History 1985-1990

No category

Captain S.A. Kirkpatrick
Honorary Secretary G.C.R. Budden
Vice Captain R.M. Payn
Captain of Lower Boats A.G. Strowbridge
Ladies Captain Delia Bethell

At the beginning of a year that saw continued outstanding and often unprecedented success for the Boat Club, the returning members were under no illusion as to the possibilities for the future and the heavy commitment which would be necessary. From the very start our training was geared towards the May Races, nine months away, and with that in mind the squad including three 1st May Colours and the cream of last years 2nd VIII, began racing in small boats, cultivating technical expertise and individual competitiveness. All were encouraged to enter sculling or pairs races.

Since everything was subordinated to a winter training programme for the Mays, University IVs were a formality, the Light IV losing in the semi-finals while the coxed IV were knocked out in the 2nd round. Both IVs and a Ladies crew were entered for the Tideway Head, with the coxed IV again winning through to score the second fastest Senior ‘C’ time, and the trip was made more worthwhile by a Sunday spent under the supervision of the chief coach, Dr Chris George (GB).

The IVs work was continued, to the surprise of many other colleges, the two crews intermixing and finally combining for the Lock to Lock Race, only two weeks beforehand. Tony Baker, coaching, sharpened the crew up a little from its endurance programme and with CBC timekeepers spread along the course the race, three days late owing to ice on the river, started with Caius in second place chasing Pembroke at a lively 36. At the Railway Bridge it was clear that the gap had closed considerably, and responding to a last minute spurt, Caius took the Fairbairn cup for first time in its history in 15 minutes 18 seconds, the second fastest time on record. It was fitting that this year the Ladies too should gained a memorable victory, beating a very strong Jesus VIII by one second.

The vast influx of Novices in the Michaelmas term also performed well, the Ladies novice ‘A’ VIII coming second and the men’s fifth in their Fairbairn races. As usual, the Clare Novice Regatta was an amusing, splintering event and a boatman’s nightmare!

In another unheard of success, the Magdalene Silver Pairs was an all-Caius final (two international pairs from the CUBC squad having been frightened off to Ely). George Budden and Phil Rawlins gained the honours to add to the senior ‘B’ trophies in the Cam Small Boats Head.

Resolutely the 1st VIII squad, strengthened by two former 1st May Colours, who had fortunately kept up their water work in sculling boats, put in three more training weekends on the Tideway during the Christmas break and returned in the Lent term to step up their gym work to three, one and a half to two hour sessions per week. Despite the fact that training was in no way altered for Pembroke Regatta, and an early outing rowed even before the first race, all opposition, including Oriel, Oxford was destroyed, and Caius victorious for the second year running.

The Lent Races were postponed for a week in freezing weather, but as soon as the river had cleared Lady Margaret were bumped in ruthless fashion coming out of Grassy. Trinity Hall fell on First Post Corner and the third day, with Jesus ahead chasing a slow Clare boat, the crew warmed up with a grim determination to sprint away from the bung. The race was more exciting than anyone could have imagined, the bump occurring at the end of the Gut when Jesus were only three feet away from the stern of Clare. An easy final bump on First Post won the 1st VIII their oars and its highest position for 60 years (fifth), while the 2nd VIII exceeded all expectations, gained their third bumped with great coolness and a substitute on board.

The Ladies 1st VIII, deserving better, but plagued by slow boats two in front rose two places to ninth.

The 1st VIII then lost another man to the University lightweights after helping them retrial by rowing 1000 m pieces side by side – they came in ahead despite rating at least four pips lower, a success which gave the crew immense satisfaction. A substitute was found for the Tideway Head, where Caius was the fastest Cambridge College. Following this the squad took a short two and a half week break to prepare for the next, theoretically academic term, before regrouping for a ten day selection and training camp on the Tideway which was one of the cornerstones of our mould-breaking programme this year. Two outings a day, 14-18 miles each at a minimum, taxed the physical and mental limits to breaking point, but contributed immensely to the hardness and aggression responsible for its achievements. Still tired the week after, the crew nevertheless cleared Pembroke by two seconds and LMBC by one to record the fastest college time in the Head of the Cam and take the senior ‘B’ pennant.

The 1st VIII then took up its new carbon-fibre Dreissigacker blades but performed with lack of distinction in the Cambridge Regatta which served to awaken the crew to the fact that training had by no means finished. A little was salvaged the next day when, with our starts sharpened up, the senior ‘B’ title was won in the Sprint Regatta. Delivery of a new Donoratico shell VIII followed, and the speed work intensified with one dreaded routine featuring prominently – eight one and a half minute rows with only thirty seconds rest in between – a real stomach-churner.

