I’m Sarah, captain of Broxbourne Rowing Club. Below is some information about rowing at Broxbourne. If you are a complete beginner please see the Learn 2 Row section but if you have some experience of rowing and/or coxing and would like to join one of the squads contact me by email: captain@broxbournerowingclub.org


Rowing at Broxbourne


Competitive Rowing
BRC regularly competes against other clubs at local and national level regattas and has on occasion competed overseas. We compete all year round in regattas (side by side races) in the summer and head races (time trials) in the winter season. Most races we attend are run under the British Rowing system. You would begin in a novice / development crew maybe along with people from your beginner’s course with an aim to compete in these events. This would involve commitment to train regularly and achieve a good level of fitness; the frequency of this would depend on your crew but generally requires a minimum of 3 training sessions per week. Racing at Masters level is becoming increasingly popular and events are offered for ages 27 to over 80 based on the average age of the crew.

Recreational Rowing
If competitive rowing and structured training programmes are not for you, recreational rowing is a great option. Recreational rowing still requires stamina and aerobic fitness but is less demanding than competitive rowing and is more about the enjoyment of being on the river than entering races. At BRC we are building our recreational rowing squad and have a core group of people who meet up to row together. This group may also venture further afield, but are more likely to row over the lock to the local pub than be seen at a regatta! We have recently acquired some new boats specifically designed for recreational, touring and coastal rowing.

Sculling
Most members of the club are aligned to a squad; however it is also possible to enjoy rowing on your own. Experienced scullers will be assessed prior to taking out club equipment, we have a large range of single sculls available for members. There are opportunities to learn to scull with the beginner’s course if you join in the summer, or it may be that you learn later on. You will learn in a training scull and it is essential that you do this under supervision of a coach until you are signed off as competent to avoid a swimming session! Sculling can be enjoyable for all levels and provides some independence on when you train. Please speak to one of the beginner coaches if you are interested in learning.

Coxing
We are always looking for new coxes to join our crews! Coxing involves steering the boat and providing motivation for the crew. We are always very happy to train new coxes, please speak to any of the rowing committee if interested. Although coxes for racing are usually lightweight there are far fewer restrictions for training purposes and the best coxes at club level are not always the lightest people.


Fitness Training


Ergos: The rowing machine is the best option for non-water based fitness training. We have 11 machines at the club available for all members to use.

Circuit training: Circuit sessions open to all are held starting at 7pm on Tuesdays. Please arrive 10 minutes early before your first session to ensure you understand each exercise.


Races


BRC regularly competes against other clubs at local and national level regattas and has on occasion competed overseas. We compete all year round in regattas (side by side races) in the summer and head races (time trials) in the winter season. Most races we attend are run under the British Rowing system so your first race would be at novice level and you would progress up to intermediate and senior status as you win races.
To get involved with a competition crew you will need to join one of our racing squads. Race entries will be co-ordinated via your coach or squad vice-captain and all race entries will be placed by the Race Entries Secretary. To enter a race you will need to be a British Rowing member.

Head of the River Race 2018 – Race Report

Posted by Ryan Cheale | March 15, 2018

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The HoRR event is the premier eights race for men’s Eights in the United Kingdom. The Tideway, a mistress to the weather, has often seen this event called off. This year the weather behaved itself and with mild winds, the event was run on Sunday 11th.

This year we entered two crews:

A: 112
Cox: Kathryn
S: Dario Unmarino
7: Rick Bolton
6: Ryan Cheale
5: Phil Robinson
4: Steve Turner
3: Russell Theobald
2: Graham Walker
B: Ben Hughes

B: 249
Cox: Cerys
S: Dan Richardson
7: Dan.L
6: Richard Watkins
5: Husayin Aysen
4: Brian O’Purcell
3: Giles Dunk
2: Andrew Jones
B: David Pike

The A crew saw a last-minute illness and forced an unplanned substitution. Nevertheless, we set off hard chasing down Vesta-C boat. We comfortably walked through them at the Chiswick Eyot and begun using them to push off. Post hammersmith the toll of racing was starting to get to us but with some strong calls from our cox we picked it up and continued to push. Up ahead we had begun closing in on a group of crews, sadly (or perhaps luckily) we didn’t catch them in time to be part of the mess of boats. We placed 112th overall.

