Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Extra Member' Will Spur on Boat Crew; Vessel Named after Tragic Rower Vicky

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Extra Member' Will Spur on Boat Crew; Vessel Named after Tragic Rower Vicky

Article excerpt

Byline: Kerry Wood

THE memory of a rower tragically killed on her way to work will buoy up Newcastle's elite crew as they battle for victory in this weekend's university boating clash.

The senior men's side will have an extra member in the form of Vicky, their top-of-the-range racing boat.

Known as an eight, the boat carries the name of former Newcastle University student and Newcastle University Boat Club member Vicky Buchanan.

The geography graduate was killed in a road accident while cycling to work at Chelsea Football Club in 2006. Her former boat club members have described her as "a tremendous asset" to the club. This weekend will be the third time the team has used the hi-tech boat as they go head-to-head with Durham University's finest rowers along the River Tyne.

The club's Italian head coach Angelo Savarino said: "The boat helped us to achieve our first overall victory in the race against Durham last year and with Vicky the club has already won five pennants for the fastest crew at London's Head of the River races."

With just days until the annual clash the teams are hard at work making sure they and their boats are in peak condition for the day.

Newcastle University Boat Club's boatman Brad Jewell believes getting the choice of boat and the set up right can make the difference between winning and losing in a sport where the results can be decided by the narrowest of margins.

Brad, who trained as a naval architect at Newcastle University, said: "Rowing is a very technical sport. Although all eights essentially look the same, they are made in different sizes for different weights of crews, so for example the men's crews usually have a deeper and wider boat than the women's crews.

"If a boat is not right for the average weight of the crew, the settings won't be efficient, making it more difficult to row and uncomfortable for the rowers."

Costing up to pounds 30,000 each the boats use the latest technology.

Brad added: "Our rowers adopt a style where they lean a long way back towards the end of each stroke, so the hull has to be able to remain stable on the water as the weight of eight rowers is transferred through the boat. …

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