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Cygnet
Cygnet Rowing Club
on the Tideway since 1890
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Captain's Log

Latest news, requests, moans and cajoling from the skipper

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  • Captain's Log: Issue 11

    Author: Neil Pickford |

    31st December 2021

    Good afternoon Cygnets, this is your Captain speaking

    I very much hope many of your have had a peaceful and festive Christmas with your loved ones with a well earned break from work and training and I hope without much Covid related disruption to your plans.

    As we approach the end of 2021 and the start of a new year, I look back on the year that we have had as a club, as individuals and as a community. 2021, much like 2020, has perhaps served as the clearest reminder that life is very much a Head race and not a Regatta sprint.

    At times this year, like last, we have faced real head winds, conditions have been tough and perhaps for each of us a moment or two of wondering quite how we’ll make it through these choppy waters and difficult wash.

    Like many, however, I have also come to notice and recognise, more so than ever, how like the crew of a hard working VIII our Club and community is in battling against the toughest of races on the Championship course.

    It has been great to see how, despite the conditions being against us, Cygnet has pulled together, been there for each other, sharing the load and rebounded from the most difficult waters. Never has it felt more important that the club, our community and the sport has been there for us all as we’ve battled our way through and found our way out of lockdowns and restrictions to be together again, on the water again and enjoying all that rowing gives us once more.

    In 2021 we’ve had our summer races, Henley Friday, Sculling Camp, End of Season Celebrations, Learn to Row, Squad Training, Head Race Crews, Head Race Hosting, Christmas dinners, tea in the lounge, Thursday suppers and (many) drinks in the bar. Being a part of Cygnet and enjoying all of these things has been all the more rewarding and enjoyable having come from such challenging times. Perhaps not unlike that raceday feeling, having turned the corner and pressed through the choppiest waters together.

    That we have been able to enjoy these things has been down to you as the Cygnet crew, pulling together to make them happen, getting through those tougher moments and putting in the effort when it counts. To all of you, thank you: for making it happen and for making it so worthwhile. Because like the VIII we are so much stronger together, when working as one, supporting each other and knowing that each of us has a role to play in moving the boat and guiding it on its course.

    Thanks to all of you who have helped along the way, to our coaches, to our volunteers, to those who go out of their way to go the extra mile, for doing your bit to make things better for those around you, for training hard and for showing up when it matters. For all of that and more, thank you for making 2021 the year it has been and continuing to make Cygnet the place we love.

    A very special thank you to those of you in the club and in our community who have gone beyond in other ways, for your service during these difficult times on the frontline and behind the scenes beyond all that is rowing. Many of you will have made contributions that have gone unseen but for helping us, our communities and the country through the challenges we have endured, we are grateful. I particularly appreciate those who have continued to play such important roles both in that capacity and for Cygnet as a club.

    And so on to 2022.

    Uncertainty remains but there is hope of better water to come. We’ve got much to look forward to, plenty to prepare for and to strive for. Head of the River (26th March) is now just 12 weeks away and beyond that what we hope will be a fulsome regatta season and I remain ambitious for Cygnet success on the tideway and beyond. And so in the meantime there is training to be done, races to enter (Quintin and Hammersmith to name two) and much behind the scenes to keep us on track. There will be sculling camps, recruitment and learn to row courses and much more besides to use the momentum we’ve found this last year to continue to build and develop as a squad and as a club.

    After the Christmas and New Year break squad training will resume in earnest if we are to make the most of those twelve weeks, so prepare those resolutions and get yourselves ready for an exciting and busy year ahead.

    There is much to look forward to, some exciting celebrations in 2022 and I hope plenty of opportunities to make up for lost time on the water and off – but this year, like last (and each before that) our successes will depend on you and our collective efforts. That you in advance for continuing that hard work and for your contributions in the year ahead.

    But for now, I shall raise a glass to Cygnet and to each of you. Wherever and however you are celebrating your new years eve, I send very best wishes. I look forward to sharing the year ahead and all that 2022 has to offer with you, as we continue to press on through the Head Race of Cygnet history.

    Happy New Year and very best wishes from the Captain.

    Rupert

    PS: Squad training resumes Thursday 6th January on the ergs, Saturday 8th January on the water, Monday 10th January in the Shed.

