2018/9 Men’s VC Report

Building on the work Ryan started the previous season, the Men’s Squad put together a competitive 4+, 4- and 8+ with their first race at Wallingford Head, resulting in a win for the men’s 8+ and a strong performance for the 4+. The next event for the Men’s Squad was the Fuller Fours Head with one 4+ entered. The crew pulled out a strong row resulting in a 9th place ranking in their category.

After the 4s Head, attention turned to the Head of the River Race. After a strong performance the year before, the crew had a start position of 101 and finished 104, an improvement of 13 places on 2018. Unfortunately, after the 8s Head Race, the crew lost a couple of members through relocation and to the Master’s Squad.

As Regatta season rolled around, the Men’s Squad found a few challenges in putting together a crew capable of putting together a serious challenge for Henley Royal Regatta. This ultimately resulted in two boats; a cox-less four of Chris, Matt, Phil and Russell and a Quad of Pete, James, Huseyin and Rick. 

Both crews attempted to step up their game and opted to attend the more competitive regattas: Wallingford, Marlow and Met. The quad had a good run out with a relatively inexperienced crew witch ultimately resulted in disappointment but results to work on in the coming season. 

The more experienced cox-less 4 put in some strong performance at the afore-mentioned regattas with clear improvements seen race after race with a particularly strong row at Met resulting in a 4th place against a strong field. The final event for the season for the Men’s Squad was Henley qualifiers. Although the crew managed to put together a strong row beating several crews who had previously bettered Broxbourne earlier in the season the results were ultimately disappointing with the crew failing to qualify.   

Overall, the year was fairly successful for the Men’s Squad and giving us a solid foundation to build upon in the following season. Thanks has to go out to Phil Robinson, Ben Hughes and the countless others to have up their time to make the season as successfully as possible without a Men’s Captain in place.

Russell Theobald

2018/9 Learn to Row VC Report

In 2019, we welcomed 30 excited yet apprehensive adults on our Learn to Row course: thirteen in April, and 17 in October … more when the weather is colder, which is always surprising but sets them up nicely for the summer months ahead.

Learn to Row is always a busy time for the Club and those members who volunteer to support both me and the visitors but it’s a time where there are new experiences, new learnings, and a lot of fun as each stage of the course comes to fruition.

We use a gymnasium full of ergos, two bank tubs and four stable boats for these introduction courses and rotate smaller groups around each to ensure everyone gets their fair share of learning whilst also getting time out on the water, which is obviously what they are all waiting for ….

But first, they need knowledge … and the infamous Weil’s disease chat is always a favourite! Welcome to Broxbourne! One or two experienced people supervise the ergo exercises, whilst two more introduce LTRs to the bank tubs whilst four coxswains, and not any old coxswains, but coxswains with nerves of steel, gather together an experienced stroke and bow for each of the four boats ready to take excited people out on the water.

Obviously there needs to be someone with a list of names to make sure that everyone has a go at everything. If you add all that up it comes to – err – quite a lot of volunteers.

But you mustn’t think that looking after the beginners is a painful duty. Phil, who started rowing in March, sat in with the beginners one Sunday morning and when I thanked him he said “It’s great, they are loving it!” And I agree with him. It is a good feeling when you see the new faces looking so pleased with themselves after their outings. One thing that always stands out for me, it the sudden look of anxiety on their faces when they notice that the cox has been given a buoyancy aid but they haven’t!

Chris Moody

2018/9 Women’s Squad VCs report #BRXWomen

Looking Back: The 2018/19 season has seen some change and growth for the Women’s Squad, peppered with a little disappointment here and there at weather cancellations and oversubscribed events.

Despite that the Squad celebrated:

● Racing wins

○ Pairs Head (2018) WMC2x

○ Bedford Head WMC8+ and SW4+

○ Head of the East Op2x

○ Sudbury for WMC/D 4x, WM8+, SW4+, and some of our Squad in the MxM8+

○ St Neots for MWD 4x

● First pots won by three 2018 learn to row graduates – Macey Cubbage, Ruth Jenkinson and Claire Wells

● One birth, one engagement, one graduation, several birthdays (some bigger than others)

We have also said a sad “au revoir” to some of our rowers who have moved on to new jobs and/or endeavours.

The Squad has really grown this year, not just in members, but also in terms of fitness and technical skill. Key to the success is the continued support and motivation we get from our coach, Katie Ball, who pushes the Squads hard both during the Monday gym sessions (affectionately known as “Katie’s Keep Fit” even if they feel more like “Balls’ Beasting”), and on the water with regular Saturday coaching for racing squads and technical outings for all available on Sundays. We have seen some amazing progress in some of our newer rowers as well as our more experienced rowers, and we aim to continue this trend to secure some key wins this year.

The growth in numbers led to a decision to formally divide the squad into Seniors and Masters Women’s at this year’s AGM. At this time, Nuala Laird stepped down as VC of the Women’s Squad (recently having been supported by Macey Cubbage, who stepped up to co-ordinate the Senior Women in the summer). Nuala has tirelessly and ably co-ordinated the Women’s Squad for the past two years and handed the reigns to Clare Wells (aka Wellsy) who was elected to Masters VC and Sarah Jowett to Senior Women’s VC. Sarah is a very experienced senior rower, and Wellsy completed the Learn to Row 18 months ago (clearly her flair with designing attendance spreadsheets and constant emailing paid off in the end).

The ethos within the Squads is amazing; we all support and encourage each other, and there’s a healthy amount of competition in the mix too.

And believe it or not, it’s not all about rowing! Off the water, many of our members also completed marathons, half marathons, cross country skiing trips, recreational rowing – Lithuania and Thames River Row…..etc…

Looking Ahead: The two new Squads have developed a plan to introduce set tailored seasonal racing and training plans with the aim of ensuring successful entry into key races and events, as well as to support rowers as individuals to improve their fitness and skills and achieve their personal goals. We look forward to a successful 2019/20 season and to continuing to see our Squads develop and grow.

Even though we are now two Squads, we continue to work as one club, and aim to work closely with the other VCs to deliver a successful 2019/20 – #sleepstoHenley

Claire Wells                                                    Sarah Jowett
Vice Captain Masters Women                    Vice Captain Senior Women

2018/9 Masters Men VC Report

Our merry band of Masters continue to grow in depth, we now number just over forty, experience (racing and training) and age – every year counts. We don’t quite have our first octogenarian but he’s getting close!

The year got off to a cracking start at the Pairs Head in Sept. Charlie Harris and Chris Scorah through persistent chasing and harassing of crews up and down the club stretch notched up a good win in the C2- coxless pairs. While Charlie and Chris were celebrating their win the rest of the squad was getting ready for the Fours Head. The E4x of Andy, Rob A, Steve and Quintin secured a win in very choppy conditions at Upper Thames Head in October.

As the Vet Fours Head approached and given Charlie’s earlier performance (being able row a pair will Chris S chirping in his ear) he was drafted into a D4- with Steve, Rob and Roger, which after a wobbly start found really good boat speed. The rest of the squad was juggled around into competitive age-based combinations. The Fours head was notable for one thing: The D4- didn’t make it past the bandstand but they were going really fast until then (questionable if you don’t finish) we also had representation with a C4+, F4x and MxE4x all who performed well.

The eights head season started with wins at Wallingford and Weybridge (F8+), with Steve getting two wins at Wallingford by also sitting in at 3 in the Senior Men’s eight. The squad had two eights racing at Reading, G8+ and E8+, although we didn’t win we remained competitive. By rotating the eight and using the ages to our advantage we secured another win at Molesey, G8+, after some dubious time recording. At the Vets 8’s Head we had five crews, including mixed, which was a great turnout. After securing of services of the GB Women’s (8+) cox for the Head the final result for the G8+ was disappointing as we finished second by 8 secs. Conditions where challenging, various lines where taken by different crews, but overall the 8+ didn’t perform to the early season potential. This year with the introduction of quads our last-minute combination of Charlie, Ryan, Chris H and Roger secured a win by the smallest of margins in their C4x.

Post-Christmas Bedford Small Boats Head brought a win for Brian, Nick, Adrian and Jim in their G4x and Dennis, Ian, Gerard and Dave in the E4+, a good performance on a tricky course. The G4x also had another win at the inaugural Head of the East (St Neots).

As the regatta season approached, we had a number of personal challenges this year with holidays, work, recovery and family commitments which meant getting out consistent crews was going to be difficult. We had already decided not to attend the National Masters in Strathclyde but to focus on winning Henley Masters as the main goal for this year.

