Author Archives: Andy Jaggard

About Andy Jaggard

Black mark on my first day at school aged 3 - never recovered

Cox development programme at DARC


If the rowers are the “brawn” of the boat, then the cox is,”the brains”. The cox is a crucial seat in the boat, not just a seat to be filled by someone dragged off the bank!


As much as the physical and mental skills of the rowers, makes a difference come race day, so too does the ability of the cox. The cox’s role is multifaceted. Initially, the role will be mainly steering the boat during training sessions, and ensuring the safety of the crew.  As your experience increases, the role will additionally require a good technical understanding of rowing: you will be a second coach within the boat.  Additionally, you will be a tactician for races, and a motivating influence when your rowers need it most (and some classic ‘warpaint’ is an optional enhancement)


DARC is running a pilot programme, to develop the skills of coxes.

The programme will run over 7 weeks from 1st March (1st, 8th,15th, 22nd, 29th March, 12th April, 19th April)  with one training session of 2 hours each week (Sunday 12noon – 2pm). The coxes will also be allocated a ‘mentor crew’, to practice with, during an additional outing each week (times to be arranged)

The programme will cover all of the key coxing competencies and skills – safety; boat handling on land; boat handling on the water; steering; working with the coach; running technical drills; assisting the coach; and the role of the racing cox. The style of the programme, will be highly practical with at least half of each training session spent on the water, and with a maximum of 10 participants.


Several Durham rowers started their rowing in the cox’s seat, and all of these will talk about the invaluable knowledge, insights, and experience they gained as a result. You will:

  • have the opportunity to cox a range of crews
  • develop your skills for free
  • be trained and mentored by some of the Club’s and Region’s best current and ex coxes
  • have the opportunity to cox in the future at regional, national, and international level.


We welcome applicants of all ages, and from all sections of the club. Please talk to your section leader about your suitability.

Application forms are available from Jacki Patrickson – and should be returned to Jacki by 14th February.

If you have any questions or want more information you can talk to Jacki, or Andy Jaggard, or Derek Gordon

More success for Gill at the Euro Masters

Euro Masters provide fitting finale to great season for Gill.

The Euro Masters, held in Munich from 25th to 27th July, proved to be a great event for the last regatta of the season for Gill Prescott. It had been a really good season for Gill, starting with a new indoor world record back in March, followed in the regatta season by two gold’s and a silver medal at the British Masters in May, then wins in both of her events at Henley Masters Regatta in July.

However, Geoff had set the focus of the season on the Euro Masters Regatta in Germany. It was an extremely well organised event, held on the 1972 Olympic Regatta course, yet it still managed to be very friendly with many familiar faces from the World Masters Regattas, providing a high standard of competition. Gill rowed with her regular doubles partner, Ailie Ord, from Strathclyde Park and they maintained their winning ways with victory in the W Masters D 2x. Other wins included W Masters E 2x, W Masters C 4x, W Masters D 4x, as well as success in the mixed events on Sunday, in Mx Masters F 2x with Tom Bishop, and the Mx Masters F 4x when Ailie and Charles Parry joined Gill and Tom. So Gill ended up with six Euro Masters wins, luckily the medals did not take her luggage over the Lufthansa weight limit!

At the end of the season Gill has taken her total number of wins in the 2013-14 season to 30. It has been a long season for Gill and Geoff but both felt the Euro Masters was a great and very successful event to end on.



Junior Golden Year

J18’s win GOLD at National Junior Championships

At the National Junior Rowing Championships of Great Britain on 19th and 20th July 2014, held at the National Watersports Centre in Nottingham, Durham Amateur Rowing Club Junior Boys under 18 eight beat off competition from all the Thames-based clubs, to take the GOLD MEDAL in the Blue Riband event of the Championships.

The crew of Richard Matthewson, James Snowball, Elliott Kay, Jacob Lutz-Nattrass , Jamie Patterson, Matthew Abbiss, Thomas Jackson, and Cameron Cutts, steered by Elise Sanderson are coached by Bill Parker and Alan Granlund, and train on the River Wear in Durham.

Junior organiser and coach, Alan Granlund described how the same boys also attempted a double with the eight splitting into two fours for the J18 fours event only a short time after the eights final.

They finished a close and creditable 4th and 6th, just out of the medals – the eights race having taken its toll on their energy. This is a record for the Club, having never won an eights event at the Championships. It is now a double success for the Junior Squad and the culmination of a JUNIOR GOLDEN YEAR”

Earlier in the year the Club’s Junior under 16 eight took GOLD at the National Schools Championships, and Bronze at the Junior Inter-Regional Championships. And Aidan Rushforth also took GOLD at the Junior Inter-Regional event. Aidan was also competing at the National Championships, with over 40 entries in his event, he narrowly missed a medal, and finished a well deserved 4th.

The Club’s Junior Coaching Team are delighted with the Year’s successes, a total of 75 events won all over the Country, as well as Scotland, and are looking to continue this run of success in 2015.

