09 Mar WeHoRR victory!
With a convincing victory at the Head of the Trent on 20th February safely under their belt, the Blue Boat set off for London well prepared and confident of their ability to produce a good race against national and international opposition on the Tideway. The Blue Boat hadn’t raced in 2004 due to illness, so took the starting position achieved by last year’s lightweight crew at 11th. Difficult weather conditions with low temperatures and stiff, gusty winds were always going to make the race a challenge for all crews, and were reflected in significantly slower times compared with 2004.
Initially ill at ease in the bouncy water over the first half of the course, the crew settled into a strong rhythm, and passed both Vesta and Marlow around Hammersmith. Combined with the improving conditions, this really allowed them to come into their own and make their mark in the final part of the race. The final result of 5th overall behind 4 crews with international members, winning the university pennant ahead of both Durham and last year’s winner Oxford is an exciting return to form for the Cambridge squad, after a number of years with disappointing results in Women’s Head. The considerable gap between Cambridge and Oxford at the finish is a promising sign for a Henley victory, though the Oxford crew were likely unsettled by the loss of their stroke to a seat in the winning Leander crew, and seemed to fail to find a good rhythm over the course. .
The Lightweight VIII also performed well, just beating their Oxford rivals, who started later in slightly more difficult conditions, by 4 seconds. This crew has made significant strides in boat speed over the last few weeks, and this promises to be a very close Boat Race. The impact of recent illness and relative Tideway inexperience in the Blondie crew (who also raced later) showed in the difficult conditions, with Oxford’s 2nd boat (Osiris) getting the better of them over the long course. Despite this Blondie are confident of a good race over the 2k in Henley, as their shorter work on the water has been looking promising.
Overall, this year’s Head results are an extremely pleasing reflection of the months of hard work since September. However we train to perform in the Boat Race, and the squad is also aware that the 2k side by side race over the Henley course calls for a very different set of racing skills, with all crews looking forward to the challenge of the next three weeks.
The ‘Final Countdown’ now begins to the Henley Boat Races, which take place on Saturday March 26th, starting at 1.30pm with the Lightweight Men’s Reserve Race. CUWBC crews will move to Henley for the week preceding the race.
- 1 Leander 19.20.83
- 1 GB composite 19.20.83
- 3 Thames RC A 19.26.61
- 4 Nereus ASR (Holland) 19.56.02
- 5 Cambridge A 20.03.38
- 12 Oxford A 20.30.04