The Great River Race 2019

Saturday 14th September was the date of the Great River Race, London's marathon on water.  
317 boats competed in this year's event arriving from all over the UK and Europe.  A true spectacle of colour and vibrancy on the waters of East London. 
Crews were in good spirits, singing and chanting before the 'big off'.  All waiting patiently at the Docklands start enjoying the moment.  Fancy dressed crews caught the eye, there was the girls dressed in black and white checked dresses like Mary Quant, a Monty Python team complete with coconut nut shells from the holy grail and an impressive pirate crew complete with cannon!  When asked later why they were dressed as pirates they replied, 'coz we arrrrr!'
The call to take positions went out from the race organisers so all paid close attention.
Starting in classes wave after wave of rowers started their 21 mile journey towards Richmond at just about noon.  
Brightlingsea had entered our two boats once again, proving this is a popular event , and so it should be.  
As our class start time was upon us, Vanduara was so excited that she almost bolted from the traps and nearly had a false start.  Luckily the more experienced Velocity noticed her eagerness and called out to calm down, relax and preposition herself the correct side of the start line.   
No sooner had Vanduara composed herself the flag went down and away she flew.  
Vanduara taking an immediate lead, Velocity kept pace for as long as she could before she started to fade away.  
The first part of this race has some challenging cross tides and waves and this year was no exception!  The boats were thrown this way then that as they fought across the waters trying to maintain their course.  Many oar strokes were missed as the water just disappeared in wake of the water.  Like matchsticks on the ocean they were in the hands of the waves.
Thankfully all seemed to navigate this stretch and come out non the worse.
As Tower bridge approached the waters started to calm and a normal stroke rate could be afforded.  The next 18 miles or so would prove if you had the stamina to make it to the finish line.
The early views of central London as we passed under bridge after bridge were just breath taking.  People waved from the banks and bridges and egged us on, all adding to the atmosphere.
Both crews finished the race exhausted but in one piece.  Vanduara had a nasty scuff with Chiswick Bridge on route causing some serious damage, however she managed to complete the race and is being pampered back to full health.
In the weird and wonderful way the handicap works for the Great River Race, Vanduara was 36th across the line, 42nd fastest boat, 22nd in the veterans class and 22nd in the 4 oar class. Total time 2 hours 43 minute 37 seconds.
Velocity managed 3 hours 6 minutes which is an amazing feat ....Good work!!
Check out the GRR 2019 video Click Here
As usual at this event the after race party is just something else!  Beer , live music and dancing took place in plentiful quantities closing this great event.
If you have never done it, why not?...... you should, it is highly recommend.