Congratulations from all at the Club, to the Junior Coaches, and to the whole of the Junior squad on their amazing achievements this year.

Racing news – The DARC side of Durham Regatta

J18 Womens Junior Quad

It was a pleasure to watch this classy quad compete over the long course, over the Durham Regatta week-end – Jessica Harris, Lauren Mcmillan, Carina Sowerby, Katie McDaid. They won Wj184x- on the Saturday, with some great action photos of their racing expertise

… and later, the crowd were left open-mouthed by the performance of the Masters E4x (see our anon racing correspondent’s report)





picture courtesy of Alan Sharp




It’s that ELVET BRIDGE MOMENT! – picture courtesy of Colin Lawson


picture courtesy of Alan sharp

Other Durham regatta junior winners were:-

The mens J18 8

The Junior W8 winning the ‘B’ final of Championship 8’s

and the MJ14 4x-


‘Mature Peoples’,Rowing

Masters E 4x – Watkinson, Rutter, Lyons, Morris

We start with a report that , Tim ‘Prontaprint’ Morris, (other reprograhics companies are available), says is best left anonymous … and I can see his where he’s coming from-

“Conditions were ideal for racing, overcast, warm with a hint of light drizzle in the air and no breeze. As life had got in the way of rowing, the quad had not been on the water since its disappointment at the National Masters Championships a month ago, so this was always going to be something of a gamble.

Hexham, the opposition, had also been at the Nationals and were arguably the fastest combination they could put together. Following the now obligatory wait, even to get to the stake boats,  at Durham Regatta, the crews were finally there, called to attention and then GO!

Durham were up by the end of the first stroke, AND with a brilliant piece of steering, by moving to the middle, Hexham were put under more pressure, as DARC could then dominate the race from the centre of the river. (Is Anon an ex squash player?)

Hexham started to slip back, and as DARC hit their stride, just off the wall, continued to power away, finding their own rhythm,  about 10 strokes later – giving them a clear length lead. A short, but awesome display of controlled consolidation brought the race through Hild-Bede and down to Cuth’s, seeing DARC maintain complete control of the race.

At this point the call was made to unleash THE SURGE  (Timx, sorry, Anon, how many strokes did your ‘surge’ last?)  and DARC then cruised over the line to take an uncomplicated and well deserved victory.


photo courtesy of Colin Lawson – Tim grits his teeth as he prepares to unleash his ‘surge’

Editor’s note: These men certainly know how to ‘Big themselves up’, and we’re not talking just talking about their “six-packs”. But they are … THE AWESOME ’CUDDLY’ FOURSOME

Our anonymous racing correspondent relaxes at the Regatta after an epic victory

Masters ‘F’ 8  – racing in Open Elite Eights, Sunday.

British Rowing ready to move on from ‘MASTERS’

Being politically correct is all about getting the nuances of language right. So first it was ‘VETERANS’, then it became ‘MASTERS’. And now, there surely is a better way to describe mature peoples rowing.

The MASTERS F 8 bravely entered the new Championship event  for Open Elite 8’s. Lining up against the young mens eights, they time-trialled down the short course, winning through to the ‘C’ knock-out event.

Lining up to race a ‘Young Mens’ eight, these ‘very experienced’ and ‘hardened’ Durham oarsmen, sitting at the start, knew just how to psych out their opponents

“Every one of us is old enough to be your grandfathers ..”

… Probably sufficient motivation for the considerably younger rowers. The race was close with the Durham ‘Masters’ level most of the way down the course. The verdict: Our GRANDFATHERS EIGHT lost by a canvas.

MATURE WOMEN, RACE IM3 EIGHTS Gabby Moore writes, “Two of Darc’s coaches Mark French and Andy Jaggard, put their heads together and selected a Masters ‘D’ 8 for Durham Regatta. Four sessions of training, one a week in the lead up to Durham – two with Mark, one with Andy, and one with both, and Helen Lax, returning to the Club after a few years away, agreed to cox. The coaching across squads was invaluable – it’s always good to pick up new tips and new ways of looking at things, both in the boat and regarding ‘race plan’.

Unfortunately the region had heard we had a strong eight, and no club put an entry forward to challenge us, so we agreed to be bumped up to IM3 and take on the University crews. Oh dear – we were drawn against Cuths – a strong crew who were often on the water when we were and looked as though they would show no mercy.

On the day we had a good start and rowed well at 32 all the way down the course, long and strong as instructed by our coaches but we were out rowed by 2 lengths by Cuths. A great race, it felt good and we didn’t mind being beaten by such a good crew. And considering our crew was a total of 240 years older than theirs we didn’t do too badly !!”    

 Development squad

Sturat Elsy writes:-

“Durham was quiet for development squad with only 1 crew racing due to injuries. This was the IM3 4 that won Novice first time out at Tees. It was their first attempt at IM3 and they lost in the first round on both days.

Sunday was a better row where they lost to the eventual winners, Doncaster Schools, by only 1 length, having been neck and neck all the way to Hild/Bede landing stage. Doncaster then won their subsequent rounds by bigger margins, although the final was close.

