WeHoRR and HoRR was a weekend full of drama and excitement, one that saw some crews soar past the competition and others test the limits of Swiss neutrality. All racing crews knuckled down for the longest race of the year, striving against the pain determined to end the racing season with an effort they could be proud of. On this, we followed through, once again overshadowing our UH rivals. With the sprints and head races now behind us, we can look forward to a couple of months away from the Tideway until we return for Bumps to once again make our mark!
Men’s Second VIII
"Despite the slightly less than enjoyable experience of rowing BUCS hungover a few weeks previously, being back in a senior boat for HoRR was a refreshing opportunity to show the world what RUMSBC are really made of. Suffering from a chronic lack of bow-siders meant that two novices, Joe Catling and myself, were forced to sub in for what would be by far the longest distance we’d ever rowed in a day, never mind raced.
The extreme lengths of time we spent in marshalling were largely uneventful (in stark contrast to M1's experience), but for new bowman Timo's complaints ("Scheiß drauf!" "Schwachsinn!") echoing down the boat. After a smooth start off the line, we were encouraged by the shouts of our Men’s First team, now standing on Chiswick bridge after a disastrous marshalling experience, which saw us push George’s even further into the distance, bringing us some satisfaction despite being overtaken by some stiff national competition, before settling in for the long haul.
After almost 20 minutes of pain, cox Holly initiated the Tier system. With the knowledge that soon the race would be over, we put down every last bit of power we had, emptying our ‘tanks’ so we could cross the finish line in a blistering time. However, as our energy began to waver we learnt that there was in fact considerably longer to go than we thought, and after a few minutes of excruciating pain we rolled across the line, broken, but not defeated, in what had been an enjoyable end to a great year of rowing." - Alex Bloom, Seat 5
Men’s First VIII
"After the disappointment of coming a very close second UH head the week before, on the morning of Sunday 11th, a fresh faced and eager men’s crew arrived at the boathouse. Our 6 months of elite, high performance tapering had all been preparing us for this day, and the university pennant was in our sites. Even being forced to dredge up former UL rower and general big boy Neale Marlow could not dampen our spirits, and it was clear the boys were prepared for a smashing day.
On the water you could feel the power surging through the boat. Whilst warming up we were leaving crews trailing in our wake, partly because we were rowing the wrong way towards Kew, but mainly because of the watts being put down by each member of the boat. As we eased past the UL 1st VIII (still going the wrong way) you could see the look of awe in Rich Clarke’s eyes as he saw the physical embodiment of ‘Big Boy Strokes’, and the demeanour of a man who realised he had nothing left to teach us as we were literally perfect. Alas, the time was nigh, the start of the race was nearly upon us, all that was left was for us to row up to our marshalling position. Nothing could go wrong from here.
As we paddled past the boathouse, there was an eerie calm as we began to mentally prepare ourselves for the 20 minutes of pain we were about to endure. Unfortunately, this calm was swiftly broken by a loud European cry from beyond our bows. It seemed that Yulia had taken her coxing feedback of ‘use alternative overtaking manoeuvres’ a little too literally, and had decided that rowing through the Swiss crew that was sat in-front of us was the most logical way to negotiate the marshalling situation. I can only imagine what this crew, who had traveled hundreds of miles to compete in the largest head race in the world thought when they saw a bunch of college boys coming their way. I can only imagine it was a thought of deep regret for being in the correct position. The Hudson/battering ram ploughed into the crew, and when we finally came to a stop we were faced with textbook Swiss neutrality in the face of overwhelming aggression, until their 6 man broke rank and started hurling abuse our way.
The aftermath left both crews worse for wear, and sadly for RUMS, it appeared the Swiss had come out on top. A broken bow blade and cracked rigger made for a sorry sight, whilst their eight managed to escape with just a damaged gate and a 3 man who’d been hit with his own blade, presumably in an attempted health insurance scam. We quickly moved off the water, where we licked our wounds and repaired the Swiss boat with scraps from our own, before assessing our options. These were limited to a Vespoli with 4 riggers on it, or the Wintech which was on one of the lower racks, and frankly there was an unacceptable risk of back injury if we bent down to pick it up.
As a result, scratching remained our only option, despite the strong will of Neale, who by the looks of it would have done the race solo given the chance, we headed up to Chiswick to cheer on our second eight as they went on to smash the race. Meanwhile both Oxford Brookes and Leander breathed a sigh of relief as they realised that they’d have a chance of victory.
Most importantly, nobody was hurt on the day and a letter has been sent to David Davis requesting the banning of all foreign crews from entering the race, lest the same fate befall them as did the Swiss." - Alex Lane, Seat 5
Women’s Second VIII
"Despite their best efforts, the Watt Farm had not been successful at UH Head; they may have proved themselves the crew with the highest propensity for crying on the Thames, but that wasn’t quite what they’d had in mind. Nevertheless, with three new novices being welcomed into the boat, they set their sights on a successful Wehorr. However, after having only one outing as a crew, in UCL’s kindly donated bathtub that led to captain Claire throwing in her stroking towel and demanding we go back to the safely on the Stampfli, we were nervous.
Saturday morning rolled around and we set off with anticipation; the pre-race paddle seemed to be going well until new stroke Millie broke her footplate- clearly all those hour long ergs have been paying off. After some masterful coxing from Beans (and a good deal of panic) we managed to collect the necessary tools and fix the offending footplate - finally we would be ready.
We set off ready to SLAM the race we had ahead of us; as we passed our own W1 crew, encouraged by their chants, we took our first casualty in ICSM. There would be many more. We SLAYed the next portion, powering on through Barnes Bridge, only to meet our rivals from the weekend before. Beans assured us revenge was in sight and with some big boy strokes we put some SEND on the boat, sailing past them and leaving them a mere speck in the distance. Much as their own men had looked the week before.
Spurred on by beating our arch-nemesis RVC the next 3.5k almost seemed easy - then, meters before the finish line, we were told we could make it a hat-trick. We pulled up alongside King’s, and with our bow-woman Georgie ensuring us that we could make it a photo finish. One of our newest members, Serena, turned out of the boat to look into the eyes of those she was beating (or not, it’s still a pint) and over the finish line we took them.
Overall, it’s been a fantastic year so far for W2 - all we’re looking forward to now is Bumps and finally getting ourselves some medals!" - Abi Powell, Seat 5
Women’s First VIII
"After W1's triumphant victory at UH head, we were ready to show the rest of the country what RUMSBC women can do at WeHoRR. After a pretty smooth marshaling we were off and despite a slightly wobbly start we quickly settled into a strong rhythm. The first half of the race went relatively quickly, with the boat that was chasing us gaining very slowly. Unfortunately, as we came under Hammersmith the chasing crew came up next to us and we allowed our competitiveness to get the better off us and got distracted. Sadly we didn't manage to bring back the concentration and rhythm after this and the second half of our race was less successful than the first.
We had a loud row back with some 'beautiful' singing from Preena and ended the day with a lovely pub lunch and a well deserved pint, happy in the knowledge that we finished 137, beating all the other UH crews easily, despite not having rowed our best. Here's to moving up to the top 100 next year!" - Jenny Budden, Seat 4