This was the beginning of the end for some of the members of our crew, with two of them graduating after this bumps campaign – we all wanted to do them proud. A good practice start in front of the plough helped ease some of the nerves in the crew as we made our way to station seventeen, but the wait at Baitsbite lock allowed them to creep back in. The four minute cannon fires in the distance, a lot quieter than the roar of the cannon that was heard in Lents from closer to the motorway bridge. We hurry back into the boat and try and calm ourselves. Suddenly the countdown hits 30 seconds remaining and Mark starts to push us out, then bang and we’re off. The start was fast, faster than usual. We settled to rate 38 but it all felt frantic – we can do better than this!
After what seemed like an age we were pulled up on the bank – we had been bumped by an extremely strong Jesus II. This was the first time many of the crew had ever been bumped so it struck a particularly hard blow.
We all felt like we had let ourselves and the crew down, the start we did being nowhere near our best, but with the worst case scenario out of the way, we would enter the next days of bumps better prepared for the stress and the toil that would be awaiting us.
Tomorrow would have to be better. Tomorrow will be better.
Emilie Cousin, 4