Monthly Archives: September 2015

Juniors inspired by champion

Members of DARC’s Juniors squad paid a visit to Durham University’s Oriental Museum last week to meet Olympic champion Kat Copeland and be inspired by her gold medal winning achievements in the lightweight double sculls at London 2012.

Kat, who has been presented with a Nissan Qashqai by SG Petch, a Nissan dealership in Durham, to enable her to drive from her home on Teesside to the GB squad training base at Caversham, spent an hour chatting to the group.

She was invited to visit the Museum to see the Nissan: 30 Years On exhibition, which explores Nissan’s impact on the North-East economy. It continues until October 18th.

Kat has also written a blog, about the Road to Rio 2016, including her experiences at the recent World Championships, on the SG Petch website.

Boston Marathon 2015 winners

Durham Amateur Rowing Club had great success at the gruelling Boston Marathon held this year on September 20th. The Marathon route goes over 31 miles, or 50 kilometres, from Lincoln to Boston, initially along a canal and then on to the River Witham, the main problem apart from the distance being the amount of weed in the river.

Following on from an unbeaten year, winning every regatta they have entered, the masters D coxless quad of Julian Ringer, Richard Court, Paul Sowerby and John Lyons finished as the fastest crew of the day out of the 164 entered, and the overall winners of the event in a time of 3 hours 44 min 36 sec.

The two other DARC entries also performed well, with the women’s masters B coxless quad of Sam English, Judith West, Christine Heppell and Carolyn Edwards winning their category in 4 hours 17 min 12 sec, and Hazel Stainforth in a women’s masters F single scull completing the course in 5 hours 35 min 23 sec, racing up a category in order to have competition but beating the masters G course record that she already holds.

Reflections on a successful World Masters

An eyewitness view from Martin Judson…

The World Rowing Masters Regatta 2015 was held at the FISA category A standard course of Hazewinkel, Belgium on September 10-13th. Three and a half thousand rowers from around the world aged 27 to 89 gathered for the event. DARC had 31 entries targeting the D to G (50-70 year old) age band. The format is for eight lanes of racing over 1000 meters, no heats, all straight finals with only a winners prize.

First up on Thursday was Gill Prescott producing a win in E single sculls (55-59 year band). Her power in the boat was plain to see as she overturned a significant deficit at halfway to win by a couple of lengths. She was quickly followed by the MasE 4+ event with an Appleby stroked four & George Adair stroked four, both in the same heat. Conditions were quite good and the 2 DARC boats were in the outside lanes. The Appleby boat took the medals while George’s crew fought hard for 4th place out of the seven competing boats. Two wins in the first two races seemed rather too good to be true but the day finished with two 5th places for the men’s F coxless four & Gill in a C (42-49 year average age) quad.

Friday started with drama. DARC Ages invited 2 Durham alumni with the requisite years to make G8 (65-69). Colin Barrett, formerly of Bede in the 1960’s and ex-DARC member Tom Bishop came in to replace a couple of the younger crew members to bring the average age to 65. On the start Colin told me that he was rowing bow side for the first time this year!. We struggled to find our rhythm while some Dutchmen to our right pulled away to a 1/2 length lead at 500 meters, at which point there was a tremendous kerfuffle as John Appleby at 2 caught an almighty “over the head” type crab. He did recover it extremely skilfully though (the moment has been caught on YouTube and is all so fast it can be easily missed). The boat settled to row through the opposition and take the medals. Gill had further wins in E2x and D4x in collaboration with other clubs. A DARC/Tees composite in E8 took a respectable 3rd place while there was an even better 2nd place finish for the E double of Paul Rutter & John Watkinson, and a 4th place for the G double of Andy Jaggard & John Lund.

Saturdays racing yielded an excellent win against very strong opposition in F8. This “DARC Ages” squad had been training hard for this specific event and in recent weeks have benefitted from input by the club coach, Debbie Connolly. There is a short video. Gill Prescott had another win in women’s E quads this time to take her medal haul to 4 which eventually became five on Sunday with a win in mixed F quads with John Appleby who was the men’s most successful competitor with 4 wins. There were more excellent second places in doubles for John Appleby & Mickey Stevens and for Gill in a composite women’s D double and in a men’s E quad stroked by John Watkinson.

A win in a mixed international composite crew of H-K eights (70-89 years old) on Sunday  involved club wheeler-dealer and driver Derek Gordon. This completed a haul of wins in nine different categories for the club, a truly magnificent performance. Gill Prescott further consolidated her position in women’s Masters rowing. Her coach, Geoff Graham, has been key to Gill’s success story. Several club members won multiple medals and with strong performances right across the board, Durham ARC is well respected for producing high quality racing crews.

Video of DARC crews –

Summary of results

World Rowing Masters Regatta results

Durham ARC returned from the World Rowing Masters Regatta in Hazewinkel, Belgium on September 10th-13th with 9 Gold and 6 Silver medals. Races took place over 1000 metres on an 8-lane lake course.

There were 5 wins for Gill Prescott, including the Women’s Masters E 1x on Thursday, WMas E 2x with Ailie Ord (Strathclyde Park) and D 4x- with a Strathclyde Park and Loch Lomond composite on Friday, and WMas E 4x- with Sarah Payne (Wycliffe College), Joy Skipper (Upper Thames) and Eva Rankin (Loch Lomond) on Saturday. Gill then formed a 4x- with John Appleby and a Nithsdale / Loch Lomond composite, and won at Mixed Masters F on Sunday.

The Masters E 4+ of Paul Rutter, David Walker, John Appleby, with Tim Baker of Abingdon, coxed by Emma Hocking won on Thursday.

The Masters G 8+ (pictured) of Derek Gordon, John Appleby, John Watkinson, Martin Judson, David Walker, Paul Stanley, with Colin Barratt of Ardingly and Tom Bishop of Quintin, coxed by Emma Hocking then claimed the gold medal on Friday.

The Masters F 8+ of John Appleby, John Watkinson, Paul Rutter, David Walker, Martin Judson, Michael Stevens, Paul Stanley, with Tim Baker of Abingdon, coxed by Emma Hocking also won on Saturday.

Finally Derek Gordon joined a GB / Germany / Switzerland / USA international composite 8+ that won the Mixed Masters H-K race on Sunday.

There were silver medals for John Appleby and Michael Stevens in the Masters F 2x, John Watkinson and Paul Rutter in Masters E 2x, and for Gill Prescott with an international Women’s F 4x- on Friday. On Saturday Gill took silver in the Women’s D 2x, and there was a 2nd place for John Watkinson, David Walker and Paul Rutter in the E 4x with Abingdon. On Sunday Gill and John Appleby came 2nd in a Mixed Masters G 4x-.

Thursday results

  • 1st WE 1x Gill Prescott
  • 1st E 4+ Paul Rutter, David Walker, John Appleby + Abingdon composite + cox Emma Hocking
  • 4th E 4+ George Adair, Michael Seed, David Oliver, Gerry Sharpe + cox Helen Adair
  • 5th F 4- Paul Stanley, David Walker, Martin Judson + Abingdon composite
  • 5th WC 4x- Gill Prescott + Wycliffe College, Upper Thames, Loch Lomond

Friday results

  • 1st G8+ Derek Gordon, John Appleby, John Watkinson, Martin Judson, David Walker, Paul Stanley + Ardingly and Quintin + cox Emma Hocking
  • 1st WE 2x Gill Prescott + Strathclyde Park
  • 2nd E 2x John Watkinson, Paul Rutter
  • 5th F 2- David Walker, Martin Judson
  • 4th G 2x Andy Jaggard, John Lund
  • 3rd E 8+ Michael Stevens, Martin Judson, David Walker + Tees composite + cox Emma Hocking
  • 1st WD 4x- Gill Prescott + Strathclyde Park, Loch Lomond
  • 3rd G 1x John Appleby
  • 2nd WF 4x- Gill Prescott + Loch Lomond, Upper Thames, Port Marly (FRA)

Saturday results

  • 4th G 4x- John Lund + Clydesdale, Nithsdale, St Andrews
  • 2nd F 2x John Appleby, Michael Stevens
  • 2nd E 4x John Watkinson, David Walker, Paul Rutter + Abingdon composite
  • 2nd WD 2x Gill Prescott + Loch Lomond
  • 1st F 8+ John Appleby, John Watkinson, Paul Rutter, David Walker, Martin Judson, Michael Stevens, Paul Stanley + Abingdon + cox Emma Hocking
  • 1st WE 4x- Gill Prescott + Wycliffe College, Upper Thames, Loch Lomond

Sunday results

  • 5th Mxd D 2x Paul Rutter, Sarah Rutter
  • 2nd Mxd G 4x- Gill Prescott, John Appleby + Nithsdale and Vesper (USA) composite
  • 3rd Mxd G 4x- John Lund, Andy Jaggard + Rijnland (Netherlands) composite
  • 5th Mxd D 4x- John Watkinson + Ardingly composite
  • 1st Mxd H-K 8+ Derek Gordon + Germany/Switzerland/USA composite
  • 1st Mxd F 4x- John Appleby, Gill Prescott + Nithsdale and Loch Lomond composite

Masters D represents a crew with average age 50-54, Masters E is 55-59, F is 60-64, G is 65-69, with H representing ages over 70.

Further details can be found on the World Masters website.

Bill Grant Memorial presentation

At a presentation on September 13th at Durham Amateur Rowing Club four members of the club handed over funds raised in memory of former rowing coach Bill Grant who died in February after suffering a medical episode that led to him falling from his bicycle into the River Wear in Durham whilst coaching a crew from the bank.

Funds were raised as a result of a 1000 mile cycle ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats, completed in August, and also from the Sunday of Durham City Regatta held as a tribute to Bill earlier in the year. The rowers completed the ride in 12 days, arriving in John O’Groats on August 1st after covering up to 115 miles a day.

The four, David Beeby, Michael Hall, Thomas Jackson and Elliot Kay, presented a cheque for £2588 to David Henderson of the Great North Air Ambulance Service, and another cheque for £2000 to Durham Amateur Rowing Club which was gratefully accepted on behalf of the club by Mark Bell.

The Great North Air Ambulance came to Bill’s aid following his accident and airlifted him to hospital within an hour of the incident, but sadly he passed away a short time later in hospital.

The club intends to put the donation towards the purchase of much needed equipment.

At the same presentation the club also accepted the gift of Bill’s single sculling boat, kindly donated by members of his family who attended the ceremony along with many members of the rowing club. The boat was named in Bill’s memory by his widow Jenny Grant.

Great Tyne Row 2015

The 2015 Great Tyne Row took place in glorious sunshine on Sunday September 6th with the record 40 crews enjoying relatively calm conditions throughout the 25km course before having to deal with a degree of swell while crossing the mouth of the river to land on Tynemouth beach.

This was the 5th year the event has been staged and thanks to the loan of a boat from Durham University  DARC was able to enter four crews, a women’s 4+, a women’s 4x+, a mixed 4+ and a women’s 2x+.

With high tide due at 10.30am there was an earlier than usual start. The first boat to set off from Newburn was Darc Dippers Duo in the Dun Cow 2x+ in division 1 at 10.45, crewed by Sue Lyons and Leigh Bowron, and coxed by Emma Lyons. The women’s 4+ Bee Oarsome (top), consisting of Ray Dominy, Stephanie Snowball, Aisling Dutton, Linda Forwood and Shona Millar, and the women’s 4x+ Scullduggery, crewed by Caroline Scholl, Dorothy Featherstone, Nicola Field, Sonny Shepherd and Kalpana Ganatra, departed in division 4 at 11.15. Last to go was Wear Sorted, a mixed 4+ comprising Colin Lawson, Vaughan Gordon, Gerry King, Gene Dobson and Debbie Jahangiry, in division 5 at 11.25.

Three of the crews were carrying out rotations of personnel on the water to share coxing duties, providing welcome respite from the annual ‘slog on the Tyne’ and  much amusement for those not taking part!

The Great Tyne Row is a fun occasion, and the incentive of prizes for the best dressed crew and best decorated boat produced some interesting costumes to add to the spectacle, with Bee Oarsome colourfully attired in their bee outfits, complete with wings and antennae, being pursued down the river by the swan-bowed quad of the Devil’s Elbow women’s quad, Swan Lake, who won the best decorated boat award hands down, with the fishermen’s costumes of Just for the Halibut from Whitburn Community Rowing Club claiming the accolade for best dressed crew.

There were few hiccups. Other than the hold-up awaiting clearance from the Port of Tyne Authority before the roller-coaster crossing of Tynemouth harbour the main hazard came from over-enthusiastic jet-skiers getting too close for comfort near Scotswood. Some crews were even afforded the luxury of timing their arrival at the Millennium Bridge to coincide with the daily 12 noon opening.

GPS tracking was introduced for the first time to improve progress monitoring and help alleviate the timing difficulties experienced at the previous years event.

As far as results are concerned, and after some revisions to the provisional times to account for GPS anomalies, Wear Sorted finished 17th with a time of 2hr 04m 25s, Scullduggery came 19th in 2hr 06m 32s, Bee Oarsome were 21st in 2hr 09m 19s and Darc Dippers Duo finished 34th in 2hr 26m 37s. For the first time medals were presented to all finishers.

A thoroughly enjoyable day was had by all concerned. Thanks go to Joe for towing the trailer and getting it to Tynemouth ready for the finish, to the event organisers and volunteers for ensuring the day went so smoothly, and to Tynemouth Rowing Club for the hospitality at the finish.

Northern Rowing has provided more photos and official final results and there is a further report from British Rowing.

World Masters Regatta 2015

DARC Masters rowers are representing Great Britain at the 2015 World Masters Regatta which takes place at Hazewinkel in Belgium between September 10th and 13th. Boats set off last weekend in readiness for the regatta with entries in 22 events over the 3 days.

The list of entries is

  • WMasE 1x – Gill Prescott
  • MasE 4+ – Paul Rutter, David Walker, John Appleby + Abingdon composite, cox Emma Hocking
  • MasE 4+ – George Adair, Michael Seed, David Oliver, Gerry Sharpe, cox Helen Adair
  • MasF 4- – Paul Stanley, David Walker, Martin Judson + Abingdon composite
  • WMasC 4x- – Gill Prescott + Wycliffe College, Loch Lomond and Upper Thames composite
  • MasG 8+ – Derek Gordon, John Appleby, John Watkinson, Martin Judson, David Walker, Paul Stanley + Ardingly and Quintin composite, cox Emma Hocking
  • MasF 2- – David Walker, Martin Judson
  • MasG 2x – Andy Jaggard, John Lund
  • WMasD 4x- – Gill Prescott + Strathclyde Park and Loch Lomond composite
  • MasG 1x – John Appleby
  • WMasF 4x- – Gill Prescott + international composite representing Loch Lomond, Upper Thames and Port Marly (FRA)
  • MasE 2- – Michael Seed, David Oliver
  • WMasD 2x –-Gill Prescott + Loch Lomond composite
  • MasG 4+ – Derek Gordon, Paul Stanley, Michael Stevens, John Appleby, cox Emma Hocking
  • MasF 1x – Andy Jaggard
  • MasF 2x – George Adair, Gerry Sharpe
  • MasE 4- – Michael Seed, David Oliver, George Adair, Gerry Sharpe
  • MasE 4x- – John Watkinson, David Walker, Paul Rutter + Abingdon composite
  • MasF 1x – John Appleby
  • MasF 2x – John Appleby, Michael Stevens
  • MasF 8+ – John Appleby, John Watkinson, Paul Rutter, David Walker, Martin Judson, Michael Stevens, Paul Stanley + Abingdon composite, cox Emma Hocking
  • WMasE 4x- – Gill Prescott + Wycliffe College, Loch Lomond and Upper Thames composite