First pot of the summer at Hammersmith Regatta

For the first time in a few years, Hammersmith Regatta was the first competitive side-by-side action of the summer for PTRC. Both the men’s development squad and the senior women’s squad, featuring a number of girls who had completed the 2015 L2R, entered across four events. The womens’ Senior Coxed 4 won their straight final against Hammersmith based Sons of the Thames by 2.5 lengths to bring home the first silverware of the 2016 regatta season. Race reports below.

W.Sen.4+ (Final) Putney Town bt Sons of the Thames by 2.5 lengths

Peter Jones reports: Competition was in short supply for the women’s coxed four, with only one other entry at IM2 or above, and so the Town met Sons in a straight Senior final late on the Sunday afternoon. The row to Hammersmith provided good opportunity to get some race pace warm up done, as well as get more used to the new Filippi, about to make its racing debut. The race itself was tight from the start. The Town took a half length lead with an effective launch routine, but over the following 500m Sons gradually clawed back water with a series of powerful and determined pushes. Approaching the slight bend near St. Pauls, Sons, on the Middlesex station, were warned for their steering and the Town took their chance – a first solid push from the girls in dark blue saw them recover the half length lead and then never look back. The water turned a little choppy towards the finish, with cox Pete and bow-girl Jennie taking the hit – literally – but the conditions had no effect on the outcome. Staying cool under pressure had paid off, and all that was left was to paddle over to the pontoon to collect our reward.

Winning crew: Sophie Bluff (str), Deborah Oakley, Danielle Standish, Jennie Dawson, Peter Jones (cox)

Nov.8+ Latymer School bt Putney Town

As we made the long row up towards Hammersmith from the club, we prepared for what would be our first regatta. A markedly different experience from head racing, but it seems faffing is a part of the sport, no matter the type of race. As we waited to start the race, Latymer School rowed up alongside us. Banter was exchanged between the two boats, however we felt we had lost the battle of words. We knew they would get the better start and that we would be playing catch up for the race, but that we would have to use our more ‘elderly’ bodies and strength to ride the rough conditions and bring us level. We rowed up to the start with the previous exchanges still on our mind, knowing we now had something to prove. On the Umpire’s orders we started, and we were right, they started strong and with Craig spurring us on and Sam’s cheers from the bank we pushed on hoping to close them down as we rowed towards Hammersmith Bridge. We started to reel them in after their strong start, however this had an adverse effect and Latymer pushed ahead as they saw us approaching. Fighting on, we rowed under Hammersmith Bridge and realised that the race was over. Exhausted and spent we had put in a good effort, but also something that we would look to improve on in the upcoming Regattas.

W.IM2.8+ (Final) St Paul’s Girls’ bt Sons of the Thames bt Putney Town
Stacey Crocker reports: It’s always a strange race environment when you’re racing on your own territory; Hammersmith Regatta was no exception. The crew was relatively inexperienced when it came to racing and for some of us it was their first ever regatta. We knew we were entering two races so could swap bow pair and give everyone the opportunity. For the first race, we rowed up to the start near Hammersmith Bridge. It’s quite a long row from PTRC, but we had formulated our race warm up and went through this as planned. As we approached the start line it became apparent that the conditions weren’t on our side. The water was incredibly choppy and the wind had picked up. Settling on the start then became a challenge, getting straight and ready to go wasn’t easy. As we set off it was clear there were discrepancies in the alignments of the boats, and we nearly veered off into St Paul’s. We realigned but it was a constant battle against the rough water throughout the race. We had an effective race plan, but the elements were competing too, and unfortunately they battled fiercely against us. We fought to the end, but it was St Paul’s who won the victory and Sons in second.

W.IM3.8+ (Final) St Paul’s Girls’ bt Vesta bt Putney Town

The opportunity to race again is always a silver lining. By the time the second race was due, the tide had turned so we were in a better position from the off. The same warm up to the start so we were mentally prepared for the race. We were up against St Paul’s again, but this time Vesta joined in too. The conditions were much better, the water was calm and the sun had its hat on. We had a good start and pushed hard to get up amongst our opposition. Over the 1400m we fought to stay with them with push calls and length under the water. St Paul’s were victorious again, and we let Vesta slip away. It’s always good to have races like this, as they make you sit up and think about the work that may need to get done before the other major races of the season. Sometimes racing on your own ground pulls you into a false sense of security, but as an inexperienced crew we showed maturity in taking lessons learnt from the race, it was a great opportunity to see what racing in a regatta can be like and to whet your appetite for races to come.

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