It shows that this DARC crew, who only started rowing in September, are competitive in IM3 already. We will lose one to university this summer, but the core of the crew remains and they will become very good oarsmen.

The success of this crew is a great advert for the learn to row courses. There are now 4 entirely separate dev squad 4s that have de-noviced in the last 12 months at Hexham and TT 2013, Durham City and Tees 2014.”


Durham Regatta Report

DURHAM REGATTA 14th and 15th June 2014  – Record entry and new-look Championship events

picture courtesy of Alan Sharp

Coming soon – RACING NEWS – DARC AT DURHAM – GET YOUR RACE STORY TO NOW for inclusion ..

The 181st Corepeople Durham Regatta was another resounding success with superb racing and enjoyment all round. The weather was mixed with some grey skies, but with some beautiful afternoon and early evening sunshine on the Saturday. And the large crowds of spectators enjoyed, perhaps the best ever, range of bank side entertainments – brass bands and all kinds of music, a classic car rally, bungee runs, climbing wall, drumming workshops, arts and crafts, trade stands, and of course, food stalls, and Pimms marquees. Whilst the weather did not match last year’s hot and sunny conditions, the cooler and calm conditions were ideal for racing.


picture courtesy of Alan Sharp

RECORD ENTRY and THE ‘ARMY’ OF VOLUNTEERS Crews came form all over the Country, the farthest being Bristol, Bath, Chester, Lancaster, Edinburgh, and Stirling.

Richard Mortimer, Entries secretary said, “There’s clearly a large influx of people coming into the sport. That creates challenges for event organisers as entry numbers grow, but it’s hugely rewarding to see so many people enjoying themselves both on and off the water.” The regatta is now so popular, that we had to turn away eighty crews ,that applied for entry, and we still had almost 700 crews racing. With this record entry, the schedule is demanding – races every two minutes from 8am in the morning till 7pm at night for 2 days. That would be difficult enough on a large expanse of water, but is tougher still on a narrow, winding river, with crews launching from all parts of the river.

Nigel van Zwanenberg, Chairman of the Durham Regatta commented, “I’m always amazed by just how many people contribute to making the regatta work so well – Army and Air cadets, Rowing club members, students from the University, members of the regatta from all walks of life, the umpires, and many more – and all are volunteers. We really are grateful to them and to all the competitors and supporters for making Durham regatta such a successful and friendly sporting event.”

THE ‘GRAND’ The Grand Challenge Cup, the premier event over the iconic ‘long course’, is 160 years old this year. Appropriately, a Durham School crew who won The Grand as schoolboys 60 years ago in 1954, returned to commemorate Graham Whitaker, the cox of the crew, , who sadly died last year. Graham’s daughter, Helen, coxed the crew, when they had an outing on Sunday morning, launching from DurhamSchool boathouse and rowing around the Prebends bridge area of the river.

picture courtesy of Colin Lawson

The Grand this year was contested between DurhamUniversity and NewcastleUniversity. The verdict from a seasoned rowing coach, “Newcastle were large” (the stature of basketball players) and, “a class act”. The other verdict, Championship Coxed Fours for The Grand Challenge Cup was won by NewcastleUniversity beating DurhamUniversity by 6 boat lengths.

NEW ‘CHAMPIONSHIP’ EVENTS’ New this year, were the ‘Championship events’ for the ‘high performance’ rowers. The crews are time trialled over the course, and then as a result allocated to ‘A’, ‘B’, or ‘C’ Championship events. There was some initial bemusement about quite what was going on, but the real benefit came when we saw the racing in the knock-out championships. With crews ‘seeded’ on time, we enjoyed close and exciting racing in many events – sculls, doubles, fours, eights. Multi-lane racing at national and inter-national events may be seen as the pinnacle of many rowers ambitions, but the ‘gladiatorial’ contest at Durham, between two top-class eights, thundering down the narrow course, bow-ball to bow-ball, is a sight to behold.

picture courtesy of Alan Sharp

Championship Eights for the Reverend C J Saunders Trophy was won by DurhamUniversity.

The beauty of Durham Regatta is that it’s not just about the high performance rowers. It’s also a great experience for many novice rowers, some whom may only have been rowing a few months, having their moment in the limelight. It can be both a daunting and exhilarating experience, and one they won’t quickly forget. All of the Novice fours events were hotly contested with winners including DurhamUniversity, StephensonCollege, YorkUniversity, and St. Chads College.

Returning also this year was a Para rowing event, contested by two Tees scullers and won by Lathan.

And there was a novel sight when two ‘gigs’ raced down the course. These brightly painted sea-going rowing boats were built over the winter, as community projects at Gosforth and Byker.

picture courtesy of Alan Sharp

“What a great couple of days”, said Nigel van Zwanenberg, “really high quality racing and huge enjoyment for everyone on the banks on the Wear. Durham regatta has such a long history but it’s terrific to see us looking to the future with the new development of Championship racing and with Para rowing now a regular feature of the programme.”

