- December 5, 2019: Novice Fairbairns
- December 6, 2019: Senior Fairbairns
Pembroke College Boat Club
Lent Bumps 2014
Click a number to go to the race report and video, if available.
|Men’s Crews||Women’s Crews|
Pembroke’s Race Reports
Wednesday: 7th – Bumped up on Peterhouse M1
Pembroke M1 had a strong first day of bumps, bumping up on Peterhouse to 7th on the river. Lent
Mairi Innes – M1 Cox
Thursday: Rowed over 7th
Today was a somewhat lonely affair; the noise of the cannons at our new station under the Motorway bridge was about as exciting as it got. Jesus bumped Queens’ and Maggie caught FaT
Theo Clark – M1
Friday: 6th – Bumped up on First & Third M1
A focused row up to the start was an encouraging prelude to today’s racing for Pembroke M1. As we waited for the starting cannon, we knew that entering our strong rhythm quickly will be essential for the execution of our race plan. A fast start from Christ’s was well anticipated, and good length and power off the stride allowed us to put distance between us and Christ’s early on despite a mystifying air stroke from six-man off the start. First and Third put in a creditable performance, making a push on First Post Reach which took them back to within station after our early gains. However, our relentless rhythm and a tidy racing line from Mairi allowed us to move up on FaT quickly through First Post Corner and the Gut. As we entered Grassy, the wash became pronounced as we closed to within half a length, but focus was maintained well despite the difficult water. First and Third made a final push, holding us off until slightly after Grassy Corner. Thereafter the bump was a matter of strokes. The race today showed that we can continue to make improvements between races, while our demonstrated ability to quickly settle into our strong rhythm leaves us in an encouraging position ahead of the final day of Lents.
Tom Zawisza – M1
Saturday: 5th – Bumped up on Queens M1
After the third day bump on FaT we knew that getting Queens’ was attainable. Our coach, Alan, said that going up just two wouldn’t be reaching our full potential. But we also knew that they would fight for it, and wouldn’t make it easy. Since day one, we’d been focussing on the transition from the start sequence to race pace – the Stride or Shift. In the days before we’d been lengthening out but only dropping to 39, and it wasn’t until a couple of corners later that we hit our long fast 36. Everyone in the boat felt that if we could hit that earlier, then the length we could get would give us better speed than the extra rate would, but getting the whole boat there naturally was proving tough. So with this in mind, and a new set of calls for Mairi on the shift, we lined up at station 6, just outside the outflow.
A straight push off, and a good start gained us 1/4 of a length on Queens’ before first post corner. At the shift we pressed out the length to a steadier rhythm and higher speed than we had previously, the boat really felt like it was cruising. As we added pressure for ten into the first corner, and Queen’s rudder came on, we moved up to half a length within station.
Following up with another ten as we came out of the corner meant we kept the gain moving into the gut with a boat length between us. We started to feel the dirty water and they held us at a length in the gut. Grassy corner upon us we started to walk up on Queens’. Seat by seat we took them. We saw Christ’s bump out with FaT behind us, but the focus remained in our boat.
Now we could hear the boat behind us as we closed in. But nothing changed in our rowing, and the gap narrowed as we ticked the boat along plough reach. Then a wall of noise drowned out everything else, screams for Pembroke, Queens’ and God knows who else thickening the air.
The gap at 1/4 of a length, we felt the steady, rhythmic wash from behind us that we’d felt on the first day behind Peterhouse and the day before behind FaT. The boat rocked beneath us, but we kept loose, relaxed and long, taking the final seat from them as the rudder came on for Ditton
With overlap we took the corner and as we were straightening out for the Long Reach we bumped them. Talking about it afterwards, Tony in the bow seat said he really felt the bump, and Mairi at the other end said she felt a satisfying impact. Somehow though in the 4 seat I didn’t, and must have taken at least two extra strokes before I realised what had happened.
Ryan in the stroke seat said that he was almost disappointed to have finished at that point, having geared up to squeeze on the reach. I think that’s really a reflection of how we all felt – while we’d been pushing it hard, we could have kept up that same pace for the whole course if the race had been longer.
A great race, and a fantastic end to a successful Lents campaign. It really has been a privilege to Captain this boat for PCBC, and I completely put that down to the commitment of the guys who’ve made it easy for me.
