Wolfson College Boat Club, Oxford

Summer Eights 2013


Wolfson had a fantastic Summer Eights 2013 campaign. For the first time in thirteen years, our Women’s First Boat is in Division I!


Wolfson entered six crews in Summer Eights 2013.

Men’s First Boat


After a meteoric rise over the past decade, Wolfson’s M1 was on a new mission this year: to prove themselves worthy of the top half of Division I during a rebuilding year. The chaps performed with flying colors, holding off strong University College crew on Wednesday and Thursday, before finally succumbing on Friday. They battled against the odds to hold off Magdalen for a row-over on Saturday, finishing fifth on the river.

bow Matteo Gianella-Borradori Division I
2 Thomas Aarholt
3 Jack Hornsby
4 Andrew Watt
5 James Simpson
6 James Kirkbride
7 Maximilien von Berg
str Philipp Becker
cox Lea Carrott
coach Paul Kelly & Cliff Sofield

Women’s First Boat


Following on an exceptional last few years, Wolfson’s W1 began Eights 2013 within striking distance of Division I — and hungry for it! On each of Wednesday and Thursday, the lady wolves executed textbook row-overs at the head of Division II before narrowly missing the chance to bump into Division I. On Friday, a gust of wind pushed them into the bank off the start of their Div II race, and they were bumped by Somerville. But the women more than redeemed themselves on Saturday, quickly bumping Osler House during their first race before extracting vengeance on Somerville and securing a Division I berth in their final race of their campaign.

bow Alexandra Bridges Division I
2 Nanda Pirie
3 Jacqueline Ratner
4 Cynthia Eccles
5 Miriam Driessen
6 Lindsay Morehouse
7 Emma Middleton
str Laura Hawkins
cox Stefany Wragg
coach Zoe Lundy

Men’s Second Boat


Wolfson’s M2 packed a punch this year. Although they were frustrated by klaxons on Wednesday and Friday, the men felled Exeter II with a strong bump on Thursday, and worked for their row-over on Saturday after their prey bumped out early. They advanced to 6th in Division IV, the highest finishing position of any Wolfson M2 crew!

bow RĂ©mi Tirfoin Division IV
2 Nick Hartley
3 Guy Thomas
4 Neil Dhir
5 Thomas Quartermain
6 Paul Armstrong
7 Morgan Di Rodi
str Nelson Goering
cox Nicky Huskens
coach Gido van de Ven

Women’s Second Boat


Wolfson’s W2 was a ball of fury in the middle of Division III. After quickly annihilating their ancient nemesis, Christ Church II, on Wednesday, the women gained a hard-fought against St. Peter’s first boat on Thursday. Sadly, the ladies fell victim to a klaxon on Friday, and on Saturday they were bumped by a very strong St. John’s II. Overall, W2 moved up one position over the week, finishing 8th in Division III as the third-highest women’s second boat on the river.

bow Lea Carrott Division III
2 Ingrid Cloete
3 Erin McGowan
4 Natalie Hill
5 Raffaella Facchini
6 Emma Webber
7 Zoe Goodwin
str Roos Berbers
cox Iana Alexeeva
coach Stephanie Solywoda

Men’s Third Boat


Wolfson’s M3 had a strong campaign this year. After firm row-overs chasing worthy adversaries on Wednesday and Thursday, they were hungry for bumps. And on Friday and Saturday, they got them! Lady Margaret Hall II fell to them in the gut on Friday, and Wadham III crumbled under their advance before the gut on Saturday. M3 then raced as the sandwich boat in Division V, but their quarry bumped out in front of them, leaving only a tidy row-over and added excitement next year.

bow Oscar Yang Division VI
2 Lutz Sager
3 Duncan Palmer
4 Joel May
5 Jasper Barth
6 Marc Witte
7 Vaughan Dutton
str Gido van de Ven
cox Laura Hawkins
coach Jono Lusthaus