NEXT YEAR AND THE SEARCH FOR THE WATERLOO MEN The origins of Durham Regatta are closely tied with the commemorations to honour the “glorious victory” at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. There is some certainty that a parade of boats took place in the years preceding the founding of the regatta in 1834. There were firework displays and regatta balls at the City’s Assembly Rooms. Events also included ‘the firing of cannons’ and ‘ a substantial supper with a plentiful supply of strong ale and punch for the Waterloo men.’

Next year we plan to commemorate the two hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo and Durham regatta’s special links with it. The search for the Waterloo men’ and their descendents will be a major project for the Regatta throughout the year … and when we find them we intend to repeat the hospitality offered to them in the 1830’s.  



so if you have a family story of a relative who survived Waterloo or the Peninsular war and mustered with ‘other brave fellows’ on the banks of the Wear to display their banner and fire off cannons each June – please let us know      

Memories of ‘The Grand’ – 160 years on … and how Phil Metcalfe won ‘The Grand’

Breaking news: –

For those of you who have read Messrs Rutter and Ringer’s account of their 1980 Grand win, it is now time to reveal the real secret of their victory. DARC rowing guru, Clive Hole tells all..

“This crew won the event because they did what they were told.

Firstly, because instead of scratching at Tyne regatta, they rowed the only available substitute, Phil Metcalfe, and drawn against D.U. in the first round … lost handsomely .. D.U. were on a roll ….!

Secondly, because they followed the parting instruction of their coach, ‘DON’T STRIDE!’ “

So we can now reveal the real winner of The 1980 Grand …


With this year’s Durham Regatta fast approaching it’s time to remember some remarkable stories linked to the 160th year of The Grand Challenge Cup first contested in 1854.

Race stories, ‘All that was left’ in the 1st World War, and this year’s innovations

Durham Regatta originated from the 1815 celebration of the victory at Waterloo. The annual procession of boats became a regular feature with the boats carrying bands up and down the river, playing “Rule Brittania” and music of the day. As the day wore on the music became “more spirited … but less harmonious”.

The first Durham regatta in 1834 saw 2 days of racing. But what was the format, and what were the rules? Well – there were no rules! Fouling was allowed as there were no heats, and as many as nine boats used to start abreast at PrebendsBridge, as the cannon fired, race through the narrow arches of Elvet bridge, turn around a buoy at Pelaw wood and return to Prebends. That must have been quite a sight.

This year marks 160 years of The Grand Challenge Cup, which dates from 1854 and has always been the most coveted prize at any regatta in the North of England.

An extract from “Sport Ancient and Modern” from the early part of the 20th Century describes the unique course:-

“The Course was not quite a mile and a quarter between ‘Ash Tree’ and ‘Counts Corner’ … despite many gallant contests, it cannot be described as an ideal course for racing. The river at Durham is torturous, and except when swollen by floods, shallow and sluggish … there are two long corners, and about half way the course is spanned and well-nigh barred by Elvet Bridge.The quaint narrow arches of this beautiful and historic structure barely leave room for the oars of a racing boat.” elvet and beyond

There has always been a ‘healthy rivalry’ between the 3 home crews from Durham – Durham School, Durham University, and ‘the City’ (D.A.R.C.), with each winning the Grand on many occasions. Durham University has the most wins. This 1st 4 from 1860 bolstered the fortunes of the university as numbers had dwindled. DUBC first four 1860

In 1863 Durham Amateur Rowing club won The Grand at Durham regatta for the first time: Crew – Bow W. Brignall, W. H. Hedley, C. Rowlandson, Stroke P. Forster, E. Dykes  cox. First Grand Win 1863

By 1880 the Grand was renowned as “the big event of the day, a four-oared race for gentlemen amateurs over one and a quarter miles”, and Durham Amateur Rowing Club won the 32 guineas prize (about £3400 in today’s money)

A wonderful print from that year (with thanks to the Peter Jefferies collection) shows the racing and some boating chaos on the Wear – not much different then!

1880 print






“All that was left”

A far more poignant memory of the Grand concerns a crew from Bede who had won the Grand in 1910. This excellent crew (R.Wheldon bow, R. H. Robson 2, J. O. Wilson 3, C.E. Walker stroke and cox A.W.Bramwell), won the cup by three-quarters of a length, after fouling an arch. and went on to form part of the contingent of Bede men during the First World War …

The 8th battalion of the Durham Light Infantry joined the British forces in France in April 1915. “A” Company of 8 DLI was known as the Bede Contingent, comprising over 100 past and present students of the college. They were soon thrown into the front line trenches on Gravenstafel Ridge during the second battle of Ypres.

The Bede spirit was not quenched by their first experience of gunfire. The official regimental history records that ‘through the darkness came the voice of some irrepressible BedeCollege member of “A” Company as a shell passed over’: “Aye it reminds yer of Durham regatta. Now lads, up goes another! All together! Bang! Mind the stick!”  Then someone called “Who’s won the Grand?” And there were rival cries of “City!” and “Bede!”