The second, morning outing was introduced despite examinations, as the crew realised the enormity of its task on the first day and wound down for the races. The Emmanuel crew in front of Lady Margaret were very slow and Maggie would have to be caught extremely quickly to prevent them bumping first. With this in mind as the gun went off Caius, rating 48 strokes to the minute, made ground quickly. Still striking 40, there was only a couple of half to three-quarter length gaps separating the three crews in the Gut, and Caius, sprinting yet, caught Maggie opposite the Plough, themselves overlapping Emma. However no acknowledgement was given and they claimed their own bump in Ditton while we were forced to row the rest of the course before being reassured by the senior umpire.

On the Thursday Emma fell rowing out of Grassy in a rehearsal for the next day’s race against Downing. In the event things did not go according to plan. Downing made a quick start in a final effort to catch Pembroke, halving the distance, and while we made quarter of a length by the Plough, this fell to a one length gap down the Reach as the tempo settled too low at a fairly soft 34. However, according to a pre-arranged tactic a few strokes after the Railway Bridge a final lift was called for, reserves built up on the Tideway were summoned and, as Downing fell to pieces, Caius, rating 38, bumped into second place only yards from the line.

The final day, and a crack at the headship, was an anticlimax by comparison. All the sparkle had been drained by two hard races in three days and a mediocre row resulted, while Pembroke excelled themselves and finished two lengths ahead at Chesterton.

Nevertheless an inspiring turnout of old Caians saw a remarkable 1st VIII row over in second position, Caius’ highest on the river since 1880. It is to be hoped that, with a similar commitment, the final step can be taken in the near future. The year had certainly shown that, with a consistent, year-round training programme, guided by Chris George, to whom the club owes a great deal, a relatively inexperienced crew could achieve magnificent results.

The Ladies boats too saw no lack of bumps after trials had separated the 1st and 2nd IVs at the start of term. The 1st IV continued their relentless climb, rising two places to tenth on the river (Girton 1, Newnham 2, rowed over twice), while the 2nd IV won their oars, and promotion into the second division (rowed over, Homerton 2, Sidney Sussex 2, Emmanuel 2 and Clare 3 on the last day).

The 2nd VIII, high in the second division, were unlucky not to bump in the first three days and fell to a fast Emmanuel 2nd crew on the final day, while the Rugby VIII rose three places (rowed over, Jesus 4, Downing 3, Darwin 1), and the 4th VIII gained its oars for the third year in succession (LMBC 9, Magdalene 5, St Catharine’s 4, Clare 5). The 1st VIII entered for Henley but, having undoubtedly exhausted their mental energies two weeks before, lost a second-round race to Nottingham University after leading by a length at the barrier [verdict one length, winners time 6min 53 sec. This was the first year that Henley Royal Regatta was extended to five days].

Congratulations are due to A.G. Hobart, president of CULRC, and to R.A. Brooks who also gained his lightweight colour.

Light IV
Bow A.G. Hobart 2 M. Vesely 3 R.M. Payn Stroke S.A. Kirkpatrick

Ladies 1st May IV
Bow J. Shrewry 2 G. Mifflin 3 D. Bethell Stroke H. Woodley Cox A. Porteus

1st Lent VIII 
Bow R.A. Brooks 2 A.G. Strowbridge 3 G.P. Smith 4 G.C.R Budden 5 N. J. Taffinder 6 P.J. Rawlins 7 R.M. Payn Stroke S.A. Kirkpatrick Cox J. G. T. O’Conor

1st May VIII 
Bow A.G. Hobart 2 A.G. Strowbridge 3 G.P. Smith 4 P.J. Rawlins 5 N.J. Taffinder 6 G.C.R. Budden 7 R.M. Payn Stroke S.A. Kirkpatrick Cox J.G.T. O’Conor

2nd May VIII 
Bow T.M. Fancourt 2 D. Griffin 3 A. Johnson 4. S. Done 5 N.D. Downing 6 J. Irvine 7. M. Vesely Stroke R.A. Brooks Cox K. Lawrie

Officers for 1996-87 
Captain G.C.R. Budden
Honorary Secretary R.A. Brooks
Vice Captain P.J. Rawlins
Ladies Captain H. Woodley

Sunday Telegraph 15 June 1986

Caius bid to go Head of the river for the first time since 1844 in the May Races at Cambridge failed yesterday when Pembroke rowed over in perfect conditions to retain the title they won last year, writes Geoffrey Page.

