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Fairbairns 2016

Thursday 1st - Friday 2nd December

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

1st Men's VIII

Bow: Ben Leitch, 2: Adam Harrison, 3: Matt Simpson, 4: Rory Fairhead, 5: James Henderson, 6: Gabriel Bliard, 7: Euan Beck, Stroke: Jordan Ward‑Williams, Cox: Julia Kelsoe

Third Fastest Men's Senior VIII in a time of 14:57.9

DidYouKnowITrialled Simpson reports:


What a result! After a term of fairly mixed feelings and perhaps not as much confidence as we should have had we really pulled the rabbit out of the fire on this one. We've been reborn from the ashes of the panic bow rigged double bucket to come out as the third fastest Cambridge college VIII.

We started the day on the ball with a pre-race outing warm up down the reach to get rid of any pre-race nerves. We were able to pull in at city and get out of the boat after we had marshaled, which made things much more comfortable. As we waited for things to get going we kept warm with some stretched on the bank, of course peackocking our glorious Fairbairns leggings to scare the surrounding crews.

Once we pushed off things got going fairly quickly. The start was quite quiet and the boat felt a little nervous but Julia was able to reassure us and we just took it all in our stride. The start of the race felt heavy as the timing wasn't quite perfect. Julia quickly snapped us into shape as we rowed past Clare and we really started to move. Every stroke was treated as one less stroke to do in the race so we gave it our all on each one. We successfully navigated the Cantabs corner and Green Dragon Bridge with some decent lines and made our way towards the P&E. At this point the plan was to reset the pace with 2x10 pressure strokes focusing on the finish. It was at this point we had our first sighting of Caius down the river, I thought it looked like they were building into us at this point so the pressure was on. However, Julia informed us we had made some serious ground on FaTs and told us we were 6 boat lengths away from them (although she admits she was being generous to us).

If there was any time for us to really stuck some fucks into it it would be as we made our way onto the reach. At this point we followed the race plan to do 2x20 full power strokes to see us down to the spinning zone. JWW was able to do a fantastic job keeping the rate at a good level, perhaps due to the fact that Gripper had sneaked a clam onto his blade as we pushed off without the rest of us noticing... We bought it round Ditton with some good confidence as Julia had informed us we were continuing to gain on FaTs. We stormed through Plough reach, sufficiently hanging out of our arses as Gripper had instructed us to be. Grassy was always going to be a tough part of the course. Adam and Rory had perhaps psyched themselves up a little too early as it sounded like they were already going full power before Julia had begun to take the corner. As Julia called for them to start driving us round we helped them through it with words of encouragement coming from the rest of us in the boat. They did a great job and as we straightened out we reset and got ready for the final push.

We were 2 1/2 boat lengths from FaT and we really gave it our all to eat into them as we made our way toward the motorway bridge. Our plan was to give it everything and slowly let the rate come up by 1 or 2 pips. At this point we were all focused on the row, it was painful but we didn't have much longer to go. Caius reappeared round first post corner, this time looking much smaller. Going through the motorway bridge we had our finial push. The distance to the finish felt much longer than I anticipated but we kept going and smashed it past the line, leaving everything we had on the course.

Special thanks to Julia for being a great cox this term, and for the race cakes and the lovely post Fairbairns crew meal. Thank you Gripper for sticking by us and driving us forward, even through the panic double bucket. Thanks to Seb and Shep for coaching us this term and ironing out our technique. And thanks to Andy J for bringing it all together and for giving us the confidence to get a solid result. Well done to Jon for also getting a solid time in 'CULRC MI'. We're looking forward to next term where we'll hopefully be able to drag ourselves up from 14th place in Lent Bumps.

Uploaded Wednesday 7th December, 13:20


1st Women's VIII

Bow: Katie Irwin, 2: Helen Llambias Maw, 3: Tamsin Bell, 4: Philippa Slay, 5: Edith Ross, 6: Robyn Hamer, 7: Ariane Dupas, Stroke: Anna Peel, Cox: Harry Ellison‑Wright

Fastest Women's Senior 1st VIII in a time of 17:02.0

Philippa Slay reports:


To say the very least about Fairbains - we absolutely smashed it. FIRST TIME EVER THAT THE CLARE SENIOR WOMEN HAVE WON FAIRBAINS!

On the day of the race, nerves were at their highest, we were all feeling the pressure of producing the result we had trained so hard for. After cheering on strong performances from the men's boats and W2 it was time for us to focus. We warmed up and boated down to City. In classic head race style our division was running late so we headed back to Clare to keep warm. After much huddling in the cold the race was suddenly upon us and it was time to put into practice what we knew we were capable of.

We had a very solid start, rating a nice 35 which only increased as we neared Clare since the cheering from the boathouse was insane. After the footbridge we settled into a good rhythm and I mainly remember being in pain after that. Gripper's calls that we were gaining on Downing helped us push on, and as we reached Green Dragon our plan was to re-establish race pace but we were already rating a solid 34 which we upped to 35. The P&E, the reach and the corners were all long and painful and it was only thanks to the perfectly timed calls from our cox Harry that we maintained the focus, power and rate throughout.

From First Post it was simply a matter of counting down the strokes to the finish line. Reaching the finish the crew behind us were completely out of sight, which was just as well seeing as we were in no fit state to row on anytime too soon. We had done it and we couldn't have pushed harder. Everyone gave it their absolute all, we had succeeded in 'beasting it'.

Post race lunch with M1 was spent anxiously checking for results, and after some confusion we realised that we had indeed won! An "it's fine" from Edith confirmed our victory as the fastest college VIII.

