This weekend saw a celebration to mark 100 years since KRS Gent won the Grand Challenge cup at Henley Royal Regatta in 1907, beating Christchurch college, Oxford and Leander Club on the way.

Since Leander refused to attend the proceedings, Henley Rowing Club accepted the invitation with open arms to partake in a weekend of Beer, Culture and a little bit of racing on the unfamiliar river in the centre of Gent. The Christchurch crew was stuffed full of ex-Blues, The HRC boat had a few HRR winners in as did the KRCG crew and the KRSC boat was training hard for their National Championships which takes place in a couple of weeks time.

After a fill of beer on the Friday night, Christchurch and Henley looked to be struggling with Stella hangovers. Both crews felt it a little strange that soon after the initial reception, the Gent crews went home as the Brits headed off to see the nightlife of Gent, thinking the 300m sprints would be a doddle...

This, alas, was not the case and shortly after a gut busting 2nd race against KRCG, Henley's 4 man Jon 'The Horse' Brownley produced the contents of his stomach in full view of the Gent crowd. Good start.

All the racing was close and KRSG eventually went on to win the Final in a close battle with the Henley crew and in the 'B' Final Christchurch pipped KRCG.

Great fun, awesome hospitality......and if you think Gent is simply a concrete monstrosity of a lake, then you really should take a proper visit.


Heat 1.1
2. KR CLUB GENT		43,90 

Heat 1.2
1. KR SPORT GENT		42,60
2. HENLEY RC Chrono		42,94

Heat 2.1
1. HENLEY RC		45,46

Heat 2.2
1. KR SPORT GENT		43,86
2. KR CLUB GENT Chrono	44,89

Heat 3.1
1. KR SPORT GENT		44,29

Heat 3.2
1. HENLEY RC		45,67
2. KR CLUB GENT Chrono	45,95

Final B
2. KR CLUB GENT 		46,01   

Final A
1. KR SPORT GENT		42,99
2. HENLEY RC		43,93   

  1. Win your heat in a coxed IV but be asked to re-row because the opposition (an Oxford college) cox claimed you drove her into the navigation lane.

  2. Argue with cox.

  3. Re-row your heat but abort because you hit a swan and the opposition hit a City of Oxford pair that has drifted into the racing lane from the navigation lane.

  4. Win your heat as the opposition crashes into the bank after discovering it has broken the rudder in its clash with the pair.

  5. Have one of the non-racing members of the squad stand over the race marshals desk DARING them to try and call a re-row again.

  6. Beat City of Oxford coxed four in final.

  7. Ask umpires whether your VIII can warm up prior to racing, and be told yes.

  8. Argue with marshal on bank you tells you you are not allowed to warm up and disappear 1k downstream to practice rowing up the slide.

  9. Argue with a different marshal on the bank on your return. Disappear 500m downstream to practice starts.

  10. Before landing at CORC be given long lecture by president of CORC about importance of obeying marshalling instructions.

  11. Clash blades with opposition in the eight (against same college who you had the argument with in the morning) and win - no re-row even though you have broken the opposition 6 man's blade.

  12. Win final in VIII.

  13. Be awarded pots by the same CORC president who you argued with earlier in the day...

Despite a tactical cancellation on facebook, the 2007 legendary annual cycling pub-crawl took place on Saturday, with the usual nekkidness on show despite less than seasonal weather.

Fothers, our spiritual leader, even managed to entertain the RNLI for a while by swimming by the pubs downstream of Kew bridge.

Much cross dressing and manly hand slapping was in evidence throughout the day, and eventually most of those present retired to the Vesta summer party for more beer (not that anyone really needed any more) and pizza.

Incriminating photographic evidence may be seen at:

The Legendary Annual cycling pub crawl 2007

Hand Slapping

If, what you want, what you really really want, is to piss off a licensed umpire, well, like totally, then why not try the following sequence of actions, in order.

It works.

Though note that, as with all good comedy, much depends on the timing.

  1. Take your VIII to, say, Oxford City Royal Regatta

  2. Take it off the trailer, and rig it

  3. Verify that a few of the heel restraints are as you left them, i.e. totally non-existent

  4. Get your blades

  5. Get in the queue for a boat check

  6. Once you are totally blocking access to the river, half-turn the boat and give the umpire a happy helpful smile

  7. As his hand moves towards one of stroke's shoes ..... and this is where your timing needs to be so just right .....

  8. ..... put on your concerned, knowledgeable, helpful voice ..... and say .....

  9. ..... "We need to do that one"

When the new Rowing Safety Code was launched last year, the RNLI at Chiswick were concerned about how many people would actually look at it (either in print or on the web).

However, after learning about a pilot project to expand the RNLI's (Award Winning) Beach Safety Signage program onto slipways around the UK and Ireland, they were able to put the two together and the result is a trial of two safety signs on Putney Embankment with the support of the TRRC, PLA, Coastguard and Wandsworth Council.

They were installed last week and the RNLI will shortly be sending the clipboard brigade out to market research their impact. The signs only purpose is to prevent accidents, they may help raise awareness which is great but the core purpose is to spread the Rowing Safety code message.

Feedback is very welcome and can be sent to the RNLI at

The project is dedicated to the memory of Ryan Pitney, who died tragically in June 2004 at a beach in Cornwall. Ryan was 4 years old.

Ryan drowned doing one of those things he loved the most: playing by the water. That day, there were no warnings seen by Ryan's mother informing her the water could be dangerous.

"If only we had known, I would have been much more aware and cautious. I hope hope these new signs prevent other families going through the same thing as we have. The more places that take up the new signage standard, the less Ryan's death was in vain."

Molesey had another two ergos stolen from the gym at their clubhouse recently. This follows the theft of a