Wolfson College Boat Club, Oxford

Bristol Head 1996

The only good thing about this day was that is not raining.

Another fine performance was turned out by both the two men’s “senior 3” fours and the women’s “senior 3” eight in spite of the appalling conditions and organisation that they had to endure. The first men’s four to run the gauntlet was the “midable crew” (Rich Holland, Raf Perera, Fransisco Gonzalez-Gonzalez, Kaz Toeda and cox, Renne Menezes). Due to what presumably was a mistake at the start, a considerably slower boat was started in front of them, and as they overtook this boat, they themselves were overtaken on a narrow stretch of water. The result was a Wolfson sandwich, with Four lucky to stay afloat, let alone finish the course.

The “four” crew (Greg Hodgins, Carsten Heide, Sean Ross, Phil Biggin and cox, Catherine Hawkins) boated early and managed to get in a double outing before starting the race in near darkness. For most crews, the prospect of rowing in the dark may have been too much, but not for this crew coxed by Catherine “Sonar” Hawkins. Setting off at a tremendous pace, this crew produced some of their finest rowing to date, and then they crossed the start line. Surprisingly enough, they managed to hold it together and produced a sterling performance, coming home in second place out of a total of ten crews with a time of 12:24 (which was 27 secs off the winning time!). Basically, Four didn’t get the rating up (I think is was around 28?) and just cruised the course like a pleasure boat outing, although having said that the ratio was nice and there was good rhythm.

The women’s eight had a pleasant row and came in with a time of 12:38, despite, like many other crews, having to wait at the top of the course for over an hour and a half in the freezing cold with no marshals giving any indication of what was occurring and then racing the course in the dark.

It was wet, windy and muddy but the Wolfson boat club definitely showed that their still out there and willing to do battle with anyone or anything.

Sean Ross, “four” crew