In the fighting which followed on April 25th, the Bede men helped save Ypres, but they suffered grievous losses with 17 killed, 10 wounded, and 31 taken prisoner. The group photograph with the poignant message, “All that was left” is arranged rather like the sports photographs of the day and has become part of the folklore of the college and the regiment.

all that was left

The Bede men had good reason to wonder about the Grand at Durham. The regatta would have been due within a week or two. It would not have been forgotten that Bede had won the Grand Challenge Cup for the first time in 1910, and some of that crew were undoubtedly in the contingent. BedeCollege had also won events at the regattas in 1913 (The Lady Herschell Plate) and 1914 (The Mayor’s Plate), so their prospects were good..

Of the Bede crew who had won the Grand in 1910, R.H.Robson was killed, R.Wheldon lost an eye, and the cox A.W.Bramwell became a prisoner of war. R.Wheldon is in the photograph.

There was no Durham Regatta in 1915 because of the war.

With thanks to Gerald Blake – “175 years of Durham University Rowing” – The River and Rowing Museum.

John Appleby won 3 Grands (1966 Durham School, 1969 D.A.R.C. , 1971 D.U.B.C)

Which of your 3 Grands was most memorable?

I think it’s always the first … and that was with Durham School in 66 (Tony Bailes cox, John Appleby stroke, Gareth Powley, George Nicholson, Geoff Potts bow). There was a Continental crew that came over – Swedish – “Svenska”, there were around a few days before the regatta practising … and that was quite scary .. they had a short, high rating stroke, very much in the “Ratsberg” style of the day. The two weeks before the race, Bickmore (the pre-war Durham coach) wouldn’t let us row anything under 36. (rating) Bickmore was standing in for the coach of the time – De Winton, who had scarlet fever and wasn’t allowed anywhere near. There were very few new boats at that time, and we were in a 1934 ‘Bowyers and Phelps’.

Anyway, we beat Svesnka in the first round, we had 2 ½ lengths by Bede. Then we had Tyne in the final. The Head of House – McCall- had the whole school – probably at least 200 boys running the towpath. It hadn’t been done in a long time, and has never been done again. It was like a stampede, there were dogs and old ladies flying in all directions. We were on easy arch and won by 2 ½ lengths in a time of 6.02, but we weren’t pressed (the bogey time was always 6 minutes). 

1969 With DARC . We knew we were going fast. We had won everything in the North-East and it was ours to lose. We had worked hard with weights and circuit training, back in 66 our idea of land training was running up the Chapel steps. We won comfortably.

1971 With Durham University. The same again. We had done the work – land training, weights, circuits, had truly arrived. We beat Tyne comfortably.

John Appleby and Kim Metcalfe from the 69 and 71 crews (note the post training cigarette)





1980 D.A.R.C. won The Grand again, crew Andrew Duncan, Paul Rutter, Julian Ringer, David Turnbull, cox Tommy Maddison

Paul RutterI was only 19 and the rest of the crew were in their mid twenties, and here I was in the City 1st crew. We were in a plastic boat and had won everything that season – Senior A and Elite. We trained 3 nights a week, weights, running, and no alcohol. 

There was a lot of banter at the start with the “pretty” DUBC crew, we were pulling their legs, and trying to psych them out. We had a lightning fast start and had clear water on the racecourse, maybe 3 lengths, it’s hard to know. I always remember passing the hot dog stall and how it took your breath away. We had great support down the first part of the course and then coming into hard arch, we maybe still had 1 ½  lengths. Tommy Madisson, the cox did a cracking job through hard arch maybe clearing the stroke side blades by 1 inch through the arch. And then supposedly we would pick up the advantage, from the rest of the course, with the bend in our favour. Perhaps, fitness came into it. At Kingsgate bridge, it was only a length, with the DUBC crew coming back at us around the outside of the bend, and down ‘Minute tree’ they seemed to be taking a foot every stroke.

The ‘minute tree’

Julian Ringer My memory of the race is that we shot off the start, took a significant lead by Browns where we were inspired by a huge cheer from Clive’s mates. The much fancied DUBC crew, who I believe went on to race in the semi-finals of the Wyfolds at Henley, suddenly picked up the pace having the benefit of the stream under Kingsgate bridge and came back like a train down ‘Minute tree.’

Tommy Maddison, taking no prisoners, hurled a significant amount of abuse/encouragement at both crews and took us over the line to win by no more than 2 or 3 feet.

I don’t remember much afterwards as we went straight to the bar with Messrs Duncan and Rutter and emerged only just in time, but in no fit condition, for the prize giving at the Town Hall.


1992 D.A.R.C.s last win. The crew was coxed by Toni Spoor, stroked by Mick Terry, with Richard Bodsworth at 3, Kevin Oates at 2, and Graham Wilson at bow.

Kevin Oates describes how the victory would go down in ‘the annals’ of club history.

