Captain’s Word

Captain’s Word Michaelmas 2019

As we enter the New Year, I am delighted to report on what the club has achieved over the past term. I firstly must thank Robin McCorkell, my predecessor as Captain of Boats and a good friend, for all his hard work last year alongside the Committee. I also ought to introduce myself: I am reading medicine, now in my 5th year, and last year was a Social Secretary on the committee (the one sending the many emails about Pembroke Regatta and BCDs- apologies!).

CBC has welcomed a new cohort of rowers, some joining the senior sides alongside an extensive novice intake, which our new boathouse attracts. Our 1st novice women’s boat (NW1) won the Queen’s Ergs competition with NM1 coming second, starting the term in the right direction. All our novice boats performed exceptionally well this term, yet it must be highlighted that NM1 won the novice Fairbairn competition as well as the Emma Sprints race earlier on in the term. NM1 went on to race the senior course the following day as well, for the opportunity of gaining longer racing experience. George Hawkswell, Joep ten Wolde, Maria Stroyakovski, Michael Westmuckett-Martin and Jack Rickard warrant special thanks for all the time they have devoted this term to coaching the novice boats.

We have welcomed new coaches for our top boats this year, with Alice White taking on W1. Alice has raced with New Zealand Junior’s, as well as representing GB in the 2015 World Championships in Bulgaria, before arriving in Cambridge where she has raced in the Boat Race in 2017 & 2018. Ed Hackett is our new M1 coach, who has rowed in the past with UCL, UL and Red Bull. Michaelmas term of course concludes with the Fairbairns Cup, where W1 had an outstanding performance, achieving 2nd place out of all the colleges. M1 also had a strong performance, being awarded 4th place. Our men’s side was sufficiently large to enter an M2 4+ into Fairbairns who also performed well.

We have a good number of Caians trialling with the University this year. Matthew Holland (former CUW cox), Calum MacRae (CUL 1st boat last year), Ben Dyer and Joe Nash are trialling with CUBC, Harry O’Loughlin with CUL, while our CUW trialists this year are Victoria Walker (CUL 1st boat last year), Catherine Walker, Catherine King and Kate McDaid. We wish them all the best, with the final months now in sight to the boat races!

We were delighted to host a Boat Naming Ceremony on 18th November for the Pippa Rogerson women’s 8+, named after our illustrious new Master. It was highly enjoyable to talk with so many alumni who returned for the event, and I would like to thank the Master and the Dean for their support with the occasion. We also organised a corporate boating event for Red Bull this term, an entertaining morning bringing in further revenue for the club.

We concluded the term with a training camp in Seville, where we rowed alongside the Spanish team and the O’Donovan brothers! As well as giving motivation to the squad, the camp integrated novices into the senior sides and gave us the opportunity to focus for a week without the distractions of Cambridge degrees. I must thank Adam Grant for assisting with the organisation of the camp, as well as Anna Samuel and Charlotte Heeley (Women’s Side Vice-Captains).

I would also like to strongly thank all the alumni who send regular subscriptions to the Club. These donations assist the club throughout the year, ensuring costs for our members are affordable, and enabled this recent training camp to be possible.

Following the camp, a very exciting partnership has formed. Humphrey Cobbold (Matriculation 1983), CEO of Pure Gym, has generously agreed to support the club over the coming years. We would like to take this opportunity to greatly thank Humphrey for his immense kindness to the club, which we are sure will enhance our performance and safeguard the club for future generations of Caians.

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and I wish you a joyful 2019.

Chris Gilmartin

Captain of Caius Boat Club 2018-9

Captain’s Word Easter 2018

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

Robin McCorkell

Captain’s Word Lent 2018

It’s the beginning of Lent term, and with it comes the joining of our novices with the senior squad. Michaelmas was a fantastic term for our novices: a strong showing across all crews at Queen’s Ergs set the tone for the rest of the term, with NM2 winning their category and NW2, NW1 and NM1 coming 2nd in theirs. On the water, NM1 dominated every competition they entered, winning Emma Sprints, Clare Novices and Fairbairns! NM2 were hot on their heels however, with a strong race in Clare Novices and also a win in their category in Fairbairns. NW1 lost out in the elimination-style racing of Emma Sprints and Clare Novices, but finished 6th of around 30 boats in Fairbairns!

The seniors were not hanging around last term either, with a win in Uni IVs for M1, followed by 3rd in the Winter Head and 2nd in Fairbairns (among college crews). W1 had some good races and set a good time at the Winter Head, and will hopefully gain a lot of power with the novice women joining the squad. 2k tests have now taken place for both the women and the men, and it seems like the existing seniors are going to have a fight on their hands to keep their seats!

Just before Christmas, we took 26 rowers and coxes to Chester for our annual training camp. We were joined by W1 coach Jamie Brown, along with guest coach Cyril Cornet from Imperial/Westminster. The week was full of intense training and mentality gains, but also a fair measure of fun with the rest of the squad! Our novices in particular stepped on a lot, and I’d like to thank our coaches again for the effort they put in, which will directly affect our performance in Bumps.

So, Lent Bumps. It is of course difficult to predict what will happen, but I am confident that with so many strong novices competing with seniors for seats, and the resulting determination that entails, we are set up to do very well.


Robin McCorkell

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