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Great London River Race 2015 - Saturday September 12th 2015

Saturday 12th September 2015

Great London River Race 2015 - Saturday September 12th 2015 - It was hard to believe that a year had passed since the 2014 GRR and this year, was going to be even harder to organise then previous years due to the participation of some of the Wiseman`s boats and club  members at the “Ar Waith Ar Daith” in  Cardiff bay. 

However, Nikki used her usual charm and skills of persuasion and Fishguard kindly loaned one of their boats to enable Wisemans to take two Celtics up the M4 to Ham House, London.  This was now the 7th year consecutively that Wisemans had attended this amazing race.  

Due to unforeseen circumstance (the decorating of our boats with various cones and hoses by our fellow members who had arrived earlier to collect their boats to travel to Cardiff), the London crew failed to leave as scheduled, but this did not interfere with the usual break at the “Chippenham trucker’s stop” where we all enjoyed a hearty breakfast. 

The theme for this year’s race was “The Village People”, and the song to be sung was obviously “YMCA”, much to the apprehension of some of our members. Nikki had kindly organised our costumes, which included Policemen, Bikers, Sailors, Construction Workers, Indians and Cowboys.   Our team names were to be “The Gravy boat” and “Wisemans See Way”.

Our arrival time to London was a little late, and with only four of us to off load the boats, we were facing a bit of a challenge. However, with the support of other clubs, we were able to eventually get the boats on the water ready to be towed to Canary Wharf.

The accommodation for some of the team also had a theme - “Steptoe’s & Son” comes to mind, and Jo enjoyed showing off her lovely room and antique furnishings, celebrating by covering Nikki’s room in Prosecco. 

We all met up Friday evening for a lovely meal, and was alarmed to see that Caroline was looking extremely poorly.  However, as Caroline always does, she soldiered on and although the boat had to be re-arranged Caroline was our hero and made the race possible for us. 

Saturday morning was to be an early start (5 am), and we all met dressed in our costumes to start the journey to Canary Wharf.  This turned out to be a very eventful journey as our lovely Red London Bus not only got us lost by following the wrong bus in front, but also broke down. But nothing was going to stop us getting to our destination. 

We eventually arrived and as always the start was buzzing with all the rowers dressed in their costumes and the atmosphere was alive.  The weather however, was a concern with some rain and a lot of wind, but nothing could dampen our spirits.   We prepared our boats and with Nikki now in cox, due to Caroline’s poorly chest, the atmosphere was a little tense as the wind was blowing strong, and both the ladies and men’s boats struggled to leave the pontoon, resulting in us both not getting to the start line on time. 

The beginning of the race was carnage with boats colliding and struggling to make it up the Thames, but eventually the chaos cleared and we began to enjoy the freedom of rowing along the beautiful river towards the iconic Bridges and London Eye.  Words cannot express the magnificence of this experience and we were all in awe of our surroundings.  As we rowed under each Bridge, crowds cheered and gave us the much required encouragement to carry on to the end. 

When we finally reached Richmond, a well deserved beer or two was enjoyed with some lovely hot food. Our next challenge was the fancy dress and led by Nikki, we entered the stage to perform our “YMCA” dance, however, unfortunately (or not) there was no cd player and our music to our dance was unable to be played, so we had to improvise, and although we did not win, I think we gave the spectators a really good laugh, with our lack of co-ordination and clumsiness. 

The evening was soon to finish for the older members of the teams, who really just needed to go back to “Steptoe’s” for some of us, and Buckingham Palace for some other’s (Mr. & Mrs Banana man), the younger members of our teams partied to very late into the night, or early into the morning I should say, and I am sure put Wisemans well and truly on the map.

 A really good time and accomplishment was again had by the Wiseman’s Bridge Rowing Club members, with the ladies coming in 3rd in class and men 11th in class (62 overall).

The Crews:

The Gravy Boat: Nikki, Diane, Caroline, Rachel, Jo, and Lois. Rowing in Oarsome

 Wiseman’s See Way : Nick, Dan, Jake, Gary, Gareth and Jim. Rowing in Cwch Bill

A really big thank you to all who rowed and made this happen, with a special thank you to Fishguard and our loyal families and  friends who are always there to support.