Bring on the Mays! Let’s see what we can do!
Archie Wood – Men’s Captain
Wednesday: 9th – Overbumped by Clare W1
W1 started just in front of the bridge in 6th position, chasing Christ’s and being chased by Newnham. The cannon’s went off and we were away – the start wasn’t our best but settled into a good solid, rhythm. Around the Plough Newnham were bumped by Cauis. Along the reach Clare were gaining on us – there were some great pushes but unfortunately, literally 100ms from the end, Clare caught us. Day two is a new day and with both W1 and W2 chasing Newnham we’ll be giving it everything!
Ery Hughes – Women’s Captain
Thursday: Bumped by St Catharines W1
W1 had a good, strong start which saw us begin to gain on Newnham and leave behind Cats. Cats had a wobbly start but got it together and unfortunately gained on us. We became a little panicked and tight in the upper body and were caught on first post corner. We’ve reflected on the problem of today and are determined to change our luck tomorrow.
Ery Hughes – Women’s Captain
Friday: 11th – Bumped by Queens W1
Tuesday: Bumped by Darwin M1
Regardless of the result, Day 1 was a gutsy & determined row for M2. After a rapid start, they began to gain on Wolfson.
From my vantage point on the bank, I witnessed two bumps in that division; the first, unfortunately, was Wolfson on Christs M2, who put up about as much resistance as a superconducting wire (physics joke there), effectively rolling onto their backs and giving Wolfson an exit (I imagine they were relieved to no longer be tussling with the mighty Pembroke men). As they cleared the river coxswain Helena Roy surgically picked the best line through the carnage.
It was not a shameful bump; my boys are surrounded by first boats, and they proved that that’s where they belong. Christs did not.
Tom Hoier – Men’s Vice-Captain
Thursday: 16th – Bumped by Corpus M1
Having rowed first day nerves out of our legs and keen to bump back on Darwin, M2 put in a much better performance today. The rowing was such an improvement from the previous day – more composed, cleaner, more powerful and more efficient. We were quick off the mark for our best start yet – rating 40 before settling down to a more sustainable 36 after 30 strokes. The Corpus M1 boat was chasing us and relentlessly pulled closer but we kept our nerve and some neat steering and calls (‘Defend the river!’) from cox Helena Roy saw us close Darwin to a length. Alas, just a day too late, as Corpus managed to catch us just after Grassy corner. To have rowed faster than the crew that previously caught us was a large boost if slightly disappointing that we hadn’t managed to hold Darwin off yesterday.
Thayne Forbes – M2
Friday: 17th – Bumped by St. Edmund’s M1
Tuesday: Bumped up on 1st and 3rd W2
There were nervous faces at the start from the whole crew, as they awaited their first taste of bumps. The cannons didn’t seem to calm the nerves.
W2 had a smooth, fast start and were flying the whole way to the motorway bridge. There was an early bump behind them of Corpus W1 on St Edmunds W1, who didn’t gain any distance. They proceeded to hold station on FaT W2 round first post and through the gut. Some nice coxing from James saw them starting to edge up on FaT round Grassy. It wasn’t till after Ditton that they really started to gain though. As the whistles started to come faster, the girls really picked up the boat as a crew and moved it on. They chased them almost the whole way down the reach, making the bump by the white house. Just in the nick of time!
An excellent start to the bumps campaign. ROW ON PCBC!
Catherine Vincent – Women’s Vice-Captain
Thursday: Rowed over 14th
W2 were still hyped off the bump on Tuesday and we had Newnham in our sights. The start was strong and we got settled and moving quickly. A number of crews bumped out before Grassy,
James Roberts – W2 Cox
Friday: 15th – Bumped by Corpus W1
Tuesday: Bumped up on LMBC M4
A great first day for M3, we had a strong race, taking a length out of LMBC by first post corner. We narrowed the gap down to 1/4 of a length by grassy, and, after taking a tight line round the corner had overlap. A final push out of the corner was all that was needed, and soon resulted in a bump. A fantastic start to the week, and fingers crossed for more bumps to come.
