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Head of the Charles 2022 James Wright of the Victorious 4+ Shares his Experience

Updated: Dec 6, 2022

MBC boated an eight and a coxed four in the ‘Senior Masters - 50+’ age category for the 2022 Head of the Charles. After two years missed because of the pandemic, it was wonderful to be back and racing in this special event. The eight won a bronze medal behind Ex-Nemo (Ex-International Harvard Alumni) and Marin Boat Club in a highly competitive event, whilst the four achieved a hard-fought victory.

Senior Masters 4+ : Cox - Adrian Ellison, Clive Roberts, Florian Herbst, James Wright, Harvey Worden.

📸Photo credit: Vicky Gillard

The 50’s 4+ wasn’t quite how the 2022 campaign began, but evolved from what was originally a 40’s 4+. Some age-appropriate shuffling within the group ensued, plus a call to arms to Clive, who was looking forward to relaxing in front of the HOCR live feed, with the final combination being settled early in September.

From then on it was a strict diet of speed stats and relentless bridge to flagpole sessions, plus the occasional treat of a longer bridge to weir piece, technical sessions were the preserve of weekdays!

The boat was moving well, improving with each outing and a feeling of easy speed, popping in here and there, but we were often just below the vital benchmark of record pace on longer pieces, we were uncertain whether or not we would be contenders, it was very much in the balance.

In no time at all, we were through the Narnia door of an A380 and beside the Charles River, adjusting anything that could move on our brand spanking new King Racing Boat, crikey it was stiff!

Paddles complete, carbs loaded, race pattern decided, it was time for the off. We had a strong paddle down to the start and hit some great splits in the bursts.

We started Bow 19, which meant there would be a few stragglers directly ahead for Adrian to negotiate, on an uncompromising course where precision steering is an absolute must to gain those precious few seconds and importantly not row any further than we absolutely needed to.

Adrian steered a perfect course, buoys rubbing against the hull with oars over the secondary buoys on all the vital bends and laser guided straight lines between the various bridges. Clive settled us straight away into a strong race pace, backed up by Florian’s power, with the needle flickering eye-wateringly close to the red line. The first mile arrived promptly, but the second mile marker took an age, as we pushed away from each crew we passed, however in the final mile where the landmarks were more familiar, we could move the speed up just a shade on the run into the finish - tanks emptied.

Our finish line thoughts were that we had rowed a good race, we had overtaken 6 or so crews, had a minor tangle with one of them, but barely anything that we could have improved upon.

Gone are the days of waiting hours for a timing team with a hint of sherry on their breath, to emerge from a steamy windowed camper van to deliver a verdict. As we arrived back at the dock, the results were in, we had thankfully squeaked into 1st place by 4 seconds over a strong Palm Beach four of previous winners.

Senior Masters 8: Cox - Sam Burrows, Tom Middleton, Ed Bellamy, Matt Brittin, Hugo Mills, Richard Shirley, Andrew Brennan, Chris Leonard, Hugh Pelham. 📸Photo credit: Vicky Gillard

The whole Molesey team and supporters partied late into the evening, courtesy of some timely espresso martinis. We bid Boston farewell on Sunday evening after some kind hospitality in the Director’s tent, next year awaits!

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