Lower Thames Rowing Club
Steve Gardiner, Simon Roberts, Alan Sealey, Ron Sverdloff, Tom Vaughan rowed across the Thames Estuary from Old Leigh to Queenborough in Kent. What did they do when they reached land? They went to the pub for a pint of beer of course. There they were joined by the Queenborough Rowing Club, which extended a warm welcome to the LTRC. It was an excellent day.
Saturday 13th April saw LTRC return to Brightlingsea to defend the trophy won last year, the club entered a number of crews, in the various categories and came home triumphant.
The Mens crew, Pete Johnson, Phil Reid, Jeremy Martin (captain), Dean Petchey and Gary Willis, was the fastest Gig again, in a time of 44:30 in Spirit of Dunkirk.
The Mixed crew, Nathalie Martin, Pat Woodbury, Dave Large (captain) Stuart Budds and Gary Fisher, were the fastest Mixed crew in 49:34
All other crews did well and enjoyed their day, more information can be found on the Brightlingsea website, here
Saturday 15th December, 199th running of the Carrow Cup, organised by Norwich Rowing Club & Norfolk Skiff Club, an approx 3km race through the centre of Norwich and thought to be the oldest rowing race in the world.
In the traditional section the club entered 5 boats. Spirit of Dunkirk crewed by Alan Lissamore, Pete Johnson, Phil Reid, Tony Peck & Emma Whiley won the race overall in a time of 19:01.
Dauntless finished in 2nd place in the overall race but also finished first in the mixed sex class, crewed by Pat O'Connor, Naomi White, Gerry White, EJ Burley & Andy Newnham.
Renown won the Skulled boat class manned by Norman, Pierre, Jim Skinner & Dave Allen.
The LTRC crews performed well at this annual event. We entered two men's Gig crews and a women's Skiff crew. Due to new rules for the event they all had to race in the same overall 'coxed crews' division. The first men's crew of Ron Sverdloff, Jeremy Martin, Gerry White, Pat O'Connonr and Damien Errington were comfortable winners of the event. The second men's crew came in third, which was a good result considering the lack of experience of some of the crew members. The women's crew also finished well up the field.
The first official LTRC regatta was held today with visiting teams from Queenborough and Gravesend. We were blessed with incredible weather for the time of year. We had a variety of events in different boat types, including a relay race that involved depositing passengers on Two Tree Island and the rotating them with others. On such a lovely day we had to compete for water space with a whole range of other activities but, despite the chaos, a good time was had by all. Many thanks to Ron Sverdloff and the LTRC membership for pulling it off. Hopefully this will be the start of a new tradition.
Another successful day in London. Renown came 13th overall and the crew of Damien Errington, Patrick O`Riordan, Alex Persin, Steve Hickman and Jeremy Martin retained the trophy for the fastest Thames Skiff. The crew was only 9 minutes behind overall winner and it was a shame that we had our handicap bumped up from 20 minutes to 30 minutes, as a result of carrying an extra rower, or we would have won the whole thing!
Dauntless came in 59th – in an excellent time of 2 hours 44 – well done to Pete Johnson, Alan Lissamore, Gerry White, Dean Petchey, Garry Willis and Pat O`Connor – 14 minutes faster than last year’s crew – and probably our best ever result for a gig.
Leigh Ho was 67th – brilliant result for the veteran crew of Dave Allan, Ron Sverdloff, Phil Reid, Toby Norris and Keith Persin.
Another good day for the club: the crew of Ron Sverdloff, Dave Allan, Steve Gardiner and Toby Norris, rowing in Leigh-Ho, finished third overall and won the Multi-oar category. In the process they defeated local rivals from Blackwater Rowing Club who had won their category in 2009 and 2010.
This was the first outing of Leigh-Ho rigged in Randan configuration, which means that the four oars are shared out between three rowers. The stroke man and bow man have one oar each and the middle man has two oars. Anyway it seems to have worked well and bodes well for this team`s prospects in next week`s Great River Race.