Caius who had made bumps on the three previous days, were outside their distance as the crews came up the long reach and Pembroke finished strongly, well clear of their rivals.

Daily Telegraph 16 June 1986

Pembroke who took over the headship of the Cambridge May Races on the first evening a year ago, still reign supreme as the expected Caius challenge failed to materialise.

The stylish leaders proved too strong for Downing, who challenged for three races, winning each race at the top with a comfortable four lengths to spare, and they dealt with Caius similarly on Saturday.

Caius could not match the title holder’s strength either, although they easily disposed of Downing by a similar margin. So the expected firework fizzled out, but the runners-up can be satisfied with their run of three bumps – LMBC, Emmanuel and Downing – to take them to their highest point on the chart in one college boatman’s 51-year memory.


This historic year for Caius Boat Club started off in fine style with a win in the small boats Head of the Cam for Adam Brooks and George Budden and an excellent performance by Phil Rawlins in his single scull (after a little altercation in Humalong with Selwyn’s light IV). Phil ended up in the CUBC squad after the University IVs. We decided to put our most experienced oarsmen into a coxed IV for the University IVs, in view of the fact that we would have been somewhat on the heavy side for Simon (the coxless IV). The light IV did well in the University IVs, although it came up again strong opposition from the likes of LMBC. The Coxed IV, having won its class in the Cam IVs Head, met Churchill in the semi-finals and lost by one and a half seconds in the first re-row, the first row having been drawn. On the Tideway the light IV regained its position ahead of the coxed IV, with Justin Howard Sneyd standing in for Phil Rawlins who had by now taken up his position with the squad. Helen Woodley stroked her CUWBC trial IV well on the Tideway and gained a place in Blondie. Now only a week away from the Fairbairns we got into the VIII in Cambridge, and with Tony Baker and Martin Blakemore coaching us, we went on to win the Fairbairns in the very fast time of 15 minutes 19 seconds thus retaining the Cup.

The other major events of the term were the novice races. At the beginning of the term the tubbing was much enjoyed in good weather, culminating in a large entry for the tubbing Regatta and many close races. The Ladies 2nd novice VIII turned in a very fast time in the Fairbairns and won the shield for the faster crew in their section. In the men’s VIII two Novices, Peter Ormeshaw and Rupert Carter, were so impressive that they were given trials for the 1st VIII and took the places of Simon Done and Ben Kent who retired after the terms exertions.

During the Christmas Vac the 1st VIII moved to London for a training weekend with Chris George, where we went back to basics for the sake of the novices now on board. Later on in the Vac Chris and George went out in a light IV with the two Novices to improve their water work.

Before the beginning of the Lent Term the 1st VIII came back to get in some practice before the term and lectures began. Unfortunately Phil Rawlins was moved out of the CUBC squad, so he returned to join us just as James Irvine was selected to represent the Lightweights in the University races at Henley and he moved to train with them. Anna Varey was also selected to row in the women’s lightweights, but was able to continue rowing for the women’s 1st VIII through the Lents. The cold weather in Cambridge froze the water again, so the VIII departed for London to continue training on the Tideway in and out of large lumps of ice floating down the river. Returning to Cambridge we took to new methods of training, including swimming, to relieve the monotony of circuit training and running. An improvement in the weather lead to an increase in intensity of training on the water under the guidance of Tony Baker and Martin Blakemore. In the Lent Bumps the 1st VIII were lacking a little of the killing instinct necessary for bumps races and as a result only moved up one place despite having overlapped 1st & 3rd Trinity on three nights. Overall the club did well in the bumps though the 2nd women’s VIII was the only crew to be awarded their oars. The next week the 1st VIII went to the Head of Ouse at Bedford and won their class, despite having an equipment failure just before the start necessitating rowing at bottom of the last division.

After a short break for skiing and other such dangerous pursuits the 1st VIII squad reassembled in London with James Irvine for a training camp with Chris George. Unfortunately all of us, save two, contracted some flu-type bug, and we had to turn to Chris Vanderveldt as substitute so we could row in the Tideway head at the end of the week. Our time was not fantastic, but it did enable us to preserve a place for next year’s crew.

