The men’s 1st VIII reached the final of IM1 at Wallingford, the MET and Reading regattas. And at Marlow we even dipped our toe in the waters of Senior and recorded the 7th fastest time, despite racing in lanes 2 and 3 (in the same race…) during one of Dorney’s strongest cross-winds. This showed great progress for the squad, even more satisfying was our repeated defeat of much larger clubs like Vesta, who we beat at Reading in a race their website described as “a proper spectators’ treat”. Just shows that even a brand new empacher isn’t enough to hold off the mighty Peakant.

Our second VIII again proved that Curlew has strength in depth, beating a number of other club’s A-crews throughout the season and qualifying for Henley Royal Regatta for the second year in a row, making Curlew one of three clubs in the country with two VIIIs in the Thames Cup.

For a club as friendly as Curlew, we took a body blow when Curlew B drew Curlew A in the first round of HRR. We had to tear up our plans for side-by-side pieces over the weekend and treat each other as enemies for a few days at least, even sitting on different tables in the café! On Wednesday the early morning peace of the Henley Stretch was rent asunder by the two Curlew crews battling up the course in the first race of the regatta, but despite the early start we received strong support all the way (plenty of shouts of “Come on Curlew!” from uncommitted or slightly bemused spectators followed us up the course). The race went to the form book and Curlew A won to face the selected Thames A on Thursday, where they lost to the eventual finalists by 1 ½ lengths.

Once Curlew’s racing on the water was concluded we gathered in the Barn bar for the real test of boat moving speed, with a boat race between Curlew A and Curlew B. I’d be lying if I said I would remember the outcome of that race, but I can report that Curlew’s widely-renowned picnicking abilities also came out on the weekend with a spread so impressive that a passing journalist asked us for a photo and the Environment Agency stopped off on their launch to comment on it.

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