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Lent Bumps 2007

Tuesday 27th February - Saturday 3rd March

Previous event: Lent Bumps Getting-on Race - Following event: Cardinals Regatta

1st Men's VIII

Bow: Will Kerr‑Muir, 2: Ed Day, 3: Philip Garsed, 4: Ben Evans, 5: David Hardeman, 6: David O'Brien, 7: Chris Baker, Stroke: Joel Jennings, Cox: Mary Flook/Sarah Moore

UP 2 - Day 1: Rowed over, Day 2: Bumped Queens', Day 3: Rowed over, Day 4: Bumped Churchill.

Richard Barnwell reports:


Day 1: After coming off the back of a strong few weeks, M1 were confident they could do the business. We had proven ourselves to be one of the quickest crews on the river and were relishing the chance to attack Trinity Hall.

The start was pretty average by all accounts - there didn't seem to be much of a rhythm and the boat didn't fly as it had done in training. Trinity Hall had gone off like they were about to get bumped, whilst Pembroke (chasing) had a similar start to us, the overall result of this meaning that the gaps to both crews were maintained for the first 20 or so strokes. Unfortunately for us, Trinity Hall were chasing a particularly slow Queens boat, and bumped out at head station. By now, Pembroke had started to push and move up on us, hoping to catch us demoralised at the thought of a row-over and were within station around first post corner. Still, the rhythm didn't seem to be there, and out of grassy, Pembroke were really throwing the kitchen sink at it, as they moved to within 3/4 of a length by Ditton. I was personally beginning to panic a bit, as Pembroke were looking pretty determined. When we moved onto the reach, we really had to knuckle down, as there was a horrendous headwind causing waves to crash over the riggers, which literally put the brakes on the boat speed. It was here that Pembroke's earlier exertion began to show, as their weary 3 man caught a crab, immediately dropping them back. From thereon in, we seemed to relax. Finally the rhythm came, and we began to eat up the reach. The gap to Pembroke steadily increased, and by the finish line, we were probably 4 lengths clear.

A bit of a disappointing result and not our best rowing, but now we've all got over the first day nerves, I have a feeling we might have an early meeting with Queens tomorrow...

Day 2: There's no such thing as a certain bump, but this one was always on - Trinity Hall bumped Queens within a minute and a half yesterday, and we'd been on station with Trinity Hall, so the equation was simple - as long as the guys were at least as good as yesterday's mediocre race, then we'd have a long row home covered in foliage.

As it happened, it was far better - having dispelled yesterday's nerves, the start was a lot stronger, and the length whistle was blown approaching the motorway bridge as Pembroke dropped away by half a length. The half length whistle came shortly after the bridge, and before I knew it, the Queens cox had their hand in the air to concede and we had them by the third station!

Clare M1 is now in the highest Lents position it's been in for 15 years, and although tomorrow will no doubt be tougher, if we can reproduce the same form we showed today, we'll probably be even higher...

Day 3: Trinity Hall rowed over yesterday, so it would be them that we were to chase today. There was going to be no pressure from behind, as Pembroke were going to dispatch Queens along first post reach, so all the focus could go into trying to grind Trinity Hall down. From the first day, it was clear they were going to be no pushover - their crew had obviously been completely changed since their dire performance at Peterborough.

The start was pretty good, and as we surged along the reach, we moved inside station approaching the corner. Queens, as expected, had wasted their time by bothering to turn up, and were easy meat for Pembroke. Rounding first post corner, we seemed to lose momentum, and Trinity Hall pushed away. Grassy, however, was better, and we moved back on station. Along plough reach, Trinity Hall were now half a length off of a resilient Churchill, and made a big move going into Ditton. Unfortunately, we couldn't raise our game to match, and we stayed about 2 lengths off along the first half of the reach whilst Trinity Hall appeared to attempt to overtake Churchill... The (now) inevitable bump happened ahead about midway down the reach, and as we passed the stationary crews, we sensibly wound it down - initially to 32, but then to 28 or so, to conserve energy for tomorrow.

All in all, a pretty good effort today. Trinity Hall have been a bit of a surprise, and we appear evenly matched. Hopefully this means that we too will be paying Churchill a visit...

