AuthorPaul Woowat

Down your Wey The Guildford Rowing Club Newsletter


  • Medals for Juniors at South East Indoor Rowing Champs
  • Junior wins at Burway Head
  • Medals at Oarsport Junior Sculling Head
  • Women win at Kingston Head
  • Juniors selected to represent Thames/London Region
  • Victoria Starr wins World indoor rowing Gold in USA
  • Club AGM elects new Committee
  • Guildford goes to sea


Following on from a successful BRIC in December the Junior squad had a large entry at the South East Indoor Rowing champs in Abingdon with a steady stream of medals to entertain the many supporters

Silver for WJ15 Francesca Morland, Bronze medals for J14s Nick Summerfield, Columbus Mais-Harding, Ben Isherwood and Lucas Hanin relay team, Bronze for WJ14 Darcy Pellowe

The WJ13 girls came close in their relay finishing 5th from 31 teams. Maia Bentley won Silver in the individual event.

Silver for WJ15 Francesca Morland, Bronze medals for J14s Nick Summerfield, Columbus Mais-Harding, Ben Isherwood and Lucas Hanin relay team, Bronze for WJ14 Darcy Pellowe

The Junior squad returned to the Thames between Chertsey and Laleham for the Burway Head of River Race and had a bumper day out with wins for:

J13 4x+ of Julian Herschel, Morley Pendred, Jacob White and Seb Oakey coxed by Ben Smoothy.

J14 4x+ of Daniel Gilbert, Nick Summerfield, Columbus Mais-Harding and Ben Isherwood coxed by Yzzy Rawlinson Other GRC crews finished 3rd and 5th in this event.

J14 2x of Nick Summerfield and Ben Isherwood

WJ14 4x+ Band 1 of Ella Curtis, Erika Booth, Darcy Pellowe and Imogen Wells coxed by Yzzy Rawlinson. The GRC crew in Band 2 of this event finished 3rd.

WJ14 2x Ellie Young and Imogen Wells with Erika Booth and Ella Curtis in 2nd by 2 secs.

WJ15 2x Band 1 Aimee Newenham and Francesca Morland with Silvia Harrop and Adelaide Oakey in 2nd.

In March the Juniors entered crews at the Oarsport Junior Sculling Head raced over 3,600 metres at Dorney Lake (2 laps of the Olympic course minus a bit at the end). Junior crews from across the country race in 14 divisions throughout the day with up to 80 crews in some events. The WJ14 crew of Ella Curtis, Erika Booth, Darcy Pellowe and Imogen Wells, coxed by Yzzy Rawlinson, won Silver medals in an entry of 46, the J14 crew of Daniel Gilbert, Nick Summerfield, Columbus Mais-Harding and Ben Isherwood, coxed by Rebecca Boddington finished an agonising 4th from 44 crews and the WJ15 crew of Rebecca Boddington, Silvia Harrop, Aimee Newenham and Francesca Morland, coxed by Yzzy Rawlinson finished 35th from 66. A second WJ14 crew finished a creditable 37th.

Sir Steve Redgrave was on hand to observe how well Guildford crews were prepared on their tiny stretch of water – he seemed to know all about us!

These results earned the J14s and WJ14s selection to represent the Thames/London region at the forthcoming Junior Inter-Regional Regatta (JIRR) at Peterborough at the end of April. However, to give other clubs and schools a second chance to represent the region, the crews had to race again at Walton the next weekend in a trial over 1000 metres. The J14s and WJ14s confirmed their selection in style and the WJ15s also beat all other crews to earn their place in the regional team. These squads also raced in doubles and won their events but are not allowed to double up at the JIRR so will race in quads only. Watch this space for results.

That same weekend saw crews from the Women’s and Junior squads compete over 5200 metres at the Kingston Head of River race. The Junior crews competed admirably over this challenging distance whilst the Women’s quad of Helen Gray, Sam Hancock, Aimee Marshall and Jackie Johnson won the WMas A/C 4x- event.

A small group of Masters men and women ventured out to sea under the encouragement of Robert Hall and with the guidance and specialist boats of the Coastal Rowing Centre at Studland Bay near Swanage, Dorset. A Saturday of good weather saw the intrepid scullers exploring the coastline of the bay before discretion replaced valour on the Sunday as the weather threw up waves of daunting size and confirmed the pre-match pub decision of ‘go for a walk’. ‘Great fun if challenging’ seems to be the main comment!

Meanwhile, on the far side of the USA, our very own Victoria Starr was competing at the World Indoor Rowing Championships in Long Beach, California and finished in Gold medal position in the Women’s Masters C class! Awesome.

To finish off the Head season the Masters men competed in Harold at the Vesta Veteran’s Head over the Boat Race course in London and came home 33rd from 45 in the Masters F category in demanding conditions.

And onwards and upwards……….

The regatta season approaches fast. Please help all Club members by planning early and checking with your Captains so that potential clashes of equipment can be resolved early and with minimum fuss and impact on the rest of the Club. Do not assume you can have the boat you want when you want it – there is a bigger picture.

Forthcoming events:

Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 April: Junior squad sculling camp, Henley

Sunday 7 April: Adaptive squad informal event at Phyllis Court, Henley

Saturday 27 April: JIRR Peterborough

Monday 6 May: Marlow Spring

Saturday 11 May: Shrewsbury

Sunday 12 May: Shrewsbury (Sprint)

Sunday 19 May: Maidenhead Junior

Saturday 6 June: Walton & Weybridge

Sunday 7 June: Weybridge Ladies

Fri 21 – Sun 23 June: Henley Women

Sunday 23 June: Thames Valley Park

Saturday 29 June: Richmond

Saturday 13 July: Kingston (Sens & Juns)

Sunday 14 July: Kingston (Juns only)

Saturday 20 July: Molesey (Sens)

Sunday 21 July: Molesey (Juns)

Saturday 27 July: Staines

Boats & Equipment

Dormouse has returned from Janousek where she received an overhaul which has returned the boat to almost-new stature. Jabberwock and White Rabbit are with Eric Sims Racing Services at Dorney being refurbished and we expect them back soon. Knave of Hearts and another double are scheduled for treatment but we may now have to wait until after the regatta season.

A new single sculling boat in the 75-85 kg range is on order from Swift and will arrive in May. Four more pairs of Concept2 sculling blades are also on order and should arrive at the same time. Our aim is to have a pair of blades allocated to every sculling seat in the Club.

Several boats have been damaged by clumsy handling on and off racks. Please take care when lifting and moving boats; check plastic protective caps are fitted to top-nuts. Do not lift and move singles on your own if it can be avoided – we don’t award medals for lifting sculling boats (as it is not very difficult) but we do get irritated when people bash them about showing off.

The ergos continue to be used in their new home in the clubroom. We have bought a ‘new’ second-hand ergo from a member which will replace one of the older machines. Some ongoing maintenance is still needed: as a user, if you notice a loose fitting please tighten it; if you find a broken item please note in the incident book and tell the Bosun. Concept2 parts are actually quite cheap and fast to obtain; early repair prevents subsequent damage. Do not leave it to the ergo fairy to fix.

Please note the Bosun’s bench is now the proud owner of a new spares storage rack which has been carefully labelled and is for the use of all members. Please tell John the Bosun if we need any more bits and pieces – ahead of the regatta season not the day before.


The Spring Fling had to be cancelled due to poor ticket sales – sorry! We are in a difficult situation regarding Club social events as we are told there is a demand but we always struggle to make them fly. Our new Social Secretary is Georgie Moore and she has hit the ground running with an invitation to watch the University Boat Races at the Club on Sunday 7th April:

Please get in touch with Georgie if you have any ideas for Club social events and/or you can help her with the organisation.

Committee Notes

The Club Annual General Meeting took place on 21st March and was attended by 37 members (just enough for a quorum of voting members). The minutes of the AGM are now available on the Club website. The good news is that subscriptions are not going up this year; the bad news is that members must now pay their subscriptions. We have adopted the British Rowing-provided Club Hub system for administering the Club in a GDPR-compliant manner and through which members can check and update their details. Members should pay their subscriptions using Club Hub and a separate instruction has been distributed to explain this process.

