OTW with John Forrest, Part V: The Thames Challenge Cup, Round Two

The Progress Board (Photo: © Marianne Wood)
As anyone on the towpath, or listening to Regatta Radio can tell you, the morning race between the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club and Potomac Boat Club was a barnburner. PBC took a small lead early, and were able to fight off push after push from RHKYC down the course, responding to Hong Kong's furious sprint and taking a 1/4 length victory to advance to Friday. Here's the John's take on the race:
Thursday morning brought us an exciting second round race against the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, the only other non-UK entry in the Thames Cup this year. Racing conditions were roughly similar to yesterday with a strong current but with a lighter wind. Going into the race, we had some information on Hong Kong but not a lot. From the racing program, we knew that their weight average is nearly identical to ours. From talking with them at the Overseas Crew Reception, we knew that they are similar to us in age, experience, and preparation.

Coincidentally, they are coached by a former PBC member who was Chad’s roommate during training camps in the early ‘90s when both were trying to make the national team. So we expected them to be a slick crew prepared to race hard. 
PBC leads RHKYC coming through the enclosures (Photo: © Marianne Wood)
Today’s race was a nail biter. We had a clean start and settled into our base rhythm with Hong Kong right next to us. The results show us ahead at the Barrier and Fawley markers, but it wasn’t by much. As we expected, they rowed very cleanly and in the first half of the race neither crew could sustain momentum for very long. We edged out to a lead of two or three seats and did just enough to respond as Hong Kong made moves to come back level.
Crossing the halfway point, we were able to inch our way out to a lead of about six seats but Hong Kong fought hard to hang on. Just past the mile marker, Hong Kong started to wind up for their sprint and we responded, managing to hang on for a quarter length victory.

We survived the bracket for another day. Tomorrow we race against Royal Chester Rowing Club, who have put in solid efforts the first two days of the regatta for comfortable wins. 
The PBC scullers started their racing today with the PBC-Penn AC double of Willie Cowles and Stephen Whelpley having a solid race this morning to advance to the next round. Matt Miller races in the Diamond Sculls this evening and Morgan Wimberley races in the women’s quad event tomorrow in a composite entry with Vesper Boat Club. We will be down at the course to cheer them on. 
Boat shoe boat (Photo: © Marianne Wood)
Finally, the course and enclosures are becoming very crowded early on this regatta. It seems that the great weather is encouraging spectators to come out early in the day. This is also bringing out some atypical boat traffic [see above]. -JF
Afternoon racing in the Diamond Challenge Sculls saw Matt Miller fall to J.F.L. Walton of Loughborough Students Rowing Club by 1 and 1/2 lengths, while another American, Andrew Campbell of Cambridge Boat Club, won his heat over B. DuBois of Belgium–the verdict: 'Easily.' More to come tomorrow from Henley-on-Thames!


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