Day 4: It seemed that half of Clare college had turned up to support the crews today - grassy corner was awash with black and yellow! On the row up, the guys tried to show no emotion amid the cheering, but it was basically impossible - they all had stupid grins across their faces whilst trying to stay focussed and there was even a nonchalant little wave from Ed as he acknowledged his many adoring fans... This crowd was to have a role in the ensuing race.

After a good start we remained on station with Churchill down to to first post corner. Pembroke had dropped away by half a length or so (I really think this shows how we improved during the week - on Wednesday I was worried about them, but they never really became a part of the equation on Saturday...) Churchill were really going for it, and were within a length of Trinity Hall exiting the corner. Along the gut we pushed on and began to close the gap, with Churchill all the time bearing down on Trinity Hall. Approaching grassy, the wall of noise hit us. It was phenominal! Despite none of the crew being able to hear Mary's calls for the next 20 strokes, they used the energy of the crowd to nail grassy (there was even a war-cry from Joel at stroke) and to close within half a length of Churchill, who were now beginning to pay for their earlier exertions. Mary must also be commended for steering a brilliant course, losing little momentum as she took the racing line. The 'kill call' hooter now made its first (of many) appearances, and we took it up another gear. Churchill naturally responded, and I was concerned that they might hold us off for ages like they did to Trinity Hall the previous day. However, as soon as we were within a canvas, out came the bell, and 10 strokes later, that was that - the stroke blade of the Churchill boat made contact with our bows. This was all very well orchestrated, for the bump happened right in front of Nigel, about midway along Plough Reach.

After letting the rest of the division row past, collecting the appropriate foliage, sourcing a new cox from the stroke seat, sourcing a new rower from the cox seat, consuming their first alcoholic beverage for a couple of weeks and explaining to the new cox that it was indeed 'the other right' to steer right, the crew set off back home with a smile on their face, proud of what they'd achieved this week. Okay, so it wasn't the blades that had been hoped for, but we'll just have to pay Trinity Hall back for that next year! Without looking too far ahead though, 7 of the current crew should be available to row next term, so the Mays look very promising...

Uploaded Thursday 8th March, 19:53


Chris Baker reports:


A perspective from someone who rowed at Iffley Special School.

Day 1 Tit Hall didn't hit the bank during the warm up, they had clearly improved. They promptly bumped Queens' and left us to experience a lovely row over, twice as long as one is used to, not amused.

Day 2 Cruised into Queens', had to "row over" to get home, ironically amused.

Day 3 Once again we got some HORR practice in, lovely start, reasonable corners, but never found the extra gear required to take it to Tit Hall, slightly bemused.</P>

Day 4 Be it the early horn or insane amounts of cheering at grassy, we went into top gear, and Churchill. There is nothing better than being in a boat when it commits to a do or die move. That is how you bump, highly enthused.

I would like to thank all the supporters. Even though it is further from the boathouse than it was in Iffley, that was the most amazing support I have ever had. This is quite some boat club.

Uploaded Sunday 4th March, 23:53


Will Kerr-Muir reports:


Day 1: Not a great start, but once we'd held off Pembroke's manic wind in Plough Reach, culminating in a crab, there wasn't really any threat of a bump as we settled into a solid headwind rhythm.

Day 2: A pleasant outing on the river. We did a pretty sweet 30-stroke start after spinning down by the lock, and for the rest of the outing the paddling was solid. A shame we finished our start before we got to the JET photographer.

Day 3: Not a great row-over. We'll just have to get Churchill tomorrow.

Day 4: And get Churchill we did, with a big smear of pink paint on the bow. It was the air horn (Simmo's kill call) from half a length along with half of Clare cheering on Grassy corner that spurred everyone to empty the tanks, followed by the actual kill call, the bell, from Nick. The race plan was to bump in front of Nigel sitting on the bank, and it was executed with precision.

Uploaded Sunday 4th March, 17:40


Paddy O'Furniture reports:


Day 4: The epitomy of bumps racing. The sun was shining, the crowds were out, the deafening cheers of "GO CLARE!" echoed all around the county. Row down was good. Confident, proud, I might even go so far as to say arrogant (in a good way, of course!). Zoned in at the start, we knew what we had to do. We had caught Queens' quicker than Trinity Hall had, and they'd caught our current prey at about Ditton corner. In spite of those two rowing the entire course together on day 2, we were confident of a bump.