For one week before the beginning of full term we returned to row at Ely under the guidance of Tony Baker. Our thanks go out to Kings School Ely for the loan of their launch. Unfortunately we were beset by illness again, and this, together with Rupert Carter unfortunately leaving the squad, necessitated Tony Baker rowing with us for considerable distances along the Ouse. The first event of the term was the annual VIIIs head of the Cam in which we won the David Bailey trophy back from New College Oxford. Cambridge ’99 Rowing Club beat us by two seconds with a very strong crew, but we had the pleasure of beating the next fastest college, Selwyn by some ten seconds and both Eton and Goldie as well. Justin Howard Sneyd after an excellent outing the next week, suffered a worrying injury, Tenosynovitis, which resulted in our rowing with various substitutes from the town for ten days. Luckily we were offered an expenses-paid trip to Lille in France to represent the University. This provided some valuable racing experienced in difficult conditions as well as a welcome break from Cambridge – altogether a great boost to crew morale.

We were able to have a small drinks party in May to celebrate the opening of the new extension to the Boathouse, which comprises a IVs and small boats bay and a weights room for circuit training. We are all most grateful to the College for making this possible.

After France we returned to the Cam in high spirits to be coached by Peter Gray for two weeks, and then Peter English for a further week, leading up to our appearance at Nottingham International Regatta. Against some very strong opposition from Leander and University of London, our performance was not as strong as hoped; the rigorous training programme provided by Christ George over the last 11 weeks was beginning to take its toll and the race was rowed in a state of near exhaustion.

The 2nd VIII had been coached by Tim Hems, back in Cambridge for some work on his way to becoming a Surgeon, and Professor Laidlaw of Trinity Hall and Aberdeen who has been a Visiting Fellow to the college for the year, and was made an honorary member of the Boat Club at the dinner. In the last week leading up to the Bumps the 1st VIII was coached by Martin Blakemore and Tony Baker, the 2nd VIII by David Jacobs, both improving enormously over the last few days.

A last minute talk from all the Coaches helped to fire up an already confident crew to demolish Pembroke in the Long Reach with a the strong push around and out of Ditton Corner and thus to regain the headship for the first time in 143 years. The next three days the VIII rowed over pulling away from Pembroke, and subsequently Downing, to hold the headship easily. In the lower divisions the 2nd VIII encountered bad luck on the second day, with the boat they were about to bump bumping out and blocking the river, leaving them easy prey for the strong crews moving up the second division. The 3rd, Vikings, VIII had an interesting four days, finally moving into the third division. The Rugby VIII and the 2nd Ladies VIII both won their oars and the 1st Ladies IV moved up from ninth to seventh place in the first Ladies division.

Our thanks go out to everyone who managed to get to the bank to support us, and to all those who supplied beverages for the celebrations at the boat house afterwards. Photographs of the party present are available from Eaden Lilley, Cambridge. We were later privileged by the company of the Master and Lady Wade at the Bumps dinner in the evening.

The 1st VIII returned to the water on the Tuesday of May week to resume training for Henley. We moved to Henley after graduation (at which all third year members of the VIII were present), and were fortunate to be able to train under the guidance of Joe Bailey for a few days before Tony Baker came down from Cambridge. The draw at Henley was unfortunate once again, but on the Wednesday the 1st VIII won the scalp of Kingston’s 1st boat, beating them by two and a half lengths. On the Thursday we were up against University College Galway (the eventual winners of the Thames Cup) to whom we succumbed by one and half lengths [In the same competition Richard Payn (1st May VIII, 1985,86), rowing for Thames Rowing Club, reached the quarter-final]. The rest of the week at Henley was very much enjoyed by all, thanks to all those who donated Steward’s Enclosure Tickets to the crew.

The crew Bow Martin Vesely 2 Peter Ormeshawe 3 Justin Howard Sneyd 4 Adrian Johnson 5 Phil Rawlins 6 James Irvine 7 George Budden Stroke Adam Brooks Cox Cath Holden

Officers of 1987-88 
Captain Justin Howard Sneyd
Vice Captain Geoff Smith
Secretary Martin Vesely
Captain of Lower Boats Rana Sayed
Women’s Captain Judy Scrine
Women’s Secretary Helen Tipples

Extract from the Master’s Speech at the annual gathering

In the world of sport all else must pale before the Boat Club’s triumph in the May races, when Caius were Head of the River. We can allow ourselves to crow a little over this success, since we have had to wait a long time for it. To be precise we have waited 143 years, since we were last Head of the Mays in 1844. Several newspapers, notorious for inaccurate reporting of great events, gave different dates, so I would like it to be clearly understood in the interests of historical truth, that 143 years is right. Our boat made its bump on the first night and easily maintained its position on the others, and was clearly the fastest boat on the river. This was an historic victory, especially for the Captain George Budden and the stroke Adam Brooks plus the six other stalwarts and their Lady Cox Kathy Holden. A share of the glory belongs also to last year’s crew which brought us up from fifth to second place and put us in position to go Head. Most of our boats did well including the Ladies, Captained by Helen Woodley, who also stroked the University 2nd Ladies VIII, familiarly known as Blondie. Two of our head of the river crew are going to Greece this summer to join the 150 oarsmen recruited to row the ancient Greek trireme (pictured recently in the Times), reconstructed according to the researches of the Cambridge scholar John Morrison with the support of the Greek Navy. About 500 BC these triremes with their powerful rams, practiced a different kind of bumping, even more aggressive than that which made us Head of the River.

