Foreward by race organiser Simon Murray;
The Eights and Fours event is Bedford Rowing Club’s annual head for larger boats, attracting a strong entry from around the region. Over 200 crews were entered across all 7 divisions. With mixed crews having been rejected by the organisers, and it being half term, our entry was limited to five crews only.
The forecast was for dry weather with a strong westerly breeze (tail wind) increasing during the day. Our crews had been entered in the first three divisions, so any worsening weather would more likely hinder opponents in the later divisions. Unusually for Bedford RC, the first division ran slightly behind schedule due to a wayward octuple, but otherwise the event ran without incident (at least for us). A most important feature was the Longholme café which opened in good time to allow half the men’s 8 a well earned breakfast after our race.
Arriving at Bedford shortly after sunrise, boats were unloaded and rigged smoothly with the OTRC team working like a well-oiled machine. Timing of boating was key – too early risked a long wait in the cold at the start; the trick was to leave it late without attracting the attention of the marshalls. We were top club in this regard – all our crews left the boating area last or next to last!
As always, OTRC crews looked neat and well drilled, although not enough to produce many wins. Maybe more training required!
Although it was an early start, the advantage is that we were home and hosed in time for the rugby (almost). As ever, thanks to everyone who helped with the rigging/de-rigging etc., especially parents; your support is always much appreciated.
And a special thank-you to Dick for not only towing the trailer, but also fixing the electrics on the trailer in an unscheduled pre-dawn repair, and for going off-piste to PC Boats on the way home to deliver a boat for refurbishment.

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