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  • Captain's Log: Issue 10

    Author: Neil Pickford |

    4th December 2021

    Good Afternoon Cygnets, this is your Captain speaking,

    Several important messages below - I know it's long, but please read to the end.

    Some of you are beginning to drift away for Christmas – safe travels to those of you travelling - we are approaching end of term and the final weeks of training in 2021.

    Please do keep up the training on land and on the water as much as you can between mince pies and around you Christmas parties. With Omicron on the rise, keep it sensible and stay honest with precautions – masks and LFTs encouraged.

    The SGM last weekend approved the purchase of a new launch and changes to Subs for the new year: more details on both to follow. And the exciting arrival of new Shed Equipment, just around the corner. Good news on all fronts!

    Training Sessions
    We’ve got a couple more weekends of training before Christmas and New Year will interrupt our outing plans.

    A big plea from me to get signed up and if you are signed up to take responsibility to show up and to do so on time, so your crewmates aren’t left high, dry and cold waiting on the hard. We’ve let our good habits slip in recent weeks – let’s get back to best practice please: Once crews are set make every best effort to attend and on the day, get to the club early, so you’re ready to row on time. From the new year there will be zero tolerance for no shows and late arrivals.

    In the depths of winter – conditions and weather won’t always play in our favour. Rest assured the Coach and Captain both keep a very good eye on the forecast – we will update you if plans change, please bear with us and if you know the weather is bad, keep a good eye out for comms about outing changes. If we end up not going on the water, you are still expected to attend a training session you are signed up for on land. If you hear nothing, assuming we are proceeding as planned (be prepared with back-up land training kit if it looks borderline).

    Christmas Eve Row: Seniors and Vets joint outing
    For those of you not escaping London, we thought a joint Vets/Senior outing would be a great way to spend Christmas Eve. Please sign up on FitClub (*or in the usual way if a Vet). Please do sign up if you fancy a row, followed by some festive cheer in the Boathouse afterwards. OTW 1000.

    Racing
    We are now shifting our focus to Eights Racing with racing planned for Quintin Head (29 Jan), Hammersmith Head (27 Feb), HoRR (26 March). Please look ahead and update your availability for those races (especially Quintin) so we can start lining up entries.

    Navigation

    On the water:
    · Barnes Bridge: Many of you will have noticed the inside arch of Barnes Bridge is now open again, which is good news and less carnage. Please continue to proceed with caution and avoid the underwater works and debris, which isn’t particularly visible and easy to spot at some states of the tide.
    · Shoals: Shoals are on the move again and getting worse in places (especially the usual places), so as ever keep a good look out and at the lower end of tides, please be cautious. Any incidents or damage to be reported

    Off the water: 
    With serious work on the footbridge about to start, the footpath has now been diverted around the back of the boathouses and temporary access to the bridge. Allow a bit more time and take care on the unlit road in the dark.

    FINAL FINAL CALL: BBL Christmas Party and Cygnet Waddle – Sat 11th Dec. Final details to follow from Megan, next weekend we will be all decked out in our Black Tie garb for the Christmas Party in Chiswick, preceded by the Cygnet Waddle. If you haven’t signed up yet – this is your final, last call.

    THE USUAL QUICK REMINDERS:

    · BOAT LOG: Please ensure all outings are logged in the boat log – good to see it in good use, please keep it updated with club boat usage.

    · LIGHTS: In poor light / dark mornings, please make sure you're using the correct lights and high-vis clothing.

    · WINTERY (TIDEWAY) CONDITIONS: The weather and water is getting colder and wetter, and it's a particularly risky time of year for hypothermia: make sure you are well layered up and have spare clothing after outings. Stay dry, stay warm.

    · OUTING CANCELLATIONS: On occasion the weather or river conditions may mean we can't go afloat or a land session is required: If the forecast is poor, come prepared for both but wait for the call from Coach or Captain before assuming the outing is not going ahead.

    · LAND TRAINING: Great to see the shed in good use and the approval of the new equipment means this will soon be getting a makeover. Please make sure you're signed up to sessions and if you're signed up, show up.

    · BOAT CARE & MAINTENANCE: Please make sure boats are properly washed, left in good condition and any defects or damage appropriately reported. Our fleet is precious and must be looked after properly. More to follow on this one.

