Please watch this video for guidance on safe use of our facilities:
Please watch this video for guidance on safe use of our facilities:
Welcome to the website of Christ’s College Boat Club, founded in 1830 and still one of the most popular societies for members of Christ’s College 190 years later.
Your captains for the 2020/2021 academic year are Herbie Lambden and Erin Fitzsimons-West, both of whom are entering their third year after two years with the club.
The year just gone saw much-changed senior crews take to the water, in addition to a bumper group of novices who quickly made their presence felt in the upper boats, particularly W1, whose crew was made up predominantly of ex-novices. We regret the curtailment of the 2019/2020 season as the huge development seen amongst all crews over Michaelmas and Lent foreshadowed a successful May Bumps campaign for CCBC.
Learning to row while at Cambridge is a unique opportunity and one which we hope to offer to as many members of Christ’s as possible. In spite of the ongoing crisis and the many challenges it poses, we are intent on offering a fulfilling rowing experience to novices and returning seniors alike. We look to build upon the improvement of the club’s social calendar and training programme seen last year and to convert this momentum into racing success on the Cam.
Please do not hesitate to get in touch with any queries.
Herbie Lambden – Captain of Boats and Men’s Captain
Erin Fitzsimons-West – Women’s Captain
The Crustacean row in July 2019 took place on the most northerly part of the navigable Severn from Worcester to Stourport and back over two days.
A few years ago the crew had rowed from Gloucester to Worcester and back: a much longer and more challenging route. However, after most of the 2019 crew had endured and mastered their first and for many their last offshore row from Sark to Jersey, a couple of weeks earlier, there was strong support for a much lighter two days than normal.
With no bike tow path along the Severn bank support was minimal. As there were only five crew members, Terry Gibbon, Dan Davidson, Gavin Suggett, Robin Kerr and David Walden, the need to meet for changes with someone on a bike was avoided.
This year the crew was able to borrow an almost new touring 4+ from Worcester Rowing Club (WRC) thanks to the kind help of their Captain, Anna Singleton, and a long term member, Ashley Robert, who met us on the first morning and on our return, as well as providing some useful local knowledge concerning logistics.
With only three locks before a lunch break and all operated by lock keepers, our journey up river was about as easy as any we have had in ten years of touring. The result was that we arrived at the Hampstall Inn, our lunch stop, about 45 minutes early and were able to have a very leisurely break before rowing on to Stourport in the afternoon. David, who had done a recce a few weeks before, had found limited choices for lunch stops but this Inn offered an easy-to-use pontoon with plenty of space and an open air terrace with full view of the river. This plus a friendly host and good food made it a perfect place to stop.
The afternoon row to Stourport Rowing Club (SRC) where we had arranged to park the touring four overnight took little more than an hour. We were met by the SRC Captain, Paul Danby, and several members of around our level of maturity. The suggestion had been made in prior emails that we would be welcome forming a joint VIII with the Stourport members and rowing 3km further up river to near the limit of navigation even for small boats. The main navigation ends at Stourport which provides the entrance to the canal system linking the Severn to the midland canal system. The VIII proved to be great fun and despite the scratch crew the balance made for a comfortable row. A visit to the bar, some chats about rowing and a few beers were much appreciated before a drive back to Gloucester for an evening meal with spouses joining us.
Day 2 was a down-stream row back to Worcester. Again, the availability of lock keepers and near absence of other river traffic allowed us to make good time and we arrived in time for a sandwich lunch on the hard at WRC plus a welcome cup of tea, thanks to Ashley. While much less arduous than most of our earlier rows, the fine weather and kindness that we received from those at both WRC and SRC made this a memorable two days to complete another of UK’s waterways.
David Walden, Aug 19.
Christ’s put out four crews to race in Champs Head on 19th May over a 1450 m course from the Plough to the site of the former Penny Ferry pub.
The women raced as a mixed W1/W2 crew. Building on the significant progress of the past few weeks, the crew looked forward to the opportunity to prepare for a Bumps sprint in this short 1.4km race. We worked on honing a powerful ratio during the race and feeling the rhythm. With a mostly set boat, we were able to make the most of our catches and apply power in the water. The effort did not pay off into the result we hoped for as we finished 12th in the Mays first division with a time of 5:52, although it was an admirable position given the composite nature of our crew.
