Boat Club colours are a source of great pride- members of 1st VIIIs can wear them to show both their achievements and their sense of belonging with the other members of their crews. There is a sense of sharing a connection through time when these traditions are passed down year by year, and the sight of a Mays or Lents 1st VIII bow tie, or a Mays blazer, at alumni events manifests that sense of a community held together by their passion for this mad sport. Below, we see both the 1949 Boat Club and the 1977 Lents crew posing with two things in common: (1) the smiles that people wear when they have bonded as a crew by waking up horrendously early several times a week and propelling a heavy boat down a river using every muscle in their bodies, for fun, and (2) boat club wraps: woollen scarves in maroon for Lents 1st VIIIs and gold for Mays 1st VIIIs.
These boat club wraps seemed to disappear at some point in time, the tradition dissipating- we’re not quite sure when, but suddenly they weren’t around any more. Bow ties were still awarded to the men who rowed in M1, with silk in different patterns for Lents and Mays. The women of W1 were now awarded their 1st VIII colours in the form of silk garters in the SCBC colours.
That is, until 2015. The women of SCBC decided that it was time for a change- not to something new, but to something old. We wanted something more visible and, quite frankly, less sexist, something which would honour the athletic achievements of women in the 1st VIII equally with their male peers. Ryder & Amies informed us that they still had the design for the SCBC wraps in their records and would be delighted to start producing them again. We told them we would be similarly delighted if they did so. And so the wraps are back, for good this time.
We’re happy to inform any women or men who are eligible for Lents or Mays 1st VIII colours (including those who have now left Selwyn) that they can buy the wraps from Ryder & Amies directly, or can contact the boat club to be included in the next order.
Race Report, Fairbairns Cup, Alumni VIII.
A.P. Custard, sometime guest editor of Kiwi, sent us this report
“All eight sitting ready, this is it guys, we’re going to do it…”
In the crisp blue sky and golden sunshine of a Cambridge winter morning, the grizzled (sorry Penny & Clare) veterans of Selwyn’s Alumni VIII wound it to 30 once more, in aid of the Boat House appeal.
Form and fitness found for the Boston Marathon and honed over three outings since, they would now be tested not just against the ravages of time and un-reliability of memory but other invitational and, most worryingly, current college crews. A rolling start from Jesus flagpole may not provoke in Boaties of any age the pavlovian, pulse-quickening reaction of hearing the Bumps’ one minute canon, but, by then, the realisation had dawned on even the most gung-ho of them that 4300m was quite a long way and might be quite hard work…
Any hope they would be an endearing novelty was not to be; there is already a growing body of other alumni crews: Black Prince (First & Third), Lord Protector (Sidney Sussex), Cross Keys (Peterhouse), Crustaceans (Christ’s), to name a few –they were a lone mixed crew in a sea (well, river) of MAMILs and EMILs (elderly men in lycra)…
Unsparingly coxed by current SCBC overall captain, Teresa Baron, who steered a fine racing line, the stern pair of youth and experience in Robin Hellen and Huw Champion, middle four of Alex Goold, Hugh Wood, Richard Ingram and immediate past SCBC captain, Nick Jones, in the ejector seat, and the bow pair of Clare Heppenstall and Penelope Jarrett, had what can only be described as a very solid, very gutsy and very committed race, from start to finish. Ably supported by the all ginger bank party of John Pritchard and Jeremy Broadis, they powered 10 for Selwyn before winding again at the P&E, powered 10 at the Railway Bridge to “seriously gun it” along the Reach, before winding again at the Plough, giving it one more power 10 for First Post Corner and leaving it all out on the water by the Motorway Bridge –luckily, they also kept going for the finish at the Little Bridge!
15th out of 16 invitational crews tells only part of the story. With a time of 17 mins 44 (avg 2.03.7) and a very strong field, (fastest men’s VIII 13 mins 49, slowest women’s VIII at 19 mins 46), they can feel justifiably proud even to be mixing it in such elite company.
“A massive well done, you really kept it together; that was so impressive…”
I’m betting they’ll be back next year.