A celebration dinner was held on Saturday 19 December which was a great success with many old Caians attending and enjoying the event and its aftermath. In particular a ‘small’ post prandial gathering was held in one of the college rooms that resulted in the following letter from the Domestic Bursar


On Monday morning when the bedder on G, St Michael’s Court went to clean room 8 where you had been staying overnight on the 19th December, she found the sitting room in a filthy state, wine stains all over the walls, carpet, curtains and furniture, and a broken window pane. The wine stains will not wash off the walls, and so the room will have to be repainted.

The cost of the cleaning, repair and repainting is as follows:-

These are the minimum costs and do not allow for the extra work of washing down the furniture, nor for the replacement of the carpet and curtains which are likely to remain permanently stained.

While I and other members of the College appreciate the very good work that you have done in supporting and coaching the VIII, nevertheless this is a cost which cannot be overlooked and which justifiably falls on the person who took the room. Would you therefore please meet the cost by sending a cheque for £133 made out to the college?

Yours sincerely,

[Incidently, the broken window was caused by a frozen salmon making a bid for freedom assisted by several helping hands]

No report in the Caian 1987-88

Extract from the Masters speech at the annual gathering June 1988

Coming then to the river, and I would really prefer to talk about last year, and dwell on the fact that Caius were Head of Mays after an interval of 143 years. This was duly celebrated by a dinner in this hall last December attended by about 100 old May colours, and notable for some lively speeches of the more unrepeatable kind. Of last year’s triumphant crew, however, only two members continued in residence, so it was generally predicted that we would lose the headship to the powerful Lady Margaret boat. In fact they took longer to catch us than unexpected, and Caius did creditably to lose only two places, leaving all bets open for next year. And the 2nd VIII made two good bumps. The 1st VIII won the Fairbairn Cup once again last November, thus making a hat-trick of three successive wins.


This year has been a fragmented year for all crews. No crew, Ladies’ or Men’s, has remained intact throughout the year to any extent. There has been no excess of keen experienced oarsmen and, as is often the case at Caius, much was left to our Coaches to do what they could for each particular race as crews changed. It is generally true of most clubs that gradually through the year the crews are strengthened by experienced oarsmen returning from CUBC and CULRC. Both our Ladies’ and Men’s crews, however, started the year with experienced crews, whose experienced members dropped out as the year progressed either through injury or work pressures.

The Fairbairn term started slowly – a scratch crew had to be entered in the Light IV for the IVs’ Head, but slowly graduates and schoolboy oarsmen came forward who eventually filled over half of the Fairbairn VIII. As last year, a lot of work was done in small boats but again organisation of coxes and outing procedures, especially for the graduates and freshmen, was difficult.

A Ladies’ IV and the 1st and 2nd Men’s IVs went to Kingston Small Boats Head on a windy, cold day with snow on the ground. A 40 minute delay on the start only compounded the agony, especially as most of the men competed twice in both IVs and pairs or sculls over the 15 minute course. The performance of the coxed IV, who were light enough to race in the Ladies IV, ‘Marie’ and the two scullers, Andrew Hobart, who won his division and Max Kirkham, were encouraging.

With 10 days to the Fairbairns the two IVs rowed into the VIII but owing to illness and weather only three worthwhile outings could be managed in the first week including a mammoth triple shuffle over Baitsbite lock, with one and a half hours of steady state rowing which completely shattered the crew.

The 1st VIII led off the Fairbairns only to come in sixth, 15 seconds off the winners but within five seconds of third, fourth and fifth places. The 2nd VIII, who trained very hard for the Fairbairns, came second of the 2nd VIIIs by one second. The Ladies did well to come third, even having to overtake a crew around the outside of First Post Corner.

The Novices results were solid with the 2nd Novices VIII beating the 1st Novices VIII and both of these in the top ten. The Ladies won the novice Fairbairns again. Large numbers of novices showed initial interest and competed in the tubbing regatta and all four men’s novice boats were proficient by the end of term.