Two LTRC crews participated in this new event organised by Benfleet Yacht Club and a great time was had by all - with both crews finishing well inside the previous club record despite the testing conditions. The Dauntless Gig crew or Alan Lissamore, Gerry White, Pete Johnson, Phil Reid, Dean Petchey and Gary Willis finished third overall, beaten only by two fine boats with sliding seats from Gravesend RC. Their time was 2 hours 28 minutes - 15 minutes inside the club record.
The Renown Skiff crew of Dave Allan, Damien Errington, Patrick O`Riordan, Steve Hickman and Jeremy Martin came in fifth in 2 hours 38 minutes.
Our brand new Gig, Spirit of Dunkirk, was launched at Leigh-on-Sea.
Our annual Estuary Challenge rowing competition was a great success. We were extremely happy that visiting crews arrived from Heybridge, Manningtree, Queenborough, and Gravesend. The Queenborough crew had rowed across the estuary from Kent in order to take part.
The weather was superb all day and an excellent BBQ was enjoyed by all in Ron`s courtyard by the Leigh seafront.
The rowing was of high quality and was enjoyed by large crowds of spectators. The long race consisted of two laps of a 2 mile circuit. The first boat to complete was the Lower Thames Men`s crew racing in the Renown Skiff, who finished well clear in a shade over twenty minutes with an excellent row to retain the skiff trophy for the club. In second place was the excellent Ladies` Crew from Gravesend - rowing in the LTRC Gig, Proud Mary, to win both the Ladies` trophy and the Fastest Gig trophy. Behind Gravesend there was a battle between two Clayton Skiffs from Manningtree and a beautiful Scarborough Gig from Queenborough, with various small skiffs from Heybridge and Lower Thames in close pursuit.
The final event of the day was the sprint race: contested over a single two-mile circuit. This was won by the Lower Thames Gig Crew in Proud Mary - largely crewed by relatively new members of the club showing great promise. Together they won the Silver Plate for the fastest Gig. The fastest Ladies`s crew was also from Lower Thames racing in Renown, and they also won the fastest skiff trophy.
Finally `The Ashes` trophy - which is contested whenever Lower Thames and Manningtree Gigs compete on each other`s home water - was retained by the LTRC men`s Gig.
Overall it was a great advertisement for Sea Rowing and we looking forward to hosting our next rowing regatta on 2nd October.
A very enjoyable day was spend by our three men`s crews. We were unable to match the speed of the two Gravesend crack men`s crews but it was a useful learning and training experience for our guys nonetheless.
Another successful racing day for the club teams at Manningtree. We won the overall title for the third year running with Gig Proud Mary. But Renown was snapping at their heels all the way - now rigged as a triple skiff with six oars. Two other LTRC crews took part in very challenging conditions. Congratulations to all who participated in an enjoyable expedition.
We look forward to the Manningtree crews coming over to race in our own Estuary Challenge on 31st July.
Ten club members rowed over to Kent on the evening tide: encountering a thunder storm en route. They pitched their tents on the far side, made a good fire, and got some sleep before rowing back in the morning. A great time was had by all.
A lively club meeting was held at the Ship in Leigh with the majority of club members present. Everyone present was asked to give his or her personal views on recent issues in the club and plans for the future. In the end a consensus was reached by all to work together on a five year plan to develop both the Gig rowing side of the club and also competitive racing in sliding seat craft focused on the purchase of new boats.
The club sent four crews to participate in the 28 mile row from Hampton Court to Greenwich alongside the Queen`s barge, rowed by Queen`s Watermen. A great day was had by all and we hope to follow up by particpating in the Queen`s Diamond Jubilee Pageant next year.
Defeated by the wind on the the final leg of the Source or the Severn to the Thames Estuary. Defeated! not on your life.
