On Saturday 3rd September Lower Thames Rowing Club once again entered the Great River Race. Having started in 1988, the spectacular 21 mile course from London Docklands to Richmond now attracts over 330 crews from around the world. The Great River Race now has firmly established itself in the sporting calendar to such an extent that experienced crews describe it as a classic event - the one they all want to win.
Last year saw LTRC attain their highest ever placing, 3rd overall…..could they do better this year? The purchasing of a new Celtic Longboat earlier this year meant the club could enter into another class of boats which have traditionally been very fast and always in and around the top 5 finishers.
So, having loaded 6 boats onto the trailers plus oars, bags, cushions and whatever else was needed, the crew coach set off for Poplar Rowing Club at very early O’clock on the Saturday morning. Once there the boats were unloaded, prepped for the race and crews registered. Everything was ready with some four hours to spare…..which gave everyone a chance to relax with a coffee and bacon sandwich. Once again Poplar RC kindly allowed us to use their facilities for which we are very grateful.
Leigh-Ho and Renown were due off at 12.50, with the Gigs and Celtic following on around 20 minutes later. The conditions changed rapidly on the day – the brilliant sunshine disappeared and south-westerly wind got stronger. Wind over a flooding tide means only 1 thing….waves, lots of them. The experienced crews knew it would be a little rough at the beginning, however, weren’t quite prepared for how long the waves would continue. The first 5 or 6 miles were an out and out slog, yes we were with the tide but constantly fighting the winds and waves. These conditions really suited some of the bigger boats such as Cornish Pilot Gigs – they literally tore through the waves and chased down then leaders
It was quite evident from an early stage that a top 5 or even top 10 finish for the skiffs would be very difficult. Despite passing most of the boats that started the race early, one by one some of the fast Pilot Gigs and larger ‘tubs’ came through. The first Celtic came past, and then another few….would our Celtic crew pass the Skiffs? The Gigs were starting amongst some quick boats….the months of training and prep really were going to be tested.
After a very hard row all of the LTRC boats one by one went over the finish line. It was a gruelling race, conditions were not favourable for our boats and there were some very well trained competition. Every single LTRC rower gave it their all, the tired and weary faces very much showed there was nothing left to give. The usual chaos of getting 330 boats out of the Thames using two slipways was accompanied by heavy rain. Eventually all 6 boats were stripped down and loaded onto the trailers. There wasn’t a dry crew member to be seen, well, apart from Tony.P who gave the row slightly more than his all and was sent to rest on the coach.
Once again the catering crew did a fantastic job looking after the hungry and thirsty rowers…..they even erected some temporary shelter for us all to stay out of the rain. Without you guys we really would be lost, so a massive massive thank you for your efforts. The coach full of tired and blistered rowers left around 7.15…..ironically the journey home took longer then all crews did to complete the race.
So, how did we do? The results are shown below. Leigh Ho managed to get 3rd in their class and the first outing of our Celtic saw the crew get 2nd in theirs. A fantastic achievement.
Well done to everyone who raced – a great effort all round. Here’s to next year…..I wonder what 2017 will hold for us!?!
|Boat||Place After Handicap||Fastest on Elapsed||Start||Finish||Elapsed Time||Handicap||Total time inc Handicap|
Leigh Ho towards the Finish
Renown at the Finish
Victory towards the Finish
Dauntless nearthe Finish
Proud Mary at Tower Bridge
Sunday 21st August saw Lower Thames Rowing Club host their Fourth Annual Pier Race. The club hosted some 17 boats from 8 clubs from as far away as Langstone on the South Coast and some 70 crew of all ages and abilities. The conditions were challenging as the gusting wind mixed with a spring tide produced some waves and white caps to be dealt with.
The crew from Queenborough in Kent in a fast Celtic Longboat took the honours with the fastest time of some 46 minutes, over the 5 mile course, closely followed by the Lower Thames Gig crew at 48 minutes, these crews, saw the rest of the field struggle, third place was some 10 minutes behind the first crew.