Some Committee members have stood down during the last year – Robert Hall as Captain and Steve Wright as Membership Secretary – and others did not stand for re-election – Tom Sawyer as Vice Capt (Men), Chris Boys as Vice Capt (Adaptives) and Nick Hopkins. The AGM elected a new Committee, which includes the parent of a Junior for the first time in order to provide representation for this major element of the Club and a new position of Vice Captain (Development & Beginners). The new Committee is as follows:

Chairman                  Paul Woowat

Captain                      Mike Spruzs

Secretary                   Richard Warne

Treasurer                   Danny Skillman

Bosun                        John Redmond

Welfare Officer         Claude Chiplin

Safety Adviser          Mike Spruzs

Membership Sec      Kim Peschier

Vice Capt (Men)       Ben Hopwood

Vice Capt (Women) Helen Gray

Vice Capt (Adapt)     Ian Pigram

Vice Capt (Juniors)  Mark Rawlinson

Vice Capt (Dev)        Gerry Brierley

Social Secretary       Georgie Moore

Junior Parent rep     Andrew Isherwood

The Committee meets for the first time on Wednesday 10 April. Please contact a member of the Committee if you wish to raise any matters at that meeting.

Club Development was discussed at the AGM. The purchase of land from Guildford Borough Council is in the final stages and we are looking at options for utilising the new land in order to progress development of Club facilities. The original scheme, which gained planning permission in September 2016, is now regarded as unachievable due to high cost and low likelihood of funding. Therefore the Development sub-committee is exploring options for a phased development aimed at improving aspects of the Club facilities where they are most needed, and within the realms of financial realism.


Summer rowing – dos:

  • Stay covered up in sunny weather despite the temptation to soak up the sun
  • Use sun block and other protective screens when afloat – the sun’s effect is magnified by the water
  • Wear socks in the boat – we share rowing shoes
  • Check the weather forecast when planning outings
  • Wear several thin layers
  • Bring spare clothing to the club
  • Think carefully about solo sculling – what happens if I go in to the water even in Summer
  • Continue to wear bright clothing whenever on the water at all times
  • Continue to wash the boats and equipment thoroughly after use – as river flows slow there is more opportunity for water-borne bacteria to thrive.
  • Stay hydrated – take water with you in the boat; do not assume you can always pop back to the boathouse for a top-up.

Summer rowing – don’ts:

  • Strip off when using ergos outdoors – it sets a bad example to junior rowers and is an unpleasant sight for others
  • Lock yourself out of the boathouse whilst on the water
  • Leave the clubroom door open
  • Jump into or swim in the river off the Club landing stage: there is an unknown quantity of potentially dangerous rubbish in the river as a result of summer public activity on the island opposite
  • Leave food out after parties (especially BBQs) – the rats look forward to Summer as they get endless free picnics by the river………………
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Guildford Adaptives Do Coastal




Many of you who read Rowing and Regatta magazine will have seen the advertisements for the Coastal Rowing Centre which is located at Knoll Beach on Studland Bay in Dorset. Recently the adaptive rowing squad from Guildford Rowing Club have made two trips down to Studland to try out the rowing centre. In both cases we had an excellent host in Bob Cottell the coach at the rowing centre.

In the first trip Guy Williams and Chris Boys who use sliding seats tested out the singles from the rowing centre.

Here you can see that the conditions were perfect. Chris and Guy were joined by Guildford coach Robert Hall who was not going to miss out on this opportunity. Accompanied by Bob we did a 6km row along the length of Studland Bay to the Sandbanks end and back. The boats used were Liteboats which are far removed from most people’s perceptions of coastal boats. FISA approved they are fast, light yet stable with self-draining sterns.

In conditions like these Studland Bay offers unlimited scope for an outing. On the day we could have continued our row across to the Old Harry Rocks on the other side of the bay before returning to the launch point, a total of 9km. An even more adventurous trip would have taken us past the end of Studland Bay into Poole harbour with a trip around Brownsea Island before returning to base a trip of 15km.

The aim of the second trip was to test out the possibility of fixed seat rowing with Hilary Birkinshaw. Conditions were far more challenging with an onshore wind well in excess of 10 mph. The fixed seat, a Wintech, proved easy to fit into the LiteRace double which we used for the day.

On this day we went along the beach to the cliffs that lead to Old Harry Rocks. The waves were substantial and we started to learn the techniques for effective rowing in this conditions. The LiteRace was amazingly stable giving us full confidence to tackle the waves.  Ending up a few 10s of metres away from Old Harry was exhilarating. We returned back to base across the centre of the bay where the waves were even higher. As we are used to having the river bank at Guildford to guide our directions navigating in such a wide expanse of water was a challenge in its own right. Luckily we were accompanied by Bob for the whole outing who gave us clear pointers on which direction to go.

For wheel chair users the wet launch at Studland will pose some challenges. I am certain these can be overcome with greater support on the launch team. We have shown that wheel chair users can wet launch at Staines regatta.

Guildford Rowing Club will certainly be back in Studland in 2019. If you would like to find out more the Coastal Rowing web site is on You can contact Bob on 01305257774 or to  [email protected]

Robert Hall


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Down your Wey

The Guildford Rowing Club Newsletter


  • Juniors win Victor Ludorum at Molesey
  • Regatta wins throughout the Summer for all squads
  • A GRC wedding
  • Head wins in the early Autumn, including Pairs’ Head
  • Adult and Junior Beginner courses produce new intakes
  • New double scull has arrived
  • The BIG ROW happened!


The rowing year seems to end and start again without a break. This is a summary of wins at regattas and head races between July and October; well done to all our rowers who continue to represent our club wherever there is a river and a race it would seem:

 Molesey Senior

Mas C/D 1x   Richard Cooper

Mas D 2x       Richard Cooper,Greg Stadler

Molesey Junior

J18 1x            James Reckord

J15 4x+          Zac Harrison, Joe Bryant, Josh Ingham, Ben Nolan cox: Reece Marriott

WJ14 4x+      Adelaide Oakey, Rebecca Boddington, Aimee Newenham, Francesca Morland cox: Sofia Palau

WJ13 2x         Imogen Wells, Ellie Young

WJ12 4x+      Olivia Howie, Mimi Anderson, Trinny Vasanthan, Maya Macfarlane cox: George Simms

GRC winners of Victor Ludorum


J18 1x            James Reckord

J15 4x+          Zac Harrison, Joe Bryant, Eddie Vaughan, Ben Nolan cox: Reece Marriott

J15 2x            Zac Harrison, Eddie Vaughan

WJ15 2x         Jess Bebbington, Grace Perrett

J13 4x+          Morley Pendred, Jacob White, Reece West, Joseph Kennedy cox: George Simms


MxADA 2x     Chris Boys, Hilary Birkinshaw

MADA 1x       Chris Boys

Isis Sculls

Mas B 2x       Colin McCoombe, Justin Wells

W Mas A 1x   Amy Marshall

Wallingford Long Distance Sculls

Mas G 4x-      Neil Hopkins, Paul Woowat, Robert Hall, Jeff Watling

Mas G 2x       Neil Hopkins, Paul Woowat

W Mas A 2x   Helen Gray, Sue Hancock

Pairs’ Head

Mas H 2x       Robert Hall, Jeff Watling

Bedford Autumn

Mas D 1x       Richard Cooper

Mas H 2x       Robert Hall, Jeff Watling

Mas F/H 2-    Robert Hall, Jeff Watling

W Mas D 4x- Rachel Townsend, Claude Chiplin, Emma Dodd, Sue Loughlin

WJ15 4x+      Adelaide Oakey, Aimee Newenham, Francesca Morland, Rebecca Boddington cox: Sofia Palau

Weybridge Silver Sculls

Mas F/G/H 2x           Robert Hall, Jeff Watling

The most significant result above was that of Robert and Jeff in the Pairs’ Head raced in London amongst an international field in atrocious conditions – many congratulations to Robert and Jeff for an outstanding win.

