Author Archives: Colin Lawson

Five wins at Rutherford Head 2018

Arguably the biggest event in the British Rowing head racing calendar outside London Rutherford Head provided the last chance for the region’s rowers to race before the festive break. Traditionally associated with bad weather this year’s event on December 1st was no exception, with rain and low temperatures greeting the large turnout of nearly 260 crews racing in the larger boat classes over two divisions on the River Tyne. Competitors were drawn from all corners of the UK, and, with little wind and water conditions generally good, some excellent times were recorded for the 4.5 km course from Scotswood to Newburn. For others it was an opportunity to compete in the same race as some of the nation’s best rowers.

Great anticipation had preceded the event with entries opening at 6pm on November 1st only to be suspended little over an hour later as capacity was reached. As usual eights were the most popular boat type, accounting for nearly 90 of the entries, the senior Open and Women’s eights being sub-divided into 4 bands each. Strong competition saw Newcastle University claim overall victory in Open Division 1 in 14.08.3, closely followed by Edinburgh University and Tyne ARC, while in the senior Women’s eights London University held off the challenge of Edinburgh University and Thames RC to win band 1 in a time of 16.10.5.

Edinburgh University led the way in the quad sculling events, taking first and second places in the Open with a winning time of 14.38.3, and narrowly losing out to Newcastle University in the Women’s quad, the winning time being 17.20.8.

Outside the senior events Chester-le-Street ARC won the Junior J18 eights race in 16.24.3 and the Women’s J18 eight in 20.06.9, while the fastest Masters crew of the day was the Tyne ARC Masters E 8+ who finished on their home course in 16.41.9. The fastest Women’s Masters accolade went to the Durham ARC Women’s Masters E 8+, repeating the success of last year and winning their event in 19.50.2.

Durham ARC entered in 13 boat categories and achieved an excellent return of 5 victories, other wins going to the senior men’s squad, the fastest of six in band 4 of the Open 8+ in 16.42.3, the Women’s J18 4x-, fastest of five in band 2 in 19.54.9 and the Masters F 4x+ in 21.53.8.

After recent success on the Tideway in the Veteran Fours Head Gill Prescott again formed a composite quad with Barnes Bridge Ladies and Kingston RC, winning the Women’s Masters F 4x- in 19.50.9, two minutes ahead of the DARC Women’s Masters E 4x- who were  placed 2nd of the four entries in 21.50.1.

There were some fine performances from other crews. As junior events were only offered for J16 and J18 age levels the DARC J15 girls (thanks to Claire Airey for the above photo from Newburn Bridge) entered in band 4 of the senior Women’s 8+ and finished 3rd in 20.28.1, only 10 seconds behind the winners from Edinburgh University.

The J18 4x- came 3rd in 18.28.6, the Women’s 4x- band 2 finished in 21.41.2, and the J16 4+ recorded 22.42.7

The Masters F 4x- lost to Lakeland RC despite posting 19.57.8, while the Masters D 4x- lost to Hexham in 20.25.9.

Results from Division 1 and Division 2 are among other information to be found on the Tyne ARC website. Winning crew lists are on the Durham ARC Results page.

Al Johnston has provided photos on facebook from Division 1 and Division 2.

Much credit goes to the many volunteers involved in the organisation of such a successful event.

Next year’s race takes place on December 7th 2019.

Durham hosts LDS and Autumn SBH

Rowers from across the north of England converged on the River Wear last Saturday for the exciting double header of the final round of the Long Distance Sculling Series (LDS) and Durham Autumn Small Boats Head (SBH), both time trials hosted by Durham Amateur Rowing Club.

The Sculling Series, which is organized by the Northern Rowing Council, includes six rounds over six consecutive weeks, previous rounds having taken place on the Rivers Tyne at Newburn, Tweed at Berwick and Wear at South Hylton, with weather cancellations on the Tees and Wansbeck. Although offering the shortest course Durham is one of the most challenging, with competitors having to negotiate the narrow arches of Elvet Bridge at the halfway point of the 1800 metres.

