The weather forecast for the 2011 regatta suggested that a strong cross-head wind would make racing unfair at the weekend and so it proved. Fortunately, racing was less affected on the Friday but our U14 boys’ quad and U15 girls’ four had taken some seven hours to reach Nottingham the previous day, the boys having travelled back from Llangorse the previous evening. In the event, the boys narrowly failed to progress through their time trial but the girls were placed third and duly progressed to the semi-final and then the final. In the final, under a length separated the first five crews and the girls’ lack of racing experience left them just outside the medals in the race to the line.
On the Saturday, two crews suffered particularly through being drawn in the doomed lane 1 – the 1st VIII and U16 VIII, neither crew having a hope of progressing to the final.
Fortunately, the other crews had a processional time trial but a good position in it was still vital for a decent lane draw. Both the boys’ 2nd IV and girls’ 1st IV progressed through to the semi-final, where they rowed extremely well and missed out on a place in the final by a single position. The boys’ U15 VIII, our best prospects of some silverware, did not disappoint in winning the time trial but they would have been as well off in a bath tub as in their new Vespoli shell in the semi-final and final, with daylight under the boat at times such were the waves. Although a win would have been within their reach in flatter conditions, they did well to win bronze medals.
The wind on Sunday made side by side racing impossible and the regatta could easily have been abandoned. The organisers, however, should be commended for offering racing in the form of a single processional time trial in each event over a reduced distance of 1000 metres. A gusting wind affected some crews more than others and the boys’ U15 quad was desperately unlucky to be placed fourth in a large field. The ‘B’ crew, however, closed right up on the crew ahead and took the silver medals in its event. The U15 girls rose to the challenge of competing in the U16 fours event and were placed sixth, a terrific result that reinforces their potential for the future. Our final crews down the course, two pairs from the 1st VIII did not disappoint, with Charles Waite-Roberts and Hamish Miller only beaten by established GB pairs.
On balance, it had been a most frustrating regatta but with some medals won and some crews even more determined to show their true worth before the end of the season.