The weekend started badly with the Womens’ Head of the River race being cancelled on Friday by the organising committee due to the anticipated weather conditions. The Nottingham Rowing Club women’s squad were devastated as they had shown fine form at Trent and Reading heads and were looking forward to retain their Top Provincial Club title.
However, by Sunday the wind had abated a bit and the Lincoln head was still happening despite the wind which was a strong headwind. The organisers reduced the 3500-metre course by 750 metres. The winning times were very similar to previous years which shows the degree of the adverse weather conditions.
Nottingham Rowing Club sent members from the Masters and Junior sections of the club.
Paddling down to the start with the wind behind the crews it was very apparent that the wind was cold and strong.
In the first division the Masters F (over 60’s) eight set off at a storming pace and past their opposition from Loughborough, a much younger crew, by the half way mark which is where the river is at its narrowest. Their finishing time of 12 minutes 38 seconds was adjusted down to 11 minutes 23 seconds after the handicap system for their age making them the fastest crew of the day. The Masters B quadruple scull finished 4th in their category and 9th overall showing an improvement from the Boston head. The three junior scullers also raced in division 1. All three winning their respective events and all of them passing their opposition before the finish line. Stanley Haigh won junior 17 singles by over 2 minutes finishing in 15 minutes 14 seconds. Next to cross the line was Toby Buxton in junior 15 singles started at the back on his category, parked his boat in the reeds but extracting himself to pass all four of his opponents before the finish in a time of 15 minutes 44 seconds. Phoebe Smith won her event, Women’s junior 16 singles, by 45 seconds in a time of 17 minutes and 7 seconds. The junior squad entered 3 and won 3 a very satisfactory result.
Whilst waiting for the second division the weather produced a hail storm but then the sun came out and the wind seemed to drop. The Masters F eight had now split into two fours to go over the course again. When the crews arrived at the start the wind had picked up again and there was chaos as some of the in-experienced crews tried to spin their boats round in the wind.
The younger bigger four were in Masters E (over 55) coxed fours. They stored away from Doncaster and passed Lincoln winning in a time of 14 minutes and 9 seconds which was adjusted down to 13 minutes 8 seconds after handicap. The other half of the eight entered Masters G (over 65) coxless fours and were due to race half of the Loughborough 8 that they had beaten in the morning. They started after the Loughborough crew but past them after just 3 minutes. There was a clashing of blades but nothing serious. It was a hard row but they finished in a time of 14 minutes 34 seconds which was adjusted down to 12 minutes 47 seconds putting them 9th overall alongside the Masters B Quadruple scull.
The Masters B double scull entered the open event and finished 4th out of 7 in their category another satisfactory result.
Overall the club ended up with 6 wins on a difficult day. Technique was more important than sheer strength.