Fairbairns 2018

An impressive total of ten Christ’s crews raced in Fairbairns this year, with three senior boats, three novice boats and four alumni boats. Senior VIIIs raced the 4.3 km from Jesus Boathouse to just downstream of the A14 bridge. W1 raced as a IV over the 3.4 km course, finishing at the Plough pub. Due to very high wind speeds, the novice race was shortened to finish at the P&E (former location of the Pike and Eel pub), totalling 1.8 km.

  • W1, 4th of Cambridge W1s (14:07, 3.4 km)
  • M1, 8th of Cambridge M1s (15:24, 4.3 km)
  • M2, 6th of Cambridge M2s (16:14, 4.3 km)
  • NM1 07:21, 12th of Cambridge NM1s (07:21, 1.8 km)
  • NM2 07:17, 2nd of Cambridge NM2s (07:17, 1.8 km)
  • NW1 09:49, 27th of Cambridge NW1s (09:49, 1.8 km)
  • Alumni M3 (17:06)
  • Alumni M4 (17:45)
  • Alumni M5 (19:36)
  • Alumni W (20:06)

W1 delivered a very strong performance to end the term. With all but one member of the crew coming out of illness and injury, we were apprehensive about how the race would go. However, after some very balanced strike-outs while marshalling, we set off in confidence. From the start, we set a good chunky rhythm. The boat was set and we knew that each stroke we took would the same as before. Our cox brought out his aggression and we responded in like. While we could have applied the legs a little more promptly after the catch, we displayed a decent amount of power which took us to a respectable position of fourth out of fourteen W1 IVs.

M1 came into the race well rested after a ‘taper week’ with reduced training volume. We had recently produced some strong 5k test scores on the ergs, proving we have the endurance needed for a race like Fairbairns. We made a clean start and settled into our race rhythm, being careful to preserve the legs for the long course by not attacking the early sections  too much. We had planned to start our move as we came under under Green Dragon footbridge, but the aggression never really came on the reach. Our focus turned to cornering as we approached Ditton. The clean rhythm we found in the early sections returned as we came round first post corner to begin winding for the finish. We lifted the rate by two 500m out from the line, and then again at 250m. The final stretch saw some of our sharpest rowing of the term. M1 were pleased with a finish of 8th but knew that we lost a lot of time by holding back in the middle section of the race.  The crew are now looking forward to our training camp in France and the start of preparations for Lent bumps.

M2 put in a performance in Fairbairns worthy of all the hard work we had put in throughout the term.  We started the race as we meant to go on with a strong and sustainable rhythm. Our cox managed to keep us going through the first tight corners and into the middle section of the race with his characteristic motivational calls. As we began to head down the Reach, we could feel that we were beginning to tire, but as we neared Ditton corner, we could see Churchill’s stern to our right and it gave the whole crew a massive lift. We pushed past them round the outside of Ditton and drove ahead down Plough Reach. Overtaking a crew gave all of us the energy and self belief to complete the race as strongly as we started and crossed the finish line with nothing left in the tank knowing we had done ourselves proud coming in 6th in our division in a time of 16:14.

In spite of strong winds, NW1 off to a great start.  They settled quickly into a strong rhythm and rowed smoothly. Will, the cox, demonstrated impeccable skill in navigating the boat and spurring the rowers on. Sure enough, the boat ahead (Catz NW1) came into sight on the corner after the Elizabeth Way bridge. This was a great encouragement as NW1 had given them a large gap before starting their race!  After the Riverside Bridge, things took a turn for the worse. A strong gust of wind brought the boat dangerously close to the bank. As the strokeside blades clashed with the bank, bow side continued to lever the boat round, resulting in a crash so powerful that it broke the two-seat rigger. After recovering, NW1 regained their rhythm well, though the damage to the rigger made it near impossible for the two-seat to row. Nonetheless, our rowers persevered, kept their focus and made it over the finish line in good spirits, if not good time.

NM1 got off to a strong start from Goldie, helped by great steering from its cox. They then maintained a good pace, and took a few boat lengths off of Magdalene ahead, through to Green Dragon. Unfortunately a few unlucky crabs slowed down the boat in the section up to the P&E. Nevertheless, with some quick recoveries and a sprint at the end the crew managed a solid 12th out of nearly thirty NM1s. A good race and a promising novice term for the soon to be seniors.

NM2 produced an exceptional result, finishing second out of NM2 crews (behind LMBC) and 12th out of NM1 and NM2. With the new finish at the P&E, the race was approached as a sprint. Despite a slow start in the first hundred metres, the rate picked up and remained at 32 strokes per minute thereon. A big push was made after the Green Dragon bridge to finish strong and close the gap with the Emma crew in front. The cox handled the corners and wind with ease despite the lack of experience. Rowers were focused on their technique and their timing was particularly impressive. No crabs were caught!