After a slightly disappointing event in Exeter, hopes were high in the Hurricanes camp that Caldecotte would prove to be far more fruitful. We had been training hard on the lake in Wraysbury, and we knew we were paddling well as a team – we just needed to keep it together today.
The Reading trio headed over to Windsor for another trip with Debbie in her lovely car! It was still early for a Sunday morning, but nowhere near as early as the Exeter start. We arrived in time for our 9am start to find that the boats were pretty much already on the water and that camp had also been established. We did manage to help get the last boat on the water, but then after a slight telling off from our captain for not helping unload the van, Graham, Debbie and I scuttled down to help with paddling the boats over to where they needed to be.
And into the racing! There were a couple of noticeable absentees as we warmed up for the first race – our coach and Sue wouldn’t be arriving until later on in the morning. A good warm up from Sam was then followed by a good pep talk from Captain Randal. We needed to keep our focus in the boat and concentrate on the start. We did exactly as our captain asked of us and had a great start to the day’s racing with a win!
Hurricanes 49.68 - 1st and straight through to semis
Thames Taniwas - 50.69
Typhoon scratch 52.44
Amathus Bees 57.80
We knew we had a tough line up in the semis, but were told to go back out and do exactly the same as we had before and concentrate only on what was happening in our boat. This took us to another good race, taking over 2 seconds off our previous time and coming 2nd and giving us the fastest runner up place in the 200m major final.
During our warm down, and team talk our captain made the mistake of admitting that he had been looking out of the boat – exactly what he’d told us all not to do – which was met with jeers from the rest of the team! But for some reason, Malcolm, who we think was trying to do some sucking up for something (GRR by any chance?!) was more than happy to let his captain off for not being fully focused in the boat!
Amathus - 45.79
Hurricanes 47.00 - 2nd and through to Major Final as faster semi r/up
Spirits were high in The Hurricanes camp during the break between the semis and final. Graham and Lin were telling us more about their fab new house, and so talk of course turned to planning their housewarming party! Graham was very proudly telling us about the size of the grounds – complete with helipad, pool, tennis courts and stables! (We’re thinking he was maybe exhaggerating ever so slightly! But at least there’ll be plenty of room for us all set up camp and stay after the party!)
Nigel was also full of helpful hints about how to be fully prepared for race events, making sure that you were able to have cold milk for your tea – and because it started frozen, doubled up as an ice block!
Lin also wanted to make sure that all the ladies stayed healthy by passing around her cranberries. And Amy (always the worrier – some might say slightly hypochondriac!) was concerned about the repercussions of eating cherry pips!
The sun was shining over Caldecotte lake toady, and as the afternoon heated up, the day also heated up for some of the ladies, who became rather distracted by someone who became known simply as ‘The Body’. Rather than admit that they were nowhere near the same league, some of the Hurricanes men (Graham and Nigel) did their best to try and prove their worth, by wandering down to the side to watch the races topless, and show off their physique! This was met with great hilarity from the rest of the team!
So, back to the racing, the Hurricanes were in their first Major 200m Final of the season! We were on the water, raring to go, but had to wait for the Minor Final to take place. The teams were called up to the line, but Kingston were nowhere to be seen. They were called several times before the mistake was realised and that it was actually Worcester that were in the race and not Kingston at all.
Eventually the minor final was underway and we could position ourselves ready for the start of our final. Again, we were all focused despite the long time we had to wait, and plenty of manoeuvring back and forwards on the race line. Three-quarters of the way into the race we were shocked to hear Nigel shouting angrily, but he wasn’t in fact shouting at us, but at the helm of the Batchworth boat who had come over into our lane. The team continued to paddle on through as we’d been told to, until Nigel called us down.
Batchworth 51.32 with Time penalty of 5 seconds after infringing our lane
Raging Dragons 48.50
Hurricanes - 51.46 - finished 4th fastest in 200m
A great morning’s racing and left us in good spirits ready for our 500s, despite the incidents in the 200m final!
We all headed back to the camp ready to have our leisurely lunch between races, only to be told that we had only a few minutes to quickly refuel before we were back out onto the water for our 500m heat. In fact, the turnaround was so quick that Pam was still eating her lunch as warmed up for the race!
A strange heavy breathing contest between Laura and Graham before getting on the boat; Sue being stung by a wasp; a rather posh voice of the starter over the loud speaker; and lots of backwards and forwards, didn’t distract us from the job we needed to do. A close race all the way with Kingston, to take us straight through to the semis.
Kingston Royals 1.58.22
Hurricanes 1.58.76 - through to Cup semis
Typhoon scratch 2.13.13
We had a bit of a longer break before the semis – long enough for Ashley and Peter F to have a quick snooze and for Pam to carry on with her lunch! The boys were all keeping themselves amused by playing with their circus toys. It was great to have Laura and Phil along supporting us for the day and they were enjoying the sun and Laura had her photographers hat on again seeing she wasn’t able to be in the boat. We also realised that Les and Kevin D had turned up for the day in matching shirts and hats – but the similarities ended there!
I was asked to sit out of the semi, as was Amy, so we decided to go and watch the action from up on the bridge with Mr Official – Les. He’d been having lots of fun watching the races and waving his red flag all day! We just hoped that Hurricanes wouldn’t be getting one this race. It was tense watching from the sidelines, but we cheered the team on as much as our lungs would allow – and were pleased to see them come over the line in 2nd place – taking us through to the Minor Final.
Amathus - 1.52.04
Hurricanes 1.59.08 - through to minor final as 3rd fastest semi r/up
Our final race of the day – the Minor Final. We knew we had raced well all day – and we wanted to do the best that we could now. Yet another close race – but with another good start, and one final motivational shout just at the right moment from Kevin T (who’d been very quiet all day!) and we were over the line in first place!
Hurricanes - 1.58.59 - 1st
RagingDragons - 1.59.53
Exe-Calibre - 1.59.98
TAO - 2.00.20
A great day’s racing! Let’s hope we’ll do just as well, if not better in Worcester.