I could not have be more honoured to have rowed with each and every girl in the boat this term, and of course a tremendous thank you is deserved by our wonderful cox Harry. Thank you to Gripper and Bevans for putting up with and coaching us this term, it's clearly worked out well.

It's been such an experience and to have won all three of the head races this term has been amazing. Perhaps in 2051 we'll be back in yellow for our 35 year reunion, just as the men who won in 1981 were this year!

Uploaded Thursday 8th December, 20:21


Photos of the 1st Women's VIII: click to view full size.

2nd Men's VIII

Bow: Ollie Dutton, 2: Matthew Coates, 3: Harry Perkin, 4: Tom Nixon, 5: Will Broadbelt, 6: Vikram Thakur, 7: Alistair Brown, Stroke: Jason Delp, Cox: Clement Chan

3rd fastest Men's Senior VIII in a time of 16:15.1

2nd Women's VIII

Bow: Josie Newman, 2: Marta Uncio‑Ribera, 3: Elly Cockman, 4: Ran Huo, 5: Vashti Davies, 6: Rachael Young, 7: Rosie Vince, Stroke: Katie Wilkinson, Cox: Alex Horne

2nd fastest Women's Senior 2nd VIII in a time of 18:32.1

Josie Newman reports:


It was the race we had been working up to all term, so we went into Fairbairns wanting to make all the training worth it. After an interesting ‘active warm-up’ from Chrysa, we got the boat ready and paddled down towards Jesus lock. There was a long wait to race as we filled up on sweets, but eventually we spun and were ready to go.

We started with a few strong strokes, and quickly wound it up to be at full speed and rate 33 as we passed the start mark. As we came past Clare the cheers were huge, and this motivated us to push through the first section of the race. By the Green Dragon we were feeling it, but knew it was pretty much a straight line between there and the top of the reach. We were aware we had to maintain the high rate for a while longer, so we fixated on Alex’s focus calls and Chrysa's encouragement from the bank to get us to Ditton. By this point it was really tough, but we knew where we were, and only had three corners and three stretches left. Alex held great lines round the last corners, and after First Post we emptied the tanks to the finish. We thought this was the motorway bridge… it wasn’t… so although the actual finish wasn’t our strongest we did keep it going until the end.

Our reward was a festive, musical row back and huge amounts of cake at the boathouse while we supported the later Clare crews. Overall we were the second fastest W2 – not far off the fastest W2 and we beat a fair few W1s! This ended a rowing term that we’ve all loved and can be super proud of.

Uploaded Friday 9th December, 14:18


3rd Women's VIII

Bow: Megan Jones, 2: Nina Cooper, 3: Danielle Saunders, 4: Abbie Currington, 5: Miriam Gordon, 6: Rosie Ugur, 7: Enlli Lewis, Stroke: Alexandra Ridley, Cox: Ben Williams

Only Women's Senior 3rd VIII in a time of 20:32.6, beat Sidney W1, Darwin W2

Anna Peel reports:


Megan Jones reports:

We arrived at the start point early and preemptively turned to be facing the way to race. This apparently was not the way we were supposed to be facing and we considered another of Ben Williams’ skilled 180° turns, but as more boats arrived we decided to stay put. We waited in this spot for roughly 2 hours due to an escaped barge, but our spirits were not dampened! As our boat burst into renditions of Taylor Swift, we encouraged other boats to dance along and keep warm. Soon enough our time to start came - the boat felt amazingly together during the race and the encouragement coming from our wonderful cox kept us going right up to the motorway bridge and beyond! This was without a doubt, the best our boat had rowed all term. The boat was in high spirits on the row home, Canadian rowing was attempted and many a song broke out.

Uploaded Monday 12th December, 18:06


1st Novice Women's VIII

Bow: Olivia Brett, 2: Amelia Fitch, 3: Abbie Currington, 4: Kerry Smith, 5: Leah Grant, 6: Eilidh Thompson, 7: Ella Witts, Stroke: Jamie Fox, Cox: Olivia Scalise‑Gaspar

5th fastest 1st Novice Women's VIII in a time of 12.10.8

Ariane Dupas reports:


Fairburns was the icing on cake for this NW1 crew. We worked hard this term and grew from frustrating outings to a seasoned, confident group of strong rowers. The firs few times we tried all eights, feathered blades, the boat was tipped back and fourth for most strokes. This race showed the unbelievable strides each of us made over the term to come together and make our boat glide. Fairburns was the the longest race any one of us had raced. At least of a few of us, myself included, were nervous about keeping up the pace and power. Our Cox, Olivia, really pulled us together by splitting the race into three sections, and resetting us to start with fresh energy for the next section. In this way, we were able to keep up the pace of our stellar stroke, Jamie, and put power down the entirety of the race. The start of race began flawlessly with a running start. The nerves melted away immediately as Olivia gave the command for the three draws and the three strokes to lengthen. She settled us into a nice 32 rhythm. Jamie has an uncanny ability to match Olivia’s pace commands right on the spot. Around the mid point of the race we caught a crab, but it was recovered beautifully. Before the end of the race we caught several more crabs, but again, each time they recovered within a few strokes, and we were able to finish with an incredibly strong time. Olivia kept our motivation and power up by going through power 10s multiple times to the finish line. In my opinion, the row back to the boathouse was just as spectacular as the race. We practiced role-ups with increasing holding time. Even in this last row, we seemed to improve. After sitting the boat perfectly during a role-up stroke, a few people would let out a cheer. Each person in the boat had the biggest smile across their face when we pulled up in front of the boathouse. All in all, we’re excited to continue rowing in the next term, and also a little sad to know our Novice W1 boat won’t be together after the end of this term.

written by Amelia

Uploaded Friday 9th December, 18:30