With a strong Westerly wind and high waves the Victory ladies crew with determination and firm rowing raced with great enthusiasm with Tyrant Mens Crew from RCRC on the return to the finish line. Although very close Victory came a respectable 6th overall and 1st Ladies Crew.
The day created an excellent spectacle for the Leigh Town Council Maritime event, showing a colourful backdrop on the River Thames.
The Fastest Boat overall, the Lady Daf from Queenborough Rowing Club
The Fastest Harkers Yard, Vandurara from Brightlingsea Rowing Club
The Fastest Gig (two Crew missing as they had follow on engagements) in Dauntless, from Lower Thames Rowing Club
The Fastest Skiff and Mixed Crew in Leigh Ho, from Lower Thames Rowing Club
The Fastest Ladies Crew in Victory, from Lower Thames Rowing Club
The Masters Crew in Renown, from Lower Thames Rowing Club
The Best Use of the Course, From South Woodham Ferrers Rowing Club
|CLUB||BOAT TYPE||Actual lapsed time||Final h/cap time|
|LTRC||SPIRIT OF DUNKIRK||01:05:09||01:13:24|
|LTRC||SPIRIT OF TRAFALGAR||01:11:04||01:20:02|
|SWF||SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE||01:28:57||01:37:22|
|Harkers Yard Gig|
Following the setting up of an artificial island some distance off Bell Wharf and having successfully lit the BBQ, disaster struck! With a brisk westerly wind Ron set off with his motor boat and Scout in tow to collect some of the guests on the beach, when suddenly the wind took Scout one side and the motor boat the other, so pulling his man made island over! He last saw his lit steaming BBQ drifting off towards the pier. However everyone still had a great deal of fun - much to the amusement of the spectators on the shore.
Thursday 28th July saw 8 rowers from the Lower Thames Rowing Club depart to find the Lost Wey to the Sea. Using 3 small boats the intreped crew of Pierre Therrien, Dave Allen, Sue Alder, Pat Peck, Ron Sverdlof, Steve Gardiner, Steve Ramm and Dave Large set off from our base on Two Tree Island heading for Palingham Quay. The journey was easy andwhen we arrived we unloaded the boats into the small stream that was to be the start of our adventure.
The Lost Wey to the Sea uses the River Arun and our start point was the first real point of Navigation for our small boats. The start required us to lower the boats down the bank, into the 6 inches or so of water.
The only way to travel was to "punt" the boats as the early stages were to narrow to row in teh conventional way
As we travelled the river got wider and we could start to row
The sun was out and the weather was very good, however by the time we arrived at Bury we were slightly wet as the misty rain forecast had started but we were bouyed by having completed the first section of our row, some 15 miles
Day Two of our journey saw us all meet up at Bury Ferry, we had to overnight in different Bed and Breakfasts as Glorious Goodwood meant that accomodation was hard to find, Ron and Steve decided to Camp on teh riverside, enjoying a dry and cofortable night.
The remaining part of our journey saw us travel down on the out going tide. The River has the second fastest tide in the country which certainly aided our travel and swiftly we passed through, Houghton, Arundle (having great views of the Castle from the river). Then finally to Littlehampton and the Sea.
A great couple of days rowing a very unusual part of the world, great fun with a great crew of people.
On Sunday a group of LTRC members converged on East Beach, Shoebury, not for a row but for a rather more relaxing BBQ. Aimed at raising money for the club it was a great chance for members of the club to meet up and socialise. Everyone got the chance to meet those club members they don't row with and see familiar faces, as well as enjoy the sunshine and food (somewhat charred in keeping with BBQ tradition.
While some memebrs enjoyed a post BBQ laze in the sun, or a relatively gentle bean bag throwing game, others took to the field for a game of rounders. The designated score keeper may have lost track of what was going on so let's just say that everyone acquitted themselves well!
