The Trinity College VIII is a light-hearted account of how the 1977 Dublin University Boat Club raced the best university crews in the world in an attempt to win the cherished Ladies Plate at the Royal Henley Regatta - almost exactly 100 years after their last win at the prestigious event.
Trinity College Dublin has a rich academic and sporting history, and similarly has produced talented undergraduates with mischievous minds and a healthy disregard for establishment rules. In The Trinity College VIII the two fuse together perfectly.
Author and crew member David Hickey describes their prowess on the water and misadventures on land, from his awkward meeting with an Egyptian General who he told to f**k off on the telephone, to the explosive results one gets when trying to open a beer keg in the bath tub without the proper tools.
But Hickey also takes an in-depth look at the reality of competitive rowing. He describes what actually happens in a race, what it feels like in the boat, the tactics involved and choices that have to be made. He also explains why he and his teammates were willing to spend the many gruelling hours of training required in order to be competitive.
Above all, The Trinity College VIII is a story of discipline, camaraderie, fitness, self-belief, teamwork, student antics and hard work as seen by one Trinity College undergraduate who joined the Boat Club to pursue the Ladies.
Below is an extract from The Trinity College VIII:
"We were told afterwards that we resembled startled rabbits as we waited for the umpire's starting litany, but I'm not sure we were that sturdy. I could barely breathe with fright and already knew this was going to hurt more than anything else in life. I did my usual deal with God.
"Get me through this and I swear I will never climb into a boat ever again," but I think He must have been in the Fawley Bar with Noah, Captain Ahab, and maybe even Charon, waiting to transport the day's losers to their final aquatic destination.
I was always struck by the great Sir Steve Redgrave's comment after his famous Sydney win, when he invited anyone who saw him climb into another boat to shoot him...'