On Sunday 7th April the Barbers’ Cutter crew took part in the first TTRA race of the season, the Oxbridge Watermen’s Challenge, run on the exact course of the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race (6.8kms). This race is always approached with a little trepidation, as it is a flat out sprint and is also the first outing of the year for the crews.
The crew was a mixed one made up of Brind Waldron (Cox), Dee Pullen (Langston Cutters), Catherine Rounce, John Barnaby, David Brown, Jane Davey (Langston Cutters). Simon O’Leary (passenger and photographer) and Tom Lee (Stroke)
The organisers had clearly informed us of the start time of 13.15, but suddenly we were told that we had started at 13.10. Already behind by at least 250 metres, we gave it all that we had. Very soon we passed a Richmond Bridge Boat Club cutter and we then lengthened out our stroke, in order to maintain a very powerful and consistent rate for the entire distance. The course is a very long sprint and one that can only be rowed successfully at speed if the crew is very fit and pulling together. This, I am happy to report, was the case. We won the mixed class and came in at 26 minutes, 48 seconds, the third quickest time out of seventeen boats in all classes. To say that we were delighted is an understatement. The cheer that went up when the judges uttered the name ‘Barbers Cutter’, was, I am sure, heard at Barber-Surgeons’ Hall!
I should like to thank all of the crew for working so hard on their personal fitness and rowing so well together. This was due, in no small part, to the effort and dedication put in by Brind, who as cox, and therefore skipper for this race, ensured that he worked us very hard in training, whilst keeping us on the edge (but not over the edge) of exhaustion throughout the race itself.
A great effort by all involved.
Tom Lee, Bargemaster