Great London River Race 2009

Porthmadog Ladies, rowing in a Celtic Longboat, pulled off a coup to bring home the Tina Channons trophy from the 22nd Great London River Race on Saturday 5th September. The crew of 6, Sue Andrews, Catrin Ellis, Elaine Hackett, Maxine Jenkins, Nicola Jordan and Tina Skinner

Ladies Celtic Champions GRR 09
Ladies Celtic Champions GRR 09

were ecstatic to complete the 22 mile Marathon ahead of all the opposition. Crowds lined the banks of the Thames and cheered from the bridges all the way from Greenwich to Richmond. The men’s crew, Bill Andrews, Pete Hughes, Alan Johnson, Edw Jones, Steve Pass, Simon Pendrell, also did well finishing 22nd out of a total 293 boats in a time of 2 hours 33 minutes – the 6th Celtic to finish. This spectacular event with over 2,500 competitors, attracted craft from as far afield as Denmark, Ireland and the Scilly Isles and included Dragon boats, transatlantic rowing boats, ancient lifeboats and other traditional vessels. The crews were welcomed back to a champagne reception by other rowing members of Porthmadog Yacht Club and showed off the magnificent trophy which features a Welsh dragon and a Celtic Longboat.

Tina Channons Trophy
Tina Channons Trophy

The two crews set off early on Friday after loading up all their gear in a hired minibus.

Loading the minibus
Loading the minibus
Edu on the roof
Edw on the roof

Geoff and Pete drove us all to London where we stayed in an Ibis Hotel on the Isle of Dogs

Arrival in London
Arrival in London

We soon were dragged eagerly to a great Thames-side pub by Edw.

Enjoying a Pre-dinner Drink
Enjoying a Pre-dinner Drink

We followed that by dinner at an Italian restaurant where the red wine flowed copiously.

At the dinner table
At the dinner table
At the Dinner Table 2
At the Dinner Table 2

Some of us followed the Italian by a quiet game of pool before going to bed whilst others headed back to the pub for more booze and entertainment only getting to bed at 3.30 am.
Next day we drove to the start and prepared the boats, carrying them to the launch site from their overnight storage.

.We looked at the other competitors, many in fancy dress and had some pre-race photos taken by Bill’s son James.

Si modelling the back view of our 2nd-hand strip
Si modelling the back view of our 2nd-hand strip
Bill modelling the front
Bill modelling the front
Both crews pose before the start
Both crews pose before the start

Then we launched both boats.

Chaos at the launch site
Chaos at the launch site
Ladies crew setting off
Ladies crew setting off
Men's crew at the start (red arrow)
Men

We were 22 seconds late and the ladies 54 seconds late at the start.

Crowds cheering from the Millenium Bridge
Crowds cheering from the Millenium Bridge
Men's crew racing to the finish
Men’s crew racing to the finish

After the race we went to Ham campsite where we were greeted by Sheena, Terry, Jan and David who had driven down in their camper van and set up all our tents for us.

Madog's cosy campsite
Madog’s cosy campsite

We partied into the night ecstatic to have won a trophy.

Partying
Partying
Partying
Partying

Next morning we had a group shot before we left.

Crews and support team
Crews and support team

Simon and Bill did the roof this time.

Simon on the roof
Simon on the roof

Catrin, who couldn’t have been more excited if she’d won the lottery, clung onto the trophy all the way home.

Catrin & trophy on the minibus
Catrin & trophy on the minibus

Ceinwen, Manon, Sarah, Shakey and Dave welcomed us back with two bottles of champagne and we all felt like we’d done the club proud.

One Response to Great London River Race 2009

  1. Bob says:

    Great to see proper racing still going strong At 79 it is all amemory a good one!!!

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