Fortunately we had a break in the weather last Thursday with no rain and amenable wind, certainly a lot friendlier than forecast.

The Men's four of Nic, Ian, Mark T and Mark E coxed by Jacinta had two races to start the day. The first was a Masters Vet event against Bexhill, Shoreham and Dart Totnes.

Starting with a very fast tide and cross wind was not easy. The starter inevitably jumped us with the Go and the two crews from "up country" made a very quick getaway. We had a reasonable row with lots of room for improvement, but we came in with a length of clear water ahead of DTRC. I think this is the first time any of our fours have beaten a Dart crew and they had some very skilled rowers with impressive pedigree. A very satisfying result.

The Novice four race was rather less fluent. We all felt we had rushed the first half and didn't do ourselves justice. By the time we found any rhythm it was too late to make headway against some very young and impressive crews.

The Women's crew was Barbara, Jules, Denise and Leslie, coxed by Jacinta (two of whom had never raced before). They had the Kingsweir station and Jacinta kept them safely over there for the start...well actually the three starts!! Shoreham, Bideford and Dart Totnes were determined to merge together and clashed on the first two attempts. On the first attempt the starter actually said Go immediately after instructing us to back it down so perhaps it was fortunate there was a restart. Jacinta reports that they rowed well with a good rhythm and rowed through the enormous wash produced by the chasing safety boat. A good introduction to racing for all of them and we look forward to seeing this crew develop in the winter.

Patrick was unable to attend so Nic found Maurice Dunn from Torquay/Dart Totnes to enter the Men's Senior C double sculls. Unfortunately, they were started directly in front of the large buoy and had to stop and actually back it down in the first minute. They did manage to get back on terms with the other crews and finished a very close 4th out of five.

Ian and Mark T were determined to try themselves out in the Novice double scull despite the fact that they had managed only three training outings and they both only started sculling this year. The competition was impressive but they looked good despite being cut up by the wash. There was an objection from another crew about a clash the other side of the course and a re-row was ordered. This was optional for Ian and Mark, but they headed off anyway - their fourth race of the day. When they returned their boat was seriously full of water so it must have been very hard work. An opportunity for improvement during the winter racing.

Mark was had a senior moment over the start time of his race, which he discovered e started while he was still on dry land carrying his boat down. Such are the worries and cares of focussing on getting all the other boats organised...

Special thanks go to Jacinta for her coxing, her first races in that role in some very challenging conditions with five boats racing. She really helped the Men's four with her observations and feel for the boat and I am sure did the same for the Women's.

An enjoyable and a long day. We now look forward to Totnes Mini Head on 30th October. We are making progress so well done to all the crews.

Mark Eastman