Monthly Archives: January 2015

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

Warm hospitality inspirational for Brenda

How the warm hospitality of DARC inspired a West Country resident to take up Rowing

My twin sister, Joyce, was born feet first with a smile on her face and her foot firmly on my backside pushing me to get on with the business of living. She’s been like that ever since – amazingly fit, constantly ebullient and definitely a glass half full sort of person. Therefore, it came as no surprise to me when she started to learn to row in May 2011. However, I did have a few questions like “Isn’t it expensive?” and “Aren’t you just a little too old to be taking up this sort of sport?” My doubts were quickly brushed aside as she explained that funding for the initial course had been made available from a local authority health initiative as rowing is seen as an ideal all round fitness activity.

I wondered how long her enthusiasm would last. Then as the months passed and I listened to her tales of Sunday Leagues, DARC Dynasaurs, Monday and Thursday morning “rec” rowing, the novel names for the boats and the crews (I fantasied over DARC Desires), the nerve wracking powerboat rescue course and the banter and camaraderie of the crews, I began to feel that there was definitely something very special about DARC. It was therefore with great anticipation that on one of my visits “Up North” she asked me to accompany her to the Monday morning coffee after recreational rowing. It was a beautiful sunny day and the river was just perfect. I strolled along the bank stopping at a bridge to take photographs of her boat gliding serenely under the bridge. At the end of the session I was given a tour of the club and all its wonderful facilities (I lost count of the number of boats). Coffee was accompanied by biscuits and lots of chat and so many introductions that my head was spinning. It had been a wonderful morning and it left me longing to learn to row.

So inspired by DARC, I made enquiries on my return to Somerset. Taunton, a mere thirty-four miles away from my home near Wells (you get used to distances in Somerset) was advertising a L2R course. I was quickly getting into the jargon and after paying the full fee; (yes full) I made my way to what can only be described as a very narrow stretch of river next to a derelict piece of waste ground. The “club house” consisted of two hangers containing a few viruses and fine singles. However, the members were marvellous and welcomed me with open arms explaining that once I got the hang of it, I could then go into a quad or an eight at Wimbleball Lake in Exmoor National Park just 50 miles away from my home!

After completing the 8 week L2R course, which mainly consisted of excellent tuition interspersed with dive-bombing swans protecting their nests and random poles protruding out of the river bed, I sadly said goodbye to the lovely people of Taunton and headed towards Bath and Avon County Rowing Club – just nineteen miles away from home. Their L2R was just starting and the boat house was being demolished to be replaced by a brand new facility incorporating boat houses for Bristol University, Monkton Coombe School and Avon County Rowing Club and a club house for the use of all clubs.

A few regattas later I returned to DARC and was invited by my sister to join her in the aptly named Double Trouble. Although a daunting experience for a beginner, I was overwhelmed by the amount of people both on and off the river who remembered me and wanted to chat. It is indeed a very warm and friendly club. Owing to the lack of time – I’m still working – and the distance I need to travel, my rowing at Avon County is developing slowly. However, I love the sport and if ever my enthusiasm begins to wane, I know I need only to take a trip to the North East to be refreshed by the warm hospitality of DARC.

My grateful thanks to one and all at DARC.

Brenda Baker

(a Member of Avon County Rowing Club)

Chairman’s New Year Regatta

With the festive season almost over, the schools on holiday and still a month to go before Durham Small Boats Head on February 7th the Chairman came up with the bright idea of ringing in the New Year with a closed Club regatta in the form of a time trial on the long course. A very informal event it was to be, but with around 80 members turning up on the designated Sunday morning it was decided that a series of side by side 8+ races for the senior members, with quad races for the younger juniors, would be a more sensible option, as well as being great fun.

Names were drawn out of a hat and crews duly allocated to ensure a fair mix of ability and experience in each. With the diversity of membership and ages ranging from 16 to 75 it had the added advantage of enabling those from different backgrounds to become better acquainted with one another.

Seven 8+s and five 4x+s set off for Baths Bridge to commence friendly hostilities over a 500 metre upstream course with the eventual winners of the knockout eights competition being the Captain’s crew.

Blessed with fine weather the only competition for river space came from the regular Sunday morning dragonboaters who were kind enough to pull in to allow the races free passage. Hot soup and jacket potatoes in the bar rounded off a frosty morning in fine style.

With nothing but positive feedback this could well become a regular event.

More photos on facebook.