Report: Winter Head 2022

Winter head was a 2.5km time trial race from the motorway bridge to the P&E. Four Sidney crews took part in this race with the results as shown below.


Sidney’s M1 arrived at the boathouse with a scratch crew. Special return appearances from Jamie and Michael, as well as novice supersubs Thibeau and John, allowed the crew to get on the water for a great day of racing. All arrived in good spirits at 8:45am.

Following a strong row up, M1 set off at a steady pace, powering through consistently. Excellent coxing from Esther kept M1 in line through two overtakes, neither of which affected the crew’s drive. Rowing long down the reach, we emptied the tank into the finish line.

Less fresh-faced than they started, our novice supersubs joined for a good-spirited debrief and our traditional post-session core. Thank you to our incredible subs for saving the day and putting in an incredible shift.


Nerves were heightened for W1’s first full crew race of the year, not helped by the fairly stop-start row down to Baits Bite. With Anglia Ruskin racing ahead, we set off with the best start we’ve executed all term, powering up to a relaxed rate 35 rhythm before settling into our 32 for the rest of the race. Whilst First Post corner proved a challenge for maintaining length, it was clear the gap to ARU ahead was narrowing, helped further by a solid move through the gut. Never a crew to choose an easy option, we timed our overtake to be exactly on Ditton corner and with a skillful, wide line taken by ARU (thank you!), we moved out onto The Reach with nothing but clear water and the setting sun ahead. It was about now that a loud “ARGH!” echoed from Katya or Claire (exact identity yet to be confirmed). With Cam, Tim and W1 2021/2 alum Laura shouting from the bank, we put in a solid row down to the railway bridge, even managing to bring the rate up to 34 to finish off the race. A 9th place award puts us well into the first half of the Cambridge W1 crews, a position and race we can all be proud of.


It was a good showing from Sidney M2, despite the slight lack of experience compared to other second boats. The crew showed up for the early morning start, with Lucy in the cox seat and Captain Fizz on the banks. As M2 awaited the start of the race, the words of Coach Joe Dolphin echoed in the minds of the crew: “Keep it at rate 28, long and strong.” Joe D would have been proud if he had been there to see his words manifest themselves in the hefty strokes of his crew. 

M2 put in a strong and consistent effort throughout the race, though it certainly was not without its hiccups. There were a couple of crabs, as Joe D assured them there would be. Nevertheless, the perpetrators were quick to recover, and the boat quickly regained its speed. The crew kept their heads up, after being passed by the boat behind them, and were motivated when Lucy the cox reassured them that there were only 20 left. Whether this was 20 strokes, 20 metres, or 20 seconds, nobody knew for sure. A couple of crew members couldn’t help but take a peek behind them to check for the finish line, and were surprised to see that it was actually nowhere in sight. Nevertheless, they pushed on, and after roughly 50 strokes of maximum power, they crossed the finish, half a length in front of the next boat which had creeped up from behind. In the end, the crew finished 106th out of 228 boats, with a time of 10:37, 16 seconds faster than Sidney’s half-subbed M1 boat. Overall, it was a solid start to the year, and boded only better things to come.


W2 gave a great show in their first race of the term at Winter’s Head 2022. Nerves were high as we waited at the start line, but they rallied brilliantly to deliver their strongest rolling start this term. In only her second outing as stroke, Eve Tobin laid down a consistent rate 30 that the rest of the crew had no trouble following, building it up to 32 for a stellar finish. They kept the energy up through the corners and sent us down The Reach with a solid push, collapsing in exhaustion and accomplishment as they crossed the finish line.

Unfortunately half of the usual crew was unable to take part in the race due to illness, but our four subs rose to the occasion and helped bring W2 to a promising result as the 15th fastest Lower Women’s boat. Everyone should be really proud of their performance and the commitment they brought to the race. They gave it their all and we can’t wait to see what they’ll do next!