Entry list so far for the Reading K4 on 1st October. More entries to come in over the next few days.
A call came in recently for ‘proficient kayakers’ to support the inaugural Reading on Thames festival which was to take place on the Thames in front of Caversham Court/ the promenade on Saturday 16th September. It sounded intriguing, especially when they mentioned there may be fireworks and pyrotechnics involved. As the weekend approached a strange array of giant floating creatures appeared at the club along with a vast number of crew and technicians. Our interest was spiked further! A diverse team of seven club members aged between 14 and 60 responded to the call and arrived at the first rehearsal feeling rather nervous at what was expected of them. We were briefed to ‘act and move like fish’ whilst paddling behind the professional kayakers, (who by the way were going to have fireworks strapped to their boats), and just follow the large fish until we saw the monster fish. At that point we were to ‘MOVE BACK SWIFTLY and go to the side, out of the way…….GULP!
So on we went, and followed the fish, up and down, around and around, in the dark for two evenings in a row. We couldn’t see each other, (let alone be seen by people on the river bank) but we had fun. One thing we were sure of from our viewpoint on the water – the story and show were going to be spectacular as long as it all went all right on the night.
Saturday came and to the delight of the three juniors Sam, Lili and Phoebe we were handed costumes – workmen safety suits in white or blue to wear OVER our lifejackets etc. (Where did Michelin men come in the story we wondered, but at least we would be incognito). We were also given white lights to illuminate the boats inside – the white plastic boats looked a lot like glow worms or perhaps like the shimmering fish we were supposed to represent. And at least we could now see each other! We were also handed safety goggles as we slid into the water … to add to our already somewhat ‘special’ look. Well, we were paddling behind fireworks!
We sat under Caversham bridge waiting for the story to start, admiring the giant swan lit up, which let off giant sparkler style fireworks from its bottom as it glided up the river. Then it was our turn as the giant fish potted up to greet the swan and we shimmered and wiggled behind it. We circled and paddled to the music, amongst the smoke, under the pops and cracks of the fireworks coming out of the fish’s nose and from the back of the pyrotechnic kayakers in front of us. Then the green glowing monster appeared and we took our cue to scarper to the side where we had the best view in the house of the fireworks, pyrotechnics and giant animals … and so the story was over. It was fun – a visual and auditory delight.
We hope it comes back again!
The wettest picnic paddle for years but being hardy RCC members no one was put off. It was nice to have some new faces join us, including baby Peter who at only 6 months old was certainly the youngest.
For the annual picnic paddle we rest our racing boats and use Canadian canoes instead.
The boats were towed upstream to Pangbourne by Brian and Marc at the crack of dawn, navigating the lock meaning we had an easy paddle back down stream to the club with some fun and games along the way.
Due to the weather we had a shorter lunch break than usual. The cows came to investigate who these wet bedraggled people were and why they were sitting in the field eating their lunch in the rain.
As we were already wet through we skipped the usual ‘sink a boat by filling it with children’ and standing on Nigel’s shoulders to jump in the river games. Brian did not get a post lunch nap and I do not think anyone even had an ice cream this year BUT we did set a new record for the fastest picnic paddle. We set off at 11 a.m and the first boat was back at 2.15 p.m.
It was wet but it was still a good day out with lots of fun and laughter. Thanks to Nigel for arranging, Brian and Marc for transporting the boats and to everyone who came despite the weather and helped make it fun. Oh, did I mention it rained!
By Phoebe Harbridge-Hui
We were a small team at July’s Nottingham regatta – six Juniors, three Seniors and two Masters – but judging from the results, all were in top form. And that’s despite it all those school exams.
Among the juniors …
Lilli stormed the final of K1 500m Girls D, taking 1st, and, racing K2 for the first time with Jesse from Banbury, was 2nd in their K2 500m final. Well done to Lilli – she has gained promotion to Girls C.
Fran, for the first time in Girls C, raced well in her K1s and won both her K2 races 200m and 500m with Molly from Norwich.
Finlay was racing K2 for the first time with Sam from Wey. They looked really strong and great timing. He also looked impressive in his K1s, racing fearlessly for the first time in his Zedtech.
Dan A was racing really well in Boys A, getting into A Finals for all his K1 races. He and Jim looked really strong in Men’s A/B K2 500m.
Fred was on form with an impressive two-boat length lead in his 1000m Boys A K1 final (B), and with an impressive time. He was 3rd in his 200m final, missing 2nd by .05 sec. That close! His favourite race was K2 200m with RLS’s Alex, with a very convincing win, 3 seconds faster than the next nearest boat.
Both Dan and Fred raced together in a K4 they’d put together with Ealing and Richmond. Their 1000m, last race of the day, was uplifting to watch, with their crew totally in command, ‘sailing’ past the rest of the field and finishing with at least a two-boat length lead.
Great to have Neil Barton racing for Reading, taking 3rd in his K1 200m final Men’s B, not his usual distance at all!
Kat in Women’s C took a very convincing 1st in her 1000m final and was just pipped into 2nd in her 500m final (by .06 sec!). Kat and Immi jumped into a K2 for Women’s A/B and showed us all how it should be done.
And our Masters – Nik and Lee – raced very well, taking 3rd in their K2 1000m. In their K1 races, Lee was 3rd in 200m, Nik was 2nd in 200m and 3rd in 500m, impressive when they’d been the ‘party boys’ the night before! Poor Finlay, did you get any sleep?!