Here is our heroes’ crew list:
Huw Champion (SE 1966)
Robin Hellen (SE 2003)
Nick Jones (SE 2015 tbc)
Clare Heppenstall (SE 1984)
Penelope Jarrett(SE 1980)
Hugh Wood (SE 1988)
John Pritchard (SE 1988)
Jeremy Broadis (SE 1988) all photo credits to you! THANKS!
As part of the annual Selwyn old boys’ and old girls’ weekend, which also happened to coincide with this year’s Henley Fund meeting, we thought it would be a great idea to organise an SCBC alumni outing. By some stroke (pardon the pun) of luck (or a spectacular feat of organisation by Emily), we ended up with perfect numbers to take out a men’s VIII and a women’s IV, with coxes.
The men, coxed by current Overall Captain, Teresa Baron, pushed off and headed downriver to the lock. Despite never having rowed as a crew together before, they had a great paddle to lock and back up to the P&E, adding in some technical drills here and there, and even doing some piecing when the water was clear of novices.
The women, meanwhile, pushed off the hard and paddled upstream past the boathouses and spun at Jesus Lock. It was only then that we realised we’d placed ourselves right at the centre of novice carnage… However, Emily Hopkinson (SE 2008) coxed us expertly through the meandering novice VIIIs (ignoring the occasional shout of “Selwyn, no!”) and swiftly got us onto the Reach, where we bumped (not literally) into the men and decided to organise a race…
Both crews did a standing start from the spinning zone at the bottom of the Long Reach, the women starting some 100m ahead of the men (just to even the odds…), and set off towards the Railway Bridge, which had been deemed the finish line. About halfway through the race, the men started edging out into the centre of the river for an overtake, but the women held them off all the way to the bridge (which may have been due to an oncoming novice crew forcing the men to wind it down, but essentially the ladies won….actually: Selwyn won!).
All in all, it was a great morning (despite the weather) and although it may have been a painful reminder of what blisters feel like, and how unfit many of us are, everyone had lots of fun and hopefully we can do the same next year!
Crews: Emily Hopkinson (SE 2008), Penelope Jarrett (SE1980), Moira Kelly (SE2008), Lizzie Robinson (current), Clare Happenstall (SE 1984), Teresa Baron (current), Robin Hellen (SE2003), Huw Champion (SE1966), Alexander Goold (SE1989), Christian Vaquero (SE2009), Dave Barton (SE 2009), James Robinson (SE2008), Matthias Beestermoeller (SE2008),
Last weekend, the current boat club officers met with the Permanent Henley Fund’s committee to discuss current and future events of the Club and how the Henley Fund can help facilitate SCBC success on the water. We had a very enjoyable meeting with alumni from across the generations.
For those not present we are happy to share some insights from our meeting:
- The boathouse rebuilding is in full swing, and expected completion is at the end of April 2016. WE PLAN A BIG REOPENING PARTY, the date of details of which we will announce shortly.
- We will publish a calendar of events with all SCBC and SCBC alumni highlights to plan around. We are planning a gathering at the Boat Race.
- The Henley Fund is committed to improve the facilities of rowing where it can and where possible and necessary. The meeting reviewed the boat refurbishment plans to ensure our equipment is maintained to a high standard. Furthermore the Henley Fund will fund the purchase of two new erg handles for the gym and a new set of cox box headsets.
- We continue to financially support SCBC coaches and support SCBC’s activity off the water and on training camps off the Cam.
- We will organize yet another alumni outing at next year’s Selwyn alumni sports weekend. Recent and very recent boat club alumni are especially welcome to come along and see how much fitness they still have.
- Following the achievement of last year’s men’s first VIII we plan to take ownership of a second hand Simms boat.
- We are working to renew our sponsorship deal.
- We invite all SCBC alumni especially recent leavers to stay in touch and follow us on Facebook. We will continue to post actively about alumni events, activities of the boat club and the work of the Henley Fund!
So there is indeed lots happening… Would you like to get involved to support our current generation of rowers? Do you have suggestion for improvement for our alumni work? Anything else? We would love to hear from you. Do not hesitate to get in touch (matthias.beestermoeller [ at ] econ.lmu.de)
We wish SCBC all the best for the current season. Keep working hard! Everyone rows hard on race day, SCBC rows hard always!