A E4x was formed of Charlie, Steve, Chris H and Andy but we knew Charlie was not available for Henley Masters so rotated Charlie and Roger at stroke. We also combined with other members of the squad to make up an eight. We had wins at Twickenham (E4x, F8+) and Reading (E4x, G8+) where the quad overhauled a 9sec staggered start much to the surprise of Upper Thames.

The season culminated with the E4x winning at Henley Masters: The crew of Andy, Chris H, Steve and Roger proceeded to demolish all those around them beating Talkin Tarn, Putney Town and Walbrook in the final by 2 lengths.

Post Henley Masters the squad also completed and had wins at Peterborough MC4- with Ben, Andy, Russell and Rob where they were narrowly beaten in the MC4+ by Star/Bedford. An end of year report wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Sudbury International where the squad had wins in MC4+ and M8+

The World Masters this year was held in Velence, Hungry and while we didn’t attend as a squad, we did have representation. Tony Stokes rowed in multiple H and I combinations with UTRC and Bedford/Star; unfortunately, no Golds this year.

During the year the Masters Squad had 28 individuals winning, a total of 93 individual wins across 17 different competitions which is a fantastic success. The most notable achievements being wins at the Pairs Head, Vet 8’s Head and Henley Masters, we also had the person with the most wins across the club …

Many thanks to all the supporters, trailer drivers, patient kids and other halves all of whom allow us to continue in this mad sport! As soon as one season ends another begins …

2018/9 Juniors VC Report

The Junior squad has competed at numerous events over the past year and have achieved 28 wins

This year’s Junior Brit Champs had 6 athletes taking part, reaching 1 B final, 1 C final, a D final and an E final. The boys J15 2x finished 10th overall, the girls WJ 16 1x finished 14th overall, the girls WJ18 1x finished 23rdh overall and the girls WJ16 2x finished 24th overall.

Eight new young athletes have completed a L2R and have joined our squad and are progressing well.

Thank you to Patrick Whitman, Harry Price, Charlotte Lewis, Jess Nash and Matilda Ramnami for their work as the Junior council who have represented the junior members throughout the year and who have contributed to the overall running of the club through the AGM and various meetings.

As always we have lost a number of junior athletes to university and work and we wish them all well in their future endeavours wherever they may go and hope that the values and passion for rowing that they have learnt whilst at Broxbourne will continue and that one day they will be back at Broxbourne helping our current juniors on their rowing journey.

And finally, I must say a very big thank you to my fellow vice captains Michelle Bryant Fowler and Bruce Marsden and to all the junior coaches who have supported the Vice-captains throughout the year; that is, Andy Orpin, Pete Damer and Jane Denyer.

Rob Day

2018/9 Recs VC Report

From Lithuania to Ludham (on the Norfolk Broads) and the Lake District, the ‘Recs’ have ventured a little further afield this year. Sunshine around Vilnius was not matched by the two UK tours, with high winds and driving rain curtailing our efforts at Horning, on the Broadlands Tour, and on Bassenthwaite and Ullswater, on the British Tour of the Northern Lakes. However, there were still inspiring rows to be experienced on Hickling Broad and Derwentwater, and as usual, the company on both trips was much enjoyed. We fared somewhat better with rowing conditions on the Thames: from Henley to Wraysbury (two-day BRC tour), Weybridge to and from Molesey with the Weyfarers, and Goring Gap to and from Wallingford with the Stallards. The usual home water expeditions were also completed without even a bike-tyre puncture: to Cheshunt as a warm-up in February, to Roydon in March, to the Lea RC in May, and to Ware with Maidstone Invicta in July.

Not content with these exertions, an increasing number of Recs are finding an appetite for racing. Perhaps stimulated by success at the Lea Spring Regatta, and our own Splash ‘n Dash, crews also competed in two Milton Keynes Regattas, and in the Maidstone Skills Race. We were dominant at the last M-K Primary events, due surely to the organisation of training in consistent crews for the three weeks leading up to the event! This was a rather foreign concept for the squad, which prides itself on the flexibility that allows people to turn up and row as and when they can. Some 65 have done that this year, with 30-40 rowing at least once each week over the summer, and many twice. However, it is not foreign to our twin aspirations to make continuous improvement, and to ‘export’ people to the racing squads when they have settled into their rowing. It is to be hoped that the new coaching set-up will expedite this. Meanwhile, I must again gratefully acknowledge the massive contribution of Chris Moody to coaching, as well as coxing and general organisation of the Recs.

