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Down Your Wey – The Guildford Rowing Club Newsletter Nov17


Martin Tye wins 6 medals and Steve Allman one at Invictus Games in Canada

Robert Hall and Jeff Watling win at Pairs’ Head

Wins at Wallingford, Bedford and Upper Thames autumn head races

Chris Boys wins the Frank Toner Cup at Bedford

New Adaptive double scull to arrive this month – to be named ‘Invictus’

 Invictus Games

Martin Tye and Steve Allman from the GRC Adaptive squad took part in the Invictus Games for disabled ex-servicemen held in Canada in September. Martin set a World record in the Heavyweight Powerlifting with a lift of 188 kgs to win Gold. He also won Gold in the 1 minute rowing and Silver over 4 minutes, followed by Silver in the Wheelchair Rugby, Bronze in the Wheelchair Basketball and bronze in the Shot Put. His family were there to watch this outstanding performance.


 Steve Allman also won a Gold medal in the Mixed 4 x 50 metre freestyle relay.


At Wallingford Long Distance Sculls, the women’s squad had Aimee Marshall and Helen Gray being the third fastest women’s double, by only 0.2 sec over the 5km course.  Aimee also won fastest women’s Masters A single in 21mins 15secs with Annika Gleichmann coming in at 20mins 37secs but racing in a different category.

Scott Warden came in 12/29 in the men’s singles in a time of 17mins 49 secs.

With the new Personal Ranking Index becoming more common across all races for this season, it will take us a little while to become familiar with how events split the competition in their events.  Win/results reporting may therefore be a little unfamiliar for a while yet.

Bedford Autumn Head saw another healthy GRC entry with some good results for club crews.  The novice women’s sweep crew finally got a chance to race after some difficulty getting entries over the summer. Hopefully they can build on their experience over the coming season.  The women’s masters racing squad coxed quad of Aimee Marshall, Eleanor Mead, Claudine Chiplin, Rachel Townsend and coxed by Becky Tsao were joint winners in the coxed quads in a time of 8mins 30secs.  The other combinations from the masters racing squad and the novice quad (last year’s beginners) also raced with the masters racing squad crews coming in third and fifth with only 18 seconds separating the three different crew combinations.

Chris Boys and David Jillings won the adaptive supported doubles by a comfortable 6 second margin, with Hilary Birkinshaw and Rob Hall also taking to the water, but coming 6/6 in the open event.

The Women’s Mas A/B/C single sculls was well-populated with GRC rowers, and although Jackie Johnson won in time terms on the water, she lost out in the handicap by 4 secs despite being only a couple of months from Mas C herself.  Sue Loughlin also raced well in the Mas D/E/F singles, completing her first race in a single.  The Masters E/F coxed four came in fourth in a very strong field, in a good time of 8 mins 3 secs.

Chris Boys Wins the Frank Toner Cup at Bedford

The Frank Toner Cup – sponsored by Frank Toner would you believe from Bedford to encourage inter club competition in Adaptive Rowing.  Chris has won the trophy on both the occasions there has been competition.  Not only has Chris won the trophy twice but on this occasion he sculled twice the distance and a passer by had to tell him to stop as he should have finished 1000 metres earlier!

Also at Bedford Chris won the supported double with Dave Jillings.  This is a new adaptive event created by the GRC Adaptive team assisted by the GRC newly created handicap system that allows all age groups and genders to compete together and successfully resulting in some closely fought racing across the squad

In the Pairs’ Head, raced over the Boat race course in London, the Mas H double of Robert Hall and Jeff Watling won their event finishing 372nd overall. Chris Boys and Dave Jillings raced in the Supported 2x event and finished 2nd out of 3, 451st overall. We are fairly certain this is the first ever recorded win by a Guildford crew in this event.

At Upper Thames Small Boats Head Robert Hall and Jeff Watling won Mas G/H 2x, rowing as Southsea.

Adult Beginners course

We accepted 24 onto the course starting last month and have 18 now regularly attending.  We accepted what we thought were nearly equal numbers of men and women, although this has now changed to be around 6 men and 12 women after initial drop-outs and gender guesses based on people’s names proved to be incorrect!

Junior Beginners course

We accepted 28 onto the course which started in September. We still have 27 and they have now joined last year’s beginner squad to form a 12/13 squad of 40. We have been fortunate in recruiting several parents as coaches and helpers and the older juniors have played a significant part in bringing the new juniors into the squad.

River use – Bye Laws

Please remember to use the full stretch of river unless it has been agreed otherwise by all users – coaches and rowers. Early turning can lead to confusion and lack of awareness of boat positions and actions.

Boat & Equipment use

We have had a lot of boat handling damage which could have been avoided.  Request help with handling boats – especially at busy times; two people carrying a single is likely to avoid a lot of the damage that occurs to those boats.  It’s not a case of someone being judged as not capable of boat handling on their own, but of preserving the boats as best we can.


  • Crew Supper – the 2017 GRC Crew Supper took place on Thursday 2nd Over 40 members enjoyed fish and chips followed by chocolate cake and Prosecco and the Captains presented awards to members of their squads and from the wider squad. The occasion was made particularly memorable by the presence of Martin Tye, along with a selection of his Invictus Games medals. He was presented with an Outstanding Achievement Award by Chris Boys on behalf of the club.
  • Christmas Panto – the 2017 GRC Christmas panto is ‘Puss in Boats’ and will be performed on Saturday 16th December. Please contact Richard Coldrick if you would like to take part. No previous experience necessary.
  • Christmas partySaturday 16th December. Contact Helen Gray. Tickets for the party and panto will go on sale later this month.
  • Christmas Scratch RegattaSunday 17th December. Contact Danny Skillman. Pre-entry preferred but entry on the day will be possible. Events for all ages and abilities accompanied by snacks and drinks to get you in the Christmas spirit.
  • 2018 Spring Fling – date and venue TBC. Contact Helen Gray with suggestions and/or offers of help.

Committee Notes

Next meeting Wed 8th Nov. Send your questions and views to the Secretary or through your squad Captain.


Winter is here – wear high visibility tops and warm layers underneath for training.

Be aware of safety requirements and briefings at events on the Thames and open water – the conditions will be very different to our sheltered and benign River Wey.


Report damage or carry out self-help repair and inform the Bosun – John Redmond – so replacement parts can be ordered.

The boat fleet is complete and fit for use along with blade sets and ancillary equipment.

Thank you to Victoria Starr for checking and maintaining the ergo fleet – some spares are awaited. Please clean after use and fix loose items before they break.

Club Development

The major build project has planning permission thanks to the efforts of many club members. Guildford Borough Council is prepared to sell the club the extra land required for the project.

However, Sport England funding opportunities have been significantly reduced after being assessed as having had minimal impact on numbers participating in sport since 2012. The development sub-committee are re-examining options for the next steps in realising the aspirations of the club for the long-term. But some difficult decisions will have to be made if we are to make the best of what we have, what we need and what we can afford.