The Ely Small Boats Head is an annual head race over a straight 5km course on the River Great Ouse.
The longest race of the term at 5km, Ely head was also the most successful for Trinity Hall. Again beset by nerves, Dreadnought had a wobbly row down to the start line, but settled their nerves to begin the race with a strong start at rate 34 with plenty of cover. However, the wind picked up very quickly off the start, becoming the defining feature of the race, whipping up the water around us and sadly becoming the cause of a drop to rate 29-30. Refusing to become disheartened the crew dug deep, breezing through the 2, 3 and 4 km marks having gained ground on the other men's Hall crew ahead of us, overtaking a quad at the 3500m mark. The last 1000m were a true feat of endurance, with a final sprint securing us a strong finish time of 22:30, winning the IM3 division as the second fastest crew on the river, beaten only by an IM2 quad. A good result as consolation for Uni IVs.
Warrior’s start to rowing at Ely did not begin auspiciously – forced to push off the bank with most of the water bottles left behind. However, after a bit of unsteadiness during the 5km row down to the start line the boat settled into a well balanced rhythm, lifting spirits in preparation for the 5km row back into the strong headwind. A bit of confusion at the start line led the boat to well beyond where the rest of the competitors were. Once finally set off, the crew quickly established that maintaining 32 strokes per minute into such strong headwind was not good for the balance and led to rushing. A steady 29 pushed the boat up the river, passing a quad. The other men’s IV gained quickly in the first minute of the race but after that only made small incremental gains. The final time was 23:00, 30 second behind the other IV for second place in the division. The overall feeling in the boat was very positive, with the pressure and rate never dropping significantly and the balance steady the whole way.