After the fun of storm Doris during the week, a slightly daunted team arrived in the small village of Aldermaston for the second challenge in our build up to the Devizes to Westminster race. Conditions were on the canal were good but a strong flow and a head wind as the paddlers turned onto the Thames provided the crews with a real challenge for the final three miles.

A problem with their steering prevented Hugo Fortescue and Fred Norton competing for a school record, but they posted a time of 01:49:12 and were the fastest school boat.

Oscar Stew and Freddie Hamilton continued their tradition of swimming, this time while attempting to navigate one of the low swing bridges on the course. Despite this, they came home in 02:21:37, the fifth fastest school boys’ crew.

In the girls’ race, Jess Robinson and Lizzy Paton  were the second fastest crew with a time of 02:06:42, which would place them fourth in the “schools” category overall. Katherine Plewman and Charlie Andrews came in closely behind them (02:16:45).

Looking at the overall results, all the Cranleigh boats were in the top 10 fastest school finishers, with three boats in the top five. It was great to see the crews working together to pull each other along the course, using tactics and skills they have been developing over the course of this term.

Max House, paddling with OC (2016) Ben Strickland for the first time in over a year stormed through the course in a time of 01:48:13.

As always, thanks to all the parents, relations and friends who provided the transport and support throughout the race and to  Dave Battershell who cycled alongside the crews .