 Harold’s winning crew at Richmond regatta earlier in the Summer

Forthcoming events:

Sat 10 Nov    Henley Long Distance Sculls

Sat 24 Nov    Hampton Junior Head

Sat 1 Dec      Burway Small Boats Head

Sat 8 Dec      Walton Small Boats Head

BR Indoor Rowing Champs

Sun 16 Dec  Club Christmas Regatta

Sat 19 Jan     Weybridge Winter Head

Bosun – Boat & Equipment

The new double scull has arrived. We have decided to try a new manufacturer – Kanghua – for our latest new boat. Kanghuas are made in China and fitted out by Eric Sims at Dorney. The boat crew weight is 60 – 75kgs so is aimed at the Women’s and Junior squads. This is also our first wing-rigger double scull. No name confirmed yet but it will be a Lewis Carroll character of some sort. Make it feel welcome by looking after it.

Someone keeps on messing up my bench: I think it’s a small army of orcs and goblins who get genuine pleasure from emptying the contents of the cupboard and tool kit all over the bench then adding as much rubbish and bits of boats as they can find. Then, to really finish the job off, they ensure all the old slides and shoes are scattered around the floor and stamped on. If they can smear a bit of fibreglass resin over everything that really makes their day. Thanks a lot.


Many congratulations to Ben Hopwood and Annika Gleichmann who tied the knot in Germany over the Summer, with some help from a couple of GRC sculling blades and other rowing friends.

 The Crew Supper last month was a great success and enjoyed by 40 members. Many thanks to Keith and Mark for organising a fun evening.

Coming soon: GRC Christmas Regatta. This is an annual event which this year will be on Sunday 16th December. The regatta is open to all members of the club and consists of several fun events which are competed for in mixed crews of 4 on land and on the water. Pre-entry is recommended – how to enter will follow. Unique GRC medals are awarded to winning crews.

If you don’t want to compete please come along and support the event. We will need volunteers to serve mulled wine, mince pies and other refreshments. It runs from 9.00am until 12.00 so plenty of time afterwards for Christmas shopping.

Committee Notes

Next Committee meeting is on Wednesday 7th November. Amongst other things they will be looking at the equipment plan for the next 5 years as proposed by the Captains and Coaches.

Robert Hall has decided to step down from the Captain position. This role will be filled by the Chairman and Secretary until a more permanent solution is found. Please support Paul and Richard whilst they work to ensure rowing at the Club continues to be organised for the benefit of all members.


Winter rowing – dos:

  • Check the weather forecast when planning outings
  • Wear several thin layers
  • Wear a warm hat
  • Bring spare clothing to the club
  • Think carefully about solo sculling – what happens if I go in to that water at that temperature
  • Look after your coxswain as the person coldest and most vulnerable, especially during head races
  • Wear bright clothing if rowing early morning and at dusk (high-viz vests are available at the club)
  • Continue to wash the boats and equipment thoroughly after use – higher rainfall and dead vegetation cause man-made drainage channels to over-flow into the river this adding effluent and other rubbish.

Winter rowing – don’ts:

  • Ignore Red Board warning signs
  • Lock yourself out of the boathouse whilst on the water
  • Leave the clubroom door open

Support our Big Row!

Wow! What a day.

After a false start or two it finally happened on Sunday 21st October and the weather gods smiled most favourably on the GRC flotilla of 6 coxed quads (Juniors), a coxless quad (Senior Women), a double (Father and Son and Guest) and adaptive single (Adaptive Squad skipper) as they made their steady proprogress along the 15 miles of the River Wey from Weybridge to Guildford.

The fleet was shepherded through the 11 locks and 2 sets of gates by 5 teams of lock operators and escorted throughout by bicycle orderlies.

The arrival at Guildford was a grand affair with hot food, mountains of cakes and the chance to stretch tired limbs and rejuvenate aching and sore bodies with liquid refreshments. The Deputy Mayor of Guildford greeted the first arrivals and our Club Secretary, Richard Warne, starred on Radio Surrey in the build-up to the event.

We’re still counting the money raised but there are still Big Row mugs and water bottles available to purchase as souvenirs of a memorable event – and Christmas presents as they will be collectors’ items in years to come!

Special thanks to the Big Row coordinator Richard Warne and all the helpers, and congratulations to all the rowers who completed this epic journey.

 And finally…….

Chris Boys, our Adaptive squad captain, is rowing 1,000,000 metres this year on a rowing machine to raise money for the Samson Centre for MS in Guildford.  For a change of scenery he put his ergometer on a boat, ‘Impossible Dream’, at Molesey Rowing Club and pulled 14,500m while cruising up and down.  Who says Ergos don’t float?

You can donate to Chris’s appeal here:

Here is Chris completing his 14,500m on the Thames recently as part of his Challenge.  Don’t think he meant to go that far but you can see he had moral support from his coach – already prepared in case ergo’s do sink!


We’re attacking the rats who live around the club by using poison. Dog owners please note.

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Down Your Wey July 2018

Down your Wey

The Guildford Rowing Club Newsletter


  • Regatta wins for Seniors, Juniors and Adaptives
  • New double scull ordered
  • GRC National Masters Champions
  • The BIG ROW is coming soon!


Nottingham Masters’s Regatta.  The coxless quad of Nigel Hopkins (Eton Excelsior), Paul Woowat, Robert Hall and Jeff Watling (Southsea) won the Masters H/J event and Robert and Jeff went on to also win the Masters H/J double sculls.

Walton and Weybridge regatta saw wins for the WJ14 quad of Adelaide Oakey, Aimee Newenham, Francesca Morland and Silvia Harrop coxed by Ella Curtis and for Aimee and Francesca in the WJ14 double.

The next day at Weybridge Ladies regatta the younger juniors won J13 double sculls with Ben Isherwood and Benjy Kingerlee, and Ben also won the J13 single sculls event.

Marlow Town the following weekend was cancelled due to a waterlogged meadow (hard to believe now) but the regatta went ahead for the adaptive events and Guildford won the Mixed ADA double sculls with Chris Boys and Hilary Birkinshaw, and Rachel Morris won the WADA singles event.

The same weekend at the British Rowing Masters Championships held in Nottingham the coxless quad of Jackie Johnson, Amy Marshall, Helen Grey and Anika Gleichman won Gold medals in the Women’s Masters A event and Jackie and Anika won a Bronze medal in the WMasB event. Well done.

Thames Valley Park regatta, near Reading, marked a good day out for the juniors with wins for the J15 coxed quad of Zac Harrison, Eddie Vaughan, Joe Bryant and Josh Ingham coxed by Reece Marriot, the WJ14 double of Aimee Newenham and Francesca Morland and the J13 quad of Lucas Hanin, Daniel Gilbert, Ben Isherwood and Benjy Kingerlee coxed by Hannah Kingerlee.

This busy period continued with Richmond Town regatta on the 26th June where Harold was rowed to another victory in the Masters E event crewed by Richard Warne, Manu Pezier, Tom Sawyer, Richard Cooper, Bill Mansfield, Paul Woowat, Steve Wright and Richard Coldrick coxed by Becky Tsao.

At this point it should be pointed out that the Captain and all 3 senior vice-captains had won a pot! The Junior vice-captain cannot join in the fun as he is not a junior!

Henley Royal didn’t feature a Guildford crew this year but many members were seen and heard talking a good race from the towpath.

July featured two Kingston regattas – Amateur on the Saturday and Borough on the Sunday. The junior squad attended both and achieved wins in J15 coxed quads for Zac Harrison, Eddie Vaughan, Joe Bryant and Josh Ingham coxed by Sofia Palau and in the J15 double for Joe and Eddie on the Saturday. A hugely popular win was for James Reckord in the J17 single sculls where he saw off a Claires Court sculler in the final who looked twice his size.

J15 quad – Josh Ingham, Eddie Vaughan, Joe Bryant, Zac Harrison, Sofia Palau

James Reckord – J18 1x

Sunday saw the coxed WJ14 quad of Rebecca Boddington, Aimee Newenham, Francesca Morland and Adelaide Oakey win their event, followed by Aimee and Francesca in the WJ15 double sculls.

