Fairbairn Cup 2016 – King’s MAlumni

Written by: Conor Burgess (2011)
The alumni rower is a strange beast. Every year, around October time, the head of the pack (also known as Chris Braithwaite) tires of only frequenting the banks of the River Cam, and yearns to return to his natural habitat of being in a boat on it instead. He therefore takes to The Facebook to make The Summons. Most other alumni are wise enough to resist the call, but presumably old age is starting to affect the memories of some of KCBC’s alumni. What other explanation could there possibly be for another eight of these alumni rowers answering The Summons. And what are they being summoned to? Why, none other than the opportunity to put their creaking old bodies back in a rowing seat to show the young ones how it was done in “The good ol’ days”. Some say it can only be described as an act of masochism, but Jesus like to call it the Fairbairn Cup. And so it came to pass that on the morning of Friday 2nd December, nine KCBC alumni were meeting and greeting each other, some for the first time, some coming together as only old friends can. The new Boathouse and Mays room provided an excellent opportunity to reminisce over just how unfit for purpose the old Boathouse had been, and the Fitness room was a terrific location for some of the number to reacquaint themselves with an old enemy; a Concept II Ergometer. A short warm up was all that was required to refresh everyone’s memory as to why they’d been avoiding ergs for so long. They then proceeded to wait for the return of M1, and with them, the delivery of the vessel in which MAlumni would grace the Cam. As per usual, Fairbairns was not running on time, but unlike the student boats around, the KCBC alumni knew there was no need to rush, and so boated at a much more leisurely pace. Once on the water however, Will Miller’s coxing prowess quickly had people settling into a productive, albeit short, warm up on the way to the start. Several marshals foolishly attempted to tell Will where to go, obviously not aware that he’s a veteran of the Fairbairn Cup, and so the boat was soon efficiently tucked in to the correct marshalling spot. Come the start of the race, the crew had yet to tackle race pace, so it came as a pleasant surprise when a comfortable rate 33 and pretty fast rhythm was achieved by pack leader Braithwaite at Stroke. This gradually settled onto about 32 coming past the King’s Boathouse, and the crew did well to keep the boat ticking along quite happily until Chesterton corner. Inevitably though, a general lack of training began to show, and boat speed began to wain slightly. Thankfully, it was at this point that Will was able to announce that significant gains had been made on the Jesus alumni crew in front. Unfortunately, the fitness levels of the crew weren’t quite enough to materialise a speedy overtake, so a more steady grinding down approach had to be adopted. Continuing to rate in the low 30s, gradual gains were made all the way down the long reach, to the point where the overtake finally took place on Ditton corner. Both coxes managed their boats admirably to avoid any blade clashes, for which MAlumni were definitely grateful. Onwards around the corners, pushing off the Jesus Disciples crew provided some essential motivation, and soon enough the final straight was ticking by. Just as exhaustion was setting in, the finish line was finally reached, and MAlumni were able to pull in and wait for the long row home. During the wait, it became apparent that there had been five past KCBC Captains in the boat, or six if you count the two times Mark Hancock was Captain! The row home was solid, as the crew were keen to enjoy a well-earned drink in the pub.
Malumni – 15:56.6
Cox: Will Miller (2009)
Stroke: Chris Braithwaite (2000)
7: Chris Diamand (2012)
6: Andrew Viquerat (2008)
5: Conor Burgess (2011)
4: Olivier Sluijters (2013)
3: Kittiphat “Am” Chanthong (2011)
2: Chris Benson (2007)
Bow: Mark Hancock (2003)