FMPGC rowers take on the London Great River Race

Report from Tim Wood –

Update 9th Sept – some official stats:

Pinnacle’s time was 2hrs 40mins and 34secs (possibly new club record?)

56th fastest out of 324 entries

10th Pilot Gig (out of 32)

After months of training and preparation this years GRR crew set off for Millwall to row the 22 miles to Twickenham. After consulting the diet sheet we completed our training on Friday night with a bit of carbohydrate loading in Carluccios Canary Wharf (very good). We decided the best source of carbs was Chianti as it had both C and H in it, and the crew seemed to benefit from it. After an early night (?) we dissipated into the suburbs before convening again the next morning caffeine free, loaded with porridge and raring to go…… pretty much nowhere as the launching and start is pretty chaotic.

With a bit of expert coxing from Mark we hit the start line at precisely 13.02, our allotted start time, and we were off. Having made plans of the fastest line according to wind and tide we quickly realised that with 320 boats on the water all going at different speeds and aiming for the same narrow parts of the bridges, this was useless – it was going to be a 3 hour intensive coxing course! After 20 mins some pretty impressive scenery appeared as we went under Tower bridge then past the houses of Parliament etc. We kept going and began to overtake other gigs – it was going well.



Our crew changes worked like clockwork – almost! We began some spirited Oggy Oggy cries under the bridges but as it became more congested our Oggies and Ois started to get a bit mixed up! On several occasions we dedicated bridges to David’s memory as he was in the last fmpgc crew to compete in the GRR, and his spirit was with us (Marianne had provided a bottle of real Dutch courage for us all!). More bridges, more crew changes and we approached Richmond Bridge where we had an altercation with a spectator boat that had turned sideways under the arch!! After a few cries of “move away you fine chap” from Madeleine, the captain (suitably chastised)moved his vessel out of our way and we sprinted to the finish…… and the White Swan pub!!

Our time was a pretty decent 2hrs 40 mins fittingly the same time as when David’s crew did the race. A fabulous performance by all the crew – Madeleine, Steve, Caroline, Sean, Dave, Mark, Tim and Tom. Many thanks to Mark who towed Pinnacle to and from London and got her safely back on Home turf (or is it surf?) before midnight.