This year we took full advantage of our new boathouse, with our novices training there from day 1. As someone who can remember the portacabins of 2015-16, I can say for certain that the boathouse has made a huge difference to our novice retention, dedication to training, and general boat club vibes. Having more space for boats has also borne fruit, with two single sculls joining our fleet and a Janousek 8+ replacing one of our Vespolis. One of the single sculls was a generous donation by alumnus Richard Gradwell, and will be named the “Chloe Gradwell”. Our Janousek 8+, the “Pippa Rogerson” named after the incoming Master of Caius, will be rowed by the women’s side. These boats will no doubt be extremely useful for training in the coming years!
On the river, this year has been mostly positive. Our Michaelmas crews were extremely strong, the men’s novices winning every race they entered and M1 winning in Uni IVs. Then at Pembroke Regatta, M1 won and Gonville Boat Club raced against themselves in the final of the alumni division: a boat headed by Sam Lloyd going up against one headed by Gordon Beck. Lent Bumps however was chaos, with the weather cancelling many of the divisions. Despite this, W2 bumped up one position, as did M4. M1 moved up two into 2nd on the river, but didn’t get a chance to race LMBC for the headship. The real stars of Lent Bumps were M3 however, bumping up through sandwich into division 3. With this effort, I awarded them blades since they bumped at every opportunity they could, despite the best efforts of the weather.
At Head of the River, we entered a boat for the first time since 2012. We finished 163rd, having started 285th, overtaking 7 boats over the course. We also had representation in the CUW C boat at WeHORR with women’s vice-captain Kate McDaid, who finished 42nd.
Moving into May Bumps, our top boats slipped a little but still hold strong positions on the river, 4th and 5th for M1 and W1 respectively. Being within touching distance of the headship will surely motivate next years’ squads! Our lower boats also had some great performances, both M3 and W3 narrowly missing out on blades due to unfortunate bumps in front of them (both +3).
This year was also the 20th anniversary of the 1998 crews, in which year 6 of the 7 racing crews were awarded blades! We welcomed the alumni back for our Boat Club Dinner and to our benefactors tent on Caius Meadows for the Saturday of Bumps. As anyone who has rowed May Bumps knows, the roar from the Caius tent is great motivation, and so I thank all the alumni and supporters who came down to the Meadows. Special thanks as always to Martin Wade, Tony Baker and Jimmy Altham for the support from the towpath, and of course our boatman Simon Goodbrand without whom none of this would be possible.
As for me, this was my final year in Cambridge. It has been my pleasure to serve as Captain of Boats, and I’m sure come May Bumps 2019 I’ll be on the Meadows cheering on our crews. Chris Gilmartin will be taking over as Captain of Boats into this next academic year, and I wish him the best of luck (not that he needs it!)
Go The Mighty