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Club News and Announcements

Geoff Potts

Quintin Boat Club has announced the death of Geoff Potts on October 28th following a heart attack while coaching in a launch at Mortlake Anglian and Alpha BC. His association with Quintin began in the 1970s and lasted until around 2 years ago when he moved to MAA.

Geoff Potts started rowing at Durham School in the 1960s and, along with John Appleby, Gareth Powley, George Nicholson and Tony Bailes, was a member of the coxed four victorious in the Grand Challenge Cup at Durham Regatta in 1966.

The winning crew was to be reunited 50 years later as special guests at the 2016 Durham Regatta.

After leaving school Geoff went on to Durham University and rowed, along with Bill Grant, for DUBC at Henley Royal Regatta between 1968 and 1970 before initially joining Tees Rowing Club where he started his sculling career.

Greater success was to follow however after he moved to DARC

In 1972 a DARC eight competed in the Head of the River Race for the first time since 1958, starting 255 and finishing 35th. The crew comprised Kim Metcalfe, Tom Bishop, Mike Matthews, Fred Snowdon, Ian Shepherd, Bill Grant, Geoff Potts, John Appleby and cox Andy Jaggard.

Later the same year when the first National Championships was held at the new 2000 metre course at Holme Pierrepont, Nottingham, Geoff Potts and Tom Bishop took the silver medal in the double sculls.

Then in 1974 Geoff was selected as Great Britain Lightweight Single Sculler at the World Rowing Championships in Lucerne, Switzerland, the first time that the Championships included events for lightweights. Becoming DARC’s first male international Geoff won the first ever WRC lightweight race and went on to finish 4th overall.

After relocating to London he continued to be acknowledged as a very accomplished veteran sculler at Quintin as well as being highly regarded as a coach. 

Coaching Award for Gordon

Plaudits have been flowing in for Gordon Beattie after he was given the accolade of Coach of the Year for the Durham and Chester-le-Street area in the annual County Durham Sport Awards on October 27th.

Gordon has been coaching for over 40 years as well as carrying out many other duties around the Club on a voluntary basis, and had been looking forward to a well-deserved rest until being persuaded to cycle up and down the riverbanks of the Wear for one more year, helping Hope Cessford achieve her aim of selection for the GB Junior squad for the second successive year.

Hope was selected for the GB coxless four that won the B final at the World Junior Championships in Lithuania in August. She spoke of Gordon as the most influential person in her life. ‘He has taught me the meaning of hard work, dedication and what it takes to be a successful athlete whilst also being a shoulder to cry on’.

Award winners from each of the 4 geographical areas go forward to the County final at the Gala Theatre on January 26th 2018.

Great Tyne Rowers raise funds for the Stroke Association

Jo Beverley of the Stroke Association visited Durham ARC on Monday to join members of the club’s daytime rowing group for coffee and to receive funds donated. The group took part recently in the Great Tyne Row in aid of the Stroke Association, raising £1572 for the charity.

The Club entered 3 stable coxed quads in the event on September 2nd, a 25km challenge on the River Tyne starting from Newburn and finishing on the beach at Tynemouth.

The 15 crew members chose to support the Stroke Association as two of the participants had previously had strokes and rowing has helped with their recovery.

To further raise awareness the 3 teams adopted names with stroke connotations, ‘30 strokes a minute’ and ‘The F.A.S.T crew’ completing the 25km in an identical time of 2 hours 13 minutes, and ‘Stroke ‘n’ Recovery’ finishing in 2 hours 51 minutes.

Crew members are pictured above with one of the boats preparing for the event and with Jo Beverley on her visit to the club.  


World 100km indoor record

On Saturday 23 September 2017 Roger Stainforth of Durham ARC participated as captain, along with 16 others from around the UK, in a team of indoor rowers aged 70+ years who gathered in Newquay, Cornwall and set a world record in the large team (9 or more members) category, rowing in relay over a distance of 100km.

Each team member rowed 37 rotations, with Roger having the privilege of rowing the first and last rotations making a total of 39. The record took place on a Concept 2 Model E machine with each member rowing in turn for 20 strokes flat out, achieving an average of 161m per rotation.

The World Record time achieved was 5 hours 45 mins 8.1 secs, with a split time of 1.43.5sec per 500 metres and a rate of 36 strokes per minute.

As Roger (73) observed afterwards ‘It was no surprise that the time was 4m 42.1s faster than that achieved by the 8-man team who set the small team record of 5h 49m 50.2s at the same venue last year. Perhaps it could have been quicker but the noble endeavours of sport played their part with two 80+year olds in the team and one taking part only 11 weeks after a hip replacement.

Why Newquay? Tommy Gee who organises the event runs the Newquay Indoor Rowing Club, without his machines and organisational skills there would probably be no record’.

Senior Women’s Squad looking to expand

The DARC Senior Women’s Squad is looking to expand after a successful 2016-17 racing season, and we are happy to accept novice and experienced rowers- get in touch via email (women’s captain Alison Danforth – if you are interested in joining us for the 2017-18 season. We accept rowers throughout the year, and people new to the sport (those who completed a Learn to Row Course) in July through to September. We ask all rowers to commit to four training sessions a week, which may increase during regatta season. DARC is lucky to train all year on the River Wear, with additional strength and conditioning sessions in our indoor gym; a typical week’s training consists of four coached water sessions and two additional gym sessions. Occasionally we take our boats to the River Tyne where we have a bigger stretch of water to put some hard training to get ready for the long Head races.

See the Women’s Squad page for further details.

Rowing the Tyne for Stroke Association

Thirteen of DARC’s daytime members are combining with rowers from Tees and Stourport RC to enter three mixed quads for the Great Tyne Row on September 2nd while raising funds for a good cause.

‘We wanted to use the occasion to raise funds for a worthy cause, and as all of us has a family member or friend whose life has been affected as a result of a stroke we decided to adopt the Stroke Association as our chosen charity’ said Vaughan Gordon, one of the crew members.

Roger Bean of Stourport recovered from the stroke he had in 1997 but was fortunate enough to make a good recovery which allowed him to complete the Great Tyne Row for the first time in 2014, also following heart surgery.

Another member taking part is Victoria Dektereff of Tees RC, who started rowing as a means of getting her life back on track after suffering a stroke in 2009.

The Great Tyne Row is arranged by the Northern Rowing Council and takes place annually over 25km of the River Tyne between Newburn and Tynemouth.

For further details see

Team members including Chris Merchant, Colin Lawson, Jane Auster, Kalpana Ganatra, Nicola Field, Caroline Scholl, Dave Green, Steve Auster, Vaughan Gordon, Victoria Dektereff, Clive Hole, Elizabeth Judson, Linda James, Roger Bean and Sue Lyons hope to raise £1000 for the charity.

All donations will be gratefully appreciated. To support the team please sign the list on the Club notice board or see their JustGiving page on

Gateshead visit

DARC rowers maintained links with neighbouring clubs by accepting an invitation to visit Gateshead Community Rowing Club for a social visit on August 17th. A group of 11 daytime rowers enjoyed a first outing rowing along the River Derwent in a selection of Gateshead’s expanding fleet of boats before a BBQ at the new clubhouse.

Since the club was formed in 2014 Gateshead has relocated a short distance along the Tyne from the Sea Cadets building at Derwenthaugh Marina which was its base at the time of the launch of Harry Clasper. They are now fortunate to enjoy access to the River Derwent as well as the Tyne.

Several clubs in the Northern Region and beyond have developing recreational groups who enjoy visiting one another and networking. See our recreational events page for more about activities in which we take part. We look forward to continued good relations.

Juniors roundup 2017

Now that we’ve reached the end of regatta season, it seems like an appropriate time to attempt to summarise the numerous achievements of our juniors throughout the year. First of all, a massive well done to all junior crews who have competed at any level this year. The section is larger than ever, and also more successful, with numerous wins at regattas across the region.

The J13 girls have performed extremely well this season, with wins at York, Durham, and Durham City, in both quads and doubles of various combinations. The J13 boys, not to be outdone, have also coxed numerous events.

The J14 boys and girls have both produced strong performances in their quads, racing across the region against some intimidating opposition, such as the boys’ races against national silver medallists, in which they have come very close to beating them. The girls have also raced well at a national level, going to National Schools and National Championships, in which they came 14th out of a large entry of 42 crews.

The J15s have also performed extremely well, with multiple wins in quads, fours, and even eights, at events including Durham, York, Chester-le-Street, and Hexham. They have also been to Schools’ Head of the River, National Schools, and National Championships, at which they have produced good results. The J15 boys have also raced in a double, singles, and a composite quad with Tyne.

The J16s have done well in their eight, and in fours and quads, with wins at Talkin Tarn, and good results at other local regattas. They have also raced at Schools’ Head, and National Schools.

Last and quite possibly least (?), the J17 boys continued their long-standing tradition of coming second to St. Leonards, but did manage to get to the final of championship quads at Durham Regatta. Although exams prohibited them from going to the national regattas, they’re fairly sure they would have done well if they had gone. They also raced in a composite eight with St Leonards, seeing success with a win at Durham Regatta.

The juniors also hosted the first ever (and hopefully not the last) Junior Barbecue, inviting rowers from all clubs in Durham. Over 120 attended, and the event was highly successful. Finally, a huge thank you to all of the coaches, and the parents, who have helped us to achieve one of our most successful years ever. Hopefully we can continue this momentum next year, and get even better results.

Report by Harry Coe. Photos by Rob Coe.

River and path reopen

Contractors appointed by the Environment Agency were on site last weekend to effect a semi-permanent repair to the sluice gate at the Corn Mill which it is hoped means the weir will do its job as well as if not better than before. The river is therefore open for use again.

More good news is that the Council has completed the repairs to the riverbank following the landslip at Pelaw Wood in 2013 that led to the closure of the riverside footpath. The path is now open again with a new tarmac surface meaning that coaches will be able to go right up to the club on the far side of the river.

Two riverside paths form part of the National Cycle Network and the Weardale Way, linking the city centre and Old Durham. The reopening is in part thanks to the lobbying and peripheral work of volunteers from the Friends of Pelaw Wood.

The history of the restoration project is charted on the Durham County Council website.

River Closed – Weir/Sluice gate has failed

Overnight on 27th/28th June the sluice gate at the old mill adjacent to Durham School Boat House appears to have failed. The river level has dropped around 20cm overnight.

As such no Durham ARC crews are allowed to go afloat until further notice. Once the river levels have stabilised we will be able to assess the river and determine which parts are still deep enough for use. More importantly we need to identify any submerged objects that are now likely to cause damage.

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