The morning sculling event, open to single, double and quadruple sculls, was followed by two divisions of the SBH, also accommodating sweep-oared boats, the 3 divisions of racing over a 6 hour period providing ample opportunity for competitors and coaches to try out different crew combinations within the safety limit of 300 entries.

The fastest times were posted earlier in the day when conditions were more favourable, before overnight rainfall had time to take its effect on the flow of the river. The overall winner in the LDS division, with a time of 6min.08.3sec, was Durham Amateur Rowing Club’s senior coxless quad of David Rutter, Nicholas Baird, Tom Richardson and Will Hamlyn, fresh from racing at the Tideway Fours Head in London the previous week. 

With some of the region’s top competitors away at GB trials in Boston the same day success was distributed between 14 different clubs, DARC faring best by winning 13 categories (9 at the LDS and 4 at the SBH), followed by Tyne ARC with 7 and Durham School with 6 overall.

Yarm School, St Leonard’s and Queen Elizabeth High School also had some success in the junior races.

A strong contingent from Durham University Boat Club took the open (7.13.3) and women’s (8.19.0) pairs, Kasey Jobling (8.56.7) won band 1 and Gabrielle Keblyte (9.40.0) band 2 in the women’s single sculls at the SBH, while in the LDS sixteen year-old Adam Morris from Durham ARC held off five opponents from Durham University to take the title of fastest sculler of the day, completing the course in 7.12.5.

Durham ARC also did well in Junior events in the LDS, winning the J18 girls (7.10.2) and J16 boys (6.44.3) coxless quads, while at the other end of the age scale there were wins in the Masters events for John Appleby and Micky Stevens in the Masters G (65-69) double sculls, finishing in 7.12.2, David Muse in the Masters B single sculls (7.35.5), Andy Jaggard in the Masters G single (7.55.5), and Joyce Collett in the Women’s Masters G single (9.10.6).

The traditional fierce rivalry between the colleges of Durham University was a feature of racing in the Small Boats Head, with eight colleges providing a total of 35 coxed fours over the two afternoon divisions. For most this was the first opportunity of the new academic year to compete. To ensure fair competition men’s and women’s crews were divided into 3 bands, Hatfield College Boat Club winning band 1 (6.26.6), Queen Elizabeth High School band 2 (7.12.7) and Grey College band 3 (6.58.9) in the men’s coxed fours, while Durham University BC won band 1 of the women’s coxed fours (7.30.1), with Collingwood College taking bands 2 (7.32.3) and 3 (8.35.3).  

In the double sculling events in the SBH Yarm School won at junior boys J18 (7.02.0), boys J15 (8.06.8), and girls J18 (8.04.5). A Durham School/Talkin Tarn RC composite crew won the boys J16 double (7.51.2), Cambois RC won the girls J16 (8.14.6), and Tyne United RC won the girls J15 (8.51.3). Tees RC won the Open 2x (7.28.7) and Durham School the Women’s 2x (7.51.9). Tees RC also won the Masters H (70+) double sculls (8.02.5).

In the SBH Durham ARC also won the senior Women’s coxless quad (7.05.5), Junior girls J15 (7.51.4) and girls J14 (8.37.1) coxed quads, and Grace Stewart-Piercy won the J18 girls single sculls (9.33.1).

For a full breakdown of times and results in pdf format follow the LDS and SBH links.

More photos can be found on facebook.

Points gained over the 6 weeks of the Long Distance Sculling Series contribute towards Victor Ludorum prizes for Juniors, Seniors and Masters rowers which will be presented to victorious clubs at the AGM of the Northern Rowing Council on November 26th.

The next Small Boats Head race on the River Wear is on February 2nd 2019.

Tideway Fours weekend

Following on from the Pairs Head in October the next weekend of major competition on the Tideway took place on November 3rd and 4th, the Fuller’s Head of the River Fours on the Saturday and the Veteran Fours Head on Sunday.

Both events are time trials for fours and quads and are raced over 6800 metres of the Championship course on the River Thames from Mortlake to Putney, although the course was shortened slightly this year due to tunnel works near Putney Pier.

