The boat club has had a strong start to the year with new Head Coach Cameron Kennedy arriving to increase the high performance side of the club. Neglecting to mention the September 2ks, BUCS Indoors brought strong erg face game and medals in Men’s Openweight, Women’s Lightweight and both Men’s and Women’s Team Relay. Our Head season began with the annual UBBC Head, the only event in the country to successfully hold its metaphorical staff up to the weather that weekend, though a few boats and rowers took arrows to the chest. The club produced good performances both on the water and on the dancefloor, including a win for the Men’s Pair. The Senior Men’s 1st VIII were unfortunately slightly hindered due to some rogue otters. The counselling worthy winter training brought strong squads into the New Year, albeit slightly heavier than they left. January finished with Quintin head, which in 2008 Bristol had set the Chiswick to Hammersmith course record. Our results set the standard for the Head race season, the Senior Women’s 1st VIII and Senior Men’s 1st VIII finishing 4th and 1st respectively in their IM3 categories. Success followed in the training session turned Senior Men 1st VIII medal haul taking headship at the Avon County Head. On the Tyne BUCS Head produced further podium finishes; the Senior Men’s Champ 4-, and the Senior Women’s Lwt4x- and Lwt4+. We can only hope the Lightweight Men learn how to row soon.
The Varsity Boat Race had UBBC sweeping the floor with a 3-1 victory over UWEBC, needless to say the varsity ball was ‘Grrreat’. At the Women’s Eight Head of the River Race our 1st VIII bagged a top 50 finish, the best placing in 12 years. We also saw the first time UBBC raced 2 eights into the top 100. Two weeks later, our Mens Squads took to the Tideway once again, fielding a slightly weakened 1st VIII, a 2nd VIII and a novice VIII. The 1st VIII came home 85th, 22 seconds outside of their target top 50. Whilst disappointed, this highlighted the competitive standard of British rowing with such a small margin separating 35 crews. An almost scratch 2nd VIII finished up in 177th place, with the novices placing 275th. Lessons learnt all round, particularly for strokeman Harry Rosen, who forgot that Hammersmith was 2km from the finish, when he began to wind for the line.
2015/16 has also been a competitive season for UBBC coxes, starting with rotations between squads from the very first tech session and culminating in opposed work in preparation for the upcoming BUCS regatta. Along the way there have been a few bent fins, faulty chargers and broken steering. Nevertheless the coxing squad continue to lead and motivate UBBC through another successful year. The wins and notable finishes at UBBC Head, Quintin Head, the Tideway and Varsity regatta had the coxes outmanoeuvring crews from UWE, KCL, Tethys (OUWLRC) and CrewBath.
The occasional appearance of sunlight brought all the squads to Dart Totnes, South Devon where small boats braved low tide sand banks and waves comparable to the Oxbridge Women’s Boat Race. Simply put the Senior Camp consisted of 7 days of pain, stretching, rowing, work for some, play for others and the eating of obscene amounts of food (Harry Stroud takes the award for the most amount of chilli con carne to fit in a cooking bowl). All of this to cut those vital seconds of our 2k times (Harry Stroud again taking the top spot). The rain storms are getting scarcer and the colour is returning to Saltford, which can only mean summer racing season is upon us. The club is looking strong, and with BUCS regatta only a few days away should it be long before the medals come pouring in?
Sophia ‘Essy’ Margetts
Benjamin ‘Slingers’ Slingsby
John ‘Smallden’ Allden