The bow three were all home grown talents through the club’s links with Belmont school. As ever it was D.U.B.C. in the final and us Durham boys were surely not serious contenders to overcome ‘the polished palatinates’. As we left the landing stage I will always remember Angie Lund (club captain) telling us:

‘If you can win this one boys, you will go down in the annals of club history.’

Now Angie also happened to be English teacher for myself and Toni and Richard, so we knew all about the significance of the annals.

The crew was one of a handful I have rowed in that clicked from the off. There was nothing complex involved, just drop the blade in and push. Our strategy was simple, go off as hard as possible, push at the bridges and corners, and maybe the odd landing if required (that has the course covered). To our surprise, it worked and we led off the start, by Baths we were still ahead, and with Easy arch looming we squeezed on around the corner, knowing that DUBC had the course advantage in the second half of the race. As we shot Elvet with clear water, my mind recalled being in the same position, in a Newcsatle University four a couple of years earlier and watching DUBC  row through us. This time we didn’t falter, the crew just pressed on. Toni was screaming as we came down minute tree that we were going to do it. Maybe it meant more to us than DUBC but they failed to come back at us, and we won by clear water.

Amongst the celebratory expletives was a misquoted Captain’s comment that ‘our annals were going down in history!’

Innovations for this year

It may upset the traditionalists but this year’s regatta sees some exciting innovations to the racing format:-

I spoke to Richard Mortimer, the Entries Secretary.

Which events are involved, Richard, in the new style races?

Basically, it’s all the higher status events for Elite Performance competitors, and that includes Open Elite Eights, Womens Elite Fours, Elite Scullers, both Mens and Womens and, of course, the Grand Challenge Cup.

How will it be different?

Instead of a pure knock-out event, we time-trial the crews over the course, then use the results of the time-trial to seed competitors into 4 boat knockout events.

And how will that be better?

It ensures that the fastest crews are in the top events and like-speed crews are racing each other, which will mean some tight and exciting racing

Are there any potential downsides?

Maybe some confusion because crews won’t know who they are racing ahead of race day, but we expect that competitors will soon get the hang of the new format.

And this will also apply to The Grand?

Absolutely – Elite crews will have the opportunity to qualify for The Grand, which means that only the fastest crews will have the honour of racing for The Grand Challenge Cup.


This entry was posted in News, Racing News on May 17, 2014 by Andy Jaggard.

Durham Junior Girls Eight Win Gold

A crew of eight under-16 girls from Durham Amateur Rowing Club took national honours last weekend at the National Schools Regatta held at the National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham.

The crew of Hannah Iqbal, Charlotte Jackson, Corinne Hatton, Sarah Coleman, Alex McMullen, Ellen Blowey, Georgia McMillan, Laura Phillips and Cox Rebecca Jackson finished in 5th place in 2013. A training schedule put in place by their lead coach Fred Snowdon assisted by Vickie Jackson and Beth Yates has now returned dividends.

Crew member Ellen Blowey tells the story of a season of dedication and increasing success for the crew:-

“We drove down to London on the 25th March, to compete in the Schools’ Head, on the River Thames, the following day. Rowing up to the start, the sun was shining; however, just as we rowed through the start of the 7km course, a dreadful headwind blew up and it began to rain and sleet. Waves were breaking over the bow and filling the boat and we were quickly soaked and freezing. We were so pleased to finish the race, but had a gruelling row to undertake to get back to Barnes Bridge, from where we had boated. We were enjoying the warmth of the club minibus and began travelling home, not knowing of how well we had done. The results were posted on-line and we were ecstatic when we discovered we had come 3rd in our category (WJ168+).”

Next was the Junior Inter Regional Regatta:-

“We managed to win the Northern trials and qualified for the Junior Inter Regional Regatta; this took place on 26th April at Holme Pierrepoint National Watersports Centre in Nottingham. We knew we would have to race some of the crews who had beaten us in London so were really nervous but desperate to get a medal. Before we could make this happen, we needed to make sure we qualified for the A final; the pressure was on. We qualified in 3rd place and after a close final, we obtained a bronze medal, having beaten the crew that came first at the Schools’ Head.”

And so to the National Schools:-

“This competition is a huge event, taking place over three days. Training up to this regatta was difficult, as we really wanted to focus on our GCSE exams, but we still managed three outings a week. Our race was on 24th May, again, at the National Watersports Centre. We were really nervous for this too, since this was a 2000m course and we had previously been racing over 1500m, and we wanted to maintain our bronze medal status. We were focused from the start and had a good race, leading the field for the whole course, finishing first by about 3 lengths. We couldn’t quite believe it once we had crossed the line – we were gold medalists!”

“After the customary ordeal of de-rigging the boat and a well deserved McDonald’s pit-stop! (other fast food outlets are available), we made our way back to Durham and received congratulations from everyone, including a tweet from the club’s very own Olympian, Jess Eddie. This was very special to us as we had spent the previous season raising money for a new eight to race in which we had named after her. Many thanks must go to our coaches and parents who have helped us to achieve our successes.”