During the Christmas holidays the 1st VIII met on the Tideway for a long weekend camp in IVs and small boats, and returned early to start training for the Lents. The Fairbairn VIII stern pair were lost due to injury and unavailability as was another of the crew. The Fairbairn bow pair, two schoolboy oarsmen, took up the stern and the best three of the 2nd VIII were drafted in as replacements. Extreme timetable crashes due to the inflexible and long hours of the graduates necessitated training in IVs for a large part of the term. The crew came sixth in the new Robinson Head race and lost narrowly to the eventual winners, Jesus, in the Pembroke Regatta.

In the Bumps the 1st Men’s VIII went down two to Trinity Hall and Jesus, but not without a tremendous battle with Jesus who bumped us only ten strokes from the finish. The Ladies, who had looked as if they might do well, also went down two and pulled away on the last day after having been overlapped three times down the reach.

A scratch crew entered the Tideway Head after several of the lent crew had dropped out. A combination of bad weather for the earlier starters and the scratch crew meant that they failed to stay in the top 200 who keep their starting places for the following year.

The Summer Term was preceded by two long weekend camps on the Tideway but as few would commit themselves to both camps or even all to one or the other, they were more problematic and less productive than previous Tideway camps.

After a short break the crew came up over a week early to train for the Lille Regatta in France that Caius won last year. The trip was again much enjoyed by all who went, despite being beaten by a very proficient German crew from Essen in the final.

Tony Baker coached for a very successful week at Ely before term started and another week on the Cam. He brought the crew, now including two novices, together while building morale and enthusiasm by keeping to more reasonable outing lengths than last year. The time over the course on the Head of the Cam Saturday was 15 seconds off the fastest crew Pembroke but equal with Lady Margaret the Head Boat in the Mays.

The training regime of last year with a morning weights’ session increased fitness enormously but also bred discontent, injury and exhaustion, especially as much of the crew had not undergone 1st VIII training since the beginning of the year. Andrew Hobart’s return from CULRC was vital in keeping things together and his experience at stroke was invaluable.

There were good results in the Cambridge and City Sports Regattas from which it looked as if Trinity and Lady Margaret ahead of Caius in the Mays were both possibly catchable. Sadly the crew then suffered a severe blow with Daron Smith dropping out under the extreme pressure of tripos and other commitments. John Young stepped in from the 2nd VIII squad of five that had been training as a IV all term. Daron returned to the crew a week later.

The Bumps’ prediction for Caius was a definite down four. However, with two not extremely fast crews ahead and Downing, who had gone down four in the Lents, behind, the prospects were more hopeful from our point of view. Downing were the surprise crew, first overpowering Caius at the White House then 1st and 3rd Trinity and then overlapping LMBC before a seat broke. The powerful Jesus crew in their lycra one-pieces first took out Emma at the Pike and Eel and then Caius at Morley’s Holt. Caius then kept off Emma for the final 2 days although on both days Emmanuel had closed to half a length by the Plough. Pembroke, who started the term as the fastest crew by far, rowed over one and a half lengths behind Emma.

The 2nd VIII with only five people wanting to row for it during the term was a scratch crew for the bumps and disappeared down four places in the bumps.

The Ladies’ IVs trained hard, but with the loss of a large part of the Lent crew, all went down. The only success was blades for the 3rd Men’s VIII filled with various people who had dropped out of the 1st and 2nd VIIIs during the year.

Many thanks must go to all our coaches, especially Tony Baker, who as always was very involved with the crews and Chris George whose skillfully devised training programmes ensure that Caius always performs better than predicted in the Bumps. Martin Blakemore, Peter English, and Anthony Cooke-Yarborough and Peter Gray deserve thanks for their efforts for the May crew and thanks also to all Coaches and subs on the Tideway.

James Hardwick

Officers 1989-90
Men’s Captain Simon Porter
Vice Captain Mark Esler
Secretary Andy Donaldson
Captain of Lower Boats Tim Sargeant
Ladies Captain Louise Day
Vice Captain Caroline Watson
Secretary Miranda Gray
Captain of Lower Boats Annabel Spence

Extract from the masters of speech at the annual gathering September 1989

Anna Kupschus deserves a special mention for blues for rowing and swimming. She rowed in the victorious Cambridge boat and is our first ever Women’s rowing blue. The men’s boats have not recaptured then 1987 glories, but the Captain of Boats asks me to announce the formation of the Friends of Caius Boat Club. They plan to produce an informative newsletter and to arrange social gatherings. I am pleased to note that the Secretary of the boat club, Venetia Goodfellow, was a pupil of my son Andrew (1974-7).

The centre-fold of this year’s Caian features a full colour photograph of the Women’s Blue Boat.

