London2Paris Challenge climaxed early this morning, with the Gravesend/Medway/Langstone crew first across the line followed by Reivers12 and the Outloars. It was an eventful race, brought to a sudden halt in Herne Bay when horrible weather howled in. Gravesend's boat was swamped.
The boats were recovered and the expedition bussed to Le Havre to restart the race up the Seine. At this point, the organisers started a very strange system of pursuit races, imposing massive handicaps on the faster crews. Gravesend managed to overcome this, rowing to victory in several stages despite the handicap. At the end, the Outloars, the slowest boat, won the pursuit section and Gravesend won the overall championship.
My sympathies are with Rievers12, who came away with nothing despite being second.
Anyway, congratulations to all the crews, who all rowed the same distance in a gruelling event and came out with credit. And particular thanks to Mike Gilbert and Colin McPhee for letting us know what was going on through their Twitter feeds.
Hamble River Raid, a distance of just four miles, and we came away with the prize for the oldest crew in the race - despite the fact that our cox, Nick Hands, is just 11. This picture, which I have fearlessly stolen from Max Taylor's Bursledon Blog, shows us starting out.