The spirits are still high and this was simply a hiccup - hopefully to be completed on the next available weekend to Benfleet.
Day 1: Launched at Sonning on the Thames and rowed to Maidenhead 21 miles, passing through the famous rowing centre, Henley.
Day 2: Arrived early at boats mooring to find one of our Gigs submerged to the horror of the team! Vandalised - eight holes in the bottom. The day was saved by Mark Stanley, Stanley and Thomas boatbuilders, Tom Jones boatyard, Romney Lock, Windsor, whose team was on standby following a report from the lock keeper. Temporary repairs by Ken Brown using twigs from a bush held firm for several hours. We ended up at Staines where we stopped at the Swan pub along the river bank and had a wonderful banquet.
Day 3: Staines to Kingston against the driving easterly wind.
Day 4: Kingston to Brentford. We experienced the first rollers to save going through the locks. Good pubs were found on this and every day.
Day 5: Due to the inclement weather we decided to take the Grand Union and Regents` Canal to Limehouse through London.
However the locks were short of water and we were forced to return to Brentford on the Thames.
We met so many wonderful people - waterfolk. If the whole world was like that it would be a happy place. The camaraderie experience was something to be cherished.
On Sunday March 20th an LTRC crew consisting of Ken Brown, Tom Vaughan, Lisa Hearne, Phil Read, Roger Grove and Jeremy Martin rowed around Canvey Island (starting from our Dauntless base). The time of 2 hours and 43 minutes is a new club record. The first hour was rowed against a very strong tide so this was a good effort.
Then on Saturday April 2nd a crew of Ken Brown, Lisa Hearn, Sheila McGhee, Phil Reid, and young Tom rowed up to Pitsea and back from Dauntless in 3 hours - the first LTRC crew to do this. Crew member Sheila reports ``It was a calm day, we rowed to the pitsea car overpass and to the end there is a grilled gate on which we put a cable black tie. We suggest the next crew that does this row puts a tie on the end to show they made it to the same place, bit of fun.
You need to stay in the middle that is where the channel is, as stated on a big sign. Also at one stage there a few boats all moored in the middle and easily passable.
Really enjoyable row, nicely sheltered, you have to time the tides and turn just after high tide to make it back, if you left it too long, think you may struggle but we had plenty of water to get back, at the end plenty of reeds and quite windy so really good coxing training on when to turn the boat and direct your crews. We did a steady pace and on the way back 10 green bottles a few times, lots of racing starts and a few stop starts and turning the boats etc. So less than 3 hours is easily achievable if you want to row harder.``
A successful day for LTRC with four wins: Fastest Men`s Crew (Jim Skinner, Jeremy Martin, Keith Persin, Steve Gardiner and Chris Green), Fastest Women`s Crew (Julie Ketley, Pat Woodbury, Nathalie Martin, Lindsey Gilbert and Shirley Gibson), Fastest Men`s Pair (Colin Window and Phil Reid), Fastest Coxed Pair (Jackie Jackson-Smith, Ken Paice and Melanie Tanner). Ron Sverdloff and Pierre Thierrion also rowed in the Men`s singles event with Ron coming a very close second despite getting significantly delayed at the start.
Eight teams of five rowers battled for supremacy in the inauguaral LTRC team challenge. There were two teams from Gravesend RC, one from Holbrook Creek RC, three from LTRC and a couple of composite crews.
The race format was as follows: each race was conducted over a sprint course in three legs: Dinghy (two scullers per boat), Skiff (two scullers plus cox) and Gig (four rowers plus cox).
The conditions were bitterly cold and the races were very tight, in some cases settled by margins of one or two feet only.
In fading conditions the last race of the day was the final between LTRC and LTRC/Gravesend composite, the verdict going to the LTRC crew by just over one length. So from the LTRC point of view dignity was preserved, rowing in our boats on our river we came out on top in the end, despite some very impressive rowing from our visitiors who quickly adapted to rowing in our range of boats.