WJ14 quad – Adelaide Oakey, Aimee Newenham, Sofia Palau, Rebecca Boddington, Francesca Morland

Space prevents recording all the other crews and races won and lost at these events but the level of commitment and the yellow boats have stood out and everyone involved in racing at and supporting these events is to be congratulated. An immense amount of work goes in to organising the entries, boat allocation, trailer loading and towing and ensuring all is in order for each event. The Club is extremely grateful to the teams of volunteers who make all this possible – it doesn’t just happen.

Sculling Sprints. The Club-run sculling sprints have been taking place throughout the summer and have been great fun for a wide range of scullers from across the club. Many thanks to Lenjka and Peter for master-minding these evenings.

Forthcoming events:

Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd July – Molesey Seniors and Juniors

Saturday 28th July – Staines

Sunday 29th July – Burway Sprint

Saturday 4th August – Henley Town and Visitors

Saturday 11th August – Maidenhead

Sunday 19th August – Oxford City Sprint

Saturday 25h August – Gloucester Masters and Juniors

Sunday 26th and Monday 27th August – Ross Masters and Juniors

Saturday 8th September – Junior Beginner course assembles

Sunday 30th September – Club Big Row

Bosun – Boat & Equipment use

The Club has placed an order for a new lightweight double to replace Swan which has gone to that great boatyard in the sky. We have chosen a new make of boat this time – Kanghua – which is a Chinese-manufactured craft of a similar specification to the Swift boats. It will have wing riggers and should arrive in September in time for the new season.

Craft damage levels have reduced slightly despite the intense levels of use and regular de-rigging and trailer loading. Well done all. Please check boats and equipment before and after use in order to identify faults before they get worse. Many minor issues are magnified by using equipment which is loose or incorrectly fitted, or slightly damaged. We budget for maintenance so do not hold back from alerting the Club to a need for a spare part or repair.


The summer party which was scheduled for 30th June was cancelled in order to concentrate on the Big Row which will incorporate a social element to celebrate the Row that evening.

 Committee Notes

The Committee meets on 18th July and then has a break in August with the next meeting scheduled for 5th September. Please contact your Committee if you wish to raise anything of a club nature.

There is one area where everyone could help the committee: as a ‘business’ we do not qualify for rubbish removal as part of our business rates deal with the Council. To have our rubbish collected will cost over £1000 per annum: we are sure you would prefer we spend that money on the club. The cleaner takes away a bag a week and puts it with their household rubbish. If you have a party or function at the club please arrange for the rubbish and recycling to be taken home by someone, and, if you see a buildup of rubbish at the club and happen to be there with your car please consider taking it home for us. Many thanks.


Summer rowing – dos and don’ts:

  • Take drinking water in the boat, especially at regattas where you may be afloat for longer than expected
  • Use sunscreen
  • Wear a hat
  • Cover up do not strip off when training or rowing (the Club bye-laws prohibit topless training and rowing)
  • Do not be tempted to jump into our river, especially not from our landing stage, as many hazardous items are thrown into the river at this time of year
  • Beware of increased levels of unqualified/unpredictable river traffic, particularly day-hire boats from Farncombe.
  • Wear bright clothing if rowing at dusk
  • Wash the boats and equipment thoroughly after use – with the lack of rainfall the river is very slow-moving which will make it more likely to hang on to things that would usually be washed away quickly – say no more.


The Big Row is coming again – Sunday 30th September. We last did this row in 2015:

And it was great fun for all – and quite a lot of hard work for many – but a huge success. So we’re doing it again and we need your help:

  • Form a crew and book one of the boat slots available. You need to raise £25.00 per seat to take part.
  • Sign up to help with the lock parties.
  • Volunteer to help with the reception at the Club to welcome the rowers and entertain guests and sponsors.
  • To do any or all of the above contact [email protected]
  • Lock navigation in a racing boat is a challenge so there will be training days on Sundays 9, 16 and 23 September using the nearby Millmead lock

The event is open to Seniors and Juniors. It is possible to swap crews at various stages – 15 miles and 10 locks is a test of stamina and watermanship.

But at the end of it all a great welcome awaits.

Our target is £10,000 – we can do it

And finally…..

Congratulations to Angus Groom and Lucy Primmer for reaching Henley Royal finals this year. Both rowers started their rowing careers at Guildford and have continued to build on their experience. Angus won the double sculls event with his GB team-mate Jack Beaumont, and Lucy rowed in a Molesey crew which reached the final of the coxless quads where they were beaten by the GB squad crew.

Good luck to all our alumni – we look forward to seeing you on the regatta circuit.


Down Your Wey May 18


The Guildford Rowing Club Newsletter


  • Juniors have strong showing at Hammersmith
  • Juniors represent Thames Region at Junior Inter-Regional Regatta
  • Juniors win Victor Ludorum at Maidenhead
  • Masters win at Shrewsbury
  • Adaptive squad shine at Marlow


Junior Inter-Regional Regatta Nottingham A long day at Nottingham which was a great event running to time throughout.  The crews were in general disappointed with the results but from the GRC point of view it was a good day.  Two crews made ‘A’ finals and the third would have done but broke a blade in their heat.  To summarise:

The WJ15 2x of Kezia Markfort and Francesca Bowden came 3rd in their heat and in the ‘A’ final finished 4th.  Only 3.5secs separated the first four crews so it was a close final.

The WJ14 4x+ of Adelaide Oakey, Francesca Morland, Aimee Newenham, Rebecca Boddington and Sofia Palau coxing came second in their heat and so qualified for the ‘A’ final.  In the final they were a very close 6th.

The J15 2x of Joe and Eddie in the heat were up on the rest of the pack but broke a blade, which was down to them, and so qualified for the ‘B’ final.  They won the ‘B’ final and given their time would have been 3rd or 4th in the ‘A’ final.

So no medals but some good solid results which bodes well for the future.

Hammersmith Regatta On Saturday 28th April the Junior squad competed on the Tideway at Hammersmith with a tight timetable of events, especially in the afternoon, which meant winning crews would need to turn round after racing and go straight back to the start for the next round.  Given that we, along with other clubs, were reusing boats and coxes across the age groups it was always going to be difficult.  Inevitably some crews had a long wait on the start for their opposition, the J14 boys in particular.We had 4 wins and the crews were:

J18 1x – James Reckord

J16 2x – Zac Harrison and Josh Ingham – this involved a dead heat in their first race with the other Guildford 2x of Joe Bryant and Eddie Vaughan and a rerow on a shortened course. Both doubles were also rowing up an age group.

J15 4x+ – Zac Harrison, Eddie Vaughan, Joe and Josh Ingham

WJ14 4+ – Adelaide Oakey, Francesca Morland, Aimee Newenham, Rebecca Boddington and cox Sofia Gauntlett-Palou

What was particularly pleasing was that we also won through to a number of other finals in separate events and those crews were:

WJ14 4x+ Tier 2 – Silvia Harrop, Olivia Aczel, Lucy Gowing, Genevieve Anderson and cox Ella Curtis

J14 4x+ – Jack Bentley, Michael McNally, Oscar Soni-King, Nathaniel Knurowski and cox Ella Curtis

WJ15 4x+ Tier 2 – Eli Crosby, Iona Hickman, Eloise Rennie (WJ14), Ella Simms and cox Silvia Harrop

Marlow Spring

Despite the cancellation of Marlow spring regatta due to a flooded regatta field all the adaptive events went ahead running out of Marlow boat house. Normally where adverse conditions result in cancellation it is the adaptive events that go first. Marlow’s commitment to adaptive rowing was illustrated by this reversal of practice.

Racing was on a handicap basis based on times from the Phyllis Court time trials. This resulted in very close racing including a crew holding a 40 second advantage over 500 metres winning by 1 foot. Guy Williams and Rachel Morris were successful for Guildford.


