A windy HoRR and VHoRR

Sudbury Rowing Club entered two men's Senior 2 eights for the Head of the River Race staged over the four and a quarter mile course between Mortlake and Putney on the River Thames. More than four hundred crews were entered ranging rom novice to international oarsmen and the organisers had a tough decision to make as to whether the race should be allowed to take place. With gale force winds making conditions extremely rough, the waiting area before the start would prone to be challenging to even the most experienced
crews. It was decided that this area in particular would be difficult to marshal and a danger to all concemed, so the race was reluctantly cancelled.

The following day saw the Sudbury Mixed Veteran eight arrive at Hammersmith, wondering whether conditions had improved sufficiently for the Vesta International Veterans Head of the River Race to go ahead. Although the direction of the wind was opposite to that of the incoming tide, the wind had abated sightly and the organisers decided that the race should continue. The one hundred and forty fire boats made their way to the start at Putney, but with the tide still rising and conditions worsening the race was shortened.

Racing against the clock, crews set off but encountered severe conditions with waves breaking over the sides of the boats. Many boats were swamped, with the crews having to be rescued by the RNLI and police Marine Rescue Service.

The Sudbury Rowing Club eight of Liz Spencer, Christiane Milk, Ken Mills, Mike Arnott, Paul Spencer, Tony Hogsbjerg, Tricia McGrillen and Rosemary Hogsbjerg coxed by Jenny Spencer battled to complete the shortened course, unlike many of the other competitors. They were pleased with the way they had coped in such unfamiliar conditions, and delighted with the way thirteen year old Jenny Spencer had handled her coxing duties in this, her first race.

To discover that the crew had also won its class for the second year running was a cause for much celebration.

Published