Firstly, the results. These are available form http://tinyurl.com/headofthecam2014
Congratulations to Caius men (8:49), who have now won for five years in a row; and to Downing women (10:59).
And congratulations to all other winners; if you weren't around for the prizegiving (shame!) please contact me to arrange collection.
We apologise for not having the HoC shield available on the day; this was due to a foul-up. In compensation, we / the CRA will be arranging to get the recent winners added to the engraving.
I should also extend my thanks to various other folk, apart from the competitors, without whom the regatta could not have been held:
* our Umpires, Bill Keys, Eric Smith and Jess Upton,
* all the fine marshalls, start and finish timers from our club,
* and the backroom staff.
The regatta was inspected by Andrew Tayler from the Eastern Region Umpiring Committee (ERUC) to check that all was running well. This was pleasingly unbureaucratic, and Andrew was very happy with the running of the regatta.
This year, we did not neglect the fine tradition of having at least one mismatch between the crews that started, and the ones that finished. This year, it was Darwin M2 / Robinson M2: according to our sheets, Robinson had finished but not started, whereas Darwin had started but not finished (you wouldn't believe how long it took to link those two). Then we realised that they have similarish blades, if you squint, and finally we realised that Robinson M2 hadn't rowed; so that all fitted.
A new "dispute" arose, but quietly, of the issue of whether some college M/W2 crews were really M/W1, or at least had some rowers from their higher crews; especially when the higher crew wasn't rowing, or had scratched late. As a townie - and more especially as a townie running the race from Queens' boathouse where I don't see any of the crews - I really can't tell. We rely on an honour system for people entering the right category. I did - afterwards - wonder if I should enforce a "bumping up" rule: if your first crew doesn't enter, then your second crew gets to be your first crew. it would happen in bumps. But I don't really think this would be fair either. The issue gets discussed on the Cambridge rowing messageboards.
Bill Keys inspected some of the crews for safety: items such as heel restraints. most were fine; some were not. Please make sure your heel restraints are in order! If you won't do it for the life-saving effects in the unlikely event of a capsize, do it to save yourself trouble during regattas.
I haven't actually looked carefully, but entries were down on last year. Total rowing seats was 709, compared to 830 last year. I think we had more from the Town, but many fewer from Gown - I suspect the timing interacted even more badly with the Easter holidays than it usually does. Anyone with any brilliant ideas on how to fix this (other than moving the event, which is not in my gift) do please let me know. My feeling is that mailing out to the colleges at the end of Lents is mostly a waste of time - no-one is organised enough at that point to think of their entries for next term, understandably.
Just for once, no-one really complained about the start order. But I have to admit that the system of asking for predicted times is not workable. Some people manage to submit beliveable times, but far too many don't. What I ended up doing was to award M1's 1 point; M2's 4 points; M3 and belows 7 points. And then good-quality town clubs got 2 points, and I could also adjust colleges for good/bad. And then I added the women at a suitable delta from the men. This worked pretty well, and I think would be more workable as a guess-your-class type system.