Good start saw us draw to 1 1/4 lengths almost immediately. Closed to 1 length around the gut despite the smashing down on bow side. Here the endless cheers of Ronan Keating + 7000 Clare supporters drowned out everything, and out of grassy corner we had closed even further to about 1/2. More worryingly, Churchill had closed to 3/4 length on Trinity Hall. Tom sounded the klaxon on the bank and we went into kill mode. I think I heard someone ask "Do you know what power strokes are?". From 1/2 it just went up and up and up, in no time we had overlap and a pink mark on our bows, right outside the Plough.

We had to work for that bump, but it was oh so worth it. Where's my Guinness?

Day 3: I had asked my special friend Ronan Keating to come down to the river and sing us a motivational song on the row up to the start, but he didn't. The practice start was fast and scrappy, the real start possibly a little bit neater, but we were all expecting to reel in Trinity Hall as fast as Queens' yesterday - not going to happen. We're faster than them, but not by that much!

Trinity Hall got Churchill by Ditton corner. Pembroke got Queens' behind. Somewhere down the reach we decided to save our efforts, wind down to a more comfortable 28 in order to recharge fully for Saturday's races.

Day 2: After the third practice start, we decided to get some greenery. It was a grand 40 second piece

Day 1: After a brief stop at the P & E (Penny Ferry) for a few pints of Guinness to keep us warm on the starting line, it was a gutsy row down with a fair few bursts (and quite a speed thanks to the enormous tailwind).

The start of the race was perhaps a little iffy, first-day-of-bumps syndrome certainly took its toll and despite all our efforts, only gained 1/4 of a length on Trinity Hall before they gained some serious ground on Queens' and bumped out before first post. The subsequent rowing round the corners saw Pembroke behind gaining slowly from about 2 1/2 lengths (up to a very ambitious call from their bank party of 1/2!) until the long reach where conditions were, quite frankly, not grand, to be sure.

With the potential overbump on Emma out of the question, we strode into a strong rhythm (albeit rather slow going) down the reach, witnessed a spectacular Pembroke crab just round Ditton corner and kept pushing from there to the finish. The tailwind we had witnessed on the way down was now manifested as a moderately strong headwind and made it a tricky row, but was kept together. Superb.

A disappointing result but a good row. Full commitment and more power tomorrow should lead to a very fast Queens' bump!

Right I'm off to the pub.

Uploaded Sunday 4th March, 17:33


Philip Garsed reports:


Day 1:

Day 1 was interesting... The weather conditions were pretty bad with a very strong headwind in the reach. Additionally, 1st day nerves were reasonably evident as we lacked some of the power and balance that we had had in previous weeks. Our start was acceptable but not as fast as we would have liked and we failed to close on Trinity Hall as much as we should have. However, this may have done us a favour, since they quickly bumped Queens, so the river was clear as we passed by. Unfortunately by Grassy, we were paying for our start and Pembroke, whom we had pushed away to over two lengths started coming up on us. Things got a bit hairy around Ditton as they closed to about a length, but then a combination of a fortuitous crab from Pembroke and us finding our rhythm as they lost theirs in the headwind saw us open the gap. From thereon, we felt reasonably safe and rowed home much more neatly. Possibly the most technically challenging race I've done yet, due to the conditions, but we stuck to our race plan. There was very little we could have done about Trinity Hall who got Queens far too quickly for us to do much about, and were faster than we had anticipated.

Day 2:

This was more like it! Following the appalling conditions and poor start of the previous day, we were ready to get Queens who had denied us a bump on Trinity Hall. Our practice starts felt solid and so we were confident as we sat at the start that the bump would be ours. On the gun we got off to a good start with the rate well into the 40s and got our first whistles as we finished our starting sequence. This gave us the motivation to increase the power further and soon we were on signals for overlap. For a brief moment there was some doubt as the distinctive sound of Nick's Bumps bell failed to materialise but seconds later we were holding it up. All in all we had been rowing for possibly less than a minute and I believe that the rate never really dropped below 40. In fact we bumped so early that we hadn't even got to first station when we were banked up! This is the sort of standard we should have had yesterday and hopefully we can use this tomorrow to get Trinity Hall. Queens on the other hand will almost certainly be getting a visit from Pembroke sometime early in the race....