This year’s winning Blue Boat, for the first time including a Caian, Anna Kupschus (rowing at 6), was very successful.

Apart from winning the Ladies Boat Race at Henley the Blue Boat won several Head Races in the local area.

It also came third behind two national squad crews at the Tideway Women’s Head of the River Race in March and won a silver medal at the national championships at Strathclyde Park in July.


The past year has been a year of mixed results for the Caius Boat Club. The men have had a steadily successful year, winning numerous races, while the ladies have tasted both success and disappointment.

The main problem from the previous year, of keeping people rowing all year, was no longer present for the men. From the beginning they had a committed squad of oarsmen prepared to row all year and only two crew changes were necessary. This new enthusiasm and commitment was the backbone for the successes achieved during the year. Unfortunately, the ladies still had the problem of maintaining enthusiasm, especially during the Easter term.

Training for the men started in the first week of October, with the light IV being coached by our boatman, Tony Baker. Caius entered six IVs in the University IVs competition. The light IV beat a neat Pembroke crew before losing. The men’s ‘A’ coxed IV won two rounds, and the Clinker IV lost in the semi-final. The Ladies ‘A’ IV beat New Hall before losing in the quarter-final.

Training continued with five to six outings a week, two to three circuit sessions per week and a run or Ergo on a Sunday. The club made full use of a second Concept II Ergometer recently purchased.

The club entered three crews on the Tideway Head of the River IVs race. The light IV started 342nd and finished 86th, being beaten only by 1st and 3rd Trinity of Cambridge colleges by five seconds. The Men’s Coxed IV started at 423 and finished 159th missing winning the Novice Pennant by only one second! The Ladies finished 419th and were eighth of the 20 novice women’s IV. All crews benefited from the experience and the results indicated that the endurance based training programmes being followed were coming to fruition.

The men’s light and coxed IVs joined to form the 1st VIII for the Fairbairn cup three weeks before the race, which was delayed from a Friday to the following Tuesday owing to the river being frozen over. As there was no flow on the river, times were slow. The men’s 1st VIII had a good row, finishing in 15 minutes 59 seconds. They came joint third with Jesus, three seconds behind joint winners LMBC and Downing. The 2nd VIII finished 30th. The Ladies had trouble getting a full VIII out. In the IVs division the core of the VIII finished eighth, then entered again as a scratch VIII and finished a creditable tenth despite the difficulties.

The club was, once again, inundated with people wishing to learn to row. With only four men’s and four Ladies novice VIIIs available competition was fierce for the places available. We had over 100 people trialling for seats and it was sad to turn people down. The positive aspect of such large numbers is that the quality of the crews improves and with coaching from the senior rowers we achieved the best results overall of any college.

In the Fairbairns, our novice men’s VIIIs finished fifth, 24th, 25th and 34th out of 70 crews. The Ladies novice VIIIs came in third, 23rd, 33rd and 38th. We were the only college to enter four Ladies novice crews.

The Ladies novice ‘A’ crew earned a place in the final of the Clare Novice Regatta where they lost to LMBC.

Both the Men’s and Ladies’ senior squads returned early in the Lent term for one week training camps. The men spent five days at Putney with Andrew Hobart working in two coxed IVs and the Ladies spent a week at Cambridge coached by Tony Baker and Geoff Smith. The men retained the same crew from the previous term, whilst the Ladies’ crew contained four novice rowers. Both squads spent a few weeks in IVs developing technique. And early indication of the successes to come was in the newly formed Cambridge Head-to-Head race, when the men won the Novice IV, senior 3 IV and Novice VIII and walked of with no less than 19 trophies. The Lent term training was undertaken in poor conditions with an ever-present gale force wind blowing up the Long Reach.

Mid-term, the men finished 3rd in the Robinson Head Race behind LMBC and Pembroke, and were full of optimism for an upward move in the Lent Bumps.

The club entered four men’s and two ladies’ crews for the Lents. The results were the best club result for many years, rising a total of 15 places.

The men’s 4th VIII rose five places and moved up a division. The 3rd VIII rose one place, the men’s 2nd VIII had a good row, rising three places and just missing their blades. The men’s 1st VIII gained their first bumps in two years, catching 1st and 3rd Trinity on the second night and Emmanuel on the last night to finish sixth on the river.

The Ladies 2nd VIII rose one place, and the Ladies 1st VIII surprised everyone, bumping on the first three nights to try and catch Emmanuel on the last night for the headship. They bumped Clare, Churchill and Jesus, all before the Plough, but were unable to catch a fast Emmanuel crew. They finished second, their highest ever position, and with a concerted effort next year, the headship must be a serious possibility.

