Reports from Ron on the URC entries at Nottingham Masters:

The crews who raced at Nottingham had to cope with very challenging conditions. There was a strong and blustery cross/headwind which also made the water very lumpy, particularly in the lower-numbered lanes which was usually where our crews were drawn. These conditions eventually caused the organisers to cancel racing altogether for some of the junior crews.

DSC_1152Upton recorded one victory – Jules and Tabs won the Mixed Mas D 2x. A strong City of Oxford crew led the field DSC_1196from the start, but Jules and Tabs caught them by the half way mark then pulled gradually away for the remainder of the race to win by a length (Photo Left). Jules also came close in the Mas E 1x, where his main rival was Gwilliam of Stourport, who is the reigning British champion in this category. With Gwilliam in lane 6 and Jules in lane 2 this was always going to be a tall order. In the end, Gwilliam held on by about a length (Photo Right), with all the other scullers trailing at least 100 metres behind.

DSC_1215The women’s Mas E 4x of Linda, Liz, Jo and Maggie also found themselves in lane 2 but battled well into the wind and maintained contact throughout the race (Photo Right) – they lost out in the closing stages but still finished ahead of a Norwich crew in lane 5.

DSC_1138Earlier, Jo and Linda had a good row in Mas E 2x, but from lane 2 (again) finished at the back of the four-boat field (Photo Left).

Andrew and Jeremy (lane 2 – need you ask?) had a similar fate in Mas F 2x (Photo Below Right)



Debbie and Sally were one of the few Upton crews not to be in lane 2 (hooray!). Unfortunately they were in lane 1 (even worse – boo!), but they still managed to finish second in a field of three (Photo Below Left).



So a tough day for everyone, and I only spotted one group who didn’t seem bothered by the weather (Photo Below Right). But it was a good rehearsal for the British Masters Championships on the same course DSC_1202next month, and let’s hope the wind has died down by then.


We had an excellent day today by nipping over the border to Monmouth. Here are the highlights:

DSC_1254Andrew had entered for Masters F/G single sculls. He was drawn against a Masters G sculler from Bewdley who had a six second start to take account of the age differential. This produced one of the tightest races of the regatta, but Andrew hunted him down all the way down the course and came through in the last few strokes to win by 1/3 of a length. This took him to the semifinal where he met a sculler from Staines, but before the race started his opponent apparently sustained a muscle injury and withdrew from the race. In the final he raced against a very classy sculler from Molesey who had won the equivalent event the previous day, and Andrew was unable to match the Molesey sculler’s pace. But overall this was a very good performance in what was only his second ever regatta in a single scull.

Our women’s quad of Linda, Liz, Jo and Maggie was drawn against a composite Welsh crew from Llandaff andDSC_1275 City of Swansea in a straight final of the Masters D/E 4x event. As the older crew this time Upton had a 5 second start, but the younger Welsh composite were unable to make any inroads into this margin and our quad rowed away to a decisive victory. The only threat to their win was a malfunctioning rudder which meant they had to steer with their oars, but they still managed to extend their lead in the closing stages while exerting minimal pressure with their right hand blades in order to stay on line for the finish.

Our third entry was in Masters E 2x where Jo and Linda again had a straight final, this time against a different Llandaff crew. As they had done in the quad, they took control of the race from the start and drew steadily away all down the course to a clear victory. DSC_1309

So a very good day for the club. Lots more to come this DSC_1332summer we hope!


A report from Ron on the URC entries at Evesham Regatta:

We had six Upton entries at Evesham Regatta today. Our only winner was Jack Gibson, who won the Junior 18 single sculls . Jack was also the runner up in the same event on Saturday over a longer course. IMG_0478 In addition:

• Toby rowed well in his first appearance in Novice sculls, maintaining an overlap throughout the race but eventually lost his DSC_1040heat by three quarters of a length to a sculler from Hollowell Scullers

• Jo and Linda were unable to find any Masters opposition so had to enter the Intermediate 3 2x event. They lost by about two lengths to the eventual winners from City of Oxford, who were at least 35 years younger than them!

• Sally and Debbie had the same problem (no Masters opposition) and also lost to the same City of Oxford crew.

• Andrew and Jeremy were beaten by a tidy-looking crew from Huntingdon in Masters E/F 2xDSC_1053

DSC_1062• Andrew bravely made his debut as a single sculler in blustery conditions and coped well but lost to a sculler from Stourport

A useful pipe-opener to the season even if we didn’t come away with much in the way of victories this time.




On 29 November, Julian Scrivener won the Masters D division of the Scullers Head on the Tideway in London. This is the biggest sculling event of the year, with around 550 entries, and is held over the Boat Race course (in reverse – running from Mortlake to Putney). As well as beating the 30-odd others in his age-group, Julian’s time of 22minutes 10 seconds was only just over a minute behind the overall winner of the event, who is over 30 years younger than him and who won a silver medal this year in the World under-23 Rowing Championships. Here’s his story of how he did it …

Early start on Saturday, leave Cheltenham at 5.00 am to get down to Barn Elms for a 9.30 race.