Following last week’s email – I’m delighted to report that the Boston Rowing Marathon 2015 was successfully completed with a gutsy and determined performance by a very impressive Selwyn crew. To read more about just how they did – and to show your respect and appreciation for their efforts on behalf of the new Selwyn Boathouse – visit https://www.justgiving.com/SelwynBoatHouseAppeal/
And to inspire your generous sponsorship – former rower and alum John Farr (SE 1951) has kindly offered to match pound for pound every donation that is made up to a total of £15,000! Thank you John. Gift Aid is collected directly by Just Giving – so a £20 donation becomes £25.00 and is then matched £ for £ to become £50.00! Not a bad return!
So please – help us to raise at least £30,000 in aid of the new Boat House and the provision of better facilities for the next generation of Selwyn rowers.
(NB The Just Giving page has been set up by my colleague Andrew Flather – Development Officer – so don’t be put off if you see his name. But all those who support – and please give your names – will be recorded in the next issue of the Selwyn Annual Report).
Just to remind you – the aching backs and blistered hands belong to:
Huw Champion (SE 1966)
Robin Hellen (SE 2003)
Hugh Wood (SE 1988)
Matt Sloan (SE 1988)
Penelope Jarrett (SE 1980)
Peter Jones (SE 2004)
Clare Heppenstall (SE 1984)
Alexander Goold (SE 1989)
Lizzy Johnstone (SE)
Logistical and Moral Support
Robin Heppenstall (SE 1956)
All the best
Mike Nicholson – Development Director
‘A number of male and female alumni from across several decades foolishly answered the summons to row the Boston Marathon, some of us before realizing that it wasn’t in glamorous Boston Massachussets but in fact a 31 mile slog across the fens from Lincoln to Boston with nothing but a bank on either side to look at for 4 and a half hours.
For any reader of this blog our leader Huw Champion will need no introduction, as he bestrides A P McEldowney’s history of the club from 1882 to 1974 (mainly in the latter years mind) like a colossus. McEldowney charted his impact from arriving in 1966 and ‘working beaver-like on the lower boats’ through to rowing with the men he’d trained in prior years to win oars in the 1st Division in the 1969 Mays. Terrifying to think he’d done all that before I came bawling into the world about a month later. I feel too old to be doing this, while its his 45th (?) Boston marathon and I think he’s the only person not terrified at what he’s let himself in for.
We first gathered on 28th June at the Portacabins by what used to be the boathouse, and enjoyed the kind of sunny limpid Cam day an alumni’s memories are made of! The way we sat it would have been remarkable, if not for the fact we never plucked up the courage to go all eight rowing and kept the stabilizers on throughout! So far we’ve managed 4 outings, managing no shows and last minute changes and never with the same crew twice. We had such a good outing with only 7 in the boat we’re thinking maybe we should always do it! 2 more outings left, and its the big day on 20th September!
So if anyone is feeling generous please use below link to the club’s donations page for the new boathouse, and wish us luck…..
Hugh Wood, SE 1988-92’
In August, a brave group of intrepid alumni ventured to foreign waters to take part in Peterborough regatta. This was a 4-lane, side-by-side race over 500m. We had originally entered 5 boats, but sadly the regatta was over-subscribed and our mixed events were canceled. Nonetheless, everyone (except Harry ‘I’ll only row if there are women’ Robinson) got to row – in a women’s IV+, men’s IV+ and men’s plus Lizzy VIII+.
The most experienced explorers were there a night early for a camp-out and practice paddle. One of our group was tragically stranded on the German autobahn, and another two delayed ’til the morn by the complex workings of the eastern railways network. Though we were obviously devastated, it was perhaps a good thing that we didn’t have to fit 4 into Chris’s misleadingly named ‘4 man’ tent.