GRC Masters Men started their regatta season with a first win for Harry

With Marlow Spring cancelled due to water logged meadows the crew had to wait until Shrewsbury to start the season.  Starting their first race as crew No 1 in the programme the crew lost by two lengths to a strong crew from Grosvenor in the Master E/F event.

Regarding the result as ‘just testing the water and warming up’ the crew made an improved performance on the Sunday event winning in the D/F category against Nottingham & Union.  A first win for the boat.

Crew: Richard Warne  Rob Hall  Richard Cooper  Mark Rawlinson  Bill Mansfield  Paul Woowat Steve Wright  Richard Coldrick cox: Ellie Mosley (Shrewsbury)

The crew doubled up in fours for both regattas:

A new trial quad of Richard Cooper Mark Rawlinson Rob Hall Paul Woowat also won the Saturday event  against Worcester – not bad for their second outing as a crew in the boat.  In the Sunday final they narrowly lost by two thirds of a length against a strong Runcorn crew.

The coxed four of Bill Mansfield Richard Warne Steve Wright Richard Coldrick  lost again to Grosvenor,  but came very close in the Sunday final losing by one metre to a crew from Warwick .  Exciting racing on both days on a sunny weekend at a very well organised regatta.

Maidenhead Junior Regatta


This year’s Maidenhead Junior Regatta was a great day out for the GRC Beginner squad with 9 crews in 5 events which resulted in 3 event wins and 22 races, and winning the Victor Ludorum prize for overall success, shared with Henley Rowing Club.

This regatta is designed for clubs and schools with beginner squads from under 12 to under 15. Only those juniors with less than 2 years experience can take part and they must have had limited success in competition. It is rowed over 500 metres and operates a repechage system which gives losing first round crews another race in their category.

After 18 exciting races we had the WJ13A crew of Darcie Moss-Brown, Ella Curtis, Imogen Wells and Ellie Young coxed by Imogen Oakey in a semi-final against a very strong Henley crew who were pushed all the way but, despite a Herculean effort, the Guildford girls just lost out in the end. Then we were treated to an all-Guildford final of the MxdJ12B event with the girls’ crew of Alice Wilkinson, Elle Harvey-Turner, Amelie Webb and Maia Bentley coxed by Adelaide Oakey just beating the boys’ crew of Joseph Kennedy, Toby Forwood, Ben Smoothy and Reece West coxed by Reece Marriott right at the end. The J13A boys crew of Lucas Hanin, Daniel Gilbert, Ben Isherwood and Benjy Kingerlee coxed by Hannah Kingerlee met Claires Court School in their final and rowed superbly neck and nexk over the course to pull away towards the end and win by just half a length. Lastly the MxdJ12A final saw the Guildford boys Julian Herschel, Morley Pendred, Jacob White and Sebastian Oakey coxed by Reece Marriott beat Headington convincingly to take the prizes.

Great support from everybody and a special thanks to Richard Mattos for getting the boats to and from Maidenhead in one piece and to the 5 coxswains who gave up their whole day for steering duties and encouragement to the rowers. We came up against crews from the top clubs and schools in the country and showed we can compete at this level across age groups with style and determination. Fantastic support for the yellow boats in the sunshine and a wonderful team effort from everybody.

Forthcoming events:

Friday 25th – Sunday 27th May National Schools Regatta (Dorney)

Saturday 9th June    Walton and Weybridge

Sunday 11th June    Weybridge Ladies

Friday 22nd – Sunday 24th June Henley Women

Sunday 24th June    Thames Valley Park (Reading)

Wednesday 4th – Sunday 8th July Henley Royal

Saturday 14th July    Kingston (Sens and J16s)

Sunday 15th July      Kingston (Juns)

Saturday 21st July    Molesey (Sens and J16s)

Sunday 22nd July     Molesey (Juns)

Saturday 28th July    Staines

Bosun – Boat & Equipment use

Thank you to everybody who helped check and mend/clean boats and equipment at the club maintenance day. Please continue to check boats and equipment both before and after use – it is extraordinary how many times an individual or crew returns to the landing stage to fix something that should have been spotted with a proper pre-boating check. It is also disappointing that we still find unreported/unfixed faults on boats; this shows that no post-outing check has been completed. It has got better but there is still room for improvement. It is strongly recommended that boats are washed down inside as well as outside so that faults with shoes, stretchers, seats and slides are spotted. The Junior squad already do this – thank you.

If you find broken kit do report it in the incident book if it cannot be repaired, and tell the bosun or squad Captain. We budget for ongoing repairs and maintenance and would rather spend some money now than more later when an unreported fault leads to major damage.


Next social event is on Saturday 30th June. Please look out for the poster and other information – in an inbox near you soon.

Committee Notes

Next Committee meeting Wednesday 6th June. As well as being the anniversary of the allied invasion of Europe in 1944 this is the time when your representatives meet to agree Club policies and action required on a range of subjects. The Committee also takes budgetary decisions and will be briefed by the membership secretary on the subscription income situation. If you have not paid yet, or are unsure of how to/how much please contact Steve Wright before you find yourself barred from getting in a boat.

Swimmers in the river

Two swimmers decided it would be a good idea to jump from the Pilgrims Way footbridge along-side a crew passing underneath – fortunately missing the boat by less than two feet.  Please take note in summer the river bank is often crowded with alcohol-fuelled public doing strange things and often in charge of hire barges and other craft – BE AWARE – if dogs & swimmers are in the water by the bridges then avoid them and warn other rowers of the hazard.

Dogs at GRC

A number of members and supporters bring their dogs to the Club.  They can present a hazard if not under control.  Please ensure they are not left unattended and are held on a short lead.

We also have a rodent problem to be addressed in the coming weeks so there is the potential for rat poison to be on the site, a further reason for ensuring dogs are supervised and under control at all times.


A serious collision

We have had a serious collision on our river between 2 club boats. Two members were injured and shaken badly. Fortunately the injuries were soft tissue damage and minor damage to equipment.  The error occurred due to misunderstanding and poor communication regarding the session in progress.

On this occasion our ‘rules of the river’ (bye-laws) were not adhered to as the boat moving downstream was on the wrong side of the river having assumed no other boat was moving upstream. It is important that all members abide by our rules of the river at all times unless in a supervised session, with the required coaches in attendance on the bank who can oversee all river users and suspend, if necessary, any unsafe activity. For the avoidance of doubt, and from now on, at no time can members operate any “convoy” system or other change to circulation pattern without adequate supervision from the bank and with agreement of all other club members on the river.  In addition, whether supervised or not, coxswains, steers persons and individual scullers remain responsible for being aware of what is ahead of them  – particularly with the prevalence of canal boats and other river users who may not be aware of the rules of the river

Summer rowing – dos and don’ts:

  • Take drinking water in the boat, especially at regattas where you may be afloat for longer than expected
  • Use sunscreen
  • Wear a hat
  • Cover up do not strip off when training or rowing (the Club bye-laws prohibit topless training and rowing)
  • Do not be tempted to jump into our river, especially not from our landing stage, as many hazardous items are thrown into the river at this time of year
  • Beware of increased levels of unqualified/unpredictable river traffic, particularly day-hire boats from Farncombe.
  • Wear bright clothing if rowing at dusk

And finally…..

Emma Brown (L) and Millie Chadwick, now at University of Kent and ex-GRC Juniors, win a pairs pot at the Lea regatta last month.

Good luck to all our alumni – we look forward to seeing you on the regatta circuit.

Down Your Wey March 2018

Down your Wey

The Guildford Rowing Club Newsletter


  • Masters’ win at Molesey Head of River
  • Medals galore for Juniors at Hampton
  • Juniors selected to represent Thames and London Region at the Junior Inter-Regional Regatta
  • Harold Macmillan raced in the Veterans’ Head
  • Fun at the Spring Fling
  • New Committee elected at AGM


Hampton Junior Head on 3rd February saw 700+ crews race over 3,000 metres downstream in atrocious conditions of wind, rain and cold. Guildford crews produced good results:

Two  crews were from the J13 and WJ13 Beginner squad: Ben Isherwood, Lucas Hanin, Daniel Gilbert and George Guest, coxed by Emily Shepherd raced as J14s and did exceptionally well to finish 12th from 15 in a time of 12 minutes 28 seconds. Darcie Moss-Brown, Ella Curtis, Imogen Wells and Ellie Young, coxed by Jess Bebbington rowed against a strong field of other WJ13s and finished 7th from 9 in a time of 12 minutes and 26 seconds (boys please note).

