Captain’s Update – 14th January 2016

This Happy New Year is long overdue – but here it is Ladies, and I hope it finds you full of enthusiasm for the year ahead.

We started our rowing year with a BBL Time Trial on Sunday 3rd January, followed by a work session sorting blades.  Very productive and very satisfying to have lined up, checked and labelled our refurbed sets of sweep (6 sets!) and sculling blades.  The next task will be to paint them all……
Our first racing of the season was to be at Weybridge this Saturday, but the Winter Head has been cancelled, much to the disappointment of the Magnificent 7 crews we had entered.  We will thrash it out on the Tideway instead (conditions permitting).
Conditions closer to home have not been so great either, and many Novice, as well as some Intermediate outings have had to be abandoned in favour of land training.  We should be thankful that the excess water is flowing down the River and not into our living rooms…….
Quintin Head is on Saturday 23rd January at 2pm, coming upstream to finish above Chiswick Bridge. We have a WIM3 8 racing.  Cygnets have two crews entered and are desperately looking for coxes – please help if you can.  What better way to hone your race coxing skills…
Thames Valley TT is the following Sunday 31st January, and Mark did well to enter two WIM3 4+’s before entries closed 24 hours after opening.
Capsize Drill Saturday 30th January at St Paul’s School 2.30 to 3.30.  This is important for everybody’s safety, please sign up if you haven’t already done one .  We will be keeping a register!
We will have lots of crews out for Hammermsith Head on Saturday 20th February – please sign up to race or cox. We’ve had a request for launch drivers to help with marshalling – please let me know if you can help.
BBLRC AGM will be on February 10th at 7pm – please make sure you can attend.
Wrap up warm for the coming weeks, and keep up the land training while the river is so inhospitable – circuits on Tuesdays at 7pm at Cavendish School with Maxi are fab, and the shed is always available and free!  Come down and join the (not so hardcore) erg posse on Wednesday nights from 6pm.
See you soon

Captain’s Update – 9th November

What a weekend that was!

The hard was thronged with rowers, helpers, passers by, dogs, bicycles and plenty of friends new and old.  The Tideway was oceanic with crews thrashing by – on Saturday and Sunday! Huge thank you to all who contributed, marshalling (Sarah, Sue, Ali and Neil), catering (a huge and wonderful team coordinated with consummate skill by Michelle and Vicki), boat launching, ordering numbers, putting out bins, parking, and generally lending a hand wherever it was needed.
Special Captain’s mentions: first for Ellie – who jumped into the coxing seat of Crew 33 Warszawskie Towarzystwo Wio?larskie on Saturday, no Polish and no previous outing, but she did come away with a (furry) bottle of Vodka, second for the 4 charmers of Warszawskie Towarzystwo Wio?larskie themselves who filled the bar afterwards with sublime piano playing (Radio Head and Chopin), third for Abi who stoked the ovens unstintingly in what must have felt like an episode of Hell’s Kitchen (eat your heart out Gordon), fourth for Anna who piloted two crews down the course with her usual grace, fifth for Bev who stuck it out on the tea stall looking only slightly bored, sixth for Emilie who survived in a crew with 2 coaches and 2 Dep Caps, and finally for my husband Tom who spent all (Birth)day on the hard being helpful and good humoured.
This before I have even mentioned the crews – we had 3 out altogether.  On Saturday our WIM2 4+ came 15th out of 29 (well done ladies – fantastic result). On Sunday our WMasB 4x sculled past like goddesses, and our WIM3 4+ rowed valiantly to the end in what was for some a first Head Race.  It’s such a long way down, but oh so much further back!
What a fantastic bunch you all are and what a wonderful place is the Civil Service Boathouse (especially looking so spick and span after last weekend’s clear out).
The glory doesn’t stop there though ladies – on Saturday 31st October Jackie Darling, typically, won both WMas E/F/G 2x and (in a composite crew with Hilary) the WMas E/F/G 4x penants.
So now, looking ahead, we have entries in for Scullers Head on 5th December (as well as a request for launch drivers – please let me know if you can help), and we have the BBL Christmas Party on Saturday 12th December in a private room at the Bull’s Head in Barnes. If you haven’t seen us at the Club in a while, this is the perfect opportunity – get your glad rags on and come down for dinner with music and dancing afterwards.  We’d love to see you – all of you – old friends and new!
Coming home Mas C Goddesses WIM3 4+ long way to go...
That’s enough for now!

