Cardiff 2005

Well then, a week-end of firsts - the first time the whole crew had turned up before the boat, the first time no one mentioned the dreaded 'W' word after a race, a first outing for the snazzy new Fallen Angels kit, oh and of course a couple of firsts in some races. I ran out of inspiration at this point so the rest of this may seem a little more dull than usual...

Batchworth immediately claimed the old shady spot we've been so fond of only to find everyone migrating to sunnier spots throughout the day after finding that shade was really tantamount to 'jolly cold' and how was it that no other clubs were huddled up under blankets. You can take this fear of sunstroke too far methinks.

Anyhow once the boat was unloaded the club Blue Peter skills were quickly tested due to a distinct lack of any balers. Much drinking was called for to empty any suitable plastic bottles as the trusty McDonalds coffee cup really wasn't surviving too well. But fortunately nobody in our boat splashes at all now do they(?!) so, of course, baling was rarely necessary...NOT!!

The 200s went to plan. Everyone managed to forget last years defeat at the hands of the Taniwhas and we managed to set the record straight though there does seem to be a new war brewing. Thames and Amathus are both putting out fearsome teams in the premier and standard leagues and unless those Titans are careful they could be heading back to the premiership before long.
BA, too, seemed to be throwing down the gauntlet and taking a few scalps on their first outing of the season only to have it slapped right back in their face when Henley decided enough was enough in the 500 minor final.

On to the 500s then - where we conveniently remind 'head in the clouds' IB that we've just done the 200 final and now he has to paddle a bit further. Did he not notice the proximity of a lot of yellow and black at the end of the last race or was that what all the snoring was in the boat??
The Rocket, too, had to be coerced into the boat - determined that he was not needed for the next race. Much mumbling and stamping of flip-flops and his lordship was finally seated in his favourite position, with pole in hand.

Off we go, but wait, what's this? Much doom and gloom and promises of eternal hell fire and damnation after a semi final (which we won, mind you!) against a determined Thames brought about more focus for the final. A quick bit of 'weight redistribution' (aka "you're out, he's in") and we were all set. A familiar line up again - Thames, Amathus, Batchworth and (our fourth meeting of the day with) Kingston (who scored another well earned overall fourth place too). Apparently Amathus were feeling confident after the semis - they'd certainly been knocking out some devilishly fast times.
So....[deep intake of breath] Two minutes later (plus a few seconds for some :-) ) and there must have been nearly eighty pairs of lungs ready to burst. We'd achieved what we set out to do and some rumours even suggested we'd beaten the course record, though I don't know how official that was. We didn't have much time to find out either as the boat was off the water and on the trailer before the old heart rate had had chance to get down below 200. Sometimes we really can be an anti-social bunch!

Thanks to the organisers for what appeared to me to be a smoothly run event and thanks to all the other teams for what turned out to be a great day at the races.

Quick farewells and the race to the pub was on... livened up with a brief 'Rocket tour' of Cardiff - those signs with the blue M4 on them - now why on earth would we want to follow those...