A lot of people helped out on the day with clearing, carrying or just contributing to a lovely atmosphere. I must say a special thanks to Laura Dunmow for helping the preparation (and carrying everything from the car to the BBQ area) and Lynn Gunn for stepping in to take over on the BBQ) but big thanks to everyone who turned up and supported the event, as well as those who couldn't make it but sent best wishes and offered of help with preparation.
A clean sweep for the Ladies at the Crouch Cup, Fastest Gig and Fastest Ladies Crew, well done girls!
Sunday 3rd July, the sun was shining and a lovely day for the Crouch Cup race hosted by South Wooden Ferrers. A new course this year which was just in excess of 4 miles. Starting at the Brandy hole, rowing approx 2 miles up river with a port turn at the no 8 buoy then a sprint and navigation through the moored yachts back to the SWF yacht club. LTRC mens crew (Pierre Therrien, John Riddle, Mark Chinnery, Gordon Bamber and Gary Fisher) put on a great performance leading all the way and were first accross the finish line, Brightlingsea were a close second but keeping up the pace all the way and hot on their heels, were the LTRC ladies crew (Pat Woodbury, Sally Jackson-Robins, Anne Howe, Michelle Holmes and Sue Alder). Their powerful performance and united crew rowed home to take FIRST place in all catergories on handicap. Winning the Crouch Shield, First ladies crew and First Spirit Gig. It was the first time the crew had raced together and Sally's first ever race so a very happy crew. A brilliant day with a great, friendly atmosphere. We love rowing!
We rowed 20 miles from Leigh on Sea to Burnham on Crouch and then 20 miles back. The first day we had winds of 20 MPH driving us on. We then had to make our way through the maze of creeks which join the Thames with the Roach and the Crouch. Everyone had their part to play and played it. I was very proud to be associated with everyone. In Dunkirk were Simon (Cox), Tony, Emma, Steve and Sid. In Trafalgar were Stewart (Cox), Laura, Vanessa, Rick and Graham. Tony said he wasn’t racing but always wanted to be in front of the other boat. Everyone in Royal Burnham Yacht Club treated us very well, so a big thank you to them.
The crew of Dunkirk
Passing the Havengore Bridge
Lower Thames had a great day out at Rowhedge Regatta, more details awaited, watch this space....
Photo courtesy of Ivan Beales
The Lower Thames Rowing Club has again supported the local community by having a static boat at the Lions Clubs Mid Summer Sports day for the Disabled. This year some 150 disabled people from the South East were hosted by the Lions. The club took along a boat and showed all how to row and more.
A great day for all concerned with lots of fun and laughter, whilst making our sport available to everyone.
Castle Point Mayor and Sir David Amess MP, experiance rowing!
3 boats were entered into the Manningtree Rowing Festival with a total of 14 Crew. The conditions were just about perfect a warm day with a light breeze and a race on calm flat water at the top of the tide. The course is some 7 miles from Manningtree to No4 Buoy on the River Stour.
The Crew in Victory, our Celtic Longboat, set off on the third class start, after the skiff and Harkers Yard Gigs. Vanessa Bradford set a good stroke rhythm and the crew of Laura Dunmow, John Riddle, David Large and cox Jo Murray comfortably rowing providing the boats power. By the halfway point Victory was amongst the Harkers Yard Gig and overtook all during the home ward leg. The crew powered their way home taking the overall trophy for fastest boat on the day.
Lower Thames Also entered a Skiff with a crew of Pat Woodbury, Jyoti Chandola, Mark Bradford and Mark Chinnery, who were the fastest boat after the Great River Race Handicap system was applied.