Captain’s Update – 20th October

Hi All,

Two lovely events to report on this week:
Pairs Head on Saturday 10th was a great success, thank you to all of you who gave your time.  The water conditions were horrible, but the crowd on the hard were very jolly, and the cakes were spectacular.  We raised £450.  It was lovely to see so many old friends, both on the water and off.   Congratulations to all 6 crews who raced – it was a tough one (remembering always that DNF beats DNS!) with special mentions for Jackie Darling who won WMas F/G, and to Emilie and Lucy who came 7/14 in their WIM 2-.
Pairs Head Prize Giving is this Saturday 24th, with special guest Andy Triggs Hodge.  If you are able to come down please join us.  The Pairs Head Committee bought us a new boat – which was raced by Sarah P and Katy B – and will be named at Prize Giving.  Lunch at 1:00, followed by boat naming and prizes.  See you there!
On Sunday we had the GFAR Graduation, celebrating with a BBQ on the lawn for all the BBL and Cygnet newbies, thanks to Sian, Ania and Michelle for providing delicious food, and a very generous donation from The Ginger Pig in Barnes.
This course has been phenomenally successful, with record numbers signing up and staying, and Sian’s matchless organisation has provided them with a very thorough introduction to rowing and the Tideway.  They will now join the Novice Squad, and we look forward to seeing them out on the water regularly.  Thank you to all who helped with coaching, coxing, boat sitting and imparting wisdom – I’m delighted to see the results of your expertise!
Next up is Fours Head on Saturday 7th November at 12.45, and Vets Fours Head on Sunday 8th November at 13.45. 
If you could help with marshalling or launch driving on the Sunday (Briefing at Pier House at 12.00) please let me know, and please respond to requests for help with boating and catering on both days.  We have 5 crews entered over the weekend at the moment – fingers crossed they all get to race!
We continue to be very busy, with 4 or 5 intermediate crews out regularly four times a week and a Novice Squad of about 30 training enthusiastically on land and on the water thanks to our dedicated coaching team.  Mark has galvanised us into action, and as well as training hard we are reviewing our equipment, sorting boat rigging, mending leaks (!) and overhauling blades.

Captain’s Update – 23rd September

Hi All,

Just a quick update this week after Sculling Camp, and looking forward to Pairs Head in a couple of weeks (with the Rhine Marathon in between!).

The sun shone, all day long, and Cygnets Bungalow at Shepperton was the place to be last weekend!  Stu and Helena ran an expert Saturday Skulling Skool, with only one unintentional** swim (well – can you stand up in a scull?) and Anna Costantini was Most Improved with a scull all the way down The Cut and back.  Brilliant!  As you know, it’s what happens off the water as well as on that makes for a successful time, and from the attached photo you can see that all was well!  Thanks to all of you who helped – cooking, washing up, carrying, de rigging, loading, driving, testing the Tunnocks (repeatedly), and playing host to our visitors – many of whom were so enchanted they are ready to sign up for the real thing on the Tideway.

Talking of which – Mark is still driving us up and down, up and down every session, training hard for Pairs Head on Saturday 10th. Bets are on for the fastest WIM2 2- (Em and Lucy or Clemmy and Cara) and for the fastest WMasB 2x (Sarah P and Katy or Bec and Sharon).  (Lucky for those of us in a category on our own!)  Ha Ha!
If you haven’t found a job yet Sarah Powell needs a couple of people to help set up the start and finish points in the morning and after that it will be cakes and catering.
Then we can relax, and if you haven’t signed up yet for Cygnets Henley Lunch on Saturday 24th now’s the time to do it – we are all invited.
See you soon!

**I suspect both of Tom’s swims were intentional