After a really calm 10k paddle Friday morning I felt in great shape for a good race. On arrival the conditions looked good, boated at 8.30. The paddle up to the start was incredibly bouncy, mainly due to all the safety launches buzzing around. 9.15 and in position at the start, off load my kit to Tabs (ground crew for the day!). With time to spare the usual eyeballing could commence. One of my two chief rivals, Frank Raschke, was starting three ahead, so a cursory nod of the head to Frank then back to focusing on what was going to have to happen in the next 25 minutes for me to realize my intentions of winning. At this point I must thank Ron for the message he sent out on Friday detailing the areas where the head wind would be at its worse and laying out a great race plan to follow.

My race starts well pushing hard at 32’s for a minute then settling at 30’s for the next 3 minutes. Approaching Barnes Bridge I’m caught by no 37 (young whippersnapper from Westminster), have to give way and get pushed wide on the bend, tuck back in behind him but go too far over to the opposite side. Get it together by the Bandstand then start to think about just sculling clean, relaxing and letting the boat run out (first, second and third rule of the Ron!)
By St Pauls I’m level with no34 and no35 and push on hard to break away and clear Hammersmith Bridge ahead then squeeze away from them towards the mile post. Steering at this point is bang on (compared to previous attempts). I ask for more of myself – win it here, last 4 minutes, there’ll be seconds in it, trust the legs, breathe and sit tall -stay clean and sharp. Barn Elms approaching fast, take a look- yes straight for the Black buoy and then the finish, 2 minutes left. Now time to let rip, I start to jack the rate up over five strokes to 34 passing Vesta , no mistakes, keep it clean but push again, must find more. London RC is coming soon, look & sense finish line, go ape for ten and finish.Mr Scriv 7

First thought always is “was that enough”, see Tabs and get the thumbs up. Find out later on, from the Provisional set of results, that it wasn’t enough missing out by 3.5 seconds. I felt great disappointment to have missed out, left with the feeling of being “owned” for another year. Later on I began to analyse my time comparing it with those of no’s 34, 35 and 38 and I felt something wasn’t quite right. Having overtaken them both and finishing well ahead I was only attributed 7 seconds over no35, my thoughts were it should have been at least 15 seconds.

Then, Monday morning 8.30, receive a text from my great mate Mark who won Masters E saying “you really ¬¬need to see the results”. Tabs opened up the web page to see a revised set of times, and there it was, Upton RC winner Mas D, YYYYEEESSSSSSS!

I have, however, still spent these last days in a state of flux waiting for the various updated versions to come and go, so I am relieved to be able to send this report now as the final times have been published. I would again like to thank Ron for the coaching and video clips, those two outings together helped me greatly, making the slight tweaks to my set up, and your 3 step mantra helped cut a clear hole through my fog. In previous years I have won this event, but not when I was a member of any club. I was boating from a school boat house in Tewkesbury and training completely on my own. Being a part of Upton RC has helped me immeasurably over this year. This was by far and away my best performance to date, finishing just over 1 minute behind the overall winner is something rather special to me. I put a lot of that down to being in a “happy space”.

Thank you all for your support and interest. Next challenge will be to find a suitable outfit for the big one – Upton Xmas Head!


Dear Rowers

Quite an impressive mini-head race yesterday. Excellent conditions, with just a hint of stream to push people along. Possibly a record turnout with 11 boats, 34 rowers + 2 coxes. Almost certainly a record winning time of 16.44 by Julian and Tabitha in their old wooden double. Lots of tight racing through the fleet – Jack refusing to let Julian and Tabitha pass; a similar battle between Matt and the double of Andrew and Jeremy. The men’s quad couldn’t hold back the ladies quad, and there was a close contest between the men’s 4- and ladies 4+.

The final actual race times and positions are below and in the spreadsheet, along with the corrections using George Strang’s infamous factors which adjust for boat type, age and gender to reveal the competitiveness of crews.

Crew Boat Time Basic Ranking Adjusted time Adjusted ranking
Dee Trish WC2x 00:22:15 10 00:17:46 10
Peter + mxE8+ 00:21:12 9 00:19:02 11
Debbie + WE4+ 00:20:43 8 00:16:36 6
Helen & Wendy wE2x- 00:22:23 11 00:17:17 7
Ian Mackie G4- 00:20:10 7 00:17:20 8
Matt c1x 00:19:37 6 00:15:48 4
Andrew & Jeremy f2x 00:19:33 5 00:16:15 5
Duncan D4x 00:19:11 4 00:17:41 9
Jo E4x 00:18:26 3 00:15:12 3
Jack J181x 00:16:59 2 00:14:02 2
Julian & Tabitha Mx D2x 00:16:44 1 00:13:45 1

Many thanks to Misar and the timekeepers.

Finally – Don’t forget:

Next Minihead 28th December. Extra handicap allowance for fancy dress?

Please let me know by the 26th if you plan to enter (as a crew or as a rower wanting to form a crew)

£2 seat fee (which covers the Misar rescue).