Category Archives: Event News

Club Regatta and Head Race Announcements

Allcomers Regatta 2017

Seventeen teams took part in Durham ARC’s Allcomers Regatta on September 24th, the best entry for several years. Numbers were boosted by 3 teams who had travelled from Whitby for the occasion.

Five men’s teams, five mixed and 7 women’s teams contested a total of 34 races over a 300 metre course on a round robin basis. The crews from Whitby Friendship Rowing Club performed well, winning most of their races, but as they were classed as experienced rowers they were ineligible for prizes even though their experience was of fixed seat rather than sliding seat rowing.

Waterboys won the men’s competition, The Square Blades won the mixed competition, and Ladies who Launch took the accolades in the women’s competition, holding off Wannabe Wags in an ergo relay tie breaker.

Other attractions were available to entertain a healthy gathering of spectators, including a BBQ and Pimms stall. Winners of the ergo challenge were James Kendrew for men, Annabel Sholey for women and Steven Curtis for juniors.

Great Tyne Row 2017

Three DARC crews took part in the seventh Great Tyne Row on September 2nd 2017, all mixed coxed quads. The event is a 25km row on the River Tyne in stable boats from Newburn to Tynemouth. Thirty-four crews took part in all.

Thirteen DARC members were joined by Roger Bean, now of Stourport RC, who had travelled from the Midlands for the occasion, and Victoria Dektereff of Tees RC, to form the 3 crews. As Roger and Victoria had each recovered from a stroke in the past and all the others in the crews have had family members affected by stroke it was decided to combine the row with some fundraising for the Stroke Association.

The Great Tyne Row is arranged by the Northern Rowing Council and attracts entries from around the UK. Because the number of stable boats in the region is limited, arrangements were made to borrow boats from Durham University, and to loan boats to other clubs who wished to take part, hence further complicating the already complex logistics of taking part and getting crews and boats to and from the start and finish.

With Tees RC’s trailer booked for a regatta at Hollingworth Lake on the same day, DARC offered to trailer the 2 Tees quads going to the Great Tyne Row, one of which was being loaned to Tynemouth RC, while one of the DARC quads was loaned to Tyne ARC.

This meant transporting 6 stable quads, but due to a clash with the World Masters Regatta in Bled DARC didn’t have a trailer capable of carrying that number, or a suitable vehicle to tow it, so it was necessary to borrow these from Durham University. Transport arrangements are always more challenging than the rowing itself.

Crews duly arrived at Tyne United RC kitted out by the Stroke Association and with appropriate team names. Stroke’n’Recovery (Elizabeth Judson, Sue Lyons, Roger Bean and Linda James, coxed by Clive Hole) stared in division 4 at 1.30pm, along with The FAST Crew (Vaughan Gordon, Victoria Dektereff and Jane Auster, with Dave Green and Steve Auster sharing coxing duties). Thirty Strokes a Minute (Chris Merchant, Colin Lawson and Nicola Field, with Kalpana Ganatra and Caroline Scholl sharing coxing and stroking) set off 10 minutes later in division 5. The latter two crews changed positions on the water at the halfway point.

All arrived safely at the finish line at North Shields before continuing across the harbour to land on the beach at Tynemouth, where another session of trailer loading awaited them before the BBQ and presentation of awards.

Fine conditions throughout made it a most enjoyable day. See the Great Tyne Row website for further details including results. The FAST crew and 30 Strokes a Minute finished joint 15th in 2hr 13 mins. Stroke’n’Recovery came 31st in 2hr 51 mins.

Tyne United’s open quad was the overall winner in 1hr 47min, with Weybridge and Weyfarers joint winners in the mixed category, and Weybridge also providing the fastest women’s crew. Will Hamlyn of Gateshead CRC won the Harry Clasper Award for being the first competitor ever to complete the event in a coxed single scull, using Gateshead’s Dory, James Renforth, and finishing in 3hr 04 mins.

Thanks go to our trailer drivers Mark French and Mark Bell. The event is co-ordinated by a small group of dedicated volunteers from the Northern Rowing Council. If you can help by supporting the event in future there is information about the types of support you might like to consider.

In total the DARC crews raised £1567 for the Stroke Association.

British Rowing UK Tour

Sixty-five rowers including Colin Lawson from Durham ARC took part in the 24th annual British Rowing UK Tour between August 24th and 27th 2017, thirteen stable coxed quads covering 40 miles of the Lancaster Canal from Preston to Tewitfield in three days.

Unlike 2011 when the UK Tour last visited Lancaster, rowers were greeted by dry and predominantly fine conditions with little wind, ideal for touring.

The Lancaster Canal was surveyed and constructed during the 1790s by Scottish engineer John Rennie. Being a contour canal, it has no locks, making life simpler for rowers, though it does have 122 bridges along its length, almost all too narrow for passage without shipping oars.

Accommodation for the group had been arranged by tour organiser Peter Barker of Upton Rowing Club at the Holiday Inn near the M6 exit for Lancaster, a perfect choice in a quiet setting next to the River Lune, and only yards from where the river is crossed by the Lune Aqueduct, the largest all-masonry aqueduct in Britain.