Once we had set up tent, we were straight out in the mixed IV+ for some serious training. Lizzy ‘4 points’ Johnstone insisted that she was the best choice for stroke, backed up by Chris ‘Casanova’ Cottingham, Chris ‘ARA member’ Vaquero, Harry ‘I’ll only row if there are women in the boat’ Robinson, and coxed by Emily ‘which way is it’ Hopkinson. Accompanied by tribal beats from the bank, we wound it up to 42 and quickly settled to 26. Several attempts and a mutiny later, we replaced the settle with a push and tricked Lizzy into maintaining a reasonable rate. Satisfied with our start, we headed back to dry land to be reunited with Emma ‘cowgirl’ Dalman and Peter ‘Putney’ Jones.
One terrifying car journey later, we were equipped with barbecues, burgers and buns.* Rigger jiggers and adjustable spanners proved ideal cooking utensils, and we only had one complaint from fellow campers about creating too much smoke. (At the time we blamed Asda’s cheapo barbecues, but looking back at the pictures it may have had something to do with the high charcoal content of our culinary delights.)
As an ideal end to the evening, Pete turned recruiter and got Super Sub Clemmie from Putney to replace Autobahn Moira in the women’s IV+. As a less ideal continuation of the evening, we were woken up at 2am by someone called Robbie weeing on our tents.
Our first race kicked off at 9.20am. The men’s IV+ was made up of Chris and Chris, joined by ‘Little Dave’ Barton, ‘Big Dave’ Lambert, and Will ‘thank god he’s not called Chris or Dave’ McDermott. To the shock of the crowds (and not least to me, who had told Nines that we’d only need to borrow their boat once), we achieved a comfortable victory. Chris and Chris looked wistfully at the 30 pints they’d bought the night before, working out they’d never sober up in time to drive home after the semi finals.
W-Pro was the second boat to race. Lizzy, Emma and Emily were joined by Super Sub Clemmie and Ellie ‘I hope she knows how good we are’ Healey. Discounting the boat that came first, we won our heat and got through to the reparchage.
Unfortunately, W-Pro had not had the foresight to ask Super Sub Clemmie if she was free for round 2. It turned out she might be in different race ten minutes later and so we went on the hunt for a reserve sub. Super Sub Stina from Clare agreed to be on stand-by. We were delighted to see that both our Super Subs got through to the singles reparchage as this would be an excellent test of their abilities. However, reality soon struck – this was the race that was ten minutes after our own. Eventually we found a reserve reserve sub in the form of Super Sub Julia from FaT and had some cake to celebrate.
By this time, it was the turn of AluminVIII. The Men’s IV were joined by Donal ‘alumni’ Gorman, Lizzy ‘4 points’ Johnstone, and the fashionably late Nick ‘Gucci’ Jones and Ali ‘Prada’ Philpott. Approaching the start line we noticed some of the other crews also had “men” in their two seats, but as ‘4 points’ Johnstone significantly out-gunned them in the bicep department we were feeling pretty confident (shush, I know she also out-gunned the rest of our crew). The heat was again successful, with AluminVIII coming home 2nd and qualifying for the final. She does have 4 points you know.
Despite legs now starting to ache quite badly and desire for burgers and ice cream overcoming any real will to win, the men’s IV rather stupidly came first in the semi-final, qualifying fastest for the final later in the afternoon. Chris ‘ARA membership’ Vaquero and Chris ‘Casanova’ Cottingham now had to accept that the only remaining use for their 30 beers was as a seat in wait of the next race.
W-Pro’s second race was less splashy and on the whole felt a lot more elite. We however came ‘4th of 4’. Looking at the finish times we were shocked to find out that the other crews had not got inexplicably faster, and despite being more elite, we were actually slower second time round. Though slightly disheartened that it was probably just Super Sub Clemmie dragging us down the course for our first race, we quickly consoled ourselves with smoothies, ice-creams and the happy thought that we’d no longer have to stay for the 6pm final.
Whether a sign of old age or a sign that I should have really written this race report a lot earlier, at this point my memory gets rather blurry. Both AluminVIII and the men’s IV came within a canvas of the winning spot in their finals to finish in a safe second place. On reflection, it was very thoughtful of them to hold back at the end and avoid picking up points so that we could all enter again next year. After all, I’m not sure the world could cope with a Lizzy ‘5 points’ Johnstone!