    Dates for your diary:

    • 11th December - Christmas Party
    • 17th December - Veterans Christmas Lunch. Contact Lawrence McVeigh
    • 24th December - Christmas Eve Row. 10.00 otw
    • 29th January - Quintin Head
    • 27th February - Hammersmith Head
    • 26th March - HoRR
    • 27th March - Vets Eights
    • 6-10th April 2021 - Training Camp (If you've not expressed an interest but would like to, contact the Captain.)

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  • Captain's Log: Issue 9

    Author: Neil Pickford |

    14th November 2021

    Good Evening Cygnets, this is your Captain speaking,

    Great to see so many faces at the club this weekend racking, cheering and volunteering (more on that below), excellent to see the boathouse be alive with excitement of a busy Head Race again and to have our own crews racing hard in the fairway. Hope you're now all resting up and taking it easy.

    I will be away for the next week, travelling with work, Martin will be acting in my stead - I'll be back on the 22nd. Training resumes as normal, tomorrow with Charlie in the shed at the usual times.

    FOURS HEAD / VETS FOURS HEAD
    It's been a busy weekend of racing and hosting at the boathouse this weekend. Firstly a huge thank you to every single one of you who helped out during the weekend - it was great to see so many of you giving a very warm welcome to visiting crews, cheering on our racing boats and helping out throughout the weekend: thank you to everyone who put a shift in. We can't host visiting clubs on race days without volunteers and races can't run without clubs hosting, so thanks to all of you who did your bit. Most importantly we had lots visiting clubs who went home happy and were very appreciative of all your efforts. We'll next be hosting for Quintin Head on 29th January.

    RACING CREWS
    Congratulations to our racing crews competing in Fours Head and Vets Fours - in the end we had three crews racing across the weekend, well done - our first major head race in quite some time and great efforts all round. Chapeau to the 4- crew of Cris, Dom, Pete and Simon for the club fastest time down the course in 21:24.7.

    Fours Head
    #87, 4x-
    Mustafa Ozyurt, Tom Broadhurst, Chris Jageurs, Rupert Bailey (23:07.2)
    #184, 4-
    Cristobal Cabrera, Dom Marshall, Pete Goldsworthy, Simon Suthers (21:24.7)

    Vet Fours Head
    #163, Masters H 4x-
    Nick Wylie, Paul Rawkins, Rhodri Walters, Steve Reeves (23:54.7)

    A good platform for us to build from in the squad and as we look towards the rest of the season we want to build from this and work towards even more competitive entries in the forthcoming Head Races. So please do keep up the commitment to training on land and on the water as we look to move forwards as a squad - we're making good progress here let's keep it up.

    (It's never too early to talk about) Christmas with a couple of events to mark in the diary for Christmas this year

    Sat 11th December: BBL Christmas Party and Cygnet Waddle
    More details to follow, but will follow the traditional pattern of a Christmas meal with Barnes Bridge in Chiswick, preceded by the Cygnet Waddle.

    Friday 17th December: Cygnet Veterans Christmas Lunch
    The time is drawing near for the annual Cygnet Veterans Christmas Lunch which will be held at the RAF Club on Piccadilly. It is hoped that some of our younger members will join us this year. The cost will be approx. £65, including some drinks. If you'd like to come along or if there are any questions you'd like to ask, Lawrence McVeigh is the mat to ask. The captaincy will be able to provide his contact details.

    OTHER QUICK REMINDERS:

    Boat Log: Please ensure all outings are logged in the boat log - good to see it in good use, please keep it updated with club boat usage.

    Lights: In poor light / dark mornings, please make sure you're using the correct lights and high-vis clothing.

    Wintery (Tideway) conditions: The weather and water is getting colder and wetter, and it's a particularly risky time of year for hypothermia: make sure you are well layered up and have spare clothing after outings. Stay dry, stay warm.

    Outing cancellations: On occasion the weather or river conditions may mean we can't go afloat or a land session is required: If the forecast is poor, come prepared for both but wait for the call from Coach or Captain before assuming the outing is not going ahead.

    Land training: Great to see the shed in good use and the approval of the new equipment means this will soon be getting a makeover. Please make sure you're signed up to sessions and if you're signed up, show up.

    Boat care & maintenance : Please make sure boats are properly washed, left in good condition and any defects or damage appropriately reported. Our fleet is precious and must be looked after properly. More to follow on this one.

    Dates for your diary:

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