The Ladies entered the Tideway Head one week later and finished 81st, securing a place for next year. The men continued training for three weeks, and raced at Bedford in the Head of the Ouse, where they won the RAF Cardington Trophy for the fastest college VIII. After a further week at Cambridge, the crew moved to Putney for three days preparation before the Head of the River Race. Caius started 204th and despite losing the best of the tide, with a good row rating 33 and a final burst at 36, finished 65th in a time of 18 minutes and 31.42 seconds. They won the Jack Shepherd Cup for the fastest Novice VIII and were only beaten by Jesus of the Cambridge colleges by three seconds. This was a most satisfying end to a very successful term.

The Easter term started early for the men’s 1st VIII with five days of rowing at Ely with Tony Baker. There were two crew changes from the Lent Term, the crew looking the heaviest and potentially fastest crew for three years. The crew left for its annual trip to Lille in Northern France with the new club boat trailer purchased with money from the Club’s Equipment Fund. Caius progressed easily to the final where they lost to a strong crew from Cologne. A safe and uneventful journey here followed, both crew and boat arriving back in one piece.

For the Ladies, this was the first year in which they were to row in the May bumps in VIIIs. The starting order was to be decided with a Head race four weeks before the Bumps. Sadly, the 1st VIII lost some of the stronger members from the successful Lent crew, and started off fifth in the 2nd division, and the 2nd VIII, in the middle of the 3rd division.

Training for both 1st VIIIs stepped up a gear, with the men undertaking eight outings per week under the guidance of Andy Hobart and Martin Blakemore.

In the Cambridge Regatta the men lost in the 2nd round, and in the Cambridge Sprint Regatta, Caius entered both the Senior 3 and Senior 2 Competition, and after seven hard races found themselves in both finals. Unfortunately, they paid the price for doubling up and came away empty handed.

Meanwhile the men’s 2nd VIII looked very impressive in training, and with a new set of Sutton blades, looked to be one of the best 2nd crews on the river.

As the May bumps approached, the weather took a turn for the worse, and it seemed more like March than the Mays.

The men put out four crews, with the 4th VIII rising three places, the 3rd and 2nd VIIIs rising one place each. The 1st VIII rowed over every day in front of some fast crews, and were half a length off the 1st and 3rd Trinity crew on the last day. Hopefully, this has arrested the downward trend for the 1st men’s VIII since 1987 and we can hope for an upward movement in the future.

The Ladies 2nd VIII moved up one place, and the Ladies 1st VIII went down two places on the first two nights, but rallied well from then on to hold their own.

All in all, a successful year for the Caius Boat Club.

Many thanks must go to all our coaches and supporters throughout the year, especially Tony Baker, Andrew Hobart, Martin Blakemore, Peter English, Peter Gray, David Jacobs, Tom Davies, Geoff Smith, Kit Nesbit and many others.

With a concerted effort next year, using the enthusiasm shown by the new club members, the Ladies headship in the Lents, and the men in the top three in the Lents and Mays must be a realistic possibility.

Simon R. Potter, Captain 1989-90 Louise T. Day, Ladies Captain 1989-90

Men’s 1st May VIII
Bow S.R. Parker 2 J. R. Garbett 3 S.L. Rea 4 J.P. Young 5 R.W.R. Johnston 6 C.D. Goodsall 7 J.H.F. Cleave Stroke R.D. Smith Cox A. J. Donaldson

Ladies 1st May VIII
Bow K.L. Bradshaw 2 A.J.L. Entract 3 J. A. Ewbank 4 J. K. Pollard 5 M.E. Gray 6 L.T. Day 7 E.F. Bevington Stroke A.I. Spence Cox J.B. Nalder

Officers for 1990-91 Men’s Captain R.D. Smith Secretary E.J. Crosby Men’s Vice Captain C.W. Goodsall Men’s Lower Boats A.McD. Bucha Ladies Captain M.E. Gray Ladies Vice Captain L. Cehreli Ladies Lower boats J.K. Pollard

Extract from the Masters speech at the annual gathering July 1990

I should tell you that rowing has become popular enough amongst women for there to be VIIIs instead of IVs in the races [Mays]. Our men’s first VIII was the second fastest of Oxbridge boats in the Head of the River race on the Thames, and won the Novice VIIIs. In the Mays they held fifth place, having to row over all four days. The women’s VIII rose three places in the Lents to second on the river. The Friends of the Caius Boat Club, whose formation I spoke about last year, now boasts 125 members.


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