Please do get in touch if you’d like to take part in the next alumni race. We’re hoping to do something on cam – perhaps Pembroke regatta or City Sprints. Maybe we could pick up some shiny shiny things to drink our beers from afterwards next time. Email Emily on firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Top tip: DO NOT get in a car with Chris Vaquero. Unless you think it’s ok to drive at 40 round a supermarket car park.
Last week saw the 2013-14 Henley Fund Committee meeting. Captains Tom and Lizzie talked through what was coming up in the next year and we had a look at the architect’s plans for the boathouse (with exciting things like a slope up to the building so that the boat bays don’t flood!).
The prize for the best question however goes to Fiona ‘but when’s the next dinner?’ Morrison. Especially because it meant that the next Henley Fund has been moved forward a year to this Mays. Saturday 14th June – get the date in your diaries now!
(M1 – Tit Hall, Churchill, Selwyn sandwich – so close!)
No bumps for S.C.B.C. today sadly, but things are looking promising for the final day thanks to the groundwork laid down today.
M4, freshly arrived in Divison 5 after yesterday’s bump on Homerton, found themselves chasing Corpus III but with a keen Clare V now in sandwich boat position behind them. A strong start saw them gain on Corpus, but quite soon afterwards the division was halted due to carnage ahead. A re-row was announced for Selwyn, Corpus and Clare only and this time Corpus hit a much stronger start. They now had a clean-water advantage as well, and held Selwyn off much better. Clare pushed up and eventually got the bump just on First Post Corner. A disappointing day, and a return to sandwich boat position for M4, but another chance to re-enter Division 5 awaits tomorrow. The Pimm’s boat fared slightly better, achieving a solid row-over along with the crews ahead and behind them. They will start in the same order tomorrow, and will be hoping to at least equal today’s performance.
In Division 4, M3 looked to halt their downward slide, and managed it in style. Aware that they had been bumped by two of the fastest boats in the division, they had a strong start ahead of Christ’s III (their fellows’ boat) and matched their every push, preventing the veteran crew behind getting more than a whistle. Things got desperate for Christ’s on Plough Reach, as Corpus II pushed up on them, but unable to make ground on Selwyn, they were bumped outside the Plough. M3 continued the solid race pace they had held thus far, and gobbled up ground down the Long Reach, looking for the double overbump on Downing IV, who were making heavy work it. Sadly this feat proved a little too much, but M3 were within three lengths of Downing (from a starting station 11.5 lengths behind) at the finish. Tomorrow, they look to give Wolfson II their spoons, whilst denying Corpus II their blades.
With the overbump-and-a-half-ed Pembroke III behind them, whom they had so nearly caught on Day 1, W2 knew they could focus on trying to revenge themselves on Girton II. In the event, this proved too much, but a solid row-over ensued and they chase the same opposition tomorrow. On the other hand M2, after yesterday’s row-over found themselves between a falling Clare II and a climbing St Cat’s II: holding station on Clare through to Grassy, M2 found themselves losing ground to Cat’s slowly but surely. In the end, the Cat’s crew’s superior experience showed and they gained their bump as M2 rounded Ditton onto the Long Reach.
Having the previous day revenged themselves for what has become known as the ‘Historically Disputed Bump’ on Robinson in Mays 2010, M1 knew they would face a tougher challenge today chasing Churchill, not least because of a spooning Trinity Hall ahead of them. The result was one hell of a race, but unfortunately not in Selwyn’s favour: by Grassy all three crews were compressing, and round Ditton all three were pretty much overlapping. Churchill clipped Trinity Hall before Selwyn could finish the job though, forcing Selwyn to extricate themselves and row home, never threatened by Robinson behind. They will be hoping to take out some of their frustration on Trinity Hall themselves on the final day. W1 too are hopeful of a positive ending to the week, after a strong row-over today: never threatened by Magdalene behind, Selwyn made a brave attempt at keeping up with Peterhouse as they caught Girton, and were then left to chase a remote but not impossible overbump on Trinity Hall. They made up a lot of ground on a flagging Trinity Hall down the Long Reach (estimates of around 18 seconds), but didn’t quite have long enough to reel them all the way in. Tomorrow they have another shot at Girton, to whom they got so close on Day 2.
All in all, tomorrow looks promising – bring on the last day and Boat Club Dinner!