Mixed Boat


Wolfson’s M4 was a mixed eight of rowers with some experience who weren’t able to row in the higher boats for one reason or another. A strong crew, they narrowly missed the bump on Somerville III on Wednesday when Somerville bumped out on Magdalen III. Spurred on, they achieved bumps on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, finishing first in Men’s Division VII.

bow Kat Henson Division VII
2 Nicky Huskens
3 Victoria Reuter
4 Gregers Bangert
5 Oliver Zeldin
6 Ben Bishop
7 Jill Betts
str Mike Heaton
cox Nanda Pirire
coach Gido van de Ven

Cliff’s Race Reports

Clifford Sofield, one of Wolfson’s longest-serving members, has offered to regale us with his daily observations of Summer Eights 2013. This year, as our crews had successful campaigns, and W1 bumped into Division 1, Cliff was was there to chronicle the details. Read on below!


It was a mite chilly, but the sun even came out by the end of the day, and Wolfson was favoured with reasonable success on the first day of Summer Eights. MFoursome, whose outfits you should soon be able to view here, rowed a tidy race but found themselves at the wrong end of a three-boat bumping sandwich: that is to say, they were mere inches from Somerville III’s stern when Somerville bumped Magdalen III. In Summer Eights both crews involved in the bump pull out of the race, and MFoursome went on to row over some distance behind Oriel III at the head of the division.

Wolfson M3, starting third in Division VI, found themselves chasing an empty river when St John’s III bumped Wadham IV ahead of them. They rowed over with never a threat from Green Templeton II behind, who were caught near the finish by Somerville II. Wolfson M2 was our third crew of the day to have the crews ahead bump out (this time Worcester II on Exeter II). Our boys had set their sights on St Catherine’s II, the crew three ahead, when suddenly they found themselves impeded as Keble II, who had already been bumped, inexplicably pulled into the river in front of them. The race was klaxoned, and M2 was awarded a row over.

The first Wolfson bump of Eights 2013 belongs to W2, who nonchalantly annihilated their ancient nemesis Christ Church II in only 21 strokes. Wolfson W1 produced two fine races. In the first they rowed over at the head of Division II, comfortably ahead of St Catherine’s. An hour later, as sandwich boat in Division I, the effort of the first race told as they rowed over again, this time behind Oriel. Tomorrow they start at the head of Division II again.

In the final race of the day, Wolfson M1, put in a strong performance and rowed over, proving they belong in the top half of Division I. Off the start the chaps matched Christ Church (a crew with six Varsity rowers), and they never let University College behind them come close, despite the fact that Univ were pushed hard by Balliol, who were themselves ultimately caught by Magdalen at the bottom of Boathouse Island. At the top of the division, Pembroke seized the Headship from Oriel, despite conceding ample water to Christ Church earlier in the race. Pembroke now hold the Headship in both the men’s and women’s divisions.


Rainstorms came and went, temperatures soared to nearly 10 degrees C (50 degrees F), and “Summer” Eights bumped on. MFoursome pushed off in an intermittent rain; and thirty minutes later they pushed onto Magdalen III just before the Gut for a quick bump. An hour later, the Lightweight Men (i.e. Wolfson M3) faced similar conditions, but a much more difficult race: they were chasing the competent Wadham IV, and being chased by yesterday’s victorious Somerville II. Our boys rose to the challenge, however. They opened a large gap on Somerville II, and rowed over. Tomorrow they chase Wadham’s victims from today: Lady Margaret Hall II.

Wolfson M2 and W2 found a sunny spell long enough to fit in both of their races, and the results matched the weather. M2 knocked out a clean race and bumped Exeter II just below the Gut. Wolfson W2 fought hard for their bump. St Peter’s held them off all the way through the Gut, but our girls dug deep and caught and them on the Green Bank.

A most discouraging downpour followed.

