BUCS regatta, the largest student regatta in Europe, was held over the last weekend of April at the National water sports centre in Nottingham. For the novice mens squad, this consisted of the beginners coxed fours event held on Saturday, and the beginners eights on Sunday. This was to be the first event of the regatta season, and the boys were eager to kick it off with a good result.
After the usual early pick up and boat rigging, the weekend began with the fours time trial, in reasonable conditions despite the bad forecast. For a first experience of regatta style racing, both crews performed well, however the second IV weren’t fortunate enough to qualify for the finals. The first IV managed to make the C final, but were disappointed to miss out on semi finals, given the progress they made on camp. The C final proved to be an eventful and disappointing race for the novice IV, who had a steering problem which caused them to veer into another lane. The crew were disqualified and had to face the embarrassment of being left behind by the safety launch as they attempted to row back in a straight line. Whilst the day didn’t go as planned, it was a good experience and importantly a chance to get those nerves out of the way for the eights event to follow on Sunday.
After a night in the luxury Travelodge, the boys from the fours were joined by the rest of the squad for the B8+ event. The time trials saw the two VIIIs placed very close, with the 1st VIII sneaking just into the C final, and the 2nd VII comfortably into the D final. Again the boys were disappointed to miss out on semis, but were excited for the opportunity to race despite warnings that these finals might have been cancelled due to the wind.
The 2nd VIII gained a canvas instantly after a powerful start, lead by the stroke man lewis. The crew showed grit and determination to push ahead of the other crews, and extend their lead consistently throughout the race. By the end of the 2k stretch, the crew had the luxury of cruising over the line, two boat lengths ahead of the nearest boat, placing them 19th overall in the event. The 1st VIII had a fairly strong start also, putting them amongst the pack over the first 1000m. The crew were bow ball to bow ball with the Bristol boat, in an epic ding dong which lasted most of the race. However, when the Bristol boat made a kick, the boys didn’t have the rate to hold on, and were left by the pack to finish 5th. This placed them 17th overall in the event.
With both crews placing well, this shows depth in the squad which they are hoping to carry forward into the regatta season. Overall a very enjoyable weekend and a promising start at this early stage.