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Fairbairns 2017

Thursday 30th November - Friday 1st December

Previous event: Clare Novices' Regatta - Following event: Christmas Head

1st Men's VIII

Bow: Ollie Dutton, 2: Jordan Ward‑Williams, 3: Jordan Thornton, 4: Dylan Braithwaite, 5: Will Broadbelt, 6: Matt Simpson, 7: Alistair Brown, Stroke: Gabriel Bliard, Cox: Clement Chan

15:37.0 draw 5th college crew (9th overall)

Gabriel Bliard reports:

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After a hard and long term of training, this was the race we had prepared for, and we were ready to give it our best shot.

As we had agreed with gripper, the goal was to start hard, row hard and finish hard.

The crew felt quite confident it could keep its own for the race. We had just had 2 weeks of sharpening up with Andy J and had really come together as a crew.

However, as race day came, the temperatures were close to 0°C and the prospect of the race became slightly more unpleasant.

Despite Jesus and Caius forgetting that prepaddles were forbidden on that day, we didn't take the bait and decided to have a solid ergo warm up before marshaling.

Heads were in the boat for the row up, except for Clement who decided to have this year's first small crash 25 minutes before the race. Nothing serious though, and we were back on it. The boat felt powerful and fast on the steady state (with our new fat blades) and we knew this would translate into the race.

We didn't get too cold before the race and got ready for our standing start to get the adrenaline pumping.

"Attention... GO!" We all had strong muscle memory associated to those two words and calmly but efficiently brought the boat up to speed with our start at r40. It wasn't our best start, but by the tenth stroke, we lengthened and quickly rowed past CBC at r37 cheered on by all 12 empty ergs in the boathouse.

We powered on through our first 5 minute segment around r34. The race was quite silent for the first few minutes until Matt shouted out a "Yeah boys", or a "quick on the front" a little before the green dragon bridge. As planned, we attacked the 2nd 5 minute piece as if it were the last one and brought the rate back up to 35-36.

At the P&E, Clement shouted that we were gaining on Jesus. This gave us an extra boost of motivation since we wanted to catch up to them enough so that they couldn't lie about their time (more on that later). On the reach, we did the usual 3*20. At this point, the cold was biting our fingers and the rowing was burning our leg.

Soon enough though we wouldn't feel anything anymore. As we passed Ditton corner, we knew this course, we had raced those 4 minutes so many times before.

We flew by the corners better than most days and brought up the rate again for the final sprint which lasted longer than I expected but after that final push we finally made it through the finish line, still gaining on Jesus M1. (Who took Matt's comment ("I think we beat you") quite sourly and shaved another 30s off their published time.)

It was a good race, and everyone in the crew gave it everything they had. Despite the crew having an average weight below 70kg and only having 3 2016 fairbairns M1 rowers, we gave it a really good shot. The result is promising for the next two terms !

The entire crew was also very happy & honoured to meet the 1981 Clare M1 crew who had won the Fairbairns then and raced this same day in the "Spirit of '81".

Uploaded Monday 11th December, 19:11

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1st Women's VIII

Bow: Vashti Davies, 2: Ran Huo, 3: Katie Irwin, 4: Eilidh Thompson, 5: Bethany Mason, 6: Olivia Brett, 7: Marta Uncio‑Ribera, Stroke: Ariane Dupas, Cox: Ben Williams

5th Women 1st College 8+ in 17:48.5mins

Ariane Dupas reports:

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Katie Irwin reports:\r\nFairbairns. What a joy.\r\nWe had been working up to this race all term, and there was an air of anticipation when we arrived at the boat house. But not for long; Gripper soon had us cleaning Penny’s sliders, anything to shave off a second or two (and a welcome distraction)! After much deliberation over how many layers to wear, we did an erg warm up, jumped in the sparkling and gleaming Penny and rowed down towards Jesus Lock to marshal. The freezing temperatures and long wait meant our muscles were slightly stiff when we started, but we soon warmed up!\r\nOur standing start was questionable, but we were speedy and sat by the time we crossed the start line at rate 33. As we passed the boat houses, we were keen to attack the race and not hold anything back, so much so that we made gains on the Goldie boat in front. Only aiming for the next bridge or landmark helped to keep the focus and intensity, and we were at the Reach before we knew it. Here, we did three lots of twenty strokes, and by Ditton we were hanging on at around rate 34 as the lactic acid was building up. The rest of the race is a bit of a blur, with Ben and Gripper shouting encouragements/orders/POOOWEEER. We had a final push as we rowed under the motorway bridge to the finish, although at that point we were running on empty.\r\nIt was a good race and a committed effort from all involved: special thanks to Ben for some fab coxing, and to Gripper for his super coaching and incredibly loud shouting. Now we’re all off to get matching tattoos, something about toughening us up, and will be back next term after some quality holiday training in all the blazing ferocity of our YELLOW FIRE. \r\n