A great day with lots of Prizes again for the Lower Thames Rowing Club
The Crew of Victory receiving their Prize from the Yacht Club Commodore
The Crew of Leigh Ho receiving their Prize from the Yacht Club Commodore
Saturday 28th May saw 10 crew, Laura Dunmow, Emma Wiley, Tony Peck, Stewart Taylor, Gordon Bamber, Simon Roberts, Graham Biner, Nick Faux, Andy Newnham and Dave Large head for Whitstable. The forecast for the weekend was not great, the wind being the major issue especially for the planned return on Sunday, when a strong northerly was to arrive. However the crews set off following the outgoing tide, all being well prepared with makeshift splashdecks, lifejackets and VHF radios. The Coast Guard was informed with our travel plan, of a good row to Wardens Point on Sheppy and then the final leg across to Whitstable, where Whitstable Yacht Club was waiting for us with their Bunk House booked for us all.
The cross to Kent was exciting with large rollers making the boats ride up and down the waves, we watched out for the large boats in teh channel awaiting the passing of a RoRo from Tilbury then headed across the shipping lane. Passing close to the Sunken Montgomery we made good progress.
The Picture to the right shows Gordon setting a great pace with the RoRo in the background.
We made Sheppy with no issues and stopped for Lunch, at Wardens Point, using disposable BBQ's, feeling refreshed and fortified we continued on wards, making sure that Sheppy bore no scars or rubbish from our stop.
The North Sheppy coastline is barren of almost everything, apart from some fallen WW2 pill boxes which over the years have slipped into the sea as the muddy cliffs erode.
We arrived at Whitstable at 14.00, having been rowing for some 5-6 hours, the Bar at Whitstable Yacht Club was a welcome sight and refreshment followed. Being in Whitstable it would have been rude not to sample the renowned local Oysters, so 3 dozen were ordered and dispaeared in short order amoungst the crew. Whilst not to everyones taste, these are the best oysters I have had in many years. The evening saw us meet after getting clean for a Curry, a great end to a great day.
Sunday saw us gather for breakfast and the return journey, as promissed the wind had strengthened and swung to the North. The return was to be via the swale, so after launching the boats into the surf we set off, a good pace was set even against the outgoing tide down the Swale. Seals came to investigate us, but soon left us to row. The swale is a river with many mud banks having made a navigation error we lost approximately 1 hour to a dead end of mud. Backtracking was easy but the extra distance took its toll as we now faced the incoming tide as we started down the Medway.
Graham's friend learning to fly buzzed us inan aeroplane and we all await hopeful pictures from this as this lifted spirits no end, especially as he brought the sun with him!
The crews being tired and carrying some injuries, decided that for safety's sake we would recover the boats at Queenborough and trailer them back to Two Tree. The sea conditions would have made the crossing back to Essex a concern, and as always we need to be safe and responsable for the crews.
A great weekend of rowing (some 70km!), comaradere and more. Special thanks to Stewart for organising the whole thing.
Two reports from the Mens and Ladies perspective, but as always Ladies first
The Ladies Crew, A sunny Brightlingsea Race day with near perfect conditions saw the Dauntless crew of Anne, Vanessa, Laura, Michelle and Pat storm across the finish line in second place. An awesome time of 61 minutes was recorded. A great achievement being the only ladies crew in the 7 mile event.
The enthusiastic team had trained hard for the race and it showed... they rowed as "one" and held their place with strength and consistent technique and team encouragement. Well done the girls!
The Mens Crew, Near perfect conditions provided a fantastic days racing at Brightlingsea this year, Victory's crew of Tom Britton, Andy Newnham, Rick Moyes, Graham Binner and Stewart Taylor had a fair start of the line but within 5 minutes had taken to the front and soon had a commanding lead. Having no one to race against they rowed hard to win convincingly in a cracking time of 56 Minutes.
Well done to all crews that took part
Now who is going the right way!
10 Crew took part in Lower Thames first ever night row, yes rowing in the dark on the water!
All crew were briefed on all the safety aspects of night rowing head torches, life jackets and layers were the requirements, to be safe and warm whilst rowing. A travel plan was lodged with the Coast Guard, the two boats had VHF Radios and were in close contact all the time.