 Junior Co-ordinator, Alan Granlund said

“After finishing 3rd in their age category at the Schools Head of the River in March, and then taking a closely fought Bronze at the Inter regionals, the progression of the crew became complete last weekend when they dominated their event to win GOLD by over 6 seconds from the second placed crew, leading from the first stroke of their 2000 metre race and extending their lead with each stroke. This is the first time for many years that a crew boat from the Durham Club have taken a Gold at this event. One of the most recent club winners was Jessica Eddie (with sister Alex in a junior double) over 10 years ago , and it was fitting that the crew last week performed in the club’s new eight oared boat ‘Jessica Eddie’ named by, and after, Jessica who is one of the clubs most recent and successful international oarswomen.”

Coach Fred Snowdon commented:-

“This is the most dedicated squad I have ever coached, I admit I was worried the girls school prom the night before might have affected their performance, but clearly I should have had no worries, they performed brilliantly”

The next major event for the girls is Durham Regatta in two weeks and then onto the National Junior Championships in July .

Durham Regatta Grants for Local Rowing

Durham Regatta have agreed to make available a pool of funds of £7500 per year, for at least the two year period commencing 1 January 2014.

This amount will be used to fund grants of up to £1,000 to organisations involved in the development and promotion of the sport of rowing on the River Wear in Durham City, subject to at least 50% matched funding being in place, and is in addition to the existing restricted funds that are already held by the regatta.

Announcing the scheme, Secretary James Lamb, goes on to say that all grants must be endorsed and managed through their relevant rowing club. All grants from Durham University boat clubs (including Durham University Boat Club and Queens Campus college boat clubs) must be made through Durham College Rowing. All applications are to be sent to the Durham Regatta Secretary.

Grants will be considered by Durham Regatta Executive Committee, together with one representative from each of Durham University, Durham ARC and Durham School twice per year. In 2014, grants will be considered on Wednesday 7 May 2014 and Wednesday 5 November 2014.

One of Durham Regatta’s key objectives is:

“to support the sport of rowing generally by making donations or otherwise providing support to schools, clubs, colleges and the public generally in order to promote the sport primarily but not exclusively on the River Wear in the City of Durham”


DARC Profile – Jacki Patrickson

Jacki Patrickson is DARC’s coaching co-ordinator. A civil engineer and mother of two, her first job as a graduate, was spent building roads and bridges around Durham (I have it on good authority that she is particularly fond of culverts).

Four years ago she moved back to Durham and started working freelance, providing interim management, communications support, marketing and business planning advice for various member organisations.

How did you get into rowing?

When I first moved to County Durham in 1990, I lived 4 doors down from Helen McDaid and always loved listening to her rowing stories. When I moved back, I had some time off work and decided to come and join the rowing club. In the past, Helen and I had done several sports together (and she always beat me). Now she’s given up … so maybe I can finally beat her! Its also been lovely to have Helen’s daughter, Katie (a talented sculler), coxing us and also seeing how successful she is being. McDaids are Oarsome

Proudest rowing moment?

De-novicing last year at Durham regatta .. because I felt I rowed well, and it was my first experience of a regatta. I also spent one day driving the rescue boat, (luckily mainly sitting in the sunshine and cheering everyone on!) so felt really involved and proud that Durham Rowers put on such a fabulous event.

Most embarrassing moment?

Thankfully I’ve been well supervised so far and don’t have a printable moment to share, however, I am growing increasingly concerned about the number of photographs being taken of me with my tongue out whilst rowing.  Definitely need to sort that out before Rio!

Top training tip?

Have someone in the squad who is better than you, so that you’ve got someone to chase – it motivates you to work harder

Who’s that?

No comment

When I’m not rowing I’m …

Ferrying children to football (I manage my sons team) and organising bike rides for women through British Cycling’s Breeze Network. I’m very passionate about getting more people to cycle, I’m also organising a sea-to-sea bike ride for 16 women, many of whom couldn’t cycle more than 10 miles on the flat last year. Very proud of them all

Tell us a rowing joke

Rowing is the only sport that originated as a form of capital punishment

Genie wish for DARC

Would be that everyone in the club has the opportunity to compete at the level that they have the potential for .. and that the sun shines every day ..

and the river is always at the right level .. and it’s not windy for the rest of the year .. and it’s just me sculling down an empty river .. sorry Jacki .. carried away

Have a whinge

I don’t like whinging. I like resolving things, which is why I’ve taken on the role of coaching co-ordinator .. mind you it would be nice to have some better bike racks at the club.

Why did you take on the coaching role? And what are you hoping to achieve?

I did it because I didn’t feel there was enough coordination of coaching across the club. I wanted to see what I could do about that .. and thought I had some useful skills to bring. It’s not proving as easy as I had hoped, however I’m making some progress and am focusing on streamlining the Learn to Row and induction programmes into the club.

A big big thank you to Mark French for stepping in and providing coaching for the Womens Dev Squad and also to all the other coaches who put in so many hours for squads across the club.

