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GRR 9th Sept 2017

GRR 9th Sept 2017

Saturday 9th September 2017

30th Great River Race               Saturday 9th September 2017  It was always going to be difficult to match the GRR of 2016, where we had 4 boats and numerous family and friends to support us as for once the weekend did not clash with the Saundersfoot Tri and Iron Man.

2017 clashed again so we yoyo’d with numbers of members who were able to come …. after a great deal of persuasion, a little bribery and a call out to the ‘pirate’s’ we gathered together our 12 rowers, a hearty mix of juniors, newbies and a core of rowers who had completed GRR before.

All the usual preparations took place in the weeks before, ensuring all the kit was ready, boats were cleaned and presentable (thank you crew … and Rach for the bacon butties!), the trailer serviced (thankyou to our epic bosuns!)

So with everything ready, and a little booze aboard, we hit the road on Friday with Nikki, Rachel, Sarah and Gabi in Mae towing the double trailer, accompanied by the Llanion crew, safely arriving at Ham at about 4pm and so the joy of unloading (a huge thanks to Llanion crew as with only 4 of us a double is impossible to unload!)

Eventually we had Oarsome & Nauti Buoy kitted up and in the water all ready for their journey upstream overnight, we headed off to pitch tents and join the endless queue for registration, what a great atmosphere everyone seems to be on a GRR high.  With the wisey crew staying all over the place and arriving at all hours, Sarah & Gabi joined Llanion for dinner (In a local pub with rooms at a decent price (clocked that one for next year as within walking distance of finish line!)

Back at the campsite after dinner the party tent was rocking, the band was great and doing well, until during a break a chap from another club who did Italy in 2016 spotted the ‘Wisemans Warriors’ crew and broke into a loud and enthusiastic rendition of Doe a beer a bottle of beer … so funny!

Saturday morning arrived, breakfasts eaten, busses ready and fancy dress on the crew assembled for what looked like a lovely day.  The chaos at the start line was exaggerated by a slight problem … the boats had been ‘parked’ in the wrong place and without quick action the race actually being able to start was in doubt … a lot of shouting and general confusion ensued, finally the boats were re-parked!

Oarsome’s crew of Jake, Nikki, Rachel, Sam, Beth & Harry

Nauti Buoys crew of Gabi, Sparker, Anne, Sarah S, Sarah B & Naomi

With the tide running we launched into the flow, surrounded by all manner of boats trying to fight their way through the crowd to get the start point at their allotted time.

With Gabi as 1st cox in Nauti Buoy, we zigzagging through trying to keep out of everyones way …. We approached the start line virtually bang on time and for about 250 meter were leading the Celtic fleet, slowly but surely the men’s and mixed boats began to overtake, but we worked our way past the slower boats, as we came to the first half a dozen bridges the squeeze to get through became more challenging with everyone jockeying for position, thankfully no major crashes.

Jake as 1st cox in Oarsome ensured his crew used the row as a learning experience telling them all about the sights and sounds of London as they rowed past!

This race is a great way to see some of London as you have never seen it before, the bridges are covered by supporters all cheering as we go under, with virtually every crew in fancy dress it’s quite a spectacle, and as the miles are covered the encouragement between the crews is fab.

And then the weather decided to play up, having started with bright sunshine, then rain started, followed by massive cracks of thunder and lightning then the sun returned, it’s fair to say happy but soggy crews arrived at the finish line.

Then the unspeakable melee to get the boats out of the water and loaded up, in lots and lots of mud, say no more.

The after party was fab, the Danish crews were out in force (so Nikki was happy!)

So while the crews had a great row, we did not trouble the scorers, but this year with mixed crews including juniors and newbies having a great time was the aim.

The fastest boat – The Felton Flyer 2hr 32m 52s

In 194th Nauti Buoy in 2hrs 58mins 3s

In 221st Oarsome in 3hrs 2mins 43s

Last but not least in 4hrs 38m 46 s was Marie Louise

And a huge well done to Llanion’s crew who came 2nd in the Celtic mixed category