M1 had been making good technical progress in the run-up to Champs Eights Head, in particular in their approach to the catch and connection at the front end. We prepared ourselves for a short and aggressive race, seeing the race as perfect Bumps practice. We attacked the start as our cox, Holly, took a tight line around Ditton. The crew held their technical changes down the reach and emptied the tank in the final 300m after the Railway Bridge. M1 finished ~30 seconds off the winning time, produced by a very strong Caius crew, but fared well against the crews around them in Bumps. Champs Head will be our last race before May Bumps in a months time. The crew recognises the strong competition and is focussing on making their final preparations for the Bumps.
M2 went into the race looking to imprint ourselves on our main Bumps competition. Having made excellent progress over the previous weeks, we were confident of doing that. Our start was somewhat frantic and not hugely under control but after coming out of Ditton corner, we rallied ourselves and got back on track down the reach, setting consistently good split times all the way. Under the Railway bridge we took the rate up and pushed for the finish line only a few hundred metres ahead, crossing in a time of 4 minutes and 54 seconds. Our sprint finish paid off and we finished 5th in our division.
M3 are still yet to race together as a full crew, but Champs Head came close with just one sub. After an unsettled start, the crew started to find a good rhythm that enabled us to gain on the boat ahead, and finally overtake them at the finish line. The pace seemed to reduce slightly as the piece went on, but some longer bursts ahead of Bumps should help improve crew stamina. The results are promising as we finished 5th in our category, and we hope to put on a good show for bumps this season.
Christ’s sent two crews to race at Nottingham on Saturday 11th May. Nottingham City Regatta is a British Rowing six-lane 2000 m race. The women finished fourth in their category with a time of 08:21.5 and the men finished fourth with a time of 06:49.5.
Excited for our first off-Cam race of the year after the unfortunate cancellation of WEHoRR in March, W1 braved a not-so-early morning (I set my alarm for a luxurious 06:20) and made for Nottingham. We were going to race as a IV in the bow-loader, Mary Munroe. We arrived at the Holme Pierrepont National Watersports Centre in glorious sunshine and calm air, a contrast to the usual challenging winds at Nottingham. After rigging our boat, we convened with our guest cox, alumnus Stephen Hubner to talk about our battle plan and get top tips from our coach Kate Hurst, who is an old hand at British Rowing races.
It is at events like these that you discover that the Rowing World is very different outside of the Cambridge bubble. We learned that it is only on the River Cam that coaches cycle along and coach their crew during a race – it is understandably seen as cheating by British Rowing; that there exists a traffic light system for the start of British Rowing races (except when a flag is used); that you can warm up in a race lane on the way to the start as long as you get out of the way of a racing boats in good time (we received a bit of a shock to see racing boats advancing on us at speed, although perhaps we should not have let them get so close to us!).
Hyped by seeing rowers from clubs from all over the UK from Cardiff to Edinburgh, we carried our boat down to the water, dodging trailers, vehicles and boats on the way. Our warm-up began slightly shakily as we adjusted to the crew and the boat – it was the first time we were rowing as this particular crew and the second time most of had rowed in the IV, Mary Munroe! Over the 2 km row towards the start, we settled into our rhythm. As we neared the start line, we backed it down towards the stakeboat to be held there until the start signal. Our competitors were Fitzwilliam W1, LMBC W1 and Becket – we hadn’t quite escaped the clutches of Cambridge rowing!
As the light turned green, we set off, winding hard to get the boat moving. We could see the other boats level with us and it stayed that way for the first 1000 m. It was not our best rowing yet we sustained a good pace for the first half of the race. However, the other crews began pulling away during the second half and in spite of a good push as our cox called the final 500 m, we never closed the gap. We finished fourth with a time of 08:21.5, perhaps not very satisfied with how we rowed but nevertheless delighted at the opportunity to race in this kind of event.
Following on from spirited performances over the last couple of weeks at the Head of the Cam and the Spring Head to Head, on the 11th May a Christ’s M1-M2 contingent continued their newfound routine of getting up early on Saturdays to compete in the Nottingham City Regatta. An exciting and novel chance at off-Cam racing for much of the crew, the representatives of the Men’s side of the club put in an enthusiastic performance with a solid time – especially given the limited opportunity to row with the allotted mixed-boat crew beforehand. Entered into the Band 2 Men’s Eight Final, we were up against Gloucester, Royal Chester, Fitzwilliam College M1 and Derby. After some friendly from assistance from the drivers of City, mercifully the unhappy death by overheating of Kate’s truck towing John Milton and the Women’s four proved no obstacle to our racing, and everything ran to schedule as we rigged on the crowded banks of the National Watersports Centre at Holme Pierrepont. Marvelling at the amount of water and the times going up on the results board for the top schools eights who were racing, the clouds cleared and tech tops were off as we pushed out onto the lake. Despite an uncertain start (in part due to the unfamiliarity of racing from a stakeboat), we soon found our rhythm and maintained it consistently for the duration of the 2K course. With Fitz, Chester and Gloucester surging ahead from the off, our battle for fourth place with Derby lasted most of the race. Matching each of their pushes, Christ’s maintained discipline and kept ahead, and with some obdurate coxing and emphatic calls from Holly finished in fourth place with a respectable time of 06:49.5. Faced with some challenging competition our result was not sensational, but given the crew a decent time, a valuable experience, and – above all – an enjoyable day racing.