Day 1 on Friday was the longest of the three. A 20-mile coach journey united crews with their boats, coxed touring quads, before the latter were launched on to the canal for the first leg of 14 and a half miles, stopping at Bilsborrow after 9 miles for a packed lunch and visit to Owd Nell’s Tavern, continuing through beautiful scenery and passing numerous moored barges, and reaching Bridge House Marina at Garstang by mid-afternoon. This was to be the overnight stop.

Day 2, Saturday, was only marginally shorter, 13 and a half miles punctuated by lunch in the splendid setting of the Canal Craft Centre at Galgate. A lovely afternoon sculling through Lancaster followed before boats were hauled out for the overnight stop at Lansil Golf Club, giving crews a chance to walk to the Lune Aqueduct on the way back to the hotel. Saving the crossing for the following day there was the dinner and presentation on canal history by the chairman of the Lancaster Canal Trust to look forward to, along with an address by the chairman of Lancaster John O‘Gaunt Rowing Club, based just across the Lune,

A quad from Lancaster John O’Gaunt, recovering from the after effects of Storm Desmond and celebrating its 175th anniversary this year, joined the tour for the final day. After the excitement of the previous evening Sunday was a relatively short 10-mile affair, crossing the aqueduct then enjoying glorious views across Morecambe Bay towards the Lake District mountains beyond, and arriving at the northern extent of the navigation at Tewitfield in time for lunch at the Longlands Hotel, but not before negotiating the tunnel under the M6 motorway – wide enough for barges but not for sculling – so the onboard canoe paddle was brought into play to get through in the dark. Touring is not for the faint hearted!

The British Rowing UK Tour is arranged by BR’s Recreational Rowing Committee and has taken place each year since 1994. The 25th anniversary celebration will be a tour on the Thames in August 2018. 

The Grape Escape

On August 23rd twenty members enjoyed a wine tasting evening at the club hosted by Chris Merchant.

The convivial social gathering which involved sampling a selection of 6 wines from around the world proved to be a great success. Food was provided in the form of tapas style nibbles while Chris gave an insight into each of the wines to help guests decide on their favourite, with an opportunity to enjoy it later at their leisure.

A good time was had by all!

Record entry for Bled

DARC Masters rowers are making final preparations for the World Rowing Masters Championships, this year taking place at Lake Bled, Slovenia between September 6th and 10th.

Known as one of the most beautiful rowing courses in the world Bled is ready to welcome a record entry of 6376 rowers from 861 clubs from around the world.

With entries in 62 events the DARC contingent of 36 rowers occupying 154 racing seats is easily twice the number catered for before.

Entries over the 5 days include –

Wednesday – Masters A 1x, F 1x, D 2x, E 4+, B 8+, Women’s Masters D 2x, W C 4+, W E 8+

Thursday –  H 1x, E 2-, F 2x, F 4-, G 4x-, G 8+, W C 1x, W F 1x, W D 4+, W E 4x-

Friday – E 1x, G 2x, F 4x-, F 8+, W D 1x, W C 4x-, W F 4x-

Saturday – B 1x, G 1x, C 2x, E 2x, D 4x-, F 4+, G 4+, H 8+, W B 1x, W E 1x, W G 1x, W F 2x, W D 4x-

Traditionally Sunday is reserved for mixed races with entries drawn during the course of the Championships. DARC has entered for the Mixed Masters B, E, F and G 2x, and C and G 4x.

Draw details and times can be found here.

Watch a video of the F/G 8+ training on the Wear, and find out more about the squads on the Masters page.

Visit to Yarm

The summer months are an ideal opportunity for recreational rowing, with visits, tours and similar challenges offering the chance to share a common interest while developing links between clubs.

For the third year a group of daytime rowers from DARC accepted an invitation from Tees RC to join them for the annual 25km row from Stockton to Yarm and back. On Tuesday August 8th 10 of the daytime rowers from DARC joined a group of 48 for the round trip organised this time by Len Small from Tees. Crews were formed to combine members of the two clubs and Tees kindly allowed us to use their fine and stable boats to avoid the need for unnecessary trailering.

After a dry start conditions deteriorated for the return journey but the weary rowers were rewarded on their return with an excellent 3 course BBQ lunch prepared by Julian Bunn of Tees RC.

The DARC contingent included Clare Staines, Nicola Field, Paddy Deans, Caroline Scholl, Jane Auster, Margaret Richardson, Colin Lawson, Vaughan Gordon, Dave Green and Steve Auster.

River Wear Tour 2017

On Sunday July 30th eight members from Durham ARC enjoyed a day out a few miles downstream on the tidal reach of the River Wear, taking part in the third annual tour of the City of Sunderland. This is arranged by City of Sunderland Rowing Club with the support of the Northern Rowing Council and takes place in coxed stable boats as required by British Rowing.

Eleven boats took part from 6 clubs, starting and finishing at South Hylton and rowing 20km upstream past Cox Green to the Victoria Railway Viaduct and returning for some crew changes before continuing downstream to the Glass Centre and Port of Sunderland.

