For DUBC’s last Head of the season we travelled back to the River Dee for Aberdeen BC’s Eights Head! With URA and Glasgow being the only other competing university clubs, it promised to be a less pressured but still competitive and enjoyable event. With only the one Eight to rig up, as we were grateful to be borrowing another eight from RGU, our rowers had plenty of time to fuel up, wait on the wind dying down and warm up before the first division. Representing the club across 4 different races were the senior men in the R2 8+, senior women in the W R2 8+, fresher men in the Novice 8+ and fresher women in the W Novice 8+.
Once coxes meeting and race briefs were had, it was time to hit the water, with our senior men and fresher women boating first. The wind remained annoyingly persistent for the first set of races meaning the two boats faced more challenging conditions than they had enjoyed in training on the Tay. Thankfully, the senior men had a great deal of experience across their boat to help combat the poor conditions and set off with a strong start, remaining resistant to the elements as they pushed hard down the course. As this was just the second race in the eight for our fresher women, experience was something they were lacking in and suffered for it slightly as they pushed through the strong current and blustery wind.
Following a quick turnaround once the boats returned to the club houses, it was time for the senior women and fresher men to race in division 2. Thankfully the wind was kinder as the day stretched on however race control issues meant the start time was slightly pushed back meaning an anxious wait at the start for our crews. First through the starting bridge was the fresher men’s boat, having put in plenty of miles in training prior to the race, it was unfortunate that the conditions still threw them as they progressed down the course. After a shaky start they regained lost water in the middle section, successfully breaking through the dreaded railway bridge (if you know, you know) and pressing on towards the finish. Again, the senior women had experience to thank in their race as they flew down the course overtaking their competition and chasing the fresher men onto the finish straight.
Once off the water, the senior women were surprised but delighted to learn they were the overall winners of their category and the second fastest eight in their division! Taking home the win, it was a fitting end for both our President Eleanor Pandya and ex-Club Captain Eleanor Brinkhoff, in their last Head race as members of the club. Many thanks to Aberdeen BC for organising another successful event on their home water and to Lewis McCue and URA for lending us the boat and blades to ensure all of our crews could race!