Queens’ M2 rowed up to the start excited and nervous. Philip and Hugh were calm, ready to set a metronomic rhythm and transfer that backwards to the rest of the boat. The engine room of 6 to 3 were quaking, the benefits of the dead lifts showing, they were ready to put down some megawatts and hawl the Suzi down the reach. Marco and Philip in the bows were present. After the faff of lining up at the start line, our sub Cox, Beth, taking a step down from M1 for the regatta, using the bows to point us dead straight at the railway bridge. Once we heard those words ‘attention. Go!’, the boat exploded. In barely 5 strokes, m2 had taken three seats out of LMBC. The boat flew off the line and with every chuky stroke, Queens’ pulled away. Then we blew. Maggie brought it back slowly but surely, eventually securing clear water as the boats went through the bridge. Our high rating became scrappy, the brute force that was being hammered down off the start line dissipated. Beth riled us up and shook us out of that rut, driving us to claw some ground back. At that point, however, it was too little too late. As a first taste of genuine side-by-side racing for most of the crew, it was certainly exhilarating. Although we hit a wall pretty soon, the meatiness of the start bodes well for Bumps. Where we’ll certainly need to get used to holding those rates as we eye up 8 row overs as the sandwich boat.