A new feature this year was the new Wear Crossing, under construction and scheduled to open in 2018. Other sights along the route include the Cretehauser, a concrete tug abandoned since 1942, the Shipwrights pub, Nissan factory, Washington Wetlands Centre, Hylton Bridge, Wearmouth Bridge and Rail Bridge, the Queen Alexandra Bridge, Stadium of Light and the University of Sunderland.

With fine if breezy conditions Kapana Ganatra, Chris Merchant, Caroline Scholl, Paddy Deans, Colin Lawson, Vaughan Gordon, Louise Forster and Steve Auster from DARC were joined by Josie and Victoria from Tees RC to provide sufficient rowers and coxes for DARC’s 2 coxed quads to enjoy a lovely day. After landing and derigging we gathered with members from Sunderland, Gateshead, Tynemouth and Talkin Tarn for a BBQ provided by the host club.

A reciprocal arrangement between daytime rowers from Tees and DARC has been in place for some time with regular exchange visits taking place over a number of years, the most recent visit being on July 20th when Tees visited for an outing and lunch. The clubs will also be sharing members for the row to Yarm in August and the Great Tyne Row in September.  

Touring is very friendly and is promoted by British Rowing which provides online learning resources  to help anyone who wants to organise a tour. BR’s Recreational Rowing Committee supports several tours already and encourages clubs to organise more. Recreational rowing was in existence long before the concept of competitive rowing as a sport.

Al Johnston went along and has shared his usual collection of super photos.

Thanks to Caroline for organising crews, Vaughan for driving and towing the trailer, City of Sunderland Rowing Club for organising the event and everyone else who took part or contributed.

Allcomers Regatta rescheduled for September 24th

As a result of problems with the river level the Allcomers Regatta  scheduled for 9th July has been postponed and will now take place on Sunday 24th September.

The Allcomers is for people who have never rowed before but who want to give it a try. All you need is a team of 4 people. All equipment is provided by the club. Full details and entry forms can be found on the Allcomers Regatta page.

The closing date for entries is Wednesday September 13th.

Allcomers Regatta entries now open

If you’ve never rowed before but want to have a go then Durham ARC’s annual Allcomers Regatta is the ideal opportunity. This year’s Allcomers is on Sunday July 9th. All you need is a team of 4 people. Full details and entry forms can be found on the Allcomers Regatta page.

Boats are provided by the club, along with a cox and coach who will give you guidance and get you ready for the regatta where you will race against other ‘allcomers’ in a friendly competition over a 300 metre course.

Downloadable leaflet.

Entries need to be in by Wednesday June 28th.

European Tour visits Hamburg

The 2nd British Rowing European Tour took place between May 11th and 13th 2017 in Hamburg, Germany, following last year’s inaugural tour to Amsterdam. Both the European tours so far have been organised superbly by Richard Pickup of the Nottingham Explorers group of recreational rowers, affiliated to Nottingham Rowing Club, in conjunction with representatives of host clubs from the areas visited.

This year the British tour group consisted of 42 rowers and 2 non-rowing partners drawn from 13 different clubs and included Colin Lawson from Durham ARC. Three Hamburg clubs were involved in the arrangements to entertain the British tourers, Ruder-Gesellschaft Hansa, Hamburger Ruderinnen Club and the Wassersportabteilung SV Polizei, with Hans-Heinrich Busse of RG Hansa the co-ordinator in chief.

Set on two lakes formed by the damming of the Alster River in the 13th century, the Free and Hanseatic city of Hamburg is an ideal location for touring, with around 20 rowing clubs in and around the city, its network of canals being crossed by some 2500 bridges, more than Amsterdam and Venice combined!

Boating took place from 3 clubs with the group sub-divided to enable a manageable number of crews to gather at each location, with crews allocated in advance to quads coxed by members of the host clubs and ‘doppelsechers’ (accommodating a crew of 6).

Crews embarked from RG Hansa at the northern end of the Aussenalster lake and from the two clubs situated on the Isebekkanal for 2 days, exploring around 25km each day along Hamburg’s scenic waterways. A damp start on day one was followed by gloriously calm conditions until day two was curtailed by a thunderstorm. The tour included lunch stops at Wassersportabteilung SV Polizei on Friday and at RG Hansa on Saturday, the party returning on Friday evening to be entertained to a sumptuous dinner as guests at the RG Hansa clubhouse.

Touring is a form of recreational rowing more prevalent in continental Europe where there is an 80/20 ratio of recreational to competitive rowing, ensuring availability of good quality touring boats at many clubs. British Rowing’s Recreational Rowing Committee, chaired by John Turnbull of Weyfarers Rowing Club, has organised a UK Tour visiting different waterways within the United Kingdom each year since 1994, with plans for the silver anniversary tour on the Thames in 2018 well advanced.  

Touring has been promoted increasingly in the UK since the launch of BR’s Explore Rowing programme by Sir Steve Redgrave in 2010.

The 2017 UK Tour is scheduled for August 24th to 27th on the Lancaster Canal with around 80 tourers expected to take part. Further details about this and other tours and touring can be found on the Recreational Rowing website.