On Saturday 4th May, Christ’s were represented by W1, M1 and M2 in Spring Head to Head, a bridge-to-bridge race over 2 x 2km.
On yet another windy weekend, W1 raced their second race of term We raced as a composite IV with two W2 and two W1 women. As it was the first time the W2 women were rowing in a IV, we spent the row down focusing on moving together and getting the balance right. We decided to treat this race as an exercise in technique given that we were the only IV in our category. As such, we maintained a low race rate in order to give the crew time to sharpen each part of the stroke. As we rowed over the final stretch of the first leg, Queens’ M2 went for a tight overtake, causing us to veer into the bank. As we regained composure, the skies opened and hail started battering down on us. We took a few strokes to get moving again and finished the race with a good rhythm. We had a faster time on the return leg, with some nice smooth, balanced sections. Overall, the crew needs to focus a lot on timing, staying composed and maintaining strong finishes. With coaching from Kate Hurst, the women should see great progress this term.
M1 made great technical progress in the week since Head of the Cam and were excited to test these gains under race pressure. We struggled to find a clear rhythm on the first leg heading downstream and faced pressure from behind from a strong Corpus crew. We focussed on working together with stern pair on the return leg, and the boat moved more effectively as a result. The first leg cost us greatly, but we finished a respectable 7th out of college M1s.
After having had a few more training sessions, M2 felt good about our chances of another good performance after winning our division in Head of the Cam. On the first leg, going downstream, our start was uncharacteristically shaky, but we soon gathered ourselves and the boat seemed to move quickly and efficiently all the way to the motorway bridge, overtaking Caius M3 on the way. Having now done a good first leg, we knew a good second leg would give us a shot at winning our division and so we set off back down the course with renewed energy. 500m from the finish, we all put in a monumental effort to sprint for the finish in one of the most impressive rows M2 have had. Unfortunately, we missed out on winning our division by a few seconds to Queens M2, but nonetheless, M2 put in an impressive performance.
On Saturday 27th April, Christ’s were represented by three student crews and 3 alumnus crews in Head of the Cam, a 2.6km race upstream from the A14 bridge.
This was the first race of term and W1 had benefited from just two outings before launching into the race. We were a mixture of women who had rowed in W1 and W2 last term. As we rowed down to the start, we hit enormous waves on the Long Reach. Indeed, small boats had been advised to pull out of the race due to the extremely high winds. Fortunately, the rest of the course was more sheltered and therefore calmer. It felt like a surprisingly relaxed race, with the focus largely on staying together and honing our racing technique. In the future, we will need to build the physical resilience to push harder and maintain higher rates throughout races. This was a good start to the term as we finished 5th with a time of 12.39.
M1 entered Head of the Cam having completed only one training session. The crew has changed slightly since last term due to two injuries. We made a good start under the motorway bridge, but it lacked real aggression. This is where we lost time relative to the competition. We were hit by a strong headwind as we came onto the reach. The crew resettled onto a lower rate and rowed long under these difficult conditions. We found calmer water as we came under the Railway Bridge and made a decent push for the line, finishing 7th out of the college M1s. The crew were pleased with their gutsy row on the reach, but recognised that a more punchy start will be needed in order to compete with the quicker college crews.
M2 had only had one outing before racing Head of the Cam but with a mostly unchanged crew from Lent, we were reasonably confident of a good result. Our start was aggressive and ambitious but upon rounding Ditton corner and starting down the Reach, the headwind became a hindrance which we could have dealt with better. It was not helped by the fact that we had to overtake down the Reach and take the less sheltered water but nonetheless, under the Railway bridge we were able to regain our composure for a strong finish. We managed to finish top in the Mays 3rd and lower division which bodes well for our Mays campaign!
Among the alumnus crews, Crustaceans W1 finished with a time of 15:02, sadly not earning a prize for coming first, for lack of any other competitors in their category! Crustaceans M1 finished with a time of 11:18 and Crustaceans M2 finished with a time of 12:34.