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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.

 

Successful weekend at Sculling Festival

Durham ARC had three entries in the 2018 British Rowing Sculling Festival which took place in sometimes challenging conditions at Nottingham over the weekend of August 18th and 19th. The festival is a fun and competitive event that challenges a sculler’s technical skills, manoeuvrability and competency, and is run as an omnium with points from individual events contributing towards the overall rankings.

Hope Cessford was second fastest overall in the Women’s U23 category in the Long Distance time trial over 3.8km (2 x 1900m) in 17.58.105, Rachael O’Connor representing Durham University BC finished in 22.37.037 in the WU23, and Grace Stewart-Piercy 22.46.027 in the WJ18. In the 250m time trial Hope was the fastest woman overall in 1.00.000, Rachael  clocked 1.11.000 and Grace 1.17.000. Time trial results for all competitors are listed for 3.8km and 250m

Side by side races took place on Sunday, with scullers being placed in finals A to F according to their time trial performance. The schedule was revised and races shortened to 500 metres because of the conditions. Hope was the best placed from DARC, coming 4th in the A final in a time of 1.50.9, Rachael was 4th in the E final and Grace 4th in the F final. Race results are availabe here.

After the completion of 10 exercises over the 2 days the overall points placings were as follows –
Hope Cessford 2nd in Women’s U23
Rachael O’Connor 11th in Women’s U23
Grace Stewart-Piercy 9th in Women’s  J18

For full results listings in each category see U23 and J18.

Photo by Drew Smith Photography

James in Henley Ladies Plate final

Former DARC junior James Snowball, now in his second year at Oxford Brookes University, followed up his success at BUCS last year by reaching the final of the Ladies’ Plate at Henley Royal Regatta in July.

James rowed at bow for the Oxford Brookes and Edinburgh University composite eight, beating Cantabrigian and Leander in the quarter-final and semi-final, before going down in the final against the Brookes first eight who retained the trophy for a seond year, setting a new course record in the process, the winners receiving their trophies from Olympic Gold Medallist and Oxford Brookes University Chancellor Katherine Grainger.

There is YouTube footage of the semi-final against Leander and of the Brookes v Brookes final.

Touring on the Tees

For the past 3 years Tees Rowing Club’s recreational rowers (or WRecks as they like to be called) have invited members of Durham ARC to join them for a row on the River Tees to Yarm and back, a fixture which is gaining in popularity each year. Given the fine condtions this summer it’s not difficult to see why touring is such an enjoyable experience.

Exchange visits between the recreational rowers from Tees and DARC started 6 years ago following the introduction by British Rowing of the Explore Rowing movement and then the Explore Series, and the relationship has since flourished to include the wider masters squad as well as  members of other clubs who row during the daytime.

Coordinated by Len Small from Tees the day is also a social occasion with rowers returning to a BBQ lunch prepared by the Tees members. This year in addition to the 74 taking part in the 25km return trip from the River Tees Watersports Centre to the railway viaduct at Yarm, numbers were swelled by launch drivers, volunteers and supporters, with over 100 attending the BBQ.

In previous years Tees have been able to offer their own boats for use by visitors, thus avoiding the need for trailering,  but with Increased interest from their own members this year visitors were recommended to bring their own boats, a move that has generated interest from those who like to use more familiar equipment. Seventeen rowers from DARC and four from Hexham therefore arrived at Stockton on Tuesday August 7th, with five boats from Durham and one from Hexham, ready to set off, and after a safety briefing the tour got underway at 9.30am.

The DARC contingent included George and Helen Adair, Heather Hirst and Nicola Field in a coxless quad, Kalpana Ganatra, Alison Shepherd, Gene Dobson, Paddy Deans and Caroline Scholl in a coxed quad, and Dave Green, Colin Lawson, Vaughan Gordon, Linda James and Elizabeth Bostock in a second coxed quad. Andrew and Christine Fisk followed in a double with Peter Fisk in a single scull.

All completed the tour safely after taking turns to land at the pontoon at Yarm School for a short break at the halfway point, arriving back at the River Tees Watersports Centre to enjoy the lunch and post event company.

We look forward to continuing to enhance the status of rowing tours and challenges in future, following the cancellation of this year’s Great Tyne Row and a fall in the number of entries for the River Wear Tour.

Tours are increasing in popularity in other regions with the first Explore the Broads tour, attended by Paddy,  taking place in Norfolk and Suffolk in June and the 25th anniversary British Rowing Tour on the Upper Thames due to set off at the end of August.

Durham hosts August Explore Series

Durham ARC hosted the sixth round of the Explore Series on Sunday August 5th 2018, welcoming crews representing clubs from across the Northern region to race over a 250 metre course in this popular competition for novice rowers, now in its 7th season.

DARC fielded entries in the open and women’s competitions, taking on opposition from Hexham, Tees, Tynemouth, Tyne United, Tyne ARC and Berwick in a series of round robin races using the stable Explore fours, this being the first sweep-oar round of this year’s league.

The open crew of Andrew, Christine, Gerry and Stewart, coxed by Brian Freeman, won two of their 4 races, while Linda, Denise, Gillian, Margaret and Maureen, coxed by Dave Green, won one out of 3 in the women’s league.

The only incident of note came in the very first race when a restart was required following a collision between the 2 leading crews, the aptly named Barcing Mad from Berwick ARC and Wreckless from Tees RC.

After completing 16 races victory in the open league was shared between Barcing Mad and Tynemouth Buoys with 3 wins each, while Tyne of your Life, representing Tyne ARC and TURC Ducks from Tyne United fought it out in the women’s league, each winning 2 of their races. Berwick thus retain top spot in the open series and Tyne United stay top in the women’s overall, with two rounds remaining at Hexham on September 2nd and Tyne ARC on October 7th. New teams are welcome to join the competition. Entry conditions can be found on the Northern Rowing website.

More photos on facebook.

Fine weather meant we could take advantage of the marquee for outdoor refreshments with drinks and plentiful supplies of cakes and bacon sandwiches available throughout the afternoon for the watching spectators, with around 80 competitors and visitors being entertained by members of the club’s squad of daytime rowers. 

It has been a busy week for the daytime rowers, following on from their efforts in organising a visit to the club by 120 members of local walking groups last Tuesday lunchtime for their annual BBQ and quiz.

Juniors at National Championships 2018

Durham ARC’s Juniors squad had a successful weekend at Nottingham’s National Watersports Centre for the 2018 British Rowing Junior Championships on July 20th to 22nd. The club entered for the omnium in the girls J14 single sculls and in the J14 girls coxed quad on Friday, and in the J16 and J18 boys’ single sculls on Saturday as well as in a composite crew with Tyne ARC in the J15 girls’ coxed quad.

Overall 1379 junior rowers from clubs across the UK took part over the three days, starting with 167 singles and 107 doubles in an omnium competition for J14 scullers on Friday, with skills exercises including hands off at the catch, 360 degree spin, standing rigger dips, sequencing, roll ups and back down stop, before finishing with a race over 500 metres. Saturday and Sunday were reserved for time trials, semi-finals and finals for the J15 to J18 competitors.

The best performance from DARC came from Adam Morris (above) who clinched 7th position in Saturday’s time trial with a time of 5.50.6 for the 1500 metres to go into Sunday’s semi-finals of the J16 single sculls. With an excellent scull Adam completed the 2km semi-final in 8.17.8, holding off his opponent from George Watson’s College to take second place and secure a place in the A final in which he went on to finish 6th overall.

The J14 girls coxed quad of Georgia Abbott, Ruby Coe, Niamh Lang and Amy Slater, coxed by Libby Morris, finished 28th out of 36 entries in Friday morning’s 1000 metre time trial, qualifying them for the E final. Much of the day was then devoted to the omnium in which each crew member took part individually in a single, before they combined again for the 4x+ finals in which a 2nd place finish in the E final ranked them 26th overall.

On Saturday Aidan Crilley finished 37th in the J18 1x time trial but failed to qualify for the finals. Ella Sampson and Madlyn Elmer competed in a DARC/Tyne ARC composite J15 girls’ coxed quad where 18th position in the time trial gave them a place in the C final in which they went on to finish 3rd (15th overall) with a time of 8.29.82 for the 2000 metre course.

A complete list of results and an event report can be found on the Junior Championships website.

Masters miss out at Henley

Durham ARC’s Masters entered 8 events at Henley Masters Regatta on July 13th and 14th but returned empty handed despite some close races.

The closest came in only the third race on Friday morning when the Women’s Masters C eight (Jacki Patrickson, Ray Dominy, Sarah Rutter, Gabrielle Moore, Kate Sowden, Heather Tosley, Helen Adair, Clare Woodward and cox Nigel van Zwanenberg), was drawn against Putney Town in their heat, but despite drafting in reinforcements from the senior squad the outcome over the 1000 metre course was victory for Putney by a margin of only 2 feet.

In the other Friday races the MasE quad lost in their heat against Norwich by 1.75 lengths, the MasF coxed four lost in the semi-final against Grosvenor RC from Chester by 2 lengths and David Muse went down by 2.5 lengths against a Leicester opponent in the heat of the MasB single sculls.

On Saturday Kim Forster was beaten by 3 lengths by her Milton Keynes opponent in the semi-final of the Women’s MasC single, while Andy Jaggard, having progressed through the heat of the MasG single sculls against Grosvenor, came up against an old adversary from Poplar in the final and went down by 1.25 lengths. In the very next race Joyce Collett, making her first appearance at Henley, went down by 1 length against strong opposition from Tideway Scullers in the final of the WMasG single. Lastly the MasG double was beaten in the final by 2 lengths by Dart Totnes.

The full list of results can be found on the Henley Masters website.