The WJ15 4x+ of Jess Bebbington, Keziah Markfort, Fran Bowden and Grace Perrit, coxed by Fay Dodd, finished 10th from 41 crews in a little over 10 minutes. The J15s: Eddie Vaughan, Joe Bryant, Josh Ingham and Zac Harrison coxed by Reece Marriott came 2nd from 38 in the quad event and 2nd and 3rd from 10 in the doubles event; the WJ14 quad of Aimee Newenham, Addelaide Oakey, Francesca Morland and Rebecca Boddington coxed by Sofia Palau, finished 2nd from 13 and the WJ15 double of Keziah Markfort and Fran Bowden finished 3rd from 8.

That made 3 silvers and 2 bronzes – quite a haul for a little club from a little river. The Junior squad also entered a further 3 coxed quads, a coxless quad and 3 doubles who all raced exceedingly well in the demanding conditions with good results but outside the medal positions.

Molesey Veterans’ (now known as Masters) Head, Saturday 17th February. Guildford fielded three crews in this event raced downstream over 3000 metres.

Eva Heywood, Elaine Parkin, Kim Villaweaver and Giselle Beaumont, coxed by Brian James, came 3rd in the WMasA/B/C 4x+ event.

Rachel Spruce, Sue Loughlin, Emma Wells and Rachel Townsend came 2nd in the WMasC4x- event.

Jeff Watling (Southsea), Robert Hall, Nigel Hopkins (Eton Excelsior) and Paul Woowat won the Mas G/H 4x- event, overtaking their younger rivals to eliminate any need for handicap times to be applied.

The conditions for the event were fine despite recent flooding on a great stretch of the Thames. However, attendance was disappointing with only 60 crews taking part.

The Junior squad had a strong entry at the Oarsport Junior Sculling Head raced over 3,400 metres at Eton Dorney lake on Tuesday 13th March. This event augments the Schools Head of River Race, rowed by 8s on the Thames in London, and is used to select crews for the inter-regional championships.

The J15 4x+ of Eddie Vaughan, Joe Bryant, Josh Ingham and Zac Harrison, coxed by Reece Marriott, finished 5th from 59 crews – an outstanding result at national level.

The J17 4x- crew of Adam Gorecki, Billy Murphy, James Casemore and James Reckord was made up of three J16 boys and one J17.  One J16 was injured so they agreed to row up and came 12th in their age group.

The WJ15 4x+ of Grace Perrit, Fran Bowden, Keziah Markfort and Jess Bebbington, coxed by Adam Gorecki, came 13th out of 60 crews, another excellent result at a national standard event.

There were two coxed quads in the WJ14 event with Adelaide Oakey, Aimee Newenham, Francesca Morland and Rebecca Boddington coxed by Reece Marriott, coming 14th out of 44 and the other crew of Lucy Gowing, Elin Williams, Genevieve Anderson and Silvia Harrop, coxed by Ella Curtis, finishing 36th despite one member suffering a dislocated shoulder during the race.

Finally the J14 quad of James Page, Jack Bentley, Nataniel Knurowski, Michael McNally, coxed by Reece Marriott, came 26th out of 48 – this is the first season for half the crew.

Great strength in depth from across the squad.

The Veterans’ Head of the River Race on Sunday 25th March raced over the London Boat Race course and featured the new Club 8+ – Harold Macmillan, Earl of Stockport. This was also the first outing for the crew of Richard Warne  Jeff Watling  Bill Mansfield  Paul Woowat  Rob Jewkes  Richard Cooper  Steve Wright  Richard Coldrick  coxed by Becky Tsao.

The initial results placed the GRC crew 6th from 12 in the Masters F category but the final results moved GRC to 9th in a time of 20 mins 15 secs (winners Crabtree in 18 mins 25 secs). A very pleasing and enjoyable performance, and ahead of some international crews.

Junior Inter-Regional Trials for Thames London Region took place on 24th March.  The Thames London Region includes all clubs and schools from the London Tideway upstream to Weybridge.

The trials took place at Walton Rowing Club over a 1400m course with the finish being some 150m downriver of the club.  Guildford entered 4 crews in 3 categories based on their performance at qualifying heads.  We had two J15 2x crews because it was not possible to separate them on our limited stretch of river.

The WJ14 4x+ crew of Adelaide Oakey, Francesca Morland, Aimee Newenham, and Rebecca Boddington, coxed by Sofia Palau, put in an amazing row and won by 9.5secs from their nearest rivals.

The J15 2x of Joe Bryant and Eddie Vaughan won by 3 secs with the second double of Josh Ingham and Zac Harrison coming 3rd just 4.6secs behind them.

The WJ15 2x of Fran Bowden and Keziah Markfort, due to the fact we were boat sharing, had to do their trial on their own after all the other categories had finished!  They too won but the margin of 0.5 secs from two other doubles means the region has decided there will be a re-trial which will take place at Kingston on 9th April.

The WJ14 quad and the J15 double are confirmed as the Thames and London crews for the JIRR at Nottingham on 21st April, hopefully to be joined by the WJ15 double.

Good luck to our Juniors from everyone at the Club.

Forthcoming events:

Sunday 8th April: Abingdon Head – cancelled

Saturday 21st April: Junior Inter-Regional Regatta Nottingham

Saturday 28th April: Hammersmith Regatta

Sunday 29th April: Phyllis Court Regatta

Sunday 20th May: Maidenhead Junior Regatta

Bosun – Boat & Equipment use

Tweedledum has been refurbished – new riggers, slides, seats, shoes and hull repairs and re-spray. Just waiting for a plug for the cox box and it will be 100% ready for use by all – this is a 75kg/12 stone crew average weight boat.Helene has also had a facelift but only cosmetic as there were some deep gouges in the hull. Now re-rigged and ready to go.

The new heavyweight double, Walrus, arrives after Easter and will match Roger in weight and specification.

Together these 3 boats represent nearly £13,000 of Club money – that’s a lot of subs. Please continue to exercise care during handling which is when we as a club incur most damage to our equipment. All boats should now be fitted with plastic caps on the tops and bottoms of the pins to avoid scrapes when removing and replacing on racks. Check these are in place – there are plenty of spares in the bosun’s cupboard.

If you discover damage to a boat or other piece of equipment please record it in the incident book held on the bar so the Bosun and Captains are alerted to impending repairs and boats out of action early. This applies to blades, cox boxes and ergos – it all needs to be serviceable.

Victoria Starr did a good job repairing and assessing the ergos last year. Already some are showing signs of wear and tear. Please ensure all fittings are tight and any spares required noted in the incident book. There are spare parts and specialist tools for the machines held at the club – ask.

.Club Maintenance Day

Saturday 14th April from 10.00am is a whole-Club maintenance day. We will look at everything inside and outside the Club, large, small, yellow, green, new and old to check serviceability, condition and well-being. There will be refreshments and plenty for all to do of whatever ability, strength or age.


The Spring Fling went ahead at Bramley Golf Club on a wintry evening in late March. Nearly 60 Club members and their guests enjoyed good food and company and joined in enthusiastically with the music and dancing provided by the Craigievar Ceilidh Band. Many thanks to Helen Gray for organising an excellent event.

The next Social event will probably be in July. Watch this space.

Committee Notes

Annual General Meeting.  The AGM took place on Thursday 22nd March and was well attended by 39 members, including 3 Junior members exercising their right to vote for the first time!

