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End of Lent Newsletter 2019

The members of PCBC started Lent with a week of pre-term training on the Cam, as has now become customary. This was particularly beneficial to last term’s novices, who have joined the ranks of the senior squad, and were able to train alongside senior rowers for the first time. We would like to thank all the coaches who supported the pre-term training, particularly our alumni.
The first race of the term was the Winter Head-to-Head, into which Pembroke entered 3 crews. M2 started their term strongly to finish third in their division and second among the M2 crews. W1 and W2 both rowed strongly as well, finishing 8th and 3rd in their respective categories. This gave all involved invaluable racing experience: W1 had 4 rowers and a cox who noviced this year, and most of the W2 rowers were also novices this Michaelmas.

Pembroke entered 5 crews into Newnham Short course, which happened a few weeks into term. M1 placed 3rd in their first race of the term, with M2 continuing their streak of success with a first place finish in the M2 division. M3 placed a strong 6th in the Men’s Lower Boats division.
W1 improved from their performance in Winter Head-to-Head, coming 6th in a strong W1 division. W2 recorded a 9th place finish out of 13 crews in their category.

We were pleased to have an excellent turnout of competitors at Pembroke Regatta this near, with nearly 1000 rowers taking part. Our congratulations go again to the winners of each division, including our own M2 who won the M2 division.
Equally, we would like to extend our thanks to those alumni who took part in the day, both on the bank and on the water. We had a Pembroke alumni crew in both the men’s and the women’s division, and enjoyed hosting our returning alumni for drinks and dinner that evening. We look forward to running the regatta and alumni dinner for many years to come.

Robinson head was the penultimate success for our senior Men, with M1 and M2 placing first and second overall along a very windy course! This success no doubt set them up well for bumps the following week.

In a highly competitive top of the first division, M1 had to be satisfied with 4 row overs. Although this was a disappointing result for the crew, they showed their standard of rowing was on par with the fastest crews in Cambridge. They are looking forward to making technical gains alongside our returning triallists in Mays.
Given a slightly nervous start to the term, W1 progressed amazingly with great coaching and a lot of hard effort. They made light work of many more experienced crews to progress 3 places up the bumps chart, only being denied blades by a technical row-over on day 3, where they had gained on all 3 of the boats ahead of them. They are looking forward to a strong May term with many returning triallists, building on the success of last year’s crew.
M2 have shown throughout the term that there is real depth to the Men’s squad – winning Pembroke Regatta, Newnham Short Course and Robinson Head in their respective divisions. Moving up 3 places during their bumps campaign is a testament to how good they are as a crew and it is encouraging to know that near all the crew will be continuing to row with PCBC in Mays and in the next academic year.
W2 was almost exclusively formed out of rowers who noviced in Michaelmas, and they made amazing progress over the course of the term. It was a cruel introduction to bumps for them, coming across some strong crews and some even stronger winds, leading to a double overbump on day 3. However, they were not to be defeated, and their bump on the final day is a testament to their determination. We look forward to seeing their continued improvement next term.
Similar to W2, the majority of our M3 was formed from novices taking the step up to racing in bumps. The crew were superb in qualifying to 7th in the M4 division, and so a row over on the third day means (despite being bumped 3 times) the crew has gone up 1 position since the end of last year’s bumps.
Although they could not race in bumps, our novices this term have formed strong W3 and M4 boats which will look to be very competitive next term. Furthermore, with a large number of returners to our women’s side we are expecting to be fielding 4 of each men’s and women’s boats in May bumps.

M1 =
W1 +3
M2 +3
W2 -7
M3 -3 (+1 from last year’s final position)

Pembroke has been strongly represented in the University Squads this year, with 8 athletes trialling for places in Boat Race crews. Jack Mason (2016) and Jonathan Vibhishanan (2016) coxed and rowed respectively for the lightweight men’s boat, which participated in the historic first lightweight boat race on the Tideway on 23rd March. Laura Stewart (2018) has been selected for the lightweight women’s crew who will race at Henley on 30th March. Lily Lindsay (2018) and Emma Andrews (2016) have been selected for the women’s Blue Boat and reserve crew respectively, and will race on the Tideway on 7th April. Jonty Page (2016) and Rob Harris (2017) are both hoping to row in the Men’s reserve crew, racing on the same date. We wish all of our triallists the best of luck in the upcoming races.

Halfway through this term saw the settling in of Seb Matthews as Coordinator of College Rowing. Seb joins us from Leander Club where he was training for the GB lightweight quad which raced in the U23 World Championships, and is being brought in coach all crews, raise the standard of training and help the boat club committee in allowing as many college members as possible to participate in the sport.
We are excited to have the scaffolding in place for the renovation of the front of the boat house. This, along with the installation of new bike parking and boat racks, forms part of our ongoing effort to keep the facilities at the club in top shape for all of our athletes.

