Bristol 2007 - Clouds with silver linings

Much like Columbo or, more recently, Trevor Eve and his Cold Case crew recreates a murder scene we attempt, below, to piece together what occurred on that hideous day not so very long ago. The statements below have been taken from several witnesses present at the scene and we hope they will shed some light on the whole soggy event. Names may have been changed (not so much to protect innocence but more to prevent embarrassment) but the facts remain.
You, the jury, decide for yourself...

It all started on Sunday morning shortly after silly o'clock...

'N' takes up the story:

"We arrived in Bristol along with a gazebo big enough for four with no sides and 7 hours of non stop rain - for a squad of 24. Survival mode set in and we secured a 30 foot square piece of polythene of dubious origin from Mr L and with Robs ever faithful gaffer tape made a tent fit for kings [of a somewhat poor and socially deprived country].
We raced and won the 200 final getting ever wetter. Clothes were running short! Some had arctic condition waterproofs and thought it great sport to warm up for every race in the rain - strangely, others disagreed. Billy, with the least amount of bodyfat, was the first to fall and his mum took him home to dry off before the semi's."

'M' paints a bleaker picture:

"It started raining when we arrived at the event and carried on until we arrived at the finish line... or was that when Amathus arrived at the finish? We'd arrived with almost no preparation although P did bring the worlds smallest gazebo. Typhoon Tigers (appropriate name huh?) had a big tent which they shared and ex-captain Evans borrowed a dodgy plastic sheet from one of the Henley crew. Once the sheet had been pulled over the top of the two tents we were able to huddle together in a large plastic bag. This proved to be the discovery of a new tool for saving the planet as all escaping methane was trapped inside. Robs gaffer tape proved its worth in a battle to bung leaks and prevent the dangerous gases from getting away. This, the main focus of the day, was interrupted only by the calls for warm ups when we all ran eagerly out into the cold rain. Returning later dripping water over the floor of our water tight bag. Satisfied with achieving our target of staying in lane 2 for the next race."

Some were so overcome by the unexpected proceedings that the best they could come up with was:

"There was much intent" [groan!!], "That 200m was a splash and a dash"

A shell shocked 'C', from Hemel, was heard to say
"It was over so quickly we didn't know when to stop - we couldn't see the finish line!"

500m - a storm in a teacup

After pausing to sigh and wipe away a tear 'M' continued:

"Some said the lane was faster but few suspected the embarrassing truth. We only had one number board. Getting the fastest time and staying in that all important lane was vital. Vital all the way through until the last race. Many crews tried that day, but none could take our lane!!"

Clearly disturbed, 'M' was unable to go on and 'N' takes up the story again:

"Just the finals to go. Some sporting bin liners [the new 'Batchworth Bin' range will be on sale in TK-Max real soon now] as extra water proofing we set off once again into the wind & rain. A great start and we were leading... Over half way and still in front... A call from the helm for more but Amathus were pulling us back... A fight to the line but just not quite enough to hold them off. A disappointing 2nd.
On the 24th stroke one paddler began to wish he had not worn his hat for the final as it slowly covered one eye. Oh well, it made him keep his head up but it slowly crept over both eyes. Not a stroke missed as we crossed the finishing line (those closed eye paddling sessions certainly came in handy). Who won - well he certainly didnt look!"

One member, clearly on drugs, gave the following statement:

"Just like the previous week we seemed to be driving in to a storm but I was armed with a list of ten animals that began with X. If we stayed out in the rain another hour some of us would have gone down with trench hand."
"As the great Mourinho says 'you don't have to win to be winners'."

[but as the great Harry and Paul say 'I think he is a tit' (con accentio pseudo Italiano)]

It was only after these statements that we thought it best to caution him!


  • Were we not fit enough?
  • Perhaps we didn't push ourselves enough?
  • Did the absence of 12, yes 12 (try to name them), of the Batchworth A team from the Nationals last year make a difference?

This, dear jury, is what you must decide. You have three weeks to deliberate and we will need a verdict by about 5pm on 3rd June.


A huge thank you to all the crew who manfully filled the boat and to all the other crews and organisers for carrying on in unpleasant conditions.

Come on the A team skyvers - Albert Docks here we come...