The Head of the River Fours first took place in 1955, initially only for fours, and over a shorter distance, but, with various changes incorporated it has been raced each November since then. Sculls were introduced in 1973, women first competed in 1977, and Fuller Smith and Turner PLC began their sponsorship in 1979.

The Fuller’s Head is restricted to a maximum of 480 entries and offers Club, Academic, and School/Junior competition. Held since 2007 the Veterans’ event has a capacity of 260 crews and is for competitors over the age of 27 who are eligible for British Rowing Masters racing in age categories A to H. Unlike the Fuller’s Head it is also open to coxed quads, and in 2018, for the first time, double sculls were invited in an attempt to offer masters from smaller clubs the opportunity to race.

After DARC’s senior women’s squad sent two crews to the 2017 Fuller’s Head it was the turn of the men’s squad this year. The senior coxless quad of David Rutter, Nicholas Baird, Tom Richardson and Will Hamlyn raced in at times blustery conditions on Saturday in the Challenge division, finishing 14th out of 19 starters in their category in a time of 21.27.9s.

The overall winner was the Leander A Championship 4x- who completed the course in 18.26.3s.

Results by event and photos by Ben Rodford

As the club was preparing to celebrate Bonfire Night on Sunday Durham ARC was represented by Gill Prescott, racing for the second year in the Women’s Masters F composite coxless quad along with Eva Rankin of Loch Lomond, Jackie Darling of Barnes Bridge Ladies and Birgith Sims of Kingston RC. In calmer conditions the crew repeated their success of the previous year, completing the course in a time of 22.00.4s, defeating Tideway Scullers, Molesey and a Walbrook/Tideway Scullers composite to win their category, finishing 124th overall from a start position of 214.

Provisional Results and photos by Ben Rodford

Touring rowers visit

On Monday, October 29th we welcomed John and Caroline Turnbull from Weyfarers Rowing Club and British Rowing’s Recreational Rowing Committee, who joined the daytime rowers for a paddle before retiring to the clubhouse for soup and bacon sandwiches prepared by Gene and helpers, where they addressed members about the virtues of rowing tours.

John and Caroline gave a report on this year’s touring activities including the 25th anniversary British Rowing UK Tour which took place on the River Thames in August and September. The 2019 UK tour will be to the Lake District, while the bi-annual European tour will be to Lithuania. Details will be available soon.

It has been an exciting year for recreational rowing, with British Rowing securing a sponsorship deal with Charles Stanley Wealth Management in March for the provision of a package of stable touring boats, trailers and equipment, which are being made available for events around the country. Durham ARC members have also taken part in tours to the Norfolk Broads and on the Canal du Midi in France.

The visit provided an opportunity for John to indulge in some reminiscing with Charly Curtis. The two were crewmates in 1967.

Pictured (top) are Charly Curtis, Caroline Scholl, John Turnbull, Caroline Turnbull and Colin Percy (Northern Rowing Council).

Explore Series winds up on the Tyne

The 2018 Northern Explore Series reached its conclusion on October 7th with the final round, the last of 7, taking place in breezy conditions at Tyne Amateur Rowing Club.

Completing its seventh year the competition is organized by the Northern Rowing Council and is aimed at novice and recreational rowers, those returning to rowing after a break, and racers who have retired from competition. It offers fun but competitive side by side racing in stable coxed quads or fours over a short course at selected venues around the region on the first Sunday of each month during the Spring and summer season, providing opportunities to visit Berwick, Tynemouth, Talkin Tarn and Hexham as well as the Tyne and Durham clubs.

The winner’s prize in the open league was presented to Barcing Mad from Berwick ARC (the club’s first success in the event), while Tynemouth Buoys from Tynemouth RC were runners-up. The women’s league has been a close contest all season between TURC Ducks from Tyne United RC and Tyne of your Life from Tyne ARC, and a victory for Tyne ARC in their head to head brought the two level on points, so it was agreed that the winner’s prize would be shared.