Over the next few months I will be organising a cox development programme, as well as setting up a Learn to Row course for disabled rowers.

We also want to target new members in the 18-30 age range and I’ll be working with both Senior Mens’ and Womens’ Squads to look at how we can attract these.

All of this will take more than me to deliver, so I’d really like volunteers from all the squads to come help on these courses. It’s a new rowers first view of the club and very important that we demonstrate our professionalism and coordination.

Thanks Jackie. By the way, how do you spell your name .. someone told me you’re a bit OCD about e’s?

Yes I am, I think it’s very disrespectful not to pay any attention to people’s names!!!

It’s certainly not spelt the way it is on the Photo board .. and someone told me it would be changed 2 months ago

Apologis Jacki, I’ll mak a not of that and gt some tippx –

You did say that you had ordered another name tag Andy!!!!



DARC Profile – Coach Mark French says, “always start people in a single first”

Mark is a former Chester-le-Street member, and joined DARC nearly 2 years ago. He was in the Royal Navy, and was a Sales Manager for Debenhams.

He qualified as a UKCC level 2 rowing coach 2 ½ years ago and then became a Community Rowing Coach.  Now he combines his role as a Foster Carer with Multi-Skills coaching for the Council. He is currently coaching the Womens Development Squad at DARC

How did you get into rowing?

I started when I was 12. I was at school in Washington, miles from the nearest river. There was a girl who was involved in the Chester-le-Street club and I went along for a session, and that was it, I was hooked from the first time.

Proudest rowing moment?

I’d probably say coming 3rd in Intermediate 1 eights at the Metropolitan Regatta with a strong DARC crew – and that pre-qualified us for Henley.

Most embarrassing rowing experience?

 I can’t think of one. I’ve never fallen in.

Top Training Tip?

You’ve got to be very specific .. the numbers are very important. There’s no point in just jumping on an ergo, you need to have a target .. and that means fast, as well as slow. Long slow work is also important, and most people don’t do enough of that.

If I wasn’t rowing I’d be …

Playing golf … I’m desperately trying to reduce my rowing to play more golf. I’m involved with the Durham County Golf Partnership (who oversee participation in the sport) .. the whole family  play golf, and I’d like to fit in a lot more.

Genie wish for DARC?

Probably another 20 boats with somewhere to store them .. and an Empacher eight!

I’ve seen you around the club doing a lot of good coaching work. What draws you to that?

I’ve always been good at training people. I’ve been doing that in every job I’ve done, as a Sales Manager, and in the Navy. Maybe it’s a style of being very thorough, and understanding how people learn. When I was doing my 6 stage coaching plan, I discovered the best way of teaching people by trial-and-error, and now I know how to replicate that. So, for example, always start people first in a single before they get into a crew boat ..

Why? If you can’t do it on your own when you’ve got time to think, then how can you do it, when there’s 3 other people you need to be in time with ..

.. and you learn about how the boat moves. I like people to do at least 2 sessions in a single first. I’m amazed that there are people off ‘Learn to Row’ who have never been in a single … and of course by single sculling, you learn to be independent and you can go out on your own if there isn’t a crew. I think you should learn to scull before you learn to row.

I see youngsters come down and they want to go out in a double, maybe they think it’s ‘safety in numbers’ .. they have no real idea of the skills levels involved, steering as well as sculling.

I think you’ve seen the Members Survey which identified that coaching at DARC was very ‘uneven’ – some people got a lot, with some great, passionate, coaches, but for others it was difficult to get access to coaching. What’s your view on the state of coaching at DARC?

When I was at Chester-le-Street, I thought Durham must be an amazing club. Then I came down one Monday night, thinking of joining, and there was no one in the gym, no-one on the ergos. I expected every squad would have a coach, and every squad would be training together … but it never really materialised. That’s what we’re trying to do now – so that everyone has access to coaching. I still think it needs a lot of work, at a senior level. The Junior Section is good, as regards the coaching structure, and that approach needs to be replicated ..

And what do you get out of it?

I’ve had to make a decision between rowing and coaching .. I decided I was more passionate about coaching, and you can’t do both well. It’s hard to run a coaching session, and then have the energy to go and train yourself . I’ve seen some coaches who start off, wanting their crews to win, and they’re testing and “beasting” people all the time. That’s not sustainable, people will drop out.

So, with the womens’ squad, we have a 2 to 3 year plan. There’s 4 sessions a week and people are expected to turn up to 3, there’s no emails about availability, they fit in what they need to do –  everyone has different commitments. It’s about being fun and enjoyable – a friendly squad, whilst also getting fit at the same time. It needs to be sustainable. I would like to see something that will carry on whether I’m here or not.

On another subject what’s your view on the Mens squad? How ambitious should we be at Durham?

I think as a minimum, for the size of club we are, we should aim to be a top 100 at the Head of the River, and to pre-qualify for Henley.

Thanks Mark

Coming soon, Mark talks about his experience on the Help for Heroes sessionl