Monthly Archives: March 2017

Restored scull unveiled at River & Rowing Museum

The final chapter was written in the restoration of ‘J Hopper’ with the unveiling of the finished article on March 27th 2017 at the River and Rowing Museum in Henley.

J Hopper (formerly named Maxwell) is a single clinker scull named after an eminent Hexham-based professional sculler of the 1920s and 1930s called Jack Hopper. It was rescued from the scrapheap and purchased for £50 in 2012 by former Durham ARC off-peak member, and still regular visitor, Roger Bean, who then set about restoring it to its former glory. Much of the ground work took place in the loft of Clive Hole’s boathouse, with Clive’s assistance, recompense for storage coming in the form of whisky.

Roger sought the assistance of former boatbuilder and historian Clive Radley who helped to trace the boat’s fascinating history. Moving away from Durham the project continued, Clive Radley acting as benefactor and putting Roger in touch with Bill Colley who set about completing the restoration to a standard suitable for the River & Rowing Museum.

A re-christening ceremony took place at Richmond on October 21st 2016.

The story is covered in detail in the following 2 blog entries posted to ‘Hear the Boat Sing’ in September 2015 and October 2016.

Richmond-upon-Thames, Part I: A Reminder of the Golden Age of Boating

Long lost Minute Book reveals club history

The Club Minute Book covering the years between 1923 and 1951 has come to light recently, enabling Barry to add some fascinating facts from the club history to the timeline which can be found on the club’s website.

As well as this it has been possible to fill in some gaps in the historical record of wins. The revised list of wins from 1860 can be found here.

The missing minute book came to light among personal belongings following the death last year of former club chairman John Short.

Successful day at Yorkshire Head

There were 5 wins for Durham ARC at the Yorkshire Head on Saturday March 11th, the Masters F eight taking the accolades in division 1, posting the 15th fastest time out of over 200 crews contesting the 2 divisions, and the 9th fastest time (17.28.9) after applying the masters age category handicap adjustment. Division 1 also saw wins for the J18 girls eight and the Mixed double of Kim Forster and David Muse.

A prestigious event hosted by York City Rowing Club the Head takes place over 5km on the River Ouse and attracts entries from across the Northern and Yorkshire regions as well as from further afield. It is the main source of income for the Yorkshire Rowing Council and is run by volunteers representing clubs from across the Yorkshire region.

In division 2 there were wins for the Women’s Masters D coxless quad of Gill Prescott, Helen McMillan, Eva Rankine and Hilary Cairns (Berwick ARC), and for Andy Jaggard in the Masters G single sculls.

Other DARC competitors included the J18 4x-, Women’s Senior 8+, Women’s Masters D 4+, Women’s Masters G 1x, Women’s Masters D 8+, J16 2x, J17 2x and Senior 1x.

The event was one of the first to be staged under the new British Rowing Competition Framework, using the revised Online Entry system being phased in this year. Under the new framework competitors entering in the Senior band are grouped in accordance with accumulated Ranking Index points to enable grouping into categories such as Senior, Intermediate and Beginner to ensure fairer competition. In a head race Ranking Index points are accumulated according to the number of crews beaten. Juniors and Masters continue to compete in age group categories.

Race documents including final results are on the Yorkshire Rowing website. Professional photographs are available from Richard Sharpe.

All to play for on the Tideway

The 2017 Tideway Heads season gets underway with the Women’s Eights Head of the River Race on March 11th and culminates with the Cancer Research UK Boat Races between Oxford and Cambridge Universities on April 2nd, all taking place over the same reach of the River Thames between Mortlake and Putney.

The Women’s Eights Head of the River Race (WEHoRR) founded in the 1930s with 5 crews participating has now become the largest women’s rowing race in the world with around 2,880 women racing and 320 crews taking part. It is the only race in the UK where novices can compete in the same race as Olympic champions and, as such, attracts a wide range of rowers from clubs and universities. The 2017 race is on Saturday 11th March at 3:30 pm.

The Schools’ Head of the River Race (SHORR) is the UK’s largest school-age processional head rowing race and is organised by Westminster School for crews aged between 14 and 18 years old. A significant aim of the Schools Head is to promote rowing in schools and school Boat Clubs. The 2017 race is on Thursday 23rd March at 1:30 pm.

The Head of the River Race (HoRR) was founded by Steve Fairbairn in 1926.  It is rowed annually in March from Mortlake to Putney on the Tideway in London. Over 400 crews of eights take part, making it one of the highest participation events in London. It is the most prestigious men’s head race in the UK and the classic end of the winter training season. The 2017 race is on Saturday 25th March at 2:15 pm.

The special thing about the Veterans Head is that the direction in which the event is raced changes from year to year, dependent on the time of the tides: some years it is raced from Mortlake to Putney other years it will go the other way. It is open to veteran eights (also known as masters), who race in categories determined by the average ages of the eight rowers. The 2017 race is on Sunday 26th March at 11:00 am.

Rowperfect offers several resources for crews steering the Tideway.

DARC is celebrating the Boat Races with the annual Boat Race Ball on April 1st (7pm in the clubhouse) with tickets at £20 including a 3 course meal, live band and dancing. Then on April 2nd there will be a Boat Race Party at 3pm to coincide with the Durham round of the Explore Series. Tickets for the party are £5 and include sandwiches, coleslaw and roast potatoes with live TV coverage in the main hall of the women’s race at 4.35pm and men’s race at 5.35pm. The bar will be open.

Winning start for A Shot in the Darc in Explore Series

The 6th year of the Northern Explore Series got off to a rather uncertain start at Hexham on Sunday March 5th, the previous day’s rising water level on the Tyne causing some concern. After 2 safety inspections and a hastily prepared contingency plan of moving to another venue the go-ahead was finally given by the Hexham safety advisor on Sunday morning, much to the relief of the 17 teams taking part.

The sun shone and rowers from 8 clubs convened on Tyne Green, with Gateshead Community Rowing Club making their first sortie. After welcoming new and old to the fray racing commenced at noon over a 250m course with novice crews sharing four stable quads, two provided by Talkin Tarn and two by the host club. Progress was hampered by the difficult boating conditions, meaning that the number of races was reduced to 3 each as opposed to the more usual 4, to meet the stipulated 4pm finish time.

As a result of the first of the 8 scheduled rounds all is still to play for. Four teams head the league table in the Open category, Hexham, Tyne ARC, Tyne United and Tynemouth winning all their races to lead on 6 points. Clear leaders with 6 points in the Women’s category are ‘A Shot in the Darc’ (Jane Auster, Sonny Shepherd, Kalpana Ganatra, Sue Lyons and Margaret Richardson) from Durham ARC, closely followed by teams from Hexham, Talkin Tarn and Tyne ARC on 5.

Cakes and bacon sandwiches were consumed in quantity, raffle prizes collected and everyone, winners and losers alike, went home happy. The format has much to its credit not least that it doesn’t rely on the deployment of boat trailers from far and wide. The event is open to new rowers, recreational rowers, returning rowers and retired racers. For more on the format see Northern Rowing website. 

The next round takes at Durham on April 2nd (the day of the University Boat Races) with the Explore Series races starting at 11am. To mark the occasion DARC is holding a Boat Race Party from 3pm to which all are invited. Refreshments comprising sandwiches, coleslaw and roast potatoes will be provided at a cost of £5 with live TV coverage of the Boat Races in the main hall, the women’s race starting at 4.35pm and the men’s at 5.35pm. The bar will be open and there will be a sweepstake at £1 per guess to predict the winning time.