The Curlew women’s squad achieved an outstanding result at the 75th Women’s Head of the River Race, with the first VIII placing 77th out of 300 crews in an unusually competitive field.
Following a race plan devised by Curlew head coach Luke Vernall, the ladies first VIII rowed the course in 22:26, beating crews from Thames, Lea, HSBC and Kingston rowing clubs in the IM2 division. Coxed by women’s captain Maxine Livesey, the boat was stroked by Vicky Skinner, with Grainne Goodman, Meghan-Rose Rigby, Svenja Feix, Jessica Robertson, Tiffany Morris, Nicola Hall and Curlew chairwoman Anita Jeff at bow.
The ladies second VIII completed the course in 24.25, placing them 227th. The boat beat out 25 other crews in the IM3 division, including entries from Molesey, Vesta and Lea, as well as A boats from Twickenham and Maindenhead rowing clubs.
Coxed by the experienced Curlew veteran Natasha Wood, the crew included Laura Binns at stroke, Chelsea Crouser, Cathy Hibbert, Annabel Taylor, Sonia van Gilder Cooke, Penelope Jarrett, Caragh Newman and Nazli Basoglu.
This year was particularly competitive at WeHORR, with a composite Elite 8+ including Olympic gold medalists Helen Glover, Heather Stanning and Katherine Grainger winning the Head with a time of 18:58.6. “I have not seen such a high standard at WeHORR,” says women’s captain Maxine Livesey. “How many crews can say they have raced along side Olympians and the best of GB rowers? It was a good day for the Curlew ladies all round.”
Special thanks goes to women’s coach Ben Askin and Svenja Feix for their generosity in trailering the women’s boats, as well as sorting the potentially disastrous broken fin on the Ray Cassidy alongside Ben Cooke.