The full minutes, including the 2017 financial summary, will be published on the Club website in due course. The new Committee was elected as follows:

Chairman                  Paul Woowat

Secretary                   Richard Warne

Treasurer                   Danny Skillman

Captain                      Robert Hall

Vice Capt Men          Tom Sawyer

Vice Capt Women    Helen Gray

Vice Capt Junior      Ian Pigram

Vice Capt Adaptive  Chris Boys

Water Safety Adviser           Rachel Morris

Deputy WSA                         Rachel Spruce

Membership Secretary        Steve Wright

Bosun                                    John Redmond

Welfare Officer         Claudine Chiplin

Social                         Kim Peschier

Cttee members         Diana Little and Caroline Crampton-Thomas and Nick Hopkins

Thank you to the outgoing Committee, welcome back to those continuing and welcome to those serving for the first time. It’s an exciting time and there’s lots to do.

First meeting of the new Committee is Wednesday 4th April. As well as following up issues raised at the AGM the new Committee will be looking at the Club development plan, the equipment plan for the next few years and fund-raising for this year. Please contact any Committee member if you have a matter you would like the Committee to consider.

The other significant item discussed at the AGM and endorsed by those present was the level of subscriptions for 2018-19. In order to continue accruing funds for Club development a small increase was agreed which resulted in the following figures:

Full Membership (seniors) £275.

Junior / Student £190.

Adaptive Senior £185.

Adaptive Junior £65.

Social /Coxwains / Coaches £20.

Racking Fee Inside £205.

Racking Fee Outside £125.

 The Bank details for payments are – Lloyds Bank, Guildford High Street. Account Name Guildford Rowing Club. Sort Code 30 – 93 – 74. Account Number 00168428.


Bar access should be ensured for all sessions at the club in order to provide hot drinks and phone access. A number of keys are available – ask who has the key if you are training at the club.

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.

We have had more Red Board situations recently. On one occasion the Club Water Safety Adviser witnessed 2 adult members obviously completely unaware of the rules regarding Red Board use of the river. All members must understand and abide by the rules surrounding permitted rowing activity when the river is closed to navigation (Red Boards). All squads should have been briefed on the rules; if you missed a briefing contact your squad captain to arrange an explanation. If in doubt do not go out.


Down Your Wey January 2018


  • Wins for Seniors at Henley, Walton and Weybridge, Juniors at Teddington and Burway
  • Adaptives and Juniors have strong showing at the British Rowing Indoor Championships
  • Puss in Boats receives rave reviews
  • Christmas Scratch Regatta sets the festive scene
  • 2018 starts with a win at Weybridge


At Henley Long Distance Sculls Annika Gleichman won the Masters A single sculls event and Robert Hall and Jeff Watling won the Masters H/J double sculls event.

The Teddington Head is rowed from Hampton Court to Teddington – 4800 metres. The Club had a large entry from the Junior squad with many juniors competing in both divisions: 20 kms of rowing in a day. Despite this daunting distance against clubs and schools who train on this stretch and the Thames generally every week the Guildford juniors recorded 7 wins: double sculls at J18 (James Reckord and Nathan Jones) and J15 (Danny Mulligan and Max plus 3rd and 5th places too), coxed quads at J15 (Eddie Vaughan, Joe Bryant, Josh Ingham and Richard Loch coxed by Reece Marriot), WJ15 (Keziah Markfort, Emily Wolfenden, Jess Bebbington and Francesca coxed by Reece Marriot) and WJ14 (Adelaide Oakey, Francesca Morland, Aimee Newenham and Silvia Harrop coxed by Hannah Kingerlee), single sculls at WJ16 (Lucy Stevenson), J15 (Danny Mulligan) and WJ15 (Keziah Markfort). James Casemore and Adam Goecki just missed out on a win finishing second  in the J16 double sculls.

The Junior squad failed to record any wins at the Hampton Small Boats Head the following week but produced some good results with the J15 boys finishing 4th from 29 in the coxed quads event where only 0.2 seconds separated the top 4 crews! The J15 boys then took 2nd, 3rd and 6th from 36 crews in the double sculls category and 4th, 5th and 15th from 36 in the single sculls category – great strength in depth. Nathan Jones and James Reckord did well to finish 6th from 14 in the J17 double sculls.

Burway Small Boats Head saw the Junior squad in action again and wins were recorded by the J16 boys in double sculls (Adam Gorecki and James Casemore) and single sculls (Peter Denton) whilst the J15 boys won in quad sculls (Josh Ingham, Joe Bryant, Eddie Vaughan, Richard Loch coxed by Reece Marriott), double sculls (Eddie Vaughan and Josh Ingham) and single sculls (Danny Mulligan), plus the WJ15 girls coxed quad (Keziah Markfort, Jess Bebbington, Emily Shepherd and Emily Wolfenden coxed by Sofia Palau).

To finish 2017 on a high note Robert Hall and Jeff Watling won Masters H double sculls at Walton Small Boats Head.

Meanwhile, off the water, several club juniors and adaptive rowers competed at the British Rowing Indoor Championships. This annual event is held at the Olympic Park Velodrome and attracts a vast range of competitors of all ages. Performance of the day was by Peter Denton in the J16 500 metres event where he won a Silver medal in a time of 1 minute 31 seconds. Elsewhere Martin Tye won the Adaptive Men’s 2000 metres in 7 minutes 51 seconds and Hilary Birkinshaw the Para Women’s 2000 metres in 10 minutes 36 seconds. The three J13 boys – Ben Isherwood, Daniel Gilbert and Lucas Hanin – posted sub 2 minute times in their 500 metres event and Chris Boys covered his 2000 metres in the Para Men’s event to finish 5th from 7. Guildford juniors performed strongly throughout and came back having had a great experience rubbing shoulders with the GB squad and the fastest indoor rowers in the world.

And finally we began 2018 with a win at Weybridge Winter Head for a new composite crew of Paul Woowat, Robert Hall, Neil Hopkins (Eton Excelsior) and Jeff Watling (Southsea) in the Masters H coxless quads event.

Forthcoming events:

Saturday 3rd February: Hampton 4s and 8s Head

Saturday 17th February: Molesey Veterans Head

Saturday 24th February: Burway 4s and 8s Head

Saturday 10th March: Women’s Head

Tuesday 13th March: Junior Sculling Head

Saturday 17th March: Kingston Head

Sunday 25th March: Vesta Veterans Head


Bosun – 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.

If you discover damage to a boat or other piece of equipment please record it in the incident book held on the bar so the Bosun and Captains are alerted to impending repairs and boats out of action early. This applies to blades, cox boxes and ergos – it all needs to be serviceable.

Victoria Starr did a good job repairing and assessing the ergos last year. Already some are showing signs of wear and tear. Please ensure all fittings are tight and any spares required noted in the incident book. There are spare parts and specialist tools for the machines held at the club – ask.


Puss in Boats was a huge success and received rave reviews. Many thanks to Richard Coldrick and all the team who made it come to life and set the scene for a great party afterwards. Hidden talent has been discovered in Bill Mansfield who is now officially the Club Ogre and Ben Hopwood who will be demonstrating the Cat Squat at future weight training sessions.

The panto put everyone in the right frame of mind for the Christmas Scratch Regatta the next day. However it was obvious the seniors couldn’t really take the pace of socialising followed by a bit of rowing so the regatta was mainly a Junior affair with 8 crews battling for those GRC medals – now collectors’ items. A new event this year was for family double sculls with parents and children rowing in the same boat against the clock. This proved both popular and entertaining, and it got very competitive – so we will ensure it is included in future scratch regattas. The winning crew on the day was:

Ben Alderton  Silvia Harrap   Benjy Kingerlee  &  Sofia Palau

Full results:

Crew Names Ergo Aquajog Quad Total Place
G Ben Alderton

Silvia Harrop

Benjy Kningerlee

Sofia Palau

8.04 2.49 5.50 16.43 1
C Tomasz Cowley


Reece West

Eddie Vaughan

7.45 3.52 5.35 17.12 2
F Alice Wilkinson

Josh Ingham

Emma Dodd

James Page

8.20 3.18 5.55 17.33 3
B Erika Booth

Daniel Gilbert

Genevieve Anderson

Adelaide Oakey

7.53 4.02 5.45 17.40 4
D Freya Cameron

Lucas Hanin

Hannah Kingerlee

Mimi Anderson

8.28 3.53 5.40 18.01 5
E Cecily Wilkinson

Cameron Cashen

Conrad Wells

Trinny Vasanthan

8.16 3.59 6.05 18.20 6
H Morley Pendred

Eloise Rennie

Darcie Moss-Brown

Will Dartnell

8.18 4.12 6.06 18.36 7
I George Simms

Ella Simms

Ruth Simms


8.46 4.13 6.40 19.39 8
A Yzzy Rawlinson

George Guest

Peter Denton

Maximos Karapapas

8.14 5.31 6.00 19.45 9


Garrick Doubles:


1=        Emma and Conrad Wells

1=        Mark and Yzzy Rawlinson

The Club annual formal evening dinner and dance – the Spring Fling – takes place at the Guildford Harbour hotel on Saturday 17th March. Please respond to the recent message from Helen Gray giving ticketing details.

