Saturday, June 30, 2012

OTW with John Forrest of Potomac Boat Club, Part VI: Quarterfinals and Pimm's in the Enclosures

Pimm's in the Enclosures (Photo: © Marianne Wood)
Despite a game effort from the Potomac Boat Club Thames Cup VIII, the crew was unable to match speed with Royal Chester in the quarterfinal, and the race saw PBC's run at the Thames Challenge Cup come to a close for 2012. While it's always disappointing to end a regatta on a loss, it's difficult to be discontent for too long when in Henley-on-Thames, and the Potomac boys have kept this in mind on Saturday. Here's John's take on Friday's race and PBC's plans for future HRRs:
For our quarterfinal race, we drew Royal Chester Rowing Club and a relatively early 9AM race time. The strong headwind that started on Thursday afternoon had slacked off a bit by Friday morning and at times was swirling around to a crosswind. It seemed that the increase in wind would be offset a slight lessening in the strength of the current.

Royal Chester was very quick off the start and took about six seats on us by the quarter mile. The increased that lead to about a length by the Barrier and the margin see-sawed between and length and length and a half down the course until they pulled ahead further near the end for the final margin of about two lengths. Royal Chester did a great job of taking an early lead and then using that to control the race and react to our moves. They race Molesey on Saturday and Thames Rowing Club races Upper Thames Rowing Club in the other semifinal. These crews have been putting up comparable times all week so they should be some good races.

This trip is doubling as a vacation for most of the crew. After racing, we were able to start the rest and relaxation portion of the trip with a visit to the Stewards’ Enclosure (see photo above).

Brown leads Italy in the Grand (Photo: © John Forrest)
We watched several races throughout the afternoon and cheered on the other American crews. The Brown varsity and Harvard lightweights looked impressive in the Grand Challenge and Temple Cup wins, respectively. PBC progressed to the semifinals in the men’s double sculls event with another comfortable win. Unfortunately, the PBC-Vesper composite women’s quad lost and Gonzaga fell in their quarterfinal match-up against Abingdon School, the UK national junior champions.

This puts an end to racing for the Potomac men’s sweep team at Henley. Although it did not always go according to plan, it was still a great trip. We learned some more about planning a Henley trip which should make future trips easier. We are also taking away lessons on training and race preparation that will serve as good motivation for the next PBC crew to race at Henley. -JF
Thanks very much to John Forrest and the whole Potomac BC contingent,and congrats on a strong showing in very challenging conditions this year. The Sunday finals are nearly set, and the results are being updated continuously on the official website of Henley Royal Regatta (for results links, see the top center of the page).

-RR

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