Day 3:

We knew from the start that day 3 would be the toughest yet. For a start, Trinity Hall were quicker than we had initially thought (they appear to have done some serious stacking in their boat since earlier in the term). They were also chasing Churchill, who had already gone down one. We took it very hard off the start in an attempt to really push up on Trinity Hall before they could inflict any damage on Churchill. This took us up to a length and a quarter, but was not sufficient to get us the length whistle. Coming round Grassy, we didn't make as big a push as we should, with the lack of signals causing us to lose a bit of confidence. By the time we reached Ditton, Trinity Hall had masses of overlap on Churchill, and we still didn't have signals. Shortly afterwards, we passed Trinity Hall, bumped out a quarter of the way down the reach. With no crews chasing us apart from Magdalene, 7 places below us, we took the rate down to 28 and paddled home. This was a disappointing result, and we might have been able to make the bump on Trinity Hall if we had gone off the start a little harder, giving us the signals we needed to really push for the bump.

Day 4:

The final day of bumps, and our last chance to get ourselves comfortably inside the top 10. Following yesterday, we were determined not to let the bump escape us. The row up was incredible, with supporters all along the reach, and an enormous crowd at Grassy. My attempts to keep a serious rowing face around Grassy completely failed and I ended up with a stupid grin instead. Ed, I believe chose to do a royal wave... On the gun, we really laid the work down and did one of our fastest starts yet. Churchill also went off like a bat out of hell, desperate not to get bumped a third time. This meant that again we didn't get down to the length signal in the first couple of minutes. This time, however, we didn't lose faith and kept it powerful around first post corner. We started getting length signals in the gut and so took it up into Grassy corner. Here the cheers from the bank were deafening and we could hear neither our cox or the signals from the bank party. As we came out of Grassy, Simmo sounded his airhorn. He had told us at the start that this was to be the 'kill' call, so that's exactly what we started doing. In fact we were still about half a length away from Churchill and they were doing a good job of trying to push us away. (Simmo later claimed that he wasn't sure that the airhorn was working and he was in fact 'testing it'). Certain we were closing, we pushed again ..... and again as we heard the horn at least twice more. By this stage we were starting to wonder what was going on - the kill call after all is supposed to mean about 10 strokes left to row. Just then, however, Nick rang the bell and we just went for it. Finally I felt contact and we held it up. Our timing was impeccable, bumping in front of Nigel, and also just about when Churchill had closed to half a length on Trinity Hall. We also got a wonderful momento of a bright pink stripe from Churchill stroke's blade on the underside of our boat. This was certainly my first 'proper' bump - against a crew of a similar standard, and one I've had to really fight for. This makes it all the more rewarding. The row home was fun, although there was some decidedly dodgy coxing going on from our new 'cox'. I was impressed by our new sub at 7, however. It was a great end to the Lents, and puts Clare M1 at the highest place in Lents for over 15 years.

Uploaded Sunday 4th March, 15:43


Photos of the 1st Men's VIII: click to view full size. (see all 33 photos of this crew)

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


Bumping Churchill on Saturday

Hoardes of Clare students had come to support on the final day, and the guys didn't disappoint -they bumped Churchill right in front of Nigel, halfway down Plough Reach.

1st Women's VIII

Bow: Catherine Smith, 2: Mila Roode, 3: Helen Withers, 4: Jo Robinson, 5: Natalie Hope, 6: Holly Marsh, 7: Steph Caird, Stroke: Em McFadden, Cox: David Jones

DOWN 2 - Day 1: Rowed over on head station, Day 2: Rowed over on head station, Day 3: Bumped by First and Third, Day 4: Bumped by Jesus

David Jones reports:


Day 2: Much nicer conditions weather wise, with only a slight headwind down the reach. We knew we should be faster than Caius, having rowed over in front of them yesterday. We had a solid start, but Caius were clearly on a do-or-die strategy for the first two minutes, and closed in gradually round first post and down the gut to about half a length by Grassy. However, this is where their 'die' part of the strategy came in to effect (aided by a wide corner), and we took it away steadily down Plough reach and round Ditton. The four crews behind us then all bumped out, and we cruised home at r26. Day 2: Job done :-)

Uploaded Thursday 1st March, 18:43


Em McFadden reports:


Apprehensive about the gale-force winds, the start was a tad hurried and the rhythm took a few strokes to settle down. Pushes around the corners were good and took us to the Plough in a speedy 3:16, with Caius just outside station. Then we 'settled down' a bit further (to rate 28!) when we hit the vicious head wind and 2ft waves round Ditton – bow pair really feeling it! The longest reach EVER but we dealt with the conditions as well as possible and pulled away to 4-5 lengths by the railway bridge. The sheer relief in the wind shadow past the railway bridge led us to cruise home happily.

