Nottingham Masters Regatta - 15th May 2016

The Nottingham Masters Regatta is a relatively new event filling a gap in the racing calendar and is billed as an ideal preparation for the British Master Championships held on the same course in a month's time.  The distance is 1000 metres and is a good event for junior crews as well.  One feature of the Nottingham course is the exposure to winds which can make racing a challenge.  The weather forecast predicted a mild and cloudy day, but in the event we arrived in brilliant sunshine, with almost no wind and calm water.  Despite a full programme of races throughout the day, the whole event was run in a calm and relaxed environment.  All OTRC crews acquitted themselves well but there were a couple of stand-out performances including the Men's 8, and particularly the junior girls double who rowed a brilliantly tactical race to the delight of the massed ranks of OTRC supporters.  Their second 500m where they stormed through to take second place in their race was a highlight of the day.  Well done to Etholle and Laura.    
Thank you to everyone who took part, helped with rigging/de-rigging and with each other's crews (especially Angela and Claire) and special thanks to Dick for towing the trailer which enabled it all to happen.  All in all a grand day out.

Mas F 2x Alan, Simon, time 4:25, 2nd (of 3!)

There's nothing like the white heat of competition.  The training we do, the work on technique etc., is all severely tested in a multi-lane race.  With the weather being much more benign that we had expected, one of our excuses was immediately neutralised.  All went to plan though; boated, onto the course in good time, warm-up, practice starts, turn at the right point into the lane (no umpire's warning this time) and onto the stake-boat.  We were drawn in between crews from Derwent and Stratford upon Avon.  Off the start, Derwent and ourselves immediately pulled away from Stratford; then Derwent pulled further ahead eventually to win by 25 seconds.  We had our customary altercation with the lane furniture, plus umpire warning; but always managed to keep Stratford at bay, rating a brisk 31 to finish in 4mins 25s.  Will do better next time!"

WVetE 2x Angela and Claire (time 5.15)

Holme Pierrepoint provided unusually benign conditions for this 1000m Nottingham sprint.  Even sun protection cream was required! 
The OTRC Sherpas helping us to boat on this occasion were half of the men's eight...thanks guys...We pushed off to embark on our second regatta experience, the warm up consisting of a selection of our rowing repertoire including some good starts.  With this behind us and feeling confident for our race, we lined up in lane 4 ready to move on to the stake boat.  So far so good, but Angela did have to mention that I was aiming for the starting gantry.  After negotiating around this massive structure and in an attempt to rectified the oversight...our trusty bow steers(wo)man then headed for the wrong end of the stake boat! 'Should have gone to Specsavers’ (apologies to Brian and Rhona).  Poor Aunty A was frazzled, having spent all her mental energy before we started!
Now in the right place at the right time ...  we lined up with Broxbourne and Norwich (also Masters Ds) and a Birmingham crew, who as an E-crew, were awarded a knee-knocking 10 second head start.  We replicated our solid practice starts and were on our way and ahead, (bar Birmingham ... already half way down the course!), getting into a rhythm higher than our race plan, which proved to be our downfall.  Too much red mist and not enough legs, resulting in a severe case of ‘fading’ in the second half of the race.
According to our OTRC supporters and critics, our row looked neat and tidy which was heartening, but we were unable to achieve higher than fourth place. Perhaps we would have preferred messier and faster?  We both felt a little deflated with our performance and so it’s back to the drawing board!
Well done to the OTRC crews for providing such good entertainment throughout the rest of the day.

WJ14 2x, Etholle Brooke-Clarke and Laura Dew time 3:55

We found the start hard but got into a steady pace by the half way point and pulled back to second place.  We were really pleased with our time of 3 mins 55 secs and finishing position (second) particularly as this was only the second time we had every rowed as a pair together.

Men’s Nov8+: Paul, Dick, Charlie, Richard, Leslie, Peter, Jason, Ron, Mark

We lost – by less than two seconds at 3.35 – and we felt good about it!
It had been a really great day, with a relatively comfortable start time at 8.20am in bright sunshine.  Three of us had a good chat whilst Dick drove to Nottingham with the trailer.  With only four races reasonably spaced we could really enjoy the day, helping with the earlier races and everyone arrived in good time to get ready for our 17.10 race.  
We set off in good time, cox weighed and found acceptable, and did our usual warm up routine and then several practice starts.  Heard some muffled conversations at the stern as we adjusted between practices and then lined up in our lane without any opposition in site.  At the five minute warning they appeared – a crew of 17-18 year olds all in the same kit looking well-tuned.  We did manage to avoid gawping and got onto our stake boat at the first attempt and were reminded by Paul to breathe and get focused.  Announcements at minute intervals kept coming followed by the announcement of the race.
Attention, Go!  A good solid start followed by some firm strokes and we were level and perhaps slightly ahead – and this remained the case for 500 metres where they put on a push and went up a bit.  This slight up and down remained, and they ended less than ½ a length ahead.  We had rowed hard, kept a focus for most of the way, and felt our time was respectable, once we could breathe and stand again.  
A great experience at a fantastic venue.