November 27, 2010

Royal Wedding v Liverpool Boat Show

So they've decided to give us all a bank holiday on April 29th so we can watch the Royal Wedding.

However, YOU could use this day off to visit the new Liverpool Boat Show on its opening day.

I'll be there exhibiting a couple of rowing boats. The picture below is of the prototype for a new boat from VirusBoats and I shall be exhibiting one of these.

Posted by Stephen Walker at 12:29 AM

November 15, 2010

More Exciting Races

Wow, what a great year I'm having racing.

Yesterday I competed at Northwich Autumn Head. First of all I raced in Masters F singles and then in Masters E quads.

The course is about 2300m long yet in the single I had passed my only opposition in F singles within 500m. I was catching up the E sculler from Runcorn at the finish, who was determined not to let me past. I won my event by 1 min and 10 sec but, to put it into perspective, George Perrin who is only two years younger than I am was 32 seconds faster than I was.

Not to worry we then had an excellent race in our quad, the same crew that did so well in the summer regattas. Again we had passed the first crew by the blue bridge, just 500m into the race, and as we approached the famous narrows (where there used to be a lock) we caught up with the next crew. Just after the narrows is a slight bend followed, inconveniently, by a marina with lots of boats tied up alongside on the River Weaver. There is not much room at the best of times and, in fast coxless boat, steering with one's foot is a nightmare!

Fortunately our Grosvenor Rowing Club crew was sculling well and was very relaxed so I was able to look round several times and make tiny adjustments to our course. But I've never been so close to the moored boats without hitting one. We were the thickness of a piece of paper away, just!

Then, before we had completely passed the crew, they altered course in our direction in order to pass the next crew that was immediately ahead of them so they clashed with us and had to stop sculling momentarily. We got going again quickly and set about passing the next crew and we nearly passed them on the line when we hit yet another crew (a young 13 yr old girls coxed quad) that had been set off almost 3 minutes ahead of us! I had no idea they were even there and their cox likewise had no idea we were coming up behind them so contact was inevitable. We suffered a bent rigger and drifted over the line all locked together. A very exciting race for us and the spectators too.

Needless to say we won this race comfortably and, were it not for the crashes at the end, which cost us about 2 seconds, we would have been the third fastest crew in the whole event out of nearly 300 boats!

Posted by Stephen Walker at 04:55 PM

November 03, 2010

Back from the dead

Although I've not entirely recovered my fitness since the crash in August I have recovered much of it and am back in the boat racing. Actually in two boats.

The quad has been repaired and as I've spent about 5 hours checking the rigging it is now almost properly rigged. It is an iterative process!

We raced at the weekend in the Dee Autumn Head, an event run by the masters in my own club, Grosvenor Rowing Club. We had an exceptionally large entry with 100 boats in the morning division and 140 in the afternoon division!

We flew off the start in the stiff, following wind and maintained a high rate throughout the race. Great fun and a good result for a scratch crew, 2nd in our age group.

Then in the afternoon I was also second amongst the half dozen masters scullers, despite being the smallest and oldest.

I was trying out a new racing boat, by the same designer as my last one and the same size. It is fast but rather unstable as it is a little too small for me and I've now decided to go for the next size up, which is easier to sit. I have a new pair of sculls too as the last pair were smashed in the crash. I've cut down the blade area so that I could keep the rating high and this worked really well as I was able to maintain a rate of 30 strokes per minute throughout the race. Glad to be back!

Posted by Stephen Walker at 07:10 PM