Day 1: Job done :-)

Uploaded Wednesday 28th February, 18:24


Photos of the 1st Women's VIII: click to view full size. (see all 13 photos of this crew)

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


Saturday's start

Saturday - W1 start to first post corner

2nd Men's VIII

Bow: Will Awde, 2: Matt Causier, 3: Joe Kibbler, 4: Thomas Boston, 5: George Gentsch, 6: Carlos del Cueto, 7: Andrew Ho, Stroke: Tom Nixon, Cox: James Michael

DOWN 3 - Day 1: Bumped by Fitz II, Day 2: Rowed over, Day 3: Bumped by Girton II, Day 4: Bumped by St Edmund's

Richard Barnwell reports:


Day 1: This is going to be one of those bumps on the charts that doesn't get anywhere near telling the full story...

After a semi-decent start, the guys hit rate 38, and while not as smooth as we know we can be, it was getting the job done - Caius were being hauled in. By the motorway bridge, the whistle for a length was given, and within a minute, we were already only half a length down! Admittedly Fitzwilliam had pulled to within a length of us, but they seemed to have used all their energy in doing so, and began to drop back. As the guys passed the top stations, the rowing was getting a bit rough round the edges, but Caius could do nothing about us and we moved to within a canvas. Approaching first post corner, the bell was sounded, which was the final signal to tell the crew to push on as they should hit within 5 strokes. Maybe it was this excitement, I don't know, but it was here that the rowing broke down, just as we had gained overlap with the Caius stern. Unfortunately, as the boat rocked, a crab was caught, which although initially recovered, was re-caught whilst trying to get back in time. This ultimately stopped the boat causing Fitzwilliam to bump us.

Although incredibly frustrating, there were a lot of positives to take away - we were quicker than the crews around us and we showed great determination. This means that if we really go for it like we mean it tomorrow, we can get ourselves back on track.

Day 2: Again, people will look back at the bumps charts one day to see that the Clare 2nd men's VIII rowed over on the second day of Lent bumps 2007, but that just doesn't do you guys justice.

Today's performance was quite simply awesome. It was really impressive the way you all stuck to the race plan: go out hard at the start, rating 38 or so and if there was a bump ahead, reset, move into head-race mode and and grind it out, hopefully resulting in an overbump.

The start was pretty good, and we immediately dropped the pursuing FaT IV boat, whilst staying on station with the Fitz crew in front. We settled into a much cleaner rate 38 than yesterday and pushed off of the motorway bridge. On the approach to first post corner, Fitz bumped Caius (which I sort of suspected would happen), and after a good bit of coxing by James, we were safely past them. It was here the 'reset' call came, and the rate came down, but the rowing was still strong, yet sustainable (great control Tom) and we began to munch into the distance between us and LMBC. Along the gut, I knew the overbump was on - we were closing in fast! A better line through grassy saw us take another half a length, and coming onto the reach, we were only 3 lengths down. As we rounded Ditton, we initally dealt so much better than LMBC in the gale force winds, and 3 lengths became 2 as we surged into the headwind. The conditions on the reach were atrocious, but it was testiment to your determination that you all stayed strong, and kept focussed on your technique. To be fair, it was the wind that saved LMBC, as they pushed on, and we were only able to take another half length of them along the whole of the reach. However, as soon as we moved under the railway bridge and into some shelter, we got a second wind (no pun intended) and made the final push for home. Considering how exhausted you all must have been, the boat flew - the rhythm was fantastic and before I knew it, we were only half a length behind LMBC. However, this came as we passed our finishing point, and we had to watch LMBC row up to their finish knowing that if we had just had that extra 300m, they were ours!

I have to say that that was the most gutsy bit of rowing I have ever seen - you really deserved to get them and I am incredibly proud of you all. We now know what we are capable of, so the Caius boatman had better be prepared for a big repair job on Friday night when the Clare M2 missile does the business on day three...

