Catching Crabs

Those naughty young men at Warwick University Rowing Club certainly know how to perk up a dull day.  Since first getting their kit off in 2009 to raise money for their club and to combat homophobia in sport, they’ve raised over £200,000 in 77 countries. Not to miss a trick, the enterprising bunch have also branched out into posters, tee shirts, greeting cards and hoodies. They’ve dropped their drawers again for 2015 and have just completed a three-week promo tour in the USA. These boys are getting as big as the Calendar Girls.

Believe it or not, back in my old school days I used to row myself. No, really, I did. And I wasn’t the cox. It was infinitely preferable to playing rugby, a sport I loathed with a passion. Paddling up and down the Thames in the rain could be a bit grim but mucking about in boats during the summer months was a pleasant way to pass a warm Wednesday afternoon. I was the Bow in the B Crew and we excelled only at catching crabs.* As if to prove our uselessness beyond reasonable doubt, in 1976, we proudly came last out of a cast of hundreds in the Head of the River Race, an event that takes place between Mortlake and Putney every year. Quite a feat, don’t you think?

Here’s the school boathouse at Barnes Bridge.

Emanuel School Boathouse

Needless to say, none of my crew looked anything like the fit boys from Warwick. More’s the pity.

*A rowing error where the rower is unable to timely remove or release the oar blade from the water and the oar blade acts as a brake on the boat until it is removed from the water. This results in slowing the boat down. A severe crab can even eject a rower out of the shell or make the boat capsize (unlikely except in small boats). Occasionally, in a severe crab, the oar handle will knock the rower flat and end up behind him/her, in which case it is referred to as an ‘over-the-head crab.’ Source: Wikipedia.

11 thoughts on “Catching Crabs

  1. . . and there was me thinking you were referring to the crab louse (Pthirus pubis, also pubic louse). Those of your readers who, like me, are fascinated by such creatures can find out more from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crab_louse. ps I found the pic of the boys being hosed down had a profoundly de-stimulating effect, probably because it’s been so bloody cold here recently!

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