Wolfson College Boat Club, Oxford

Kingston Head 1996

When it became clear that key members of the women’s first eight were unwilling to do the women’s head, those keen beans left put together a storming four to race Senior 3 at Kingston Head. Sabine in particular was keen to repeat her win at the small boats head there in November. Linacre had trailered our boat to the regatta site and when we arrived, we noticed that they had removed our boat and put it out on trestles for us. How nice, we thought, until a second glance betrayed that it was about a foot shorter than when we had loaded it on the trailer in Oxford. We ran around looking for a spare boat and eventually were kindly loaned one by Tiffin school. We were determined to row despite Charles’s whinges about the fact that it was a front loader. However, it was not to be. We wanted to change the heights but the pins had been bent on stroke side (probably due to adjusting pitch without undoing the clamp) and the nuts came off but refused to go back on. During this hassle Karen’s skin decided to erupt into all-over nettle rash and, as her throat began to close in allergic protest, we all decided that it was probably a good idea that we were still on the bank and relatively close to Boots after all. We would have won, of course. We watched, galled, as all the other women’s senior three fours limped across the finish – only Brookes looked like a challenger and as we would have started immediately behind them, we could have overtaken them early on and then had the race in the bag.