After winning prizes in both competitions last season Durham ARC fielded scratch crews in each round of the open league this year, while Rock on d’Arc  (consisting of Margaret Richardson, Maureen Miller, Linda James and Denise Greenwell, and coxed by Caroline Scholl), who only took part in the women’s league from the third round onwards, failed to claim third place in the league by a single point.  

The background to the Explore Series is explained on this page of the Northern Rowing website, on which the draft timetable for 2019 can also be found.

New teams are welcome to enter next year’s competition which starts in March 2019.

Pairs Head survives blustery conditions

The 2018 autumn heads season got underway on the Tideway with the Pairs Head on October 6th with 470 crews representing clubs from across the UK, and Juniors, Seniors and Masters rowers racing in pairs (sweep-oar) and doubles (sculling) in age categories ranging from J16 to Masters H (70+).

The race starts at The Boat Race finish post downstream of Chiswick Bridge and finishes at Harrods Wall downstream of Hammersmith Bridge, competitors being timed over the course of approximately 4.5km.

Blustery conditions played their part and a troublesome northerly breeze meant the race was in doubt until given the go-ahead only 2 hours before the scheduled 3pm start.

Durham ARC was represented by Kim Forster and David Muse, boating from Cygnet Rowing Club and putting in a great performance in challenging conditions on their first outing in the competition to finish second in their category in a Mixed Masters B/C double scull, and 223rd position overall in a time of 16m 26.9s, adjusted for masters handicap to 16m 18.56s.

The event is organised by Barnes Bridge Ladies Rowing Club (BBLRC). The final results are posted on the BBLRC website.

Photos are available from Ben Rodford Photography and AllMarkOne.

The Pairs Head is the first of several rowing events taking place on the Thames during the autumn months. The Head of the River Fours and Veteran Fours Head take place on November 3rd and 4th, followed by the Scullers Head on December 1st, before the focus shifts to eights heads after the New Year, including the Schools’ Head on March 15th, Women’s Eights Head of the River Race on March 16th, Head of the River Race and Veterans’ Head on March 30th and 31st 2019.

Juniors make waves at Autumn Sprint

The Regatta season drew to its conclusion with around 100 entries for Durham Autumn Sprint on September 29th. Traditionally this is an event that appeals mainly to junior competitors and this year was no exception, with Durham ARC, Durham School, St Leonard’s and the Tyne clubs well represented.

For the second year omnium competitions were included for J13 to J15 scullers. This entails single and double scullers carrying out skills exercises next to the landing stage, including roll-ups, hands off at the catch, 360 degree spins and standing rigger dips, before continuing to the start line for a time trial and side by side races over the 500 metre course.

Another feature was a good sculling competition between members of the DARC senior squad.

 

Masters race in Sarasota

Undeterred by the 4000 mile journey four members of the Masters squad headed for the early autumn heat of Sarasota-Brabenton in Florida for the 2018 World Rowing Masters Regatta, joining athletes from 48 countries taking part in 445 races over the 4 days between September 27th and 30th, with the USA accounting for more than half of the 2000 competitors.

The combination of George Adair and Paul Rutter was first to take to the water on Thursday, placing 4th in their heat of the Masters E double sculls (age 55 to 59) behind Australia, Peru and the USA.

The best performance came from Paul Rutter on Saturday, finishing 5th in heat 4 of the Masters E single sculls. This was the event with the most entries in the regatta, with 12 finals being raced. Paul was also the fastest of four scullers representing Great Britain across the 12 heats, completing the 1000 metres in 4m 18.41s.

As is customary at the World Masters the Sunday of the regatta is reserved for mixed races, which was the opportunity for Sarah Rutter and Helen Adair to join in to form the only Mixed Masters E coxless quad representing GB, taking 5th place,  with the opposition consisting of 5 USA crews and one from Brazil.

Earlier on Sunday Paul and Sarah finished 7th in a Mixed Masters E 2x against opposition from USA, Denmark, Brazil and an International crew.

All the results are on the Regatta Timing website. Regatta photos are from meinruderbild.de.

The 2019 World Masters Regatta takes place on September 11-15th at Lake Velence in Hungary.