. . . but the clouds parted again in time for Wolfson W1 to row over ahead of St Catherine’s for the second day in a row, at the head of Division II. It was a tighter race than yesterday, with St Catz coming as close as 1 length before they were themselves bumped by Somerville in front of the Boathouses. Wolfson W1 raced again an hour later as sandwich boat, but their hopes of bumping up into Division I were disappointed when their quarry, Oriel, bumped a struggling Osler House. At the top of the division, St John’s captured the Headship from Pembroke.

The weather held long enough for the final, nail-biting race of the day. In Men’s Division I, Wolfson M1 had a slightly messy start and Univ had a flyer. Over the first half of the race, Univ gained steadily, pushed on by Magdalen, who seemed to be gaining even more speedily. Coming into the Gut, Univ were about half a length off of Wolfson, and Magdalen were if anything closer to Univ than that. Univ gained through the Gut, Wolfson pulled away, and on the Green Bank the crews were evenly spaced with about half a length of clear water between them. But then Magdalen began to fall back, and Univ pushed harder onto Wolfson. Univ gained to a canvas at the top of the Green Bank; Wolfson pushed away slightly. In front of the Boathouse Univ gained to a few feet, and M1 pushed away slightly. Past the Boathouse, Univ gained to mere inches — but Wolfson pushed away again, this time for good, and rowed over at least a quarter of a length ahead of Univ. Outstanding victory!


Winds gusted, and a cold steady rain fell over the Isis on the third day of Summer Eights.

MFoursome and the Lightweight M3 Men made the best of the unpleasant conditions. MFoursome put together another tidy row and bumped St Hugh’s III shortly after Donnington Bridge. Lightweight M3 Men notched their first bump of Summer Eights an hour later, as they reeled in Lady Margaret Hall II in the Gut.

Wolfson M2 and W2 both had good starts, only to have their races promptly ended by klaxons. Both crews were awarded row overs. Wolfson W1 race was also short, but with disastrous result. A sudden gust of wind blew them into the bank off of the start, and before they could recover, Somerville were on them for the bump.

The day finished with another exciting M1 race, but this time the result was not in Wolfson’s favour. The first part of the race resembled yesterday’s. Wolfson got off to a good start and kept up with Oriel through the Gut. Meanwhile, Univ gained steadily, pushed on by Magdalen. On the Green Bank, Wolfson was half a length ahead of Univ, who were half a length ahead of Magdalen. Wolfson put in their push, but Univ’s was huge. In ten strokes Univ moved away from Magdalen and onto Wolfson, and bumped our boys before the end of the Green Bank.


Sunny skies and warm temperatures put the “Summer” back into Summer Eights, and thousands of spectators crowded the banks on Saturday as Wolfson concluded a successful bumps campaign!

Once again MFoursome and the Lightweight M3 Men had remarkably similar days. In their first race, MFoursome executed a textbook bump on Brasenose III at the entrance to the Gut to become head of Division VII. And so it was that an hour later two Wolfson crews raced in Division VI: the Lightweight M3 Men, on bungline 2, and MFoursome, on bungline 14 (as sandwich boat). MFoursome closed to about a length off of Somerville III by the top of the Gut, but then Somerville bumped St Hilda’s II (for blades). The next two crews ahead of Hilda’s had also bumped out, and with no one left to chase, MFoursome were left to row over. They finished Eights up three places overall, at the head of Division VII, having bumped three times and rowed over twice.

Meanwhile, the Lightweight M3 Men got their second bump of Summer Eights, this time on Wadham III, before reaching the Gut. That moved M3 up to head of Division VI; so an hour later, the Lightweight Men raced as sandwich boat in Division V, hoping to bump up into the fixed divisions. Their quarry was Wadham IV, who had spoiled M3’s chances on Thursday by bumping out ahead of them. Wadham were in turn chasing St John’s III, who had likewise thwarted the Lightweight Men on Wednesday. Ahead of John’s were Queen’s II, and then St Benet’s. Unfortunately, John’s and Wadham played the spoilers again: first John’s bumped Queen’s; and then Wadham overbumped Benet’s near the exit of the Gut, leaving the Lightweight Men to row over. They finished the regatta up two places overall, at the head of Division VI, having bumped twice and rowed over thrice. A great result, but it does mean they will have to row on again next year!