Day 3: I want to cry. Lots. Every single one of you must have offended many people in your previous lives, for to say you've had bad luck for the past few days doesn't come anywhere close. Caius were ours today, we knew that. We'd already 'had' them on day 1, so we knew a repeat performance without the panic at the bell would get the job done. What I didn't account for was Girton II being quite so fast...

We had our worst start of the week, as a mini crab was caught on the first draw strokes (but was quickly recovered), but from thereon we hit a strong rhythm, probably better than the start on day 2. As expected, we began to munch into Caius' lead, and the whistle for a length came at the motorway bridge. Girton had pushed on us too, and were within station. 15 strokes later, we recieved the whistle for half a length and pushed further into Caius. However, Girton were beginning to apply the pressure, and were now 3/4 of a length off of our stern. We moved swiftly to within a canvas of Caius, and out came the bell again. The bell initially seemed to work this time, and we had even more overlap on Caius as we'd had on Tuesday, but unfortunately, the rowing again lost a bit of its control, and a crab was caught for a stroke or two, slowing the momentum. This brought back a horrible sense of deja vu... The bell was still ringing, as we were still only a foot from the Caius stern, but this seemed to spur Girton on even more and they pushed for overlap on us. At this point, I had a bit of an accident on the towpath, as the bank-party for LMBC failed to clear after they'd been bumped, and when I next looked up, James had conceded, for Girton had the required amount of overlap as the crews rounded first post corner. Immediately there was confusion as to who had bumped whom, as one of the marshals suggested we may have had the required overlap to count as a 'bump' on Caius, before being bumped ourselves. The guys rowed home not knowing the outcome, with the possibility of a re-row looming for the three crews involved. However, after literally an hours deliberation, it was decided by the umpires that the Girton bump was to stand.

What can I say guys, you gave it your all again today, but events continue to conspire against you. Be positive about tomorrow, and hit it hard, who knows what might happen - you are due a bit of luck after all...

Day 4: Well, being due luck doesn't necessarily mean you're going to get some, and quite frankly, we didn't.

We were being chased by St Edmunds, who I'd guessed were probably going to be reasonably quick, and I'd hoped that they would push us into LMBC who were again our potential overbump (it was basically assumed that Girton would nail Caius pretty early on). Our plan was to go out hard initially, until Girton bumped out or we caught them, and then settle into a strong head-race rhythm (basically identical to the plan on day 2) and hopefully reel in any slow crews in front.

We had a strong start and possibly settled into our best rhythm of the week as we stayed on station with the surrounding two crews. Approaching first post corner, Girton were no longer part of the equation as they'd bumped Caius, who were closing on LMBC at the time. The call came to reset and see that we did enough to push off of St Edmunds whilst rowing at something that was a little more sustainable, as this would be enough to push us into LMBC. St Edmunds pushed into the corner, and we responded, but they came again and began to slowly reel us in. By grassy, they were half a length off, and it was here that again our technique let us down, as a crab was caught. St Edmunds very quickly ate up the remaining ground and we were bumped at the apex. This was slightly frustrating, not least because a good fight was bought to a premature end, but also for the fact that we had taken the best part of three lengths off of LMBC again. Oh well...

The crew were surprisingly jovial given that they'd just gone down again, but they had all enjoyed the fight. Anyway, 5 minutes and a cup of wine later, all the week's disappointments had been forgotten, and they started the row back with the neatest tap-down they'd ever done. This was followed by a rate 38 piece down the reach (no, I really don't understand why either...) and they all began to look forward to the boat club dinner, and the 100 sherry challenge...

Guys, please don't lose heart over the past few days of racing - you were dreadfully unlucky, and despite what the results show, you can actually row quite nicely. You've all come on a lot this term, and it's been a pleasure coaching you. Keep at it for next term, and hopefully I'll be in charge of most of you again - the Mays' M2 boat is due a good set of results...

Uploaded Thursday 8th March, 20:27


James Michael reports:



We were set and ready for Bumps. Our plan was to come strongly off our start and chase Caius M3, getting them within a few minutes. We knew from timings and results that we were the faster crew, now it was just a matter of putting it all into the water and coming through.

Our start, unfortunately, wasn't as strong as the practice ones. Nonetheless we slipped into our kiler race pace of rate 37-38, with languid, powerful strokes, and ate into Caius' lead. Soon the whistle was blowing for a length off. We pushed, and it flowed; we were gaining. Then the two whistles; half a length. We really turned on the taps now. Then the bell, and definate overlap and very soon came a cry of "hold it up!" from the bank, which we duly did- too soon, the cry was not for us and we couldn't get it back together. Fitz II cruised in smugly to make the bump.

