15 Elmbridge paddlers travelled up to Reading on 23rd September for the Reading K4 races.

We don’t get to race K4s anywhere near as much as we’d like to so we always look forward to events like this. It is a great opportunity for the younger and less experienced paddlers to race crewboats from other clubs.

It was a wet morning for the early races and first up from Elmbridge in the D class were Erzsebet, Susie, Dawn and James, all of whom had only been in a K4 a handful of times combined (including their practice run the day before). They had the pleasure of racing in a vintage wooden K4. Despite some initial apprehension and a big wobble, they got the boat running well over their 5km course, finishing 3rd.

The next crews raced in the B Class over 10km against competitive field. Elmbridge fielded three crews, each with a mixture of youth and experience. Whilst all the paddlers had some K4 experience, this was the first time they had paddled together in these crews and how they would actually run on the water was unknown.

The crew of Dwayne, Zara, Brooke and Glenn had a strong start, quickly getting to the tale of the lead group followed by crew of Zak, Ruby, James and Phil. As all the boats piled into the top turn, the race groups started to split up. Both boats managed to work up the waves to find the washes but Zak’s boat was spun by another crew which set then back.

Luca, Lizzie, Rowan and Tom although getting off the line well, had some work to do chasing the back of the field.

Positioning the these long boats is key and Dwayne, Zara, Brooke and Glenn lost a little ground going into the the bottom turn of the first lap in a stretched out group. Forced to take a longer line around the group of boats they were with, they struggled to keep on the tail of the going into the final lap. Despite their spin Zak, Ruby, James and Phil managed to chase back up and over take them thanks to some washed and picking a good line going back into the upstream turn.

Despite little or no practice together, all the Elmbridge crews managed to get their boats running well together and look forward to to the next chance to jump in a K4.

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