Following the racing we adjourned to the comfort of the Gladys Barge for fish and chips, liquid refreshements, and Karaoke.
There were some unexpected talents revealed as the Karaoke progressed, and nobody who witnessed Jim Skinner`s rendition of Teenage Kicks will surely ever forget it. The ladies and gentleman from Gravesend also gave some splendid performances. At the end of the night the glory went to Lindsey, who was representing Gravesend as an honorary member.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable event and it was great to see a proper rowing regatta take place on our creek.
Eighteen club members spent a great day at Gravesend Rowing Club taking part in a scratch regatta using Watermen`s Cutters loaned by the Port of London Authority.
The LTRC squad came home with silverware from the twenty-two mile Great River Race in London with all four crews performing well.
The men`s skiff crew, rowing in Renown, consisting of Alan Lissamore, Stephen Hickman, Matt Welbourne and Jeremy Martin, finished 8th overall out of the international field of 330, and took home the Thames Skiff trophy.
The women`s skiff crew, in Leigh Ho, came 48th and was the second fastest women`s crew overall. Congratulations to Penny Jones, Pat Woodbury, Lindsey Gilbert and Lisa Hearn!
The veteran men`s gig crew, Gary Fisher, Chris Green, Steve Gardiner, Damien Errington, ``Barnacle`` Phil Reid and Keith Persin, rowed strongly to finish 94th and improved by 6 places on last year`s finish. (Note that there were many more entries this year.)
The mixed crew rowed well and managed to finish in the middle of the field in 193rd place. Well done Sheila McGhee, Amy Green, Chrissie Wilmott, Ron Sverdloff, Ken Paice, and Jim Skinner.
Members of the club were also to be seen racing in Keith Webster`s crew (for Benfleet Yacht Club) rowing in Keith`s brand new Randan-rigged boat. They put in a strong top 40 performance despite suffering from an injury to the crew during the race.
Finally a huge thank you to our support crew of Colin and Lindsey, and to all our supporters who travelled to watch the race.
LTRC entered two crews, both of which came second in their respective classes. Steve Gardiner raced in men`s singles and
Dennis Hill and Ron Sverdoff, with a combined age of one hundred and forty seven, raced in men`s veterans.
This is an advanced notice that we will be holding our annual Trafalgar celebration in the Leigh Sailing Club on 23rd
October. The Grand Reunion Band will be providing musical entertainment.
Tickets will be available soon from committee members at £19.50 each. The ticket price includes dinner and a drink.
Please book your places early, for club members and their guests, to avoid disappointment as we are limited to 60 on the night.
Club members rowed many miles down the fast flowing lower reaches of the Severn over the weekend in three craft, including a continuous seven hour row on the Sunday.
A gallant rescue was carried out by Shirley Gibson, Steve Gardiner, Ken Pace and new member, Martin, at 4pm Sat 31st July.
The crew had just rowed under the Pier and back and were about 500 yds past the Dragons Head at Leigh heading towards Canvey when they noticed a catamaran had turned on its side and the guy hanging on was giving the distress signal. They rowed hard towards him and as they got within 300yds he shouted to keep going as his friend had fallen in and was being taken out by the current.
The crew rowed on fast, scanning the water, and about quarter mile from the cat they saw a head bobbing up and down. They came in on starboard side and, remembering the man over board procedure, rolled him into the boat.
The crew took the young man to The Canvey Island Yacht Club and returned him to his family. The famous Renown that went to Dunkirk in the war and got blown up as served again in the form of our little skiff and saved a young man being washed over to Kent and quite possibly from losing his head by a Jet-ski or motor boat.
The Fishing festival produced a first class turnout of members & boats.
