Dave Smith wins MasD 1x

When the draw for Putney Town was published, I discovered that I had a straight final against a sculler from London Rowing Club. I checked the Scullers Head results and discovered that I had finished 1 place ahead of him, beating him by just 0.3 seconds over 7km! It look as though a close race over 1200m was on the cards. However, the ace up my sleeve was that my opponent was a Masters C sculler, which meant a whopping 11 second handicap against him.

I almost didn’t make it to the race, as I managed to run over one of the shoals just past Barn Elms. Luckily, despite the sickening sound of my boat scraping on rocks as I was 5 strokes into a practice start, it was only the tip of my fin that hit the bottom, and it held firm.

As we eyed each other up approaching the start, I felt a little sorry for my opponent, but I told myself to be ruthless, and attack the start as if we were starting together. 

I got a good start, off at about 42, reducing to 35, and by the time of the second ‘Go’, I was a good 5 or 6 lengths ahead. He tried to catch me, but I settled to a good 32, and gradually extended my lead. By the time I passed the Sons girls, cheering me on as they paddled up to their own race, I had a comfortable lead, and let the rating come down to about 28, concentrating on using my legs in the middle of the stroke. So I duly won, and paddled back to Putney to pick up my prize – not only the traditional pewter pot, but also a mounted certificate. 

I stayed down at Putney to cheer on the Sons girls in their finals, but sadly there were no more Sons victories today. The women’s novice four came very close, convincingly winning their first two races, and the men’s novice four also won their semi-final but both crews lost their finals, as did the women’s novice eight and IM3 eight. However, the close results show that everyone is on the pace, and it certainly won’t be long before more silverware is being won, and that dreaded novice status will be history.

Dave Smith

Bruce Maclachlan