Uploaded Saturday 16th December, 14:06

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2nd Men's VIII

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2nd Women's VIII

Bow: Josie Newman, 2: Eva Roney, 3: Abbie Currington, 4: Nina Cooper, 5: Elizabeth Wlodek, 6: Lottie Thompson, 7: Jess Lindley, Stroke: Hermione Burn, Cox: Enlli Lewis

4th fastest W2 in a time of 19:47

Jess Lindley reports:

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Michaelmas W2 didn’t like to do things by the book. Sit the boat? Why should we, they cried. Wait for the atbh time before deciding that the flag isn’t going to change? Oh no, not sure about that. Have a crew set for the whole term and have actually raced together before? Other people may row like that, but Certainly Not Us. Even once the Winter Head rolled around and they realised that they were indeed capable of a fairly decent, speedy r32, did they replicate in the last few weeks of outings? No. Of course not.

So around rolled Fairbairns, and W2 approached it with some trepidation. Would the rate get up to where it needed to be? Would bowside’s blades ever be off the water during the recovery? Nobody knew, and 4.3k is a long way. Armed with many layers apiece, the intrepid rowers set off in the direction of their Jesus Lock marshalling post to find out. The clear skies of Cambridge shone with icy sunshine as they sat, huddled and freezing, participating in synchronised arm motions in an attempts to prevent complete metamorphosis into nine miniature icebergs. Spurred on by their cox’s threat to switch into Welsh should things go too badly (‘row faster’ sounds a lot more frightening in Welsh’), they eventually made it to the start line, still not knowing quite what to expect.

The start was beautiful. Thoughts of the Winter Head crossed many a mind and we sped past CBC and under the first couple of bridges easily. It was perhaps not the Best Rowing Ever but it was functional and fast. By the time we reached the P&E, though, frozen hands were making their presence known and a couple of crabs slowed us slightly as we crossed the halfway point. The reach was a fight, and 4.3k was feeling not only like a very long way, but also like a very stupid idea….And here, the idiosyncrasies of W2 intuition came into play. We were tired, and wanted to stop rowing. So, at the top of the reach, just short of Ditton, we decided to take a break. And what better excuse for a break than a blade in the lap and a handle in the river? We had a good 90 seconds of breather (and some blade-grappling to boot), our cox graciously allowing Catz W2 to pass us and requesting a tap from bow. Then we were off again, feeling refreshed and revitalised, stern pair upping the rate so fast that rumour has it they appeared to our bankparty only as a blur…The whole boat feeling extraordinarily well-rested, everyone pushed harder and we sped around the corners, surging through the gut and under the motorway bridge, where shouts of a long-finished W1 greeted us, spurring us on to the finish. It finally came. We wound it down. And then, because we don’t follow anyone’s rules and certainly not Jesus’, we marshalled as close to the middle of the river as we could and rowed home past all the stationary crews who were probably a lot colder than we were…

It was an interesting race, and shouts must go to Chrysa, for bankpartying us through all the mess and still smiling at the end, and Enlli for her brilliant coxing in times of crisis. We are proud to report that we channelled the energies of our Greek coach and Classicist cox, coming just 30 seconds behind the div winners and offering the proof that the world has been waiting for since writing The Hare and the Tortoise: have a rest halfway through and you’ll be much faster. Aesop would be proud.

Uploaded Wednesday 13th December, 8:17

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1st Novice Men's VIII

Bow: George Baker, 2: Kian Djedi, 3: Josh Elias, 4: Orestis Karapiperis, 5: Sean Jordan, 6: Theo Redfern‑Nichols, 7: Sam Martin, Stroke: Reed Morgan, Cox: Mimo Sandford

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