It was a solid row for the men’s B boat, the conditions were good and we were able to settle into a decent rate off of the start. Unfortunately, the snow had messed up training so we had not done much high rate training, but on the day the crew coped well. Cerys coxed us well through the race, including pulling off a clean overtake in the last stretch. Hopefully, with more training at race pace, we should be in good shape for Bedford 4s.

Quintin Head 2018 – Mens Squad

Posted by Ryan Cheale | January 31, 2018

Quintin Head took place on the 27th January over on the tideway. A ‘small’ 8’s race which saw the likes of Thames, UL, Imperial and Cambridge rock up.

This year we fielded an IM2 8+, a mix of our Senior and Intermediate squads to gauge how winter training has gone.

For a crew which had a single outing together prior, it seemed cohesion was not an issue and grinding away in small boats over winter has had its benefits. The crew set off behind Vesta and Lea rowing club with Quintin behind. For the majority of the race the eight stuck with Vesta but did lose grip eventually with Vesta pulling 9s out of the crew. The Lea boat saw the crew row through them near Chiswick Eyot and finish the race ahead.

The overall placing was 42nd and 8th/16 in Category in a time of 10:59.7, winners of the category were Imperial College in a time of 10:40.5 – a mere 19s difference for a scratch crew is a brilliant achievement. As HORR beging to loom, moving into larger boats will only build a faster, more consistent 8.

Reading and Curlew has already laid down the challenge of a rematch.

Kingston Small Boats Head 2017 – Senior Men Report

Posted by Ryan Cheale | November 5, 2017

Kingston Small Boats Head.

Low winds and warm weather made for good racing conditions this weekend. Kingston is a 5km head race with a long bend and a couple of bridges to push off of.

This year we had entered:

Div1

IM2.2- Ryan Cheale / Phil Robinson
IM2.1x Russ Theobald
MasC.1x Russ Bielby

Div2
IM1.1x Ryan Cheale
IM3.1x Phil Robinson
IM3.4x Peter Maynes / Adam Brown / Dan Richardson / Russ Theobald

We had two wins:

IM2.2- Ryan Cheale / Phil Robinson

and

MasC.1x Russ Bielby

A constructive weekend with our scullers learning a lot in prep for Scullers Head.

A Rowing Tour on the Lancaster Canal 2017

Posted by Ryan Cheale | October 30, 2017

A Rowing Tour on the Lancaster Canal

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The touring boats are usually stable coxed quads. These are easier to control in locks and can squeeze through narrower gaps than rowing boats. Pedants may want the tours to be re-named “Sculling Tours”.

Daily routine. You get up very early. You regret staying up so late in the bar the night before (optional). Dozens of hungry rowers eat lots of breakfast before anyone else in the hotel is awake. You go to the loo, look for the things you will need during the day, think about spending the day in an open boat and go to the loo again. Coaches take us to the where the boats were stored overnight. Everybody helps everyone else to carry heavy touring boats to the river. This may involve lifting them over fences, going through holes in hedges and carrying up or down flights of steps. Eventually it is your turn to launch and you start paddling. After about an hour and a half you start looking for cafes, pubs, loos or even hedges that are accessible from the river. There is a planned stop for lunch, which may be sandwiches, then more paddling and looking for accessible amenities. At the overnight boat storage place everyone helps lift boats out of the river and over any obstacles. You might fall asleep on the coach that takes us back to the hotel. Re-hydrate in the bar, shower, change clothes, eat dinner, listen to announcements about the following day and make facetious remarks about the plan. Go to the bar to chat and stay there until late.

The organizers must have endless patience and limitless optimism. A strong sense of humour is very important. Peter Barker was an excellent organizer. He and his helpers had every detail of the tour covered. He was perfectly happy replying to the banter that met his announcements and his sense of humour never failed him.

The limerick competition. Saturday evening is always dress smartly evening and this year there was a limerick competition. It closely resembled I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, with Peter Barker playing the part of Humphrey Lyttleton, making up the rules as he went along. Broxbourne won (hooray!) with a rhyme composed by Jane, Rose and Jane and delivered with suitable majesty by Chris Lawn.

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The Tourers are very cheerful and very helpful. If anyone has a birthday – one year it was the coach driver – they like to sing the traditional song at the tops of their voices. They don’t like to paddle past cafes or pubs without stopping.

The Lancaster Canal has no locks, so there was no sitting and waiting. It used to run from Preston to Kendal, following the contours of the Lancashire hills. In fact it curls around some very tiny hills. It is a very scenic canal. Sometimes you go between steep banks with overhanging trees. Sometimes you are level with pastureland and can look past grazing cattle to stone built hill farms. There are places where you can see the land falling away to Morecambe Bay. It runs over

several inconspicuous aqueducts and at Lancaster you paddle across a big spectacular aqueduct over the River Lune. (We all got out of our boats to take photos.)

There are a lot of bridges over the canal. We rowed 38 miles during the tour and went under bridges 18 to 138. So if you do the arithmetic you will find that there are – er – quite a lot of bridges per mile. Most of them are attractive stone arches. The space taken up by the tow-path makes them slightly narrower than the bridge at the end of The Cut. At the command “Make the boat narrow!” you swing the scull handles behind you and if the boat has enough momentum it glides through. At the northern and southern ends of the navigable stretch, the reeds are encroaching into the channel. This gives you opportunities to practice the Make the Boat Narrow drill.

There is a tow-path along the whole length of the canal, so with a bit of effort you can always scramble out of your boat to find amenities.

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Strategy. There is no point in being first to the finish during a tour. The coach won’t take you back to the hotel until the last boat has arrived and the last crew to arrive will have the most people available to help them lift and carry. And riverside cafes and pubs should not be deprived of income.

The Natives were nearly always friendly. We got lots of smiles and waves and encouragement. The powerboat drivers, with only two exceptions, were all very considerate.

We met Rosie Sanderson who rowed at Broxbourne before moving to Settle.

The following are my favourite comments from people that I didn’t know.

When I asked the coach driver if it was going to stay dry he demonstrated a Lancastrian’s philosophical attitude to rain and said “Hmm, possibly.” (It didn’t rain.)

A small lady called Beryl, who is probably even older than me, held out her hand to help me bridge the gap between the boat and the bank. I asked her if she was strong enough and she said “Oh I’m strong, don’t you worry about me love!”

A man with a Scottish accent watched us and said “I’m not seeing perfect harmony here!” Was he a rowing expert who could see some (modest cough) minute imperfections in our timing? Or was he just winding us up? We’ll never know.

Thank you Jane for doing all the trailer towing and for recognizing that when I offered to drive I didn’t really want to.

— Chris Moody

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Pairs Head 2017 – Senior Men Report

Posted by Ryan Cheale | October 15, 2017

Pairs Head 2017 is one of the first major heads to be running under the new point system BROE2. It is a 4.8km head race on the Thames running from Chiswick bridge to about 250m down-tide of Hammersmith Bridge. It is an important benchmark event and we entered three crews that were drawn into:

Op 2x Championship Ryan Cheale / Josh Davies Crew 5
Op 2- Intermediate Matt Fidler / Ben Hughes Crew 33
Op 2- Club Phil Robinson / Russ Theobald Crew 68

Conditions were ideal for a non-tideway club. The course started out at Chiswick bridge going through a cross-tail from the SW direction. As crews came round to Barnes bridge this turned the wind into a slight tail. Finally, back round Hammersmith the course was a cross-tail again. The low wind coupled with high banks meant flat water for the majority of the course. When your crews only practice on flat conditions with only the ducks disturbing the water this was more than ideal.

9th Overall Ryan Cheale / Josh Davies 13:33.85
130th Overall Phil Robinson / Russ Theobald 14:53.22
171st Overall Matt Fidler / Ben Hughes 15:08.98

Provisional results:

A good spread of results with the pairs being within 15s of one another. Broxbourne produced the fastest non thames mens crew this weekend which quite the achievement.

We will next be racing at Kingston Small Boats Head, see you there!

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