Monthly Archives: September 2018

Additions to the fleet named

Around 120 members of the Junior, Senior and Masters squads gathered on Sunday September 16th for the naming of the club’s three new boats, a Stampfli quad ‘Darc Side of the Moon’ and double ‘Darc Legacy’, and a Janousek quad ‘Great White Darc’, whose purchase has been funded in part from the bequest of former long-standing member and Club Captain Kim Metcalfe who died in 2013.

Kim rowed for the club during the 1960s and 70s, and formed a successful partnership with John Appleby in the pair, before going on to success in veteran and masters competition, winning at the World Masters Championships at Strathclyde Park in 1988 and again in 2005, and winning several national masters titles in the pair, four and eight. He was also an outstanding ambassador for the club as a coach and was an advocate of the Explore Rowing movement introduced by British Rowing in 2010 to integrate new recruits into the sport.

Kim’s son Alex and brother Phil Metcalfe had the honour of naming Darc Legacy, while Great White Darc was named by last year’s Junior Captain Harry Coe, and Darc Side of the Moon by Women’s Vice-Captain Alison Danforth, watched by a delighted Captain George Adair, who explained ‘Kim Metcalfe had a massive influence on the membership. He was an excellent oarsman but also a great coach and one who could offer advice and guidance in an approachable way. He would work with every section of the club so the legacy was partly monetary but mainly his effect in general around the club and the legacy he left behind in memories and advice’.

A row past by the three boats followed, with crews selected to represent the diversity of the membership. Recent graduates from the club’s Learn to Row courses as well as more experienced members will benefit from the new boats.

DARC Legacy was crewed by John Appleby and Hazel Stainforth, members of the masters squad which competes nationally and internationally. Both are long-standing members of the club and great representatives of the DARC spirit. John has competed for DARC for over 50 years, achieving one of his 3 Grand Challenge Cup successes at Durham Regatta in 1969 whilst a member of the club, and as well as much success rowing in crews with Kim at national and international levels has partnered Hazel in a mixed double at World Masters Championships, winning at Strathclyde Park in 2005. Hazel took up rowing later in life after following her daughter Rebekah into the sport, winning the first of several national veterans titles in 2001, and after earning victories in a single scull at World Masters Championships went on to partner Rebekah to World Masters success in the Women’s Masters C double sculls at Zagreb, Croatia in 2007, becoming the first mother and daughter combination to win gold medals at that level.

Members of the club’s successful Juniors squad made up the crew for ‘Great White DARC’, Ella Sampson, Adam Morris, Katie Strangward and Sam Taylor representing the J15, J16, J17 and J18 year groups who have had a successful year including competing at national Junior Championships and winning at Durham Regatta, while ‘DARC Side of the Moon’ was crewed by Gabrielle Maxfield, Alison Danforth, Vickie Sincock and Beth Holmes, a crew representing the Women’s squad, including those who joined from Learn to Row courses, from Durham University colleges, and from school/junior rowing to become performance rowers.  ‘Beth and Alison have been with the squad for many years while Gabrielle and Vickie are new to the squad and have great races ahead of them’ said Alison.

The acquisition of the new boats marks a major addition to the fleet prior to the commencement of a project to refurbish the boathouse, and comes in time for use during the autumn heads season which gets underway on October 6th with the Tyne ARC round of the Long Distance Sculling Series and Tyne United Small Boats Head.

Masters take accolades at Boston

Although without opposition the Durham ARC Women’s Masters D coxless quad (Clare Woodward, Gabrielle Moore, Jacki Patrickson and Susan Jackson) were the fastest of all the female quads in the Boston Marathon on Sunday September 16th, and even beat several men’s crews, completing the 50km course from Lincoln to Boston in 4hr 47m 20.3s.

Conditions were difficult and as Gabby said ‘The weeds were horrendous, covering the river from bank to bank making it impossible to steer and causing a huge drag factor’, leading to course times being much slower than anticipated. Despite this they survived and rowed well, and even enjoyed it!

The results list is here and photos are available from David Dales.

Rowing the Canal du Midi

Rowers from Durham ARC took part in the 37th Rallye du Canal du Midi in August, an annual rowing tour taking in 200km of the Canal du Midi in Southern France. Now a World Heritage Site the Canal is a marvel of 17th century engineering, the work of engineer Pierre-Paul Riquet, connecting the Bay of Biscay to the Mediterranean Sea.

Following on from their exploits at the Vogalonga in Venice in 2017 Gill Prescott, Helen McMillan and Caroline Scholl set off from Toulouse in a stable coxed quad on August 13th joining around 200 rowers from around the world on the 5-day journey to Beziers.

Participants arrived from as far afield as South Africa, North America, Brazil and New Zealand as well as from France, Germany, the UK and elsewhere in Europe for what is a unique experience organized by the Association Toulouse Pierre-Paul Riquet. Other British representatives came from Weyfarers Rowing Club, the UK leaders in touring and recreational rowing.

Their accommodation for the week was arranged in the fortified medieval city of Carcassonne, situated at the midway point of the route, with transport provided to and from the tour each day. Around 5 locks were negotiated daily by means of crews trolleying their boats round the lock to relaunch at the other side. Meal breaks were arranged alongside the canal and nothing was left to chance with a medical team on hand at the end of each day’s rowing to tend to blisters and minor ailments.

As if that wasn’t enough crews rounded off the tour with some short sprint races against one another on the River Orb in Beziers on the final day before a reception at the town hall and departure for the journey home.

BR Tour on the Upper Thames

The annual British Rowing Tour took place over the weekend of August 31st to September 2nd 2018. Being the 25th tour gave added cause for celebration for all those taking part, none more so than John and Caroline Turnbull from Weyfarers RC, chair and secretary of BR’s Recreational Rowing Committee, who first took on responsibility for organizing the tour in 1994. As in 1994 the 2018 tour took place on the scenic reaches of the River Thames, this time between Bablock Hythe and Mapledurham, passing through Clifton Hampden (above) and Oxford along the way, and visiting the boathouses of Oxford University. A list of previous routes can be found here.

Touring takes place in stable recreational boats and is safe and straightforward but involves learning some specialist techniques, such as those for passing through locks. Weyfarers have produced some useful guidance.

Among the hundred or so taking part in 20 coxed quads were Linda Forwood and Julie Kitson from DARC who joined rowers from Tyne United and Leeds RC, covering around 25km per day for the three day paddle, with 13 locks to negotiate. Other participating clubs included Nottingham, Broxbourne and Maidstone Invicta.

Funding for eight of the boats used was provided by Charles Stanley Wealth Management with whom British Rowing secured a 3-year sponsorship deal for Recreational Rowing in March.

Julie was also fundraising for The Seashell Trust, a national charity supporting children and young adults with complex learning disabilities.

Tourers were accommodated at a hotel in Oxford and enjoyed a gala dinner at St. John’s College on Saturday night.

Touring can easily become addictive. Linda is already planning to visit Lithuania for next year’s BR European Tour. To find out more about the work of the Recreational Rowing Committee including details of forthcoming tours and events in the UK and overseas see the Recreational Rowing website.