It is fair to say that we are bitterly disapointed. We had the overlap, the faster boat, in fact anything but the actual bump itself, all because of a misheard shout from the bank. It's unfair, but that's bumps!

It has given us a greater fire and drive to get Fitz II tomorrow, though. We were by no means perfect today, but we are coming out of the frustrating experience stronger and faster and tomorrow will hopefully be on far better form. We know what to expect now, and we're ready...


This was perhaps the gutsiest rowing I have ever seen. We went off strong- not perfectly, but better than Tuesday. We knew we would probably end up playing the long game, and so whilst we were fast off the start we didn't kill it completely in the first minute. This was a good call, as Fitz and Caius bumped out ahead of us.

After steering around the carnage, the cheers of both Caius and Fitz (very sporting!) saw us reset the rowing to our head-race, grinding down LMBC pace. This took us into the gut where we pursued closely. We took a nicer line than LMBC around First Post and Grassy corners (LMBC had to seemingly drop out rowers to get around) and we steadily ground them down, gaining inches every stroke.

We did, however, hit oceanic conditions on the reach, combined with a strong headwind. The waves were washign all along the saxboards, the boat took on water and there was spray a-plenty from the riggers. We dropped the rate down to 28 and battled through it all.

Whilst the wind and waves slowed us, we gained on LMBC in the calm patches. Coming out of the railway bridge we renewed our efforts, and gained ground to half a length off by Peter's Posts. It was so near at hand, and had we gone on to Top FInish we would undoubtedly have got them.

Whilst it is galling not to have got the actual bump itself, this was more down to conditions than any deficiency on our part. We kept right on them and gained over 6 lengths on the LMBC boat ahead. Overall, we are proud.

Uploaded Thursday 1st March, 1:45


Photos of the 2nd Men's VIII: click to view full size. (see all 16 photos of this crew)

Videos of the 2nd Men's VIII: click to watch the video. (see all four videos of this crew)


M2 Start Tuesday

My video of M2's start on Tuesday.


Clare M2 Overlap (again)

Clare M2 get overlap on the Caius 3rd boat only to be bumped by Girton.

2nd Women's VIII

Bow: Lara Tarasewicz/Caroline Bentley, 2: LJ Michie, 3: Helen Fisher/Anne Grijzenhout, 4: Katie Siddle, 5: Fionnuala Ratcliffe, 6: Katie King, 7: Elena Chestnova, Stroke: Laura Cato, Cox: Nell Holden

BLADES! Day 1: Bumped Girton II, Day 2: Bumped New Hall II, Day 3: Bumped St Catz II, Day 4: Bumped Queens' II

Elena Chestnova reports:


Day 1: Clare W2 took it off firmly from station seven and bumped Girton after about 2min 30sec just before Grassy Corner. This was acomplished despite them having to pause briefly due to carnage caused by the crews of Lucy Cavendish and New Hall. Off to an excellent start!

Day 2: Building on the previous day's success, W2 have moved up another station, bumping New Hall before First Post Corner. The first few strokes of the race were not brilliant and Girton did gain on us a little. Maybe as much as half a length, but we quickly got it together and pushed away with graceful ease. We then discovered a crab colony around station four, and after that, the New Hall cox!

Day 3: W2 continued Bumps in style, starting firm, picking it up quickly and settling into a nice steady powerfull rythm in a few strokes. Unfortunately we did not have long to show off our skills as Catz II decided to give in at First Post corner - they could have battled a little longer really! The move from half-length to overlap was swiftly executed over five strokes. Sweet!

Day 4: W2 expected this to be a slightly harder bump than the other three. We thought we might have to row as far as the Plough before we get Queens'. Based on these expectations the start was quick and firm somewhere around 40. The cox erged us to settle a little lower when the first (rather generous) wistles started to go. Like Catz on the previous day, Queens' gave in at First Post, serving us our blades on a plate. Four bumps and we never even went past Grassy. Good work!

Uploaded Sunday 4th March, 10:15


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W2 bumping Girton II

Clare Second Women bumping Girton in the Gut on the first day of Lents 2007

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