We had three visiting boats from Stour Sailing club at Manningtree; these are four oared Clayton skiffs & were part of the fleet that used to race on the East coast. With our Two Gigs & two Skiffs a superb spectacle was provided. The sun shone, the sea sparkled & the power boats didn’t get in the way
The second leg looked quite exciting from where the race officers were standing as an Essex yacht club dinghy race neatly intercepted the Gigs & Skiffs at full speed, fortunately the sailing boats decided to give way which was nice of them, I bet there were a few moans round the Essex Yacht club bar later though!
Results & times are as follows.
Estuary Challenge Plate, long race approx 2 miles.
1st Dauntless LTRC 32m 0s
2nd Lt Washington SSC 34m 15s
3rd Proud Mary LTRC ladies 35m 05s
4th Leigh Ho LTRC 37m 40s
5th Myrto SSC ladies 37m 49s
6th Witchoar SSC 37m 50s
7th Renown LTRC 41m 45s
Winner of the Estuary Challenge cup for the 1st Skiff was Leigh Ho.
The Second race was the Estuary Challenge Sprint (Binnacle trophy) approx 1 mile.
(Mostly different crews).
1st Dauntless LTRC 16m 50s
2nd Lt Washington SSC 18m 10s
3rd Proud Mary LTRC 18m 22s
4th Myrto SSC ladies 20m 24s
5th Renown LTRC 20m 31s
6th Leigh Ho LTRC 21m 50s
The club entered four crews for this race. A tough race ensued in windy and rough conditions resulting in overall victory
to our men`s gig, defending champions from 2009. The other LTRC crews performed well and enjoyed the experience.
Ten members of Lower Thames RC spent a hugely enjoyable day competing in the Gravesend Regatta. This event is the oldest regatta in the country, dating back to 1846, with evidence of rowing competitions going on for several centuries before that.
We competed in five events: Mixed, Men`s Club, Men`s Veterans, Men`s Newcomers and Women`s Newcomers (in a composite crew with Gravesend) using boats supplied by the Gravesend club. There were some pretty interesting race ``tactics`` going on from our wily opposition which meant that we needed to be on our toes at all times not to miss a trick. Also it was clear that the technique for rowing the Gravesend skiffs is a little different from what is required for our boats, but we made steady progress on this front throughout the day.
We secured a close second place in Men`s Club, and were also second on Veterans and Men`s Newcomers. Unfortunately the only opposition for the Women`s newcomers had scratched making them winners by default. However an exhibition match was organised against a hastily put-together men`s team and, very impressively, the women won, giving credibility to their status as champions.
This was the first time that our club had attended the Gravesend Regatta and it was very much enjoyed by all. I am sure we will be back again in the future.
Seven club crews competed in an eight mile race, starting at Dauntless Boatyard, around Two-Tree Island and Back. The winning crew was Penny and Janet with a great time of one hour and 24 minutes. The fastest fixed-seat pair prize went to Dave and Cathy who completed the course in an excellent one hour and forty-two minutes.
10 into Severn Does Go ... !!
And the common denominator ....? Wroxeter roman city, the Iron Bridge, forecast of the worst storm in 30 years, a barbecue, country pubs, mud banks and turbulent weirs ... No, it is 10 rowers from the Lower Thames Rowing Club . and yes, we took on 50 miles of the mighty River Severn – from the Welsh foothills to the town of Bridgenorth in Shropshire- in a fleet of four little boats.
The adventure started on a miserable wet February morning – before dawn. Leaving Benfleet at 5.45am. Colin Windows took his luxury seven seater people carrier full of passengers and with Mallard (one of our small skiffs) strapped to the roof.