Committee Notes

Next meeting Wednesday 7th February. Send your questions and views to the Secretary or through your squad Captain.

Annual General Meeting.  The AGM is scheduled for Thursday 22nd March at 8.00 pm. A formal notice will be distributed in due course along with a request for volunteers to stand for election to the Committee. Please make an effort to attend the AGM and consider serving on the Committee. If you wish to know more about the work and responsibilities of Committee members please contact an existing Committee member who will be more than happy to explain the routine and dispel fears!


Winter is still here – wear high visibility tops and warm layers underneath for training and racing. The club holds a stock of survival blankets – the space age foil versions. They are stored with the first aid kits above the throwbag shelf. Coaches should carry one or more and it is recommended they are carried by crews attending head races where lengthy times may be spent in poor conditions waiting for the start and hypothermia may start to set in, especially amongst younger crews.

Bar access should be ensured for all sessions at the club in order to provide hot drinks and phone access. A number of keys are available – ask who has the key if you are training at the club.

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.

We have had our first Red Board situations of the year. All members must understand the rules surrounding permitted rowing activity when the river is closed to navigation (Red Boards). All squads should have been briefed on the rules; if you missed a briefing contact your squad captain to arrange an explanation. If in doubt do not go out.

A senior member went sculling on his own last month and returned to find the boathouse locked and his keys inside. As it was winter and he had no spare clothing he borrowed a phone from the pub and called a locksmith to enable him to gain entry to the club. The club has paid for the locksmith and we have managed to get the lock barrel replaced so keys will still work as before. We do not want to stop members using the club and the river but would ask that individuals use common sense when on their own; ensure you make adequate arrangements regarding access, communication and spare clothing.

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.

We will continue raising funds for the Club’s future and we will be organising a sponsored row between Weybridge and Guildford in September – the Big Row. Details will start to emerge – the date is likely to be Sunday 23rd September. Please keep the day free as we will be asking for crews and a significant army of volunteers to operate locks, ride shotgun on the bank and provide support in a myriad of ways – plus raise funds.

A tale from the riverbank. A member of the public called at the club on Sunday afternoon to commend a junior crew who had executed an emergency stop whilst doing a piece on the straight to avoid running over a swimming dog. He is an experienced coxswain from Lensbury RC and said it was the best piece of watermanship by a crew he had ever seen. The dog was pretty impressed too. Well done the junior crew concerned.

Send Danny your pictures and stories so they can be shared in the next newsletter.

Support Through Sport UK and Adaptive Rowing

The Charity Support Through Sport UK recently published an article on Adaptive Rowing at Guildford.

Thank you to Danny and Robert for your contribution.

Support through Sport UK had the pleasure of chatting to Guildford Rowing Club’s Robert Hall and Danny Skillman about the club’s adaptive rowing sessions.
Hi Robert and Danny.
Huge thanks for chatting to us today. To begin, can we ask when, and why, Guildford Rowing Club started offering adaptive rowing sessions?
 We first started offering sessions in the early 2000s when a former member of our club – Simon Goody (who’s now the British guru on classification for adaptive and para rowing) – introduced a few people to the club who he thought could make it into the British Paralympic team. Two of these people did indeed make it into the team: Helene Raynsford – who won the first ever Paralympic gold medal at Beijing – and Vicki Hansford, who took a silver in the four. A few years later, in about 2010, I (Robert) was winding down from work and so decided that we should start up the adaptive sessions again. At about that same time, a lady called Claire – who’s a wheelchair user – approached the club about getting involved in rowing. I began by holding her up on a rowing machine and, from there, we acquired some special seats for rowing machines and have since built up a whole fleet of specially-adapted boats (five singles and one double, with another double on the way). This kit has all been funded by external sources. Members of the adaptive squad have won medals at several Rowing World Championships and at the 2016 Rio Olympics (gold), as well as at many local and regional events.
What advice would you give to other rowing clubs – or sports clubs in general – who would like to set up adaptive, or para, squads or sessions?
 I think just do it. Just start. We’ve had a number of clubs come and visit us to seek advice, but it’s not as difficult to do as people might think. The three key things that you need are: (1) equipment (and I’d say that this is almost the easiest of the three things to get as people are really responsive and supportive when you have a story to tell), (2) participants and (3) volunteers. All of these things are critical and there’s nothing worse than when we have people who want to row but we can’t cater for them, or volunteers who don’t have anything to do as we don’t have enough participants. However, over the last few years, we’ve had a fair turnover of people and we’re now one of the most active adaptive rowing clubs in the country.
A few years ago, the Phyllis Court rowing club at Henley invited our adaptive squad to a time trial, so we started going to that, which provided the squad with a good introduction to racing. We’ve actually trialled a number of different racing innovations in order to make racing more open to everyone. For example: as there’s a relatively small number of people racing, we’ve introduced a handicap system that’s based on individual performance, and we’ve also introduced what we call ‘inclusion doubles’, which is where you have a para-athlete with an able-bodied athlete. Chris and Dave from our club recently won the inclusion doubles event at Bedford Head and they also competed in the Pairs Head a couple of weeks ago, which is held on the same stretch of water as the Boat Race.
With adaptive rowing, there are two main streams: para and adaptive rowing. What’s the difference?
 Para-rowing is Olympic rowing and it comprises three very clear classifications: (PR1) Arms and shoulders (there are two events for this category: a men’s and women’s singles event)., (PR2) Trunk and arms (where the event is a mixed double) and (PR3) Leg, trunk and arms (a mixed event (two men and two women), where no more than two members can be registered as visually impaired).
With adaptive rowing, however, we can be far more flexible and aren’t restricted by strict classifications. In the Paralympics, you obviously have to have a clear set of rules, but our mission with the adaptive rowing here at Guildford is to get as many people as we can out on the water enjoying themselves. When someone turns up to the club, I’ll put them on a rowing machine and work out what their capabilities are. For example, with sliding seats, a lot of people can use their legs but they haven’t got strong enough core muscles, so they’re actually much better off in a fixed seat. We have a range of seats they can try and then they can be adjusted to suite the individual. It’s amazing what you can do with a roll of gaffer tape and camping mat! So, to summarise, adaptive rowing is for everyone, and anyone can compete in adaptive racing.
How big an adaptive rowing squad does Guildford Rowing Club now have?
 We currently have about 10 to 12 people.
Did any of your current athletes compete at the recent Invictus Games?
 Yes. Martin Tye and Steve Alman.  Both Martin and Steve actually competed in, and won medals across, a variety of sports including rowing, wheelchair rugby, power-lifting, athletics, wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball.
If someone is reading this article and is interested in trying out adaptive rowing at your club, who should they contact?
 We’d ask that they fill out an application form, which can be found here.
And, in a similar vein, If someone is reading this article who would be interested in volunteering with the squad, who should they contact?
 You can contact us here. We’d also stress that you don’t have to know anything about rowing to become a volunteer; there are so many different ways that you can help us.
Thanks so much for talking to us, both, and for showing us your fantastic, inclusive club.
You can find the source article and the Charity Support Through Sport UK here: