The London Roar

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT

Over the past month the days have shortened noticeably and we find our early morning outings starting in the dark and our evening outings finishing in the dark. If you are rowing at each end of the day, please ensure that your boat is carrying the correct lights.

We have also seen some significant spring tides. The high tides have carried branches and debris into the river; the low tides have revealed sandbanks and spits that we have not seen for a while. Coupled with increased usage of the fleet, we have suffered quite a lot of minor damage to the boats. Please take extra care when steering and, if you do suffer any damage to club equipment, ensure that it is reported.  If we are aware of the damage, we can then repair the boat before it gets worse and keep the fleet available for others.

Finally, you will have received a formal calling notice and information pack for the General Meeting to be held on Wednesday 23rd October at the Club. This is an important meeting and follows discussions at the AGM in July. Please take time to read the information provided and attend the meeting if you can. The Committee will be available to talk through the current position and future plans for your Club.


Simon Harris
Chairman, London Rowing Club

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RON NEEDS 2 BOAT NAMING CEREMONY

On 3rd October 2019, our newest Empacher VIII with carbon riggers was christened for Ron Needs. The question from Louron and Woody, representing our Squad rowers, says it all, "Why is it called Ron Needs 2?" The answer, of course, is that this is the second time, just in recent history, that Ron has donated funds to purchase a boat for the Squad.


For those who did not know Ron, here are some words provided by Bob Downie and British Rowing at the time of his passing:


"Apart from Ron’s excellence as a coach, which is recognised worldwide, one must not forget his qualities as a person. He was a singularly kind and generous man, he had on numerous occasions funded boats and bought boats for his various crews when money was short. He was also exceedingly polite and tolerant with enormous patience. For those of us lucky enough to have known him as a friend and have been coached by him, he was without doubt peerless. We will miss him."
- Bob Downie

"A lifetime of contribution to the sport he loved.  GB Coach from 1973-2006, coached at four Olympic Games, 10 Boat Race wins with Cambridge women."


“His passion for rowing meant that even as a top executive with Beechams (now GSK) he was known within the company for working overseas and then flying back to coach a crew and then flying back out again – sometimes on Concorde.”


“In the late 1970s and 1980s he made a step change in lightweight rowing when based at London Rowing Club as a coach. His involvement resulted in World gold and silver medals.”

- British Rowing

The boat was christened by Captain Tim Grant who told what was described as a good story worthy of Ron. Early in HRR 2011, Tim was approached by what he described as an old man who invited the crew to his house for tea to review video he had shot.  Needless to say, he provided worthwhile advice to the crew who were smart enough to accept the tea offer and the rowing advice!

Chris Drury gave a short speech remembering how he persuaded Ron to come down to coach at London. This allowed Chris to row with Dan Topolski, Graeme Hall and Nick Tee, the beginning of the Lightweight Squad as we knew it. The first of many medals for LRC lightweights. So, many thanks to Chris for giving us the background of Ron’s introduction to LRC and how lucky we were to get Ron.

Paul Stewart-Bennett and Chris George related a few memories of rowing in Ron’s squad before all went up for drinks and the splendid Crawfish Supper. Thanks to all who attended.

Crew members from Ron’s LRC multiple winning crew: (left to right) Dr. Paul Stewart-Bennett, Chris Drury, Peter Zeun, Dr. Chris George, Colin Cusack, Ian Wilson, Duncan Innes, John Melvin and Robert Downie.

Crew members from Ron’s LRC multiple winning crew: (left to right) Dr. Paul Stewart-Bennett, Chris Drury, Peter Zeun, Dr. Chris George, Colin Cusack, Ian Wilson, Duncan Innes, John Melvin and Robert Downie.


Kathleen Curran
Chairman, Revenue Generation Group


DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

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23 October: General Meeting
26 October: Club Pride Day
27 October: Upper Thames Autumn Head
06 November: Irregulars’ Dinner 
09 November: Henley Sculls
23 November: Fours’ Head
24 November: Veterans’ Fours’ Head
01 December: Wallingford Fours and Eights Head
04 December: Irregulars’ Dinner (provisional)
07 December: Vesta Scullers Head
07 December: British Rowing Indoor Championships
08 December: Remenham Challenge

See more detail for these events, visit our Calendar of Events…


IRREGULARS’ REPORT

With the return of our members from Summer Holidays, attention turned to the preparations for the Regatta LONDON event scheduled to take place on Sunday, 29th September – a fourteen mile row from Hammersmith to Greenwich and around 50 rowing clubs entering crews with, of course, a plethora of other types of craft – kayaks, SUPs etc. A huge event!!

We had three crews participating – a mixed eight, a men’s eight and a mixed stable coxed quad – 23 participants in all – a great effort.

On three consecutive Sundays, we got eights out preceded by a couple of tank sessions; special tee shirts were ordered and printed and, thanks to Rob Dauncey, transport organised. The day was keenly awaited with a 05:45 assembly at the Club planned.

ALAS!! The event was cancelled on the preceding Friday. Poor water quality (the planned Barrier Closure was cancelled) and a poor forecast combined and the organisers rightly called it off – hugely disappointing for the organisers and, of course, the participants.

The date has already been set for next year event (Sunday, 20th September 2020) so let’s hope we have better luck then.

Our last Wednesday evening outing for the year took place on the 9th October – the Wednesday morning outings are still going strong with sometimes up to three quads getting out and these will continue throughout, as usual.

We had participants in the Pairs Head on the 6th October – Tony Lynn and Jonny Akehurst in a double competing in “H” category, average age 70 -75. A wonderful effort and a good and enjoyable row was had with them coming fourth in their category.

Tony Lynn (left) and Jonny Akehurst setting up for the Pairs Head.

Tony Lynn (left) and Jonny Akehurst setting up for the Pairs Head.

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Best of luck to Jason Danciger, Martin Quinn, Rory O’Sullivan and Aidan O’Flaherty who will shortly be flying off to Boston to compete in the Head of The Charles on the 20th October.

Finally, we have a couple of crews entering for the Vets Fours Head on Sunday 24th November.

Eddie Markes


FISA MASTERS REGATTA IN HUNGARY

A four consisting of Adrian Theed, Ralph Humphrey, Shaun Martin and me competed in the FISA World Masters Regatta which took place over the 11th to 15th September at Lake Velence near Budapest in Hungary.

Our four raced in Masters A, B, C and D events, winning one and finishing second in the others where the lead changed hands several times within the space of 1,000m.

Left to right: Stewart Harries, Adrian Theed, Ralph Humphrey and Shaun Martin .

Left to right: Stewart Harries, Adrian Theed, Ralph Humphrey and Shaun Martin.

Left to right: Shaun Martin, Stewart Harries, Ralph Humphrey and Adrian Theed.

Left to right: Shaun Martin, Stewart Harries, Ralph Humphrey and Adrian Theed.

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We also combined with others to race two eights events, winning the mixed eights by a comfortable margin.

It was an excellent regatta, helped by very good (even if a bit windy) weather and, hopefully, will prove to be good preparation for our next race at the Head of the Charles later this month.

Stewart Harries


PARKING IN FRONT OF THE CLUB

A particular request has been made by our General Manager, Shane Dorsett, to members that we should not under any circumstances park our cars in front of or in between the blue painted bollards in front of the Club as it causes great aggravation and inconvenience to those wanting to get their boats onto and off the water.

It is easy to think that parking there for a couple of minutes while you pop in to deliver something to the Club will not cause a problem. The difficulty is that if another member turns up in their car while your car is parked there, they think it is fine to do the same. You drive away a couple of minutes later but the other car is left there for a couple of hours.


LRC IS LOOKING GOOD

We are opening an LRC Kit Shop on Sunday, 13th October from 09:00am to 02:00pm, in the Club Room. We will operate just as a shop, you can walk away with your kit and hop into a boat, once you pay for it of course!

Click there to download a list of items with prices available for purchase:

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The Squad has the opportunity to purchase kit on Saturday, 12th October from Matt Piechowicz.

On Club Pride Day, Saturday, 26th October, the LRC Kit Shop will also be open.

There are many items that would make lovely gifts for friends, LRC friends and others.

Members who weren’t with us to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Club may be happy to know there is a special book written with lovely illustrations on the 150 years of LRC. This purchase is not only worthy of every LRC member but will especially help LRC's bank balance.

Please take advantage of this great opportunity to make purchases. Everyone needs more kit!

Let us display London proudly on the Tideway.

Matt Piechowicz and RGG


WHOA NESSIE!

On Saturday, 28th September, LRC member Emily Cameron-Baker took part in ‘Monster the Loch’- a twenty-one mile race on Loch Ness from Fort Augustus to Dores. This was a mass start race in which any man-powered and sea-worthy vessel could be entered! Emily raced in the coastal women’s single (CW1x) and finished in a time of 3hrs 7mins, the first woman to finish in the coastal single. Final places have yet to be released.

Slightly rougher than the Tideway.

Slightly rougher than the Tideway.

Slightly wider than the Tideway.

Slightly wider than the Tideway.

Emily Cameron-Baker (centre) with other competitors in the event.

Emily Cameron-Baker (centre) with other competitors in the event.

Having raised funds for the EY Foundation for Youth, she next turned her efforts towards rowing in the Pairs Head with me on the 6th October and will be taking part in the Royal Parks Half Marathon tomorrow.

A mentor for London Youth Rowing, Emily is racing the Royal Parks Half with her 2018/2019 mentee Ashley Ntumba and she will be fundraising for LYR. Please consider sponsoring Emily in her efforts:

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/emilycameron-blakerpfhm201946899

Late news: Emily and I were the 4th overall women’s crew racing in the championship 2x at Pairs Head!! A great race. Here’s a picture of us going under Hammersmith Bridge:

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Meghann Jackson


YOUNG IRREGULARS GO TO PARIS!

On Sunday 15th September the Young Irregulars took part in the Traversée de Paris – an annual event on the river Seine with approximately a thousand rowers and 200 boats! Ooh la la indeed!

The starting point for our 28km “light paddle” was Pont de Sèvres on the western side of Paris. Having arrived at the starting point before dawn, we set off to the sound of fireworks and cheers from the gathering boats at Sèvres Bridge. 

Rowing upstream along the left bank of the Seine for 14k, we passed many iconic buildings and monuments including the Eiffel Tower, the Grand Palais, the Tuileries, the Louvre, Notre Dame, and then following the Ile St. Louis back round to row back downstream to the starting point. 

In doing so, our crew rowed under 33 bridges and passed by some extraordinary architecture before enjoying a well-earned and festive celebratory meal of giant paellas in the sunshine back in Sèvres! 

When I joined London Rowing Club in 2015 I had no expectation to one day be rowing past the Eiffel Tower with the sun rising behind it – let alone having the privilege to do so two years in a row. I am sure the entire crew would agree that this was an extremely enjoyable and memorable experience. 

Huge thanks are due to Frank Lodewijk ter Voorde from Seeclub Zug in Switzerland (also a member of London) for allowing us to join this event along with five other boats comprised of scullers from Holland, Germany, Switzerland, and the U.K.

We had a wonderful time making new friends from the different clubs that took part and look forward to meeting again!

Here are a couple of photos taken from the cox’s seat as we made our way around beautiful Paris!

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Sehrish Rafique


IT’S ROWING, JIM, BUT NOT AS YOU KNOW IT…

On the rare occasions when I am not around the Club or on holiday, I am known to go missing for a few days, off into a different kind of rowing world.

It all started when a couple of guys living along the road from me in Teddington decided to enter the Great London Row in a skiff. This rapidly expanded to two skiffs but, after one of them sank during the race, they decided to go for something bigger and hired an old Thames Waterman’s Cutter. I got roped in at this stage and, after an exhausting row in a dilapidated boat, the crew (all from the same road) blithely decided to get its own boat built. The fibreglass hull was bought from a mould owned by the GRR Company and Mark Edwards at Richmond Bridge (he who did the woodwork on the Queen’s Rowbarge) was hired to produce all the internal fittings.  De Graaf produced a bespoke road trailer, and we were on our way!

The way has been long and varied. So far, we have taken it to the Vogalonga in Venice (3 times), rowed round Lake Como, rowed down from Lechlade to Marlow in two trips, rowed the navigable length of the River Avon, 75 miles down the River Douro from Pinhao to Porto in Portugal, 45 miles along the River Lot in France, and another 45 miles along the Broads rivers in Norfolk. Germany next year, with a 3 day trip along the River Mosel planned. All that, and the Great River Race of 21.5 miles each year.

The trips are rather varied.  Three days with no locks in Norfolk, four days with three locks on the Douro (admittedly, each of them over 100 feet deep) and three days with 17 locks in France.  The one common factor, though, is a string of nice restaurants, carefully researched, along the way, but with those distances in a heavy boat on a fixed seat, plenty of refuelling is necessary.

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It has been an eye-opener for me as to how much enjoyment can be had, as the crew is not very competent with little rowing background, and some members could do with shedding a stone or two, but full of enthusiasm and a yen to enjoy life.  Having said that, it’s always good to get back on the water from LRC, in a crew that have been doing it for years, and in a boat that doesn’t take over a dozen strokes to get up to cruising speed!

Mike Baldwin
President, London Rowing Club


GEORGE POCOCK AND THE BOYS IN THE BOAT

Greetings, London Rowing Club members!  Despite my NOT being an LRC member, the privilege of contributing an article to The London Roar has been extended to me in order to spread the word about a unique piece of rowing history.

Mention the name George Pocock to any experienced rower and you will see a knowing nod in recognition of the premier shell artist of the 20th Century. Born in Kingston upon Thames, where he and his brother would learn the craft of boat building from their father, the River Thames became their rowing classroom. But it would be the United States, specifically Washington State and the University of Washington, that would reap the benefit of the Pocock talents.  And, along the way, the Boeing airplane company.

George’s workshop, used from 1922 to 1949, and the WWI-era US Navy seaplane hangar in which it is located, still sit on the campus of the University of Washington. It was from this ‘shell house’ that the 1936 “Boys in the Boat” Berlin Olympics team trained, and where their boat was made.

An aerial drone photo of the present-day Shell House (photo courtesy of Alex Chen)

An aerial drone photo of the present-day Shell House (photo courtesy of Alex Chen)

George Pocock’s Shop in 1923, about a year after being established.

George Pocock’s Shop in 1923, about a year after being established.

The Shop today, taken from the same spot but with columns added for support in later years.

The Shop today, taken from the same spot but with columns added for support in later years.

George Pocock with a collection of his shells, including the 1936 Olympic eight ‘Husky Clipper’.

George Pocock with a collection of his shells, including the 1936 Olympic eight ‘Husky Clipper’.

Having seen their racing shells, William Boeing personally recruited the Pocock Brothers to build seaplane floats from 1917 until 1922. Richard Pocock is at the far right. George is directly behind him, near the window.

Having seen their racing shells, William Boeing personally recruited the Pocock Brothers to build seaplane floats from 1917 until 1922. Richard Pocock is at the far right. George is directly behind him, near the window.

The Shell House interior today.

The Shell House interior today.

If you would like to get in touch with Lee about this article please feel free to email him on  UWHangar@gmail.com

You may also like to follow these links;

And if anyone is visiting Seattle there’s a tour available:

 Lee Corbin


A PROPOS OF NOTHING… BUT REALLY INTERESTING

Our President, Mike Baldwin, recently drew my attention to a really interesting article about the Boat Race which took place on the 27th August 1869 between Harvard and Oxford over the Championship Course (Putney to Mortlake).

Do find the time to read it as it will bring home to you just how ‘big’ rowing was in the 1860s.  It was, to all intents and purposes, our national sport until soccer succeeded to the title!

http://www.rowinghistory.net/essays/international-boat-race

You will see that the Harvard crew boated from the LRC boat shed, where else! This was shortly before our present clubhouse was built.

Miles Preston
Editor of The London Roar


NOTE FROM THE EDITOR

My thanks to everyone who has contributed to this edition of the London Roar. If you have an idea for an article or would be interested in submitting a piece for inclusion in a future edition, please email me on miles.preston@londonrc.org.uk

Please do not submit an article without first liaising with me.


Miles Preston
Editor of The London Roar