All got to their races on time, albeit with a couple of numbers missing. A number-nicker was at large – no kidding! A great racing weekend.
Over the past few weekends the Reading slalom section have tried their skills on moving water! Emily, Natalie and dad Andy Neville went to Cardington. Emily put in a strong run and gained a promotion to Division 3 with a second place. Andy did very well in his first Division 3 race winning the event, commenting, “I managed to win but not by much and against such small kids – they are so fast!’
Last Saturday 6 paddlers competed at Shepperton and experienced their first weir slalom. With the noise and flow of water from the weir, our paddlers were quickly out of their comfort zone. With grit determination and after many swims, they made big improvements in their water skills.
Alex Tonkin recorded a good run at his first ever slalom beating many paddlers from the higher division and gaining promotion to Division 3. Also, after much practice and a few swims, Duncan Edwards achieved a fast final run to win the Division 3 competition.
All must be commended on their perseverance on new and challenging water conditions. Special mention to Peter Skinner who even after 8 or more capsizes never gave up and received Best under 12 in Div4!
The club provided 12 taster sessions over three days as part of this year’s Reading Children’s Festival. The Festival is a programme of activities around the town over half term. 72 children attended the taster sessions, learning the basics about paddling K1 kayaks and the fun of paddling a bell boat. As a result several children have indicated they would like to try out the under-10 fun sessions and the Junior beginner courses.
Thank you to all our volunteers who helped over the three days.
We had a smaller team at June Interclubs regatta this year, just 26 paddlers in all, but some great results. Reading CC finished 5th out of 55 clubs and only 27 points behind the winner, Richmond. Below are some highlights of the weekend.
First off, great performance from the weather – bright and sunny with increasing winds, but not a dreadful gale … like the very wet and gusty following two days.
Here are some highlights of the results:
Among the juniors:
- Boys D K4 500m, with Finlay stroking it, took a clear 1st
- Boys D K1 500m Rory Tietema was 1st in Final 1 and Sam Betts was 1st in Final 2
- Boys D K2 1000m, 500m and 200m Alex Tonkins and Sam Betts were each time 2nd and every time so close to first
- Rory and Conor MacNab (borrowed from Pangbourne for the weekend) were 1st in Boys C K2 500m and 2nd in their K2 200m
- Lilli was 2nd in Final 1 of her K1 500m race and 1st in her K2 Women’s C 1000m and 500m with Kat
- Fred’s K2 200m race was his best this regatta – a convincing 3rd in Boys A/B
- Dan Atkins was racing in Boys A for the first time and got into the final for all 3 of his K1s
Great to see Annabel and Phoebe both back on the water racing.
Among the Seniors/Masters:
- Kat was first in every one of her races. Small field or not, she was determined to win them all
- Nigel took three 2nds and a 3rd in his K1, K2 and K4 races. Indeed, Nigel and Brian’s K2 500m time was 2:15:31, while 1st place was 2:15:09. A hair’s breadth difference.
- Masters C/D K4 with Nigel, Brian, Nik and Lee, in those lovely blue & white Mohicans, were 2nd and so close to 1st
- All our Women’s D/Womens Masters B K2s 500m got into the final – that’s Silke and Miriam, Rachel and Rachel, Vicki and Vicky
- Nik Topham was 1st in his K1 500m, easily – promotion for you, Nik?
- Nik & Lee were 2nd in their K2 200m final
Rachel Spanton, Silke, Nathan Betts and Jim Towell were all new to Nottingham sprints and took to it with gusto. Silke used to sprint for the National German team, so she seemed to feel very much at home.
Well done to you all – a great team and finishing 5th out of 55 clubs with just 26 paddlers is a great achievement.
While most of RCC paddlers were battling it out on the Thames at the Reading hasler, RCC junior Fred Kemp was representing GB at Piestany International Regatta.
Fred’s strongest performance is usually in 200m and this certainly proved to be so at this regatta. In K1 200m, he took first in both the heat and the semi-final and in the final fought his way to 5th. In the K2 200m with Alex Greaves (RLS), they won the heat, so went straight to final and there took a convincing Bronze medal.
The GB team did very well overall, coming home with three Silver and three Bronze medals overall.
Big well done to Fred.
The weather was kind and the enthusiasm high as teams gathered from Reading, Wokingham, Pangbourne, Southampton, Weybridge and Addlestone for the first K4 event of the year.
A change to the norm …
With a smaller field than usual entering the K4 race, the Club had decided to make it a single 5km handicap race, followed by 200m sprints. The teams were ranked according to their combined division for the handicap 5km race and two rockets were first to start.
Fastest boat on the water with a whizzy 19:10 mins was Reading’s Under 23 Div 3 boat of Imogen Collins, Jim New, Connor Macnab and Alex Sheppy. Not far behind were Southampton/Wey with a 19:50. While 3rd place went to Reading Vets Nik Topham, Yan Rasiborski, Kevin Smith and a mystery paddler.
200 metre sprints
After the 5km race, heats were drawn up for the 200-metre sprint. The 2 fastest from each heat went through to the semi finals, and the winners of these made the finals. There was a consolation final for the ‘losers’ too, so everyone got a chance to race more than once. It was all lots of fun, with the winning cup going to the speedy Reading crew again.
It was a great morning for all ages and abilities. Thanks to everyone who took part, the visiting teams for making it up to Reading and to the organisers. Here’s to the next one in October!!
Provisional results for the Reading Circuit Race:
(Updated to include club points.)