Last year had gone well, with only a few festering blisters and other unmentionable injuries of note so it couldn’t be any worse if we did it all again this year could it? So on a fine September morning the “Cornish Sea Chiantis” made their way to “The Smoke” with poor old Pinnacle in tow.
We all met up on the Friday night at “The Mayflower” pub for a team briefing, which as the name suggests was very brief and followed by much carb loading on a beautiful terrace over the Thames. It was a lovely warm September night. Can’t remember any more!
The next morning we all met up again in a derelict car park several hundred yards from Millwall Slip where we were due to launch and start the race at our allotted time of 13.36. Anyone ever tried to get nearly 1/2 tonne of boat and kit 400 yards down a main road with no trolley? Nor had we, but calling on our finest Anglo Saxon we managed it, and launched just in time for our start. We were all exhausted before the race began! Caro skilfully guided us to an excellent start and we were off in perfect rowing conditions.
We quickly got into “stride”, our crew changes went well and we made excellent progress overtaking many of the slower boats. All of our coxes did really well with no significant incidents to note so we could concentrate on the rowing and the fabulous sights, Tower Bridge, Houses of Parliament, Wibbly Wobbly, Tate, London Eye etc etc. All too soon we were out of central London and heading towards Richmond where we made our dash for the finish just in front of Ham House, that was it – finished! We took a Prosecco pause. Steve thought he was hallucinating as a car slowly circled around us, we pinched him several times (perhaps too many) but it was no good we all decided it really was a car so we rowed to the White Swan for congratulatory drinks. The car followed us!!!
How did we do? Well we trounced last years time doing the 21 miles in 2hrs 36mins and 28 seconds. This meant we were..
69th fastest out of 332 entrants
17th out of 47 Pilot Gigs
24th out of 83 mixed crews
111th overall using their funny handicap system that nobody understands
So a brilliant result – well done to Fi, Caro, Madeleine, Dave, Steve, Sean, Tom & Tim.
Shall we do it all again next year?