A total of 22 members of Sudbury Rowing Club set out early on Sunday morning to compete at Maidstone Small Boats Head. Arriving in plenty of time for the first division at 10.30 the crews boated, warmed up & did their best to stay that way in an icy wind.
First boat off was the Sudbury Senior 1 four of Antony Moule, Kevin Last, Aidan Dunn and Sam Hogsbjerg, coxed by Jim Kean. The crew felt they’d raced particularly well, and this was borne out by the fact that they finished the day as the fastest boat in their class. Next off for Sudbury was the Novice four of Charles Howard, Keith Paxman, Rob Weller and Paul Hamblett with cox Andrew Blit. They were reasonably happy with their race, but felt it went much better in the second division. This time they felt they got into their rhythm better and that the boat was better balanced. They were coxed by Robert Frost.
The women’s Senior 2 crew of Tricia McGrillen, Katherine Cass, Julie Sutton and Susie Moule led the women’s racing in this division. They were coxed by Claire Everest who put in a great performance, steering this difficult boat (Ray Cresswell) for the first time to great effect. They achieved the fastest time of the day for a women’s crew. The well established Vet D coxless pair of Ken Mills and Mike Arnott raced in this Division, but encountered some steering issues. They were followed by the women’s Senior 3 coxless pair of Vicky Leonard and Rosemary Hogsbjerg, who unfortunately had no direct competition, but were happy to evaluate their time against similar men’s crews. Robert Frost entered in the novice single sculls, and his sister, Dawn, in the women’s J16 single scull.
In the second division the Vet D coxed 4 of Ken Mills, Jim Kean, Tony Hogsbjerg and Mike Arnott were coxed by Andrew Blit. With no opportunity for a practice outing beforehand the crew rowed as well as could be expected.
Following directly behind their arch rivals from Poplar, Blackwall & District Rowing Club, the women’s Senior 3 four of Julie Sutton, Claire Everest, Vicky Leonard and Rosemary Hogsbjerg, and cox Tricia McGrillen very soon started to make up ground. In an exciting race they inched their way closer stroke by stroke, and managed to overtake the other crew before the finish.
A satisfying result for Sudbury whose women’s crews finished the day 1st & 2nd overall.
The coxless pair of Aidan Dunn & Sam Hogsbjerg raced at Open class & were the fastest pair of the day. Antony Moule and Jeremy Fisher raced in Senior 2 coxless pairs, and Kevin Last in the Senior 2 single sculls, but having been given a starting position behind slower boats, both crews had to negotiate several overtaking manoeuvres. Dawn Frost raced again, this time in women’s novice single sculls, and was much happier with her performance.
There were various issues with the organisation of the event, not least the absence of a defined finishing line. The cold weather also contributed to feelings of dissatisfaction with the event.
One plea though – everyone would do well to learn from Robert’s experience and always take spare clothes. This is applicable to a gentle paddle on a lazy summer afternoon in the warmth at Sudbury, but is PARTICULARLY so for a competition of two divisions in the winter. There are a number of people who regularly appear inappropriately dressed/equipped, you know who you are!
At the time of writing the full results are not available, they will be updated here when they are known.