Cantabs had a successful day at Pairs Head on Saturday 6th October, coming away with 2 wins for the first time. Conditions on the day were very choppy and windy, with organisers coming close to cancelling the event. After several hours of anxious waiting, word came that the race was on, and crews boated in the rain, with some trepidation about the challenging conditions ahead.
After 2 years of coming 2nd at Pairs Head, Gill Cooper and Judith Weik won W.MasBC.2- 10 seconds (adjusted) clear of the 2nd placed crew after a good race which saw them having to navigate around several W.J18.2- ahead of them. Despite having to stop when another crew suddenly veered into them, their time was still faster than many non-masters crews and winners of notionally faster boat categories such as the Masters B and C doubles.
Debs Oakley and Georgia Vann enjoyed a good race where, despite an altercation with a buoy, they won the Women’s Club 2x 12 seconds clear of the 2nd placed crew from City of Bristol. After the race, Debs said,
We were thrilled to win such an exciting race in choppy water. It was my first race for Cantabs and shows there’s much more to come from the women’s squad this year.
There was only 1 second separating Debs and Georgia from the Women’s Lightweight 2x of Georgie Plunkett and Harriet Cross, who finished 2nd in their event.
Ellie Darlington and Andrea de Bruin had a great start to their race in the Women’s Championship 2-, but lost time in a crash with a master’s men’s pair. They finished 3rd in their event, showing promise for the future considering Andrea only learned to steer a 2- a few weeks earlier.
Isabella Mahoney saved the day for Christina Woolner after her W.MasB.2x partner Sue Hakenbeck became injured, jumping in the boat with Christina with less than 24 hours notice. Despite never having steered the Tideway before and only rowing once with Christina, they put in a good performance which would have seen them finish 9th in the Women’s Club 2x event.
Jimmy Adams and Jack Goode had a good race to finish 5th in the Men’s Championship 2x, and were the fastest M2x from Cambridge. Tom Hetherington and his brother Harry finished 4th in the Men’s Championship Lightweight 2x, and Noah Tate and Dave Meredith finished 5th in the Men’s Club Lightweight 2x.
Debs, Georgia, Gill and Judith attended the prize giving at the Civil Service Boathouse on Sunday 21st October. Medals and plaques were awarded by Sue McNuff, who rowed for GB at the 1980 Olympics. In sharp contrast to the conditions in which the race itself took place, the presentations took place in bright sunshine alongside a still Thames. Gill Cooper said,
The race conditions were something of an endurance test, but Judith and I were delighted to come home winners in our Masters Pair category, having finished 2nd in both 2016 and 2017. Huge thanks are due to all our coaches who have invested so much time and effort in helping us develop our ability and confidence in this challenging boat type.
Full results can be found here.