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Club Regatta and Head Race Announcements

British Rowing UK Tour

Sixty-five rowers including Colin Lawson from Durham ARC took part in the 24th annual British Rowing UK Tour between August 24th and 27th 2017, thirteen stable coxed quads covering 40 miles of the Lancaster Canal from Preston to Tewitfield in three days.

Unlike 2011 when the UK Tour last visited Lancaster, rowers were greeted by dry and predominantly fine conditions with little wind, ideal for touring.

The Lancaster Canal was surveyed and constructed during the 1790s by Scottish engineer John Rennie. Being a contour canal, it has no locks, making life simpler for rowers, though it does have 122 bridges along its length, almost all too narrow for passage without shipping oars.

Accommodation for the group had been arranged by tour organiser Peter Barker of Upton Rowing Club at the Holiday Inn near the M6 exit for Lancaster, a perfect choice in a quiet setting next to the River Lune, and only yards from where the river is crossed by the Lune Aqueduct, the largest all-masonry aqueduct in Britain.

Day 1 on Friday was the longest of the three. A 20-mile coach journey united crews with their boats, coxed touring quads, before the latter were launched on to the canal for the first leg of 14 and a half miles, stopping at Bilsborrow after 9 miles for a packed lunch and visit to Owd Nell’s Tavern, continuing through beautiful scenery and passing numerous moored barges, and reaching Bridge House Marina at Garstang by mid-afternoon. This was to be the overnight stop.

Day 2, Saturday, was only marginally shorter, 13 and a half miles punctuated by lunch in the splendid setting of the Canal Craft Centre at Galgate. A lovely afternoon sculling through Lancaster followed before boats were hauled out for the overnight stop at Lansil Golf Club, giving crews a chance to walk to the Lune Aqueduct on the way back to the hotel. Saving the crossing for the following day there was the dinner and presentation on canal history by the chairman of the Lancaster Canal Trust to look forward to, along with an address by the chairman of Lancaster John O‘Gaunt Rowing Club, based just across the Lune,

A quad from Lancaster John O’Gaunt, recovering from the after effects of Storm Desmond and celebrating its 175th anniversary this year, joined the tour for the final day. After the excitement of the previous evening Sunday was a relatively short 10-mile affair, crossing the aqueduct then enjoying glorious views across Morecambe Bay towards the Lake District mountains beyond, and arriving at the northern extent of the navigation at Tewitfield in time for lunch at the Longlands Hotel, but not before negotiating the tunnel under the M6 motorway – wide enough for barges but not for sculling – so the onboard canoe paddle was brought into play to get through in the dark. Touring is not for the faint hearted!

The British Rowing UK Tour is arranged by BR’s Recreational Rowing Committee and has taken place each year since 1994. The 25th anniversary celebration will be a tour on the Thames in August 2018. 

The Grape Escape

On August 23rd twenty members enjoyed a wine tasting evening at the club hosted by Chris Merchant.

The convivial social gathering which involved sampling a selection of 6 wines from around the world proved to be a great success. Food was provided in the form of tapas style nibbles while Chris gave an insight into each of the wines to help guests decide on their favourite, with an opportunity to enjoy it later at their leisure.

A good time was had by all!

Record entry for Bled

DARC Masters rowers are making final preparations for the World Rowing Masters Championships, this year taking place at Lake Bled, Slovenia between September 6th and 10th.

Known as one of the most beautiful rowing courses in the world Bled is ready to welcome a record entry of 6376 rowers from 861 clubs from around the world.

With entries in 62 events the DARC contingent of 36 rowers occupying 154 racing seats is easily twice the number catered for before.

Entries over the 5 days include –

Wednesday – Masters A 1x, F 1x, D 2x, E 4+, B 8+, Women’s Masters D 2x, W C 4+, W E 8+

Thursday –  H 1x, E 2-, F 2x, F 4-, G 4x-, G 8+, W C 1x, W F 1x, W D 4+, W E 4x-

Friday – E 1x, G 2x, F 4x-, F 8+, W D 1x, W C 4x-, W F 4x-

Saturday – B 1x, G 1x, C 2x, E 2x, D 4x-, F 4+, G 4+, H 8+, W B 1x, W E 1x, W G 1x, W F 2x, W D 4x-

Traditionally Sunday is reserved for mixed races with entries drawn during the course of the Championships. DARC has entered for the Mixed Masters B, E, F and G 2x, and C and G 4x.

Draw details and times can be found here.

Watch a video of the F/G 8+ training on the Wear, and find out more about the squads on the Masters page.

Visit to Yarm

The summer months are an ideal opportunity for recreational rowing, with visits, tours and similar challenges offering the chance to share a common interest while developing links between clubs.

For the third year a group of daytime rowers from DARC accepted an invitation from Tees RC to join them for the annual 25km row from Stockton to Yarm and back. On Tuesday August 8th 10 of the daytime rowers from DARC joined a group of 48 for the round trip organised this time by Len Small from Tees. Crews were formed to combine members of the two clubs and Tees kindly allowed us to use their fine and stable boats to avoid the need for unnecessary trailering.

After a dry start conditions deteriorated for the return journey but the weary rowers were rewarded on their return with an excellent 3 course BBQ lunch prepared by Julian Bunn of Tees RC.

The DARC contingent included Clare Staines, Nicola Field, Paddy Deans, Caroline Scholl, Jane Auster, Margaret Richardson, Colin Lawson, Vaughan Gordon, Dave Green and Steve Auster.

River Wear Tour 2017

On Sunday July 30th eight members from Durham ARC enjoyed a day out a few miles downstream on the tidal reach of the River Wear, taking part in the third annual tour of the City of Sunderland. This is arranged by City of Sunderland Rowing Club with the support of the Northern Rowing Council and takes place in coxed stable boats as required by British Rowing.

Eleven boats took part from 6 clubs, starting and finishing at South Hylton and rowing 20km upstream past Cox Green to the Victoria Railway Viaduct and returning for some crew changes before continuing downstream to the Glass Centre and Port of Sunderland.

A new feature this year was the new Wear Crossing, under construction and scheduled to open in 2018. Other sights along the route include the Cretehauser, a concrete tug abandoned since 1942, the Shipwrights pub, Nissan factory, Washington Wetlands Centre, Hylton Bridge, Wearmouth Bridge and Rail Bridge, the Queen Alexandra Bridge, Stadium of Light and the University of Sunderland.

With fine if breezy conditions Kapana Ganatra, Chris Merchant, Caroline Scholl, Paddy Deans, Colin Lawson, Vaughan Gordon, Louise Forster and Steve Auster from DARC were joined by Josie and Victoria from Tees RC to provide sufficient rowers and coxes for DARC’s 2 coxed quads to enjoy a lovely day. After landing and derigging we gathered with members from Sunderland, Gateshead, Tynemouth and Talkin Tarn for a BBQ provided by the host club.

A reciprocal arrangement between daytime rowers from Tees and DARC has been in place for some time with regular exchange visits taking place over a number of years, the most recent visit being on July 20th when Tees visited for an outing and lunch. The clubs will also be sharing members for the row to Yarm in August and the Great Tyne Row in September.  

Touring is very friendly and is promoted by British Rowing which provides online learning resources  to help anyone who wants to organise a tour. BR’s Recreational Rowing Committee supports several tours already and encourages clubs to organise more. Recreational rowing was in existence long before the concept of competitive rowing as a sport.

Al Johnston went along and has shared his usual collection of super photos.

Thanks to Caroline for organising crews, Vaughan for driving and towing the trailer, City of Sunderland Rowing Club for organising the event and everyone else who took part or contributed.

Allcomers Regatta rescheduled for September 24th

As a result of problems with the river level the Allcomers Regatta  scheduled for 9th July has been postponed and will now take place on Sunday 24th September.

The Allcomers is for people who have never rowed before but who want to give it a try. All you need is a team of 4 people. All equipment is provided by the club. Full details and entry forms can be found on the Allcomers Regatta page.

The closing date for entries is Wednesday September 13th.

Allcomers Regatta entries now open

If you’ve never rowed before but want to have a go then Durham ARC’s annual Allcomers Regatta is the ideal opportunity. This year’s Allcomers is on Sunday July 9th. All you need is a team of 4 people. Full details and entry forms can be found on the Allcomers Regatta page.

Boats are provided by the club, along with a cox and coach who will give you guidance and get you ready for the regatta where you will race against other ‘allcomers’ in a friendly competition over a 300 metre course.

Downloadable leaflet.

Entries need to be in by Wednesday June 28th.

European Tour visits Hamburg

The 2nd British Rowing European Tour took place between May 11th and 13th 2017 in Hamburg, Germany, following last year’s inaugural tour to Amsterdam. Both the European tours so far have been organised superbly by Richard Pickup of the Nottingham Explorers group of recreational rowers, affiliated to Nottingham Rowing Club, in conjunction with representatives of host clubs from the areas visited.

This year the British tour group consisted of 42 rowers and 2 non-rowing partners drawn from 13 different clubs and included Colin Lawson from Durham ARC. Three Hamburg clubs were involved in the arrangements to entertain the British tourers, Ruder-Gesellschaft Hansa, Hamburger Ruderinnen Club and the Wassersportabteilung SV Polizei, with Hans-Heinrich Busse of RG Hansa the co-ordinator in chief.

Set on two lakes formed by the damming of the Alster River in the 13th century, the Free and Hanseatic city of Hamburg is an ideal location for touring, with around 20 rowing clubs in and around the city, its network of canals being crossed by some 2500 bridges, more than Amsterdam and Venice combined!

Boating took place from 3 clubs with the group sub-divided to enable a manageable number of crews to gather at each location, with crews allocated in advance to quads coxed by members of the host clubs and ‘doppelsechers’ (accommodating a crew of 6).

Crews embarked from RG Hansa at the northern end of the Aussenalster lake and from the two clubs situated on the Isebekkanal for 2 days, exploring around 25km each day along Hamburg’s scenic waterways. A damp start on day one was followed by gloriously calm conditions until day two was curtailed by a thunderstorm. The tour included lunch stops at Wassersportabteilung SV Polizei on Friday and at RG Hansa on Saturday, the party returning on Friday evening to be entertained to a sumptuous dinner as guests at the RG Hansa clubhouse.

Touring is a form of recreational rowing more prevalent in continental Europe where there is an 80/20 ratio of recreational to competitive rowing, ensuring availability of good quality touring boats at many clubs. British Rowing’s Recreational Rowing Committee, chaired by John Turnbull of Weyfarers Rowing Club, has organised a UK Tour visiting different waterways within the United Kingdom each year since 1994, with plans for the silver anniversary tour on the Thames in 2018 well advanced.  

Touring has been promoted increasingly in the UK since the launch of BR’s Explore Rowing programme by Sir Steve Redgrave in 2010.

The 2017 UK Tour is scheduled for August 24th to 27th on the Lancaster Canal with around 80 tourers expected to take part. Further details about this and other tours and touring can be found on the Recreational Rowing website.

Allcomers Regatta 2016

September sunshine welcomed the 9 crews entered for the 2016 Allcomers Regatta, six mixed (including one all-female) and 3 men’s fours.

After a few short weeks of intensive training friendly hostilities commenced over a 300 metre course with round-robin races alternating between DARC’s two stable boats and the pair borrowed from Durham University Boat Club.

The mixed competition was won by Boaty McBoatface (coached and coxed by Stephen Auster) winning all 4 of their races, with Daream Team (coxed by Nicola Field) in second place with 3 wins.

With a three-way tie on 2 wins each in the men’s competition the outcome was determined by a one-minute ergo relay. Five coxes in a boat (coached by Elliot Kay and coxed by Shannon Kay) took the honours with Blazing Paddles from Workwear Express taking second place.

An inter race interval allowed time for an octuple demonstration, the most recent addition to the club’s fleet, while spectators assembled on the riverbank enjoyed Pimms and ice cream.

Special thanks go to Rebecca French for undertaking the bulk of the organisation.

Mixed/women’s
Boaty McBoatface 4 points (winners)
Daream Team 3 (2nd)
Oarsome Foursome 2
Oar Dear! 1
Yogi Bears 1
Peru Crew 1

Men’s
5 Coxes in a Boat 2 points (winners in ergo decider)
Blazing Paddles 2 (2nd )
Rock Bottom 2

More photos on facebook.