The next race was a doozy! M2 were chasing Worcester II, and were being chased by Merton II. Our boys gained quickly on Worcester off of the start, and got as close as half a length before Worcester bumped Keble II near the top of the Gut, leaving Wolfson to race for the row-over. Then on the Green Bank Merton put in a great push and closed to half a length on Wolfson. As the crews headed up the Green Bank, Wolfson pulled away, but Merton edged back; Wolfson crept away again, and Merton clawed back. Then in front of the boathouses Merton’s will broke and Wolfson pulled away for the final time. Over the four days, Wolfson M2 bumped once and rowed over three times, finishing up one spot overall. Their new position, 6th in Division IV, is Wolfson M2’s highest ranking ever in Summer Eights! Their previous best was 7th in Division IV, the equivalent of 10th in Div IV prior to the expansion of the divisions last year. Wolfson M2 had held that ranking twice, in 1992 and 2012.

W2 ended their Summer Eights campaign on a disappointing note. Despite closing to about half a length behind a tidy Brasenose crew, they were bumped by St John’s II near the beginning of the Gut. Nevertheless, W2 had a successful Eights overall: they bumped twice and got bumped once, and finished up one position at 8th in Division III. They are currently the third highest women’s second eight on the river.

The most spectacular success of the day belonged to W1. Starting second in Division II, they executed their first bump of Summer Eights with business-like efficiency, taking down Osler House around the entrance to the Gut, to move up to head of Division II. An hour later, racing as sandwich boat in Women’s Division I, our ladies were chasing Somerville, who had bumped them the previous day. Unfazed, W1 poured on the pressure with a flying start. Somerville might have gained on Oriel ahead of them, but the result was never in doubt: Wolfson exacted revenge on Somerville, bumping them at the top of the Gut to secure a position in Division I ! They finished the week one place higher than they started, at 13th in Division I, having bumped twice and been bumped once. It is the first time in the history of Wolfson College Boat Club that both the men and the women have been in Division I at the same time.

By the final race of the day, the towpath was so crowded that it was hard to move. Wolfson M1 were chasing Univ, who had bumped them on Friday; and they were being chased by Magdalen, who were quicker than Univ to the Green Bank on both Thursday and Friday. Bayesian modeling (SAD BaStaRD), using the previous days’ results as priors, predicted a 92% chance of Magdalen bumping Wolfson. But the chaps were determined to do something special. Their start was a flyer, and they immediately started pulling away from Magdalen and gaining on Univ. By the top of the Gut they were only about a quarter length behind. Magdalen meanwhile had come back slightly, and in the second half of the race they closed to within a length of Wolfson. But Wolfson pushed off of them and continued to bring the race to Univ through the whole second half, crossing the finish line about a quarter of a length down. A fantastic effort from the chaps! Against the odds, Wolfson rowed over to finish Summer Eights down only one position at 5th in Division I. It was an outstanding result for a team composed largely of newcomers, whose training had been hampered by numerous weeks of red flag in Michaelmas and Hilary terms. It’s efforts like these in rebuilding years that keep colleges within striking distance of the Headship.

So, the Lightweight (M3) Men just missed out on bumping up into fixed divisions, but W1 achieved their goal and bumped into Division I! Wolfson M1 defended their lofty position very well, finishing down only one spot at 5th place on the river. As for MFoursome’s fashion sense . . . you can judge for yourself.

Wolfson crews moved up a net 7 places this Summer Eights, ranking them 10th in that statistic, and 9th in average bumps per crew. According to a newly devised statistic, Wolfson was the 9th most successful college boat club overall in Torpids and Eights this year, out of 36. Not to be sneezed at.