The boats had installed temporary navigation lights to ensure we could be seen, after checking in with the Coast Guard we set off, having changed our route due to the wind direction and tide, this be duly advised to the Coast Guard. The two boats rowed towards Benfleet and found that the conditions were in fact perfect being shettled from the Southerly wind.
The tide was perfect for the evening (19.56 and 5.2m) At Benfleet the lights proved there worth when a small fishing boat left and was able to see us, warning us of his travel by his fog horn! We return safely to Two Tree, notified the Coast Guard of safe return, with all crew still warm and safe
A great nights row, another first for Lower Thames. Crew were, Nick Faux, Andy Newnham, Jyoti Chandola, Laura Dunmow, Sid Viner, Stewart Taylor, Emma Willey, Graham Biner, Anna Pajaron and Dave Large
The Lower Thames Rowing Club braved the blustery and wet weather to take part on the Annual Maldon Little Ships Race at Hythe Quay, Maldon. The race has for many years been raising money for the RNLI.
Lower Thames saw a record 5 boats entered with 21 crew of all ages and abilities. They also raised in excess of £160 for the RNLI. The race is competitive, with Celtic Longboats, Gigs, and Harkers Yard boats all taking part, some 12-15 boats lined up at the start at Hythe Quay, with many more craft taking part in the sponsored row.
The a 6km race course is set along the tidal River Chelmer, out into the Blackwater River and returning. The conditions were better this year (no fog!) but still needed hardened rowers to muster strength and endurance against the rain and gusting wind conditions.
The Mixed crew in the Lower Thames Boat Victory (Laura Dunmow, Michelle Edwards, Mark Chinnery, Simon Roberts and Dave Large) set a strong pace, with only the all-male crew of Southend Coastal Rowing Club overtaking them at the turn for home, to claim the fastest boat. Lower Thames received the Winners’ cup for the Fastest Mixed Crew. A great result and proving again that Victory is a fast victorious boat!
Saturday 12th December saw Lower Thames Rowing Club, return in numbers to defend their title at the Historic Carrow Cup race in Norwich.
The club entered no less than 6 boats and 28 crew at this 200 year old event with rowers of all ages and abilities.
This was also the clubs first race use of their new Celtic Longboat boat “Victory”, recently purchased with the help of Sport England. All crews were well prepared and ready for not only the challenging condition, wet, cold and with gusting winds but the ancient 5km long course, from the centre of Norwich.
Victory was victorious in the race coming home first in a time of 18 mins and 14 seconds, the ladies crew of Vanessa Bradford, Michelle Edwards, Pat Woodbury, Laura Dunmow and Jackie Jackson Smith, put in a huge effort to achieve this and ensure that the boat lived up to her name.
The club also took a clean sweep of the remaining places
2nd , in a time of 19 minutes 22 seconds
Hornet, crewed by Stewart Taylor, Graham Biner, Tony Peck, Linda Gaze
Joint 3rd In a time of 19 minutes 27 seconds
Leigh Ho, crewed by Simon Roberts, John Riddle, Gordon Bamber and Sue Alder
Dauntless, crewed by Dave Large, Mark Futcher, Nick Faux, Andy Newnham and Mark Chinnery
The clubs other boats came in 7th and 9th out of field of 13 boats entered.
Victory (well done Ladies for a fine "Victory")
Pat Woodbury, Michelle Edwards, Laura Dunmow, Vanessa Bradford, Jackie Jackson Smith
The Carrow cup awarded to Victory Crew members, Laura and Jackie
Hornet (Graham Biner, Stewart Taylor, Tony Peck, Linda Gaze)
Dauntless (Dave Large, Mark Futcher, Nick Faux, Andy Newnham, Mark Chinnery)
Leigh Ho (Gordon Bamber, Simon Roberts, John Riddle, Sue Alder)
Trafalgar (Dave Allan, Stuart Budds, Gary Fisher, Pierre Thierien, Ron Sverdloff)
Dunkirk (Linda Nawrat, Jyoti Malani, Ana Pajaron, Emma Wiley, Gabrielle Budds)