I took the Scooter Club van with the remaining three of us and trailer in tow with the other three craft. We all met on the M1 at the Northampton services for a coffee stop and, although being ripped off, we left in high spirits. We arrived, not without incident, at the Wingfield Arms pub about 10.00am to an unbelievable reception. Finding this little gem in the sleepy village of Montford Bridge on the upper reaches of the River Severn, this is where our adventure really started! Colin and I drove to the hotel in Shrewsbury with both vehicles, this is where we intended to try to row to on our first day (approximately 17 miles) not knowing what challenges were afoot. The others stayed behind to launch the boats with our flasks and rations for the day. On returning in Colin’s car, we found everyone in the pub enjoying a lovely brunch, whilst the landlord was busy manufacturing a pair of new stretchers that had been missing from the boats. What a great service – considering that the pub wasn’t even officially open!
The next challenge was launching the boats - and retrieving Dave Allen who had slipped waist level into the water – fortunately he was wearing totally waterproof angling trousers up to his chest... Did Dave know something that we didn’t? We all managed to get underway to a bright day – with no rain.
The row to Shrewsbury proved very interesting – with quite a fast flowing current with many obstacles – such as overhanging tree branches and shoals and a weir to be avoided. After arriving in the historic town of Shrewsbury we pulled up alongside the quay about 100 yards before the fast flowing weir. With a strong current under us we grappled with the smooth concrete sides of the footpath in order to prevent ourselves from riding the surf .. This was achieved with no more than 50 yards to go before the weir .... otherwise it would have been a case of Indiana Jones! I thought that Ken Brown was actually going to go for it ... but he didn’t (thank God!)
Whilst I drove Colin back for his car, the others pulled the boats from the river ready to load onto the trailer to take to our hotel nearby. We soon christened the hotel with clods of mud .. and we decided that we wanted a pub for the evening meal. We found a pub 10 minutes walk away where we took on plenty of solid and liquid nourishment to prepare for the next day’s marathon - of 22 twisting miles.
After breakfast we re-launched our boats on the downside of the weir, having collected our charcoals and spuds from the local Tesco’s. On this next leg there were a few more shoals with fast flowing water pushing the boats onto them. Ken Brown’s boat and also Shirley Gibson and Steve Gardner’s boat fetched up on these. Ken managed to get off and then returned to help Steve and Shirley.
Damion Errington, who could not start with us on Friday, met us at Atcham Bridge just outside Shrewsbury town boundary. We all stopped there for a drink at the very, very, posh hotel bar – again leaving our muddy signature – and Ken Paice smashing his glass of beer on the floor of the crowded restaurant ( .. please come again!!)...
As we pushed off Dave took a liking to the water again ... leaving a long heel gauge in the muddy bank to hoots of laughter from all of us .. We rowed on passing Wroxeter roman city and on to the Cressage bridge where we stopped for our barbecue. Ken Brown must have thought that we were staying on forever as the size of the fire that he was building seemed endless. The jacket potatoes were placed in the embers and were literally cooked to a cinder allowing us to eat only the centres .. I tried to eat the whole potato – but that changed my complexion leaving my face covered in soot – much to everyone’s amusement. We stayed far too long – with the end of the day approaching and with only an hour and a half until dusk – and 7 miles still to go. Eventually we passed under the famous Iron Bridge to our first stretch of a little ruffled water running through the gorge. We all had a lot of fun – but it came to an end far too soon as we arrived at Coalport Youth Hostel where we disembarked – to enjoy a hot shower. At dinner we commandeered the main table in the youth hostel dining room with our exuberance overflowing – to the curiosity of the other guests sitting around us. It had been a long - but rewarding – day!
We spent Sunday morning, our final day, walking back along the old railway track from Coalport to Ironbridge viewing the remains of the first blast furnace and other remnants of the beginnings of the industrial revolution. So interesting!
We then launched at 12.30pm for our final leg to Bridgnorth – about 8 – 9 miles – arriving about 2.15pm. A great rowing weekend for all. Homeward bound – diverting only to a A5 transport cafe for our final Dan Dare meal. Home to Dauntless by 7.30pm.
Thank you to the crews – great companionship was shared with ..
And our guest – and potential member – young Billy
PS Fancy another adventure nearer home? Say 10/11 April? If you are interested contact me.