The 2016 edition of the Remenham Challenge took place on Saturday 17 December on a course from the Chiswick Pier to the Vesta RC flag pole.
A record 52 crews raced in what might be described as ideal conditions were it not for one conspicuous fact... it was foggy. It was very, very foggy with visibility on the course fluctuating between some and none before, during and after the race.
It was touch and go as to whether it would be possible to race however the Chief Umpire and Safety Advisor, after much deliberation, judged it possible to race the course safely and the race proceeded as planned.
Thames Rowing Club 1 (Winner Open Elite)
Marshalling of crews before the start was a complicated foggy affair. Barnes Bridge seemed to be there one moment and gone the next. The foggy conditions also made timing that bit more challenging than usual. Nevertheless, and perhaps relishing the unique racing conditions, the 52 crews crossed the starting line in the usual staggered procession and raced the short course hard to the fishing line.
Were it not for the fog racing conditions would have been ideal i.e. no wind, not too cold, flat calm water and this was reflected in the times with the first crew crossing the finishing line in a time of 10:36.88. Followed over the course of the next ten or so minutes by the other crews.
Times were a little quicker than the 2015 edition of the race and its wind against tide conditions. Given the otherwise ideal conditions this can be put down to the fog. Regardless of how experienced many of the crews and coxes were, the gloomy visibility proved particularly challenging when attempting to take the correct steering lines and hindered the use of visual aids such as the red buoys and the bank. Coming around the St. Pauls bend, out of Hammersmith Bridge towards Harrods, and as the river widens out down towards and past Fulham Football Club and the final sprint for the line proved particularly challenging to all.
The various squads from Thames RC proved the most competitive on the day illustrating the strength in depth at the club at the moment taking home five of the eight prizes on offer (Open Elite, Women’s Elite, Open Intermediate, Women’s Intermediate and Women’s Novice). London RC (Open Masters), Kingston RC (Women’s Masters) and Moseley BC (Open Novice) crews gallantly prevented a clean sweep.
Kingston RC, Twickenham RC, Vesta RC intermediate Women
The presentation of blades and medals took place shortly after the race finished at London Rowing Club and with that another Remenham Challenge was over.
Thanks to all Remenham Club members who volunteered their time to help make the race a success in the lead into, and on the day of the race itself. Particular thanks must go to the race organising committee, the timing team, umpires, launch drivers and all the land based volunteers who made the 2016 race a foggy success.
Acknowledgement must be given to all novice crews who raced. The Remenham Challenge is the first occasion for most new rowers to represent their chosen club and four men’s and five women’s novice crews took the opportunity to do so. We wish them well in their rowing careers.
The 2017 Remenham Challenge will take place on Saturday 16 December on the usual course.
The winners: Open Elite: Thames RC. Women’s Elite: Thames RC. Open Intermediate: Thames RC. Women’s Intermediate: Thames RC. Open Masters: London RC. Women’s Masters: Kingston RC. Open Novice: Molesey BC. Women’s Novice: Thames RC.
Crews entered: London RC entered 6 crews. Vesta RC raced 9. Thames RC had 15 crews. Twickenham RC and Kingston RC both entered 6 crews. Molesey BC entered 8 boats while Staines BC put out 4.
Full results are available here.
Staines BC intermediate women
Molesey BC novice men (Winners Open Novice)
London RC intermediate men