This is my eight annual report and I have run out of interesting things to say, so it is plainly time to step down. I’m very pleased that Malcolm Hingle has stepped up to the plate…or should I say ‘hopped’…and he will now introduce himself.

Chris Lawn, Retiring V.C

It goes without saying that Broxbourne Rowing Club and in particular the Recreational rowers owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Chris Lawn. Over the eight plus years that Chris has been the Vice-Captain the Recs have gone from struggling to fill an eight to over 65 members. An amazing achievement and this does not include other members that have passed onto rowing boats on the top two shelves in the boat house. As the new Captain of Vice, I wish to continue a friendly squad embracing all who enjoy rowing in all it’s forms. Hopefully helping everyone reach their potential within the club.

Malcolm Hingle, New V.C

Way Forward: building on where we are

UPDATE Last year, the Management and Rowing Committees came together to work on a 4 year strategic plan for the club comprising of our purpose, values, key themes (areas to address) and action plans.

The output will provide direction and a way of measuring progress, elements of the plan (key themes and action plans) will be iterated on year on year. Last Sunday, a follow on session was held including our new members on the Rowing Committee

We are identifying ways that we can build on our ‘positive club culture’: ensuring one club, an increased awareness of language when communicating with each other, and keep our Club values at the forefront.

We are also looking at an alternative on the breakfast rota aimed at bringing the squads closer together, and building on the good stuff we have now.

The plan, outcomes, and direction, will be shared in November.

Blog: Crabs, wins, swims and medals

When I was 52, I had never seen a racing rowing boat before, but I came to Broxbourne Rowing Club because my sons were keen to give it a go. Rather than wait in the car, I decided to join them on the excellent Learn To Row course, and then joined the recreational squad. After a while, though, the racing bug got me and I started to organise competitive novice crews. We won our first race at Peterborough – even though our opposition caught two huge crabs and we left them far behind, they nearly caught us on the line but, a win is a win, and we all took a swim to celebrate!

Six years later I am a stone and a half stone lighter, and have won medals at some of the top regattas and head races in the country. More important to me has been the camaraderie: building crews, improving together, and finally earning the opportunity to row with and against some of the best Masters rowers in the country, world champions, internationals and Olympians. There is nothing quite like competing in a fast boat.

Ian Henley, Masters Men

Blog: Falling for Rowing

With our latest learn to row intake having started their rowing journey last month, I’ve been reminded of my own rowing journey over the last 5 years.

I’ve always been relatively physically active (badminton, football, cricket, running, golf) so when I met my now wife who is a keen rower I was interested to find out what this sport was all about, particularly as President of BRC Amanda was at the rowing club pretty much all her spare time!

I duly signed up for the twice yearly learn to row course and along with a dozen or so newbies I was taken under the wing of the excellent Chris Moody who must have introduced hundreds of people to rowing through these courses over the years. I was immediately struck by the friendliness of the club and enthusiasm of its members. Running a learn to row course requires many volunteers to cox, coach, stroke a boat, etc. but the Broxbourne members were only too happy to give up their time to help to introduce new people to the sport they love.

I immediately enjoyed this different sport and started to fall in love with the challenge of learning to do it. After completing the 8 week learn to row course I moved into our recreational squad and continued to practice my technique for 6 months or more with the recs. The better I got at rowing the faster I wanted to go so it wasn’t long until I decided to have a go at rowing with the masters squad so I could learn to race. This was a big step up in physical and technical demands but after 6 months or so of training I took part in my first race at the Vesta Veterans Head of the River race, which was an amazing experience. Four years later I’m still learning and still loving the challenge rowing provides. Although not a novice rower any more (I’ve won a few races!!) I still consider myself a newbie with lots to learn. And that’s the great thing about rowing, you never stop learning! Now as Vice Captain of the Men’s masters squad, I oversee a squad of about 30 masters rowers from age 36 to 76. I’m constantly amazed by the levels of fitness, enthusiasm, camaraderie and dedication of our masters rowers so at 46 I very much look forward to the next 30 years of competing!!

So to those who have just started their rowing journey at BRC I wish the best of luck and hope you too come under the spell of this wonderful sport as I have. To those thinking of learning, I encourage you to give it a go! Our next learn to row course will be in the autumn so come and join us!

See you on the water!

Paul Hosking, Masters VC