Izzy Stone – M3 Cox
Wednesday: Rowed over 3rd in Div 4
We had been hoping to catch Magdalene today, however a slight wobble of the crustacean kind off of the start left us 3/4 of a length off station. There was some real determination shown throughout the race, and we pulled back to being on station, but unfortunately were unable to catch them over the very short distance we were racing (M4 division finishes at the railings, so it’s only 1k or so!). A good start on Friday should set us up well for the chase, whilst we’ll have Wolfson M2 to push off of behind us for extra motivation!
Izzy Stone – M3 Cox
Friday: Rowed over 3rd in Div 4
Izzy Stone – M3 Cox
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
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
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:
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
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
This January from the 3rd-10th, PCBC took 34 of its number and 4 alumni coaches to Seville, Spain for an intense week of training to kick start our lent bumps campaign. This was the first trip of its kind that the club has done (well certainly in the memory of anyone currently rowing) and I think it’s fair to say that the training camp was hugely successful. We also launched it at the very reasonable and incredibly attractive price of £150 per person, which one rower pointed out was cheaper than spending the week in college! This was made possible by generous subsidies from alumni, and from our sponsors, King & Spalding.
Perhaps before launching into the camp itself, it’s worth talking about the inception of the idea. Last year we struggled with numbers, and we diagnosed the problem to be that insufficient numbers of students who learn how to row at Pembroke continue on after their first year of rowing. A few of the members of the previous committee met to discuss how this issue might be addressed. We decided that more needed to be done to persuade rowers to continue rowing through the colder months of the year. We settled on the idea that a sunny interlude was the way forward! So with accommodation booked and sunglasses, sunscreen and copious quantities of Lycra packed we set off to Sunny Sevilla!
We arrived on the evening of the 3rd, late and with all the hallmarks of 40 people who have been crammed into a Ryanair flight: hungry, tired, and not so fresh. Luckily we were greeted with meals, showers and beds, so everyone crashed out ready to face the first day of training.
Firstly we took the opportunity to explore the complex. All our meals were fully catered by the canteen, the complex had two gyms with free weights, a multipurpose sports hall, and an erg room. However the main selling point was the 5km stretch of straight, wide, flat river, including a marked out 2km course.
We had hired 4 boats to use while we were out there from the Centre, so we spent the first half of the morning adjusting just about everything you could think of on the shells. However, by the time we were ready to go, the only bad weather of the week had moved in and the conditions were too bad to get on the water. So we spent the rest of the day using the extensive facilities, including some technical erg work, circuit training and a core strength session.
Having not managed to get on the water on the first day, everyone was raring to get out there. We started out mixing the crews: putting less experienced and stronger rowers together. This gave everyone the chance to get back into the swing of things after the Christmas break, and for the coaches to get the chance to look at everyone. On camp the women’s coaching was headed up by Matt Stallard and Eddy Flower, and the men’s coaching by Adam Lister and Alan Marron. Everyone got over 25km of rowing in across 2 outings on the first day, before we retired for a film night after dinner.
The second and final day in mixed crews gave the coaches the opportunity to correct discrepancies in technique, and judge rowers on their technique so they could be sorted into provisional first and second crews for the remainder of the camp. In the evening a load of students went to watch the Epiphany march down the street of Seville. An amazing occasion where a huge parade of floats roll through the streets with revellers throwing sweets from tops.
We had two sessions to get used to the new crews. Lots of paddling and some experimental higher rate bursts made up the body of the outings. The 7th was a particularly warm day, with sun throughout and a peak of 25˚C. The coxes were mixed between the crews, giving everyone a chance to experience different coxing styles, and the coxes an opportunity to work with both men’s and women’s boats.
As well as the outings, the crews were given the afternoon off to explore Seville. Activities ranged from stocking up on more food at Lidl to visiting the bullfighting arena. One group even held a mini- regatta with some small wooden paddling boats they hired on the river
The river was slightly windy, giving us a good chance to practise getting a heavy boat moving into a headwind. Really gets you ready for when you round the corner into a boat stopping wind on the reach! Everyone went out in the evening to a bar in Seville to wind down after a hard day’s work.
Final day of rowing. All crews did timed pieces on the 2km course at free rate, to implement all the gains from the week into some rowing. The coaches were impressed by the huge strides that both individuals and crews managed to make during the week.
The camp was a fantastic opportunity for all the members of the club, giving everyone a chance to improve their rowing, get to know each other better, and get a bit of tan before returning to Cambridge!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Overall Captain, PCBC
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 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!
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!).
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.
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!