The St Catharine’s College Boat Club (SCCBC) demonstrated remarkable team spirit throughout the Fairbairn Cup held 2–3 December and the ensuing celebrations at their end of term dinner.
The Fairbairn Cup (known affectionately as Fairbairns) is a head race on the River Cam in Cambridge that is traditionally held during the ninth week of the Michaelmas Term. There are divisions for both novice and senior crews.
Carmen Failla, Head Rowing Coach and Boathouse Manager, reflects:
“This year was the College’s best showing at Fairbairns since 2017 based on the number of senior St Catharine’s crews involved, along with our M1 result. All crews and supporters should feel justifiably proud of the significant improvements that we have achieved together. There have been multiple times this term that I have had tears in my eyes because of the uplifting atmosphere in the Boathouse and College pride evident in our rowers. Our performance at Fairbairns undoubtedly benefited from this exceptional team spirit with a convoy of SCCBC members biking or running alongside the race to cheer on their fellow teammates. It's an inspiring culture to be part of."
Day 1: Novices
Both the Women’s boat (NW1) and the Men’s boat (NM1) finished in eleventh place against the Colleges competing in their respective divisions. Unfortunately, the NW1 crew’s potential was no match for a bush in the Cam, which forced them to back up and restart. If they had not crashed, a top three finish was within reach.
The number of novice rowers this year meant that SCCBC would normally be in a position to enter further crews. Sadly, academic schedules meant that some of the club were not available so crews were merged into a third mixed boat, which competed in the Men’s division and still managed to beat a few of the other boats.
Day 2: Seniors
The first Men’s boat (M1) finished eighth in their division, despite the crew including three novice rowers. The College entered a second Men’s boat (M2) for the first time since 2017. M2 fought hard, cheered on from the side of the river by our M1 rowers. Both M1 and M2 crews stayed on to cheer on the women’s boat (W1).
W1 set off well but soon realised that a seat had come loose. This forced the crew to come to a complete stop to fix the issue (with instructions relayed by Carmen from the riverbank), setting them back by over a minute. They finished in 20th position but can take heart from the fact they would have been in the top ten without the minute-long delay.
Day 2: Boat club dinner
After the excitement of two days of races, SCCBC members came together for a well-deserved celebratory dinner back in College.
A selection of photos taken by Tobia Nava, a second-year Engineering PhD student and one of the College's student photographers: