway bridge. Rachel masterfully wound us down to avoid carange, before calling us back up to a very good feeling rate 32 appropriate for the longer race we knew we now had ahead. At this stage we still did not know that we were chasing Clare, but as we passed other banked up crews and came into view of M4 ahead of us into the Gut it became clear what the situation was. Nevertheless, the possibility of blades and the competitive spirit of M5's individuals meant that we were still going to race them to the best of our ability. Coming around Grassy, Rachel again proved her skill and experience in avoiding a Magdelene crew which had not fully cleared. We kept our rate 32 going very nicely, which was a pleasant surprise considering our lack of any extended pieces in training. Rachel's calling of the slowly but steadily decreasing gap kept our motivation up, and as we hit the Long Reach we knew that if we could keep strong in the wind we had a good chance. Sure enough, the rate dropped slightly but the power and platform remained and we quickly closed the gap to M4, eventually passing their bow ball further down the Long Reach. It was great rowing from us, and a very satisfying way in which to gain our blades and conclude a Bumps campaign in which we had gone up 9, although obviously tainted by the bumping of our own crew. It was a great crew to row in, so my thanks to all the other members for such an enjoyable term and week. Our success was topped off by Rachel immediately after bumping in W3, bringing her total gain this Bumps campaign (her last at Cambridge) to up 12 - triple Blades due perhaps?!

Uploaded Sunday 16th June, 17:38

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6th Men's VIII

Bow: Richard Andrews, 2: Joe Brownrigg, 3: Elliot Fitzgerald/Matt Battison, 4: Callum Burgess, 5: Callum Wayne/Calvin Khaing, 6: Sam Wagge, 7: Ed Pilkington, Stroke: Lawrence Rowles/Dominic Carr, Cox: Georgie Frank

STAYED LEVEL. Day 1: Bumped Corpus IV, Day 2: Rowed Over (Technical Result), Day 3: Rowed Over, Day 4: Bumped by Churchill III

Sean True reports:

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A good first experience of bumps for all of us. Unlucky to miss out on the bump on day 3 thanks to dodgy communication from the bank, but a great row to stay level whilst being an M6 amongst other college's third boats.

Uploaded Sunday 16th June, 4:03

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