Thanks again to King and Spalding, our sponsors, for their continued support. They have allowed us to continue investing in high quality coaching and equipment, as well as injury prevention and recovery for all of our athletes.

We are gearing up for May Bumps 2019 which will be taking place from the 12th-15th June. If you are planning on attending as a supporter, please get in contact at:


We are planning, as in previous years, to provide refreshments at the Pembroke Marquee (location tbc in the next newsletter) on the Saturday of the Bumps, and would like to extend an invitation to all alumni who are attending. Additionally, if you are interested in booking a ticket for the May Bumps Dinner on the Saturday night, please again get in contact at the above email address.

If you would like to be involved in the ongoing success of PCBC through coaching, please get in touch with any of our captains, it would be fantastic to see our current crews inspired by our previous successes.


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Lent 2014 Week 4 Roundup


M1 are continuing to put in a large volume of training despite the recent flooding and stormy conditions making the Cam unrowable for a significant number of days. This has meant land training has featured more heavily in the last week’s training. M1 were glad to welcome back Rich Johnson as an alumni coach this Tuesday morning.

Archie Wood – Men’s Captain


The river has really risen over the last week unfortunately mean its been red all weekend and soon Kev’s office might be flooded! We’ve been on the ergs rather than on the water but fingers crossed the waters recede this week so can do some real rowing and Pembroke Regatta isn’t cancelled!

Ery Hughes – Women’s Captain


M2 have coped particularly well with the bad weather over the past week, keeping their fitness up on the ergs (even volunteering for extra sessions!). Despite not being out on the water for over a week, this morning’s outing was very positive and we are confident going into tomorrow’s race.

Newnham Short Course was a competent row; despite the hazardous conditions! Very well called and steered my Helena and good commitment from all crew members. The real story, however, is the sparring with Caius M2: holding steady in the face of the once mighty Caius, Pembroke M2 really focused and pulled together to keep them at bay (they didn’t panic and fall apart as soon as they were ‘racing’, a very positive sign at this stage).

Tom Hoier – Men’s Vice Captain


W2’s second race of term was Newnham Short Course last Saturday. Despite the horrendous conditions, they battled on, demonstrating some very gutsy rowing. The result was that they came 5th out of 8 W2s. Given there was a sub on board, this was pretty encouraging.

Unfortunately since the race, the river has been yellow flagged, preventing any further outings. Plenty of time has been put in on the ergs and doing core exercises. However we are hopeful for some water time again soon, as this is really what the crew needs. Pembroke Regatta will be the next race, weather permitting!

Catherine Vincent – Women’s Vice Captain

Men’s Lower Boats

Unfortunately due to the bad weather, M3 hasn’t been able to get out much the past week or so! We did manage to get an outing this Wednesday as the Green Flag had finally been raised again, so we spent a good amount of time practising our starts in preparation for Pembroke Regatta this weekend. Next Friday is the Getting-on race for Lents, so fingers crossed for better weather and more outings next week than we managed this week!

Izzy Stone – M3 Cox

Lent 2014 Week 2 Roundup



M1 have kick-started their training regime with a heavy 9 session a week training plan, including 5 outings, 2 ergs and 2 weights sessions. Some high praise from Kevin, who said the paddling was the strongest he’d seen in a few years at this point in the season. We’ll be entering Head to Head this Saturday in both an VIII+ and then breaking down into smaller boats for a later division. Please do check the City of Cambridge Rowing Club website for results after the race.

Archie Wood – Men’s Captain


The crews for Lents have been set and it’s looking to be an exciting term! The crew is looking really strong and training started properly this week – there was even a 07:30am erg! We’re going to be training hard this term following a training program from our fantastic boatman, Kev. We’re planning on entering Winter H2H (this Saturday), Newnham Short Course, Robinson Head, Lent Bumps and WeHORR. The whole of the women’s side is looking really good so it should be great Lent Bumps!

Ery Hughes – Women’s Captain



M2 selection is well underway; novice Piotr Zulawski smashed the 2k test (and all of M1) with an epic 6:34 (I myself pulled a respectable 6:48(.5)). A provisional crew has been selected and are looking forward to their first race (the old Winter Head to Head) this coming Saturday. Self-admitted “rowing-addicts” James Hutt & Greg Drott have returned to the crew, prompting a surge in keenness and high spirits. There is also talk of the crew going to Head of the Nene in February (competent captain Tom Hoier is currently looking into the logistics…).

Tom Hoier – Men’s Vice Captain


On Sunday we set our crews on the women’s side. They will be fluid for a week or so, but provisionally we have a promising W2 eight comprised of: 6 of last term’s novices, two girls who rowed elsewhere prior to joining the PCBC and one of last term’s male novice coxes. All of the novices (new seniors may be a better term!) came on the training camp to Seville and improved massively as a result. In their first outing as a crew this morning they sat up, put some work down and were mistaken for W1, not a bad start!

This term W2 are planning to enter all the on-Cam races (Winter Head-to-Head, Newnham Short Course, Robinson Head and Pembroke Regatta). Due to the morning limitations, we anticipate weekends will be very busy; therefore the clear water of these races will be invaluable. The main aim this term is Lent Bumps, and we may have to race the Getting-on-race, depending on enteries. We are also planning to enter WeHORR if the crew is available. This will be discussed this evening over pizza…

The training plan for the term will be:

  • 1 Morning Outing every two weeks (due to the CUCBC restrictions)
  • 1 or 2 Afternoon mixed ability eights outings
  • 2 Weekend Outings (including races)
  • 1 30min Erg
  • 1 Women’s Side 5k Run

We have a strong crew who should do really well in Lents and also be highly competitive in the Mays squad.

Catherine Vincent – Women’s Vice Captain

Men’s Lower Boats

The M3/M4 squad will be training at a steady rate of 3 sessions per week, mixing the restricted morning slots with weekend afternoons on the Cam. With a strong squad we should have a competitive M3 and M4 for Lent Bumps (we are already trialling the hashtag #LentLaurels), and a mixture of ergs and water sessions with our coach Andrew “Gripper” Watson should give us a technical edge over the other college crews. On the way to Bumps we will be competing in the Pembroke Regatta and Newnham Short Course, so that by the end of term our crews will have experience of all three kinds of race (head, regatta, bumps).

Greg Drott – Men’s Lower Boats Captain

Michaelmas 2013 and Fairbairns

Michaelmas 2013 and the Fairbairn Cup

Overview – by Scott Warden (Overall Captain)

It has been fantastic to see so many boats this term out training on the water. PCBC currently have a very healthy membership of 78 active rowers consisting of M1, M2 (IV), NM1, NM2, NM3, W1, NW1 and NW2. The LBCs have been fantastic in managing and instigating such a large intake of novices, which will stand PCBC well for future terms and years. The Pembroke presence on the river during the recent Fairbairn races has been great to see. PCBC are due to embark on a training camp in early January, to Seville in Spain. This will be invaluable training for both senior and novice alike, and will propel us well into Lent term.

PCBC would like to thank the continued support of the Master and Kevin, and also the contribution of Andrew Watson (AKA “Gripper”) in providing the role of Head Novice Coach.

If any alumni are interested in contributing any coaching to PCBC, please do get in touch on captain@pembrokecollegeboatclub.com

Scott Warden

Overall Captain, PCBC

M1 – by Archie Wood (Men’s Captain)

M1 Fairbairns

This Michaelmas term M1 have been mixing up the training schedule somewhat, focussing mainly on working in 4s in the first half of term, but also putting out all rowers in sculling boats, some for the first time. So it wasn’t until week 5 that we blew the dust off the Geoffrey Perret and got out in an VIII+.

It would be fair to say that M1 had a “rocky” run up to Fairbairns this year. Illness and injury meant that we went through four different men in the bow seat in the last two weeks of training, and the crew that raced in Fairbairns had never raced together. Nonetheless the crew that turned up on the start line had plenty of competitive spirit. Our cox Arun confidently ran us through the race plan for the final time that day on the start line, condensed into 5 words: Rhythm – Power – Togetherness – Shape – Build.

We de-kitted ready for the race, waiting for the command, only to find that Caius were having issues on the start line, and were getting friendly with a barge. So it was after another few minutes that we were given the all clear, and rowed off, pressing the rate up across the start line. We hit a steady 31 and started to execute the race plan.

The first quarter of the race we aimed to “keep the powder dry”, not exhausting ourselves in the corner heavy section past the boathouses. The emphasis was constructing a rhythm to maintain throughout the rest of the race.

As we came past the combined boathouses, we switched the focus, making sure that we build he power in the leg-drive without “kicking” at the catch. This worked well, and the boat speed increased as we came into the straighter section of the course.

Next came the Reach. This was where the pain really began to set in, and for me this meant fixing my eyes on the neck of the man in front and following his movements. I dimly remember at the end of the Reach the call that we were going to push for 10 through the Plough once around Ditton corner.

With shouts of affirmation from the crew we picked it up for a strong section, which continued around Grassy, and then once again, picked it up again as we came onto First Post reach. We peaked at 33 as we moved through the final 30 seconds of the race, crossing the line in 15:44.9

This placed us as the 13th fastest college M1 from 23. While a reasonably disappointing end result, this term has been a fantastically fun term of rowing for M1, and we are all training hard over the break looking forward to training camp in Seville, Spain in January.

W1 – by Catherine Vincent (Women’s Vice Captain)

W1 Fairbairns

W1 had a good row at Fairbairns. Throughout the race we rowed with confidence, responding well to the calls of our cox (Mairi Innes); who we also have to thank for some excellent lines. The lineup of rowers featured some well-seasoned Valencians and also 2 new members of College. The crew worked well together, with good commitment throughout the race. This is something we hope to build on next term. We’re all looking forward to some hard work and further technical development in Seville!

M2 – by Tommy Hoier (Men’s Vice Captain)

M2 Fairbairns

To say that M2 this term has been in a state of flux is something of an understatement: due to a series of minor injuries and illnesses, it was often difficult to send out a consistent crew. The “Great Coxing Drought” at the start of term meant that PCBC had to resort to paying coxes from other clubs and colleges to cover our sessions. However, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as this meant that the crew experienced a number of different coxing styles, and sessions with some of the best coxes on the Cam. By the end of term the newest generation of PCBC coxes had completed their “basic training” (a round robin of the various novice boats and senior crews). Newbie cox & rower James Roberts stepped up to steer M2, and did an excellent job at Fairbairn’s, remaining calm and in control, spurring the crew on, steering well and remaining unperturbed despite attempts to cox from the 2-seat (from M1 cox and M2 super-sub Arun Lobo).

It has often been the case this term that availabilities were such that the full IV could not be sent out. Rather than let this get in their way, stern pair Thayne Forbes & Will Snowden requested that I send them out in a double: initially a very challenging row as neither of them had done much sculling, but they very soon mastered the art (not surprising with experienced coaches such as Matt Castle & Paul Meadows giving them guidance).

As fate would have it, it was in the week of Fairbairns that the most major maladies struck, with 2-man Dominik putting his back out, and 3-man Will Snowden becoming ill (shortly after agreeing to sub into M1: the Curse of the First Boat came into play!). Luckily, experienced rower Arun and NM1 novice (although you wouldn’t believe it) Simrun Basuita both agreed to step in. Given the number of subs and the relative inexperience of the cox, I had feared that the crew’s Fairbairns row wouldn’t not be a fitting testament to the efforts of the crew this term, and the improvements that they have all made. As it happened, this was not the case: although the time was nothing spectacular, the crew were not lacking on individual technique or fitness, but togetherness, not surprising given that they were a scratch IV. The commitment to making the boat move was there, and this cannot be trained.

For next term, I am looking forward to expanding the crew to an VIII; I will give all members of the club a chance to trial for the boat, and hope to see plenty of the novices getting involved (thy have already demonstrated keenness and ability, the first building blocks of a rapid VIII!).

Novice Men – by Gregory Drott (Men’s Lower Boat’s Captain)

NM1 Fairbairns

The Fairbairn Cup on 5th December brought our extraordinarily dedicated (not a single outing missed by anyone!) and competitive novice men their first chance to demonstrate the skills they’d been honing all term. The presence of our Head Novice Coach, Andrew “Gripper” Watson, gave us a technical edge on other crews on the river: so much so that the call of “come by” practically became their motto.

An impressive depth of talent in the squad of twenty-six novices allowed us, weeks in advance of Fairbairn’s, to set no fewer than three (!) novice men’s boats. Thus, the crews were able to develop a high degree of cohesion and a striking display of coordinated neatness in their stroke — not to mention a great camaraderie that spurred us on into the final of Queens’ Ergs and that spirit obtained during a clearly superior showing at Clare Novice Regatta.

NM2 Fairbairns

A blustery gray day saw us row up to the start of the Fairbairns course confident that by maintaining the term’s strong focus on technique we could register a good time. Rating a steady 28, the first two boats to race rowed very competently (no crabs, no washing out), passing the boat house proudly and pushing off Chesterton footbridge and the railway bridge. With winds gusting up to 40mph the reach was extraordinarily choppy. Nevertheless, both crews maintained concentration during the final push and launched themselves over the line in style. The crew dubbed “Pembroke” (the others were “College” and “Cambridge”) finished ninth overall, a mere seven seconds behind fourth place. All crews had reason to be proud of their achievements.

Alas by the time of the afternoon division gusts had turned into gales and the “Cambridge” crew, having marshalled by Jesus lock, were forced to shelter in Caius boat house. From there they watched with mixed amusement and apprehension as the storm scattered loosely moored boats (and one or two screaming female crews in them) like pick-up sticks across the river. The race was reluctantly cancelled by a sluggish set of Jesus marshals, and we rowed home after the winds died down a bit. (A tree had fallen into the racing path at Chesterton.) It was a shame that “Cambridge” didn’t get to race and thus show off what would doubtless have been our remarkably fast average time over all three boats. It can only increase the hunger of this term’s novices to mount a glorious Lent campaign, the prospect of which was the subject of enthusiastic discussion at Boat Club Dinner. With a next generation of boaties like this, and with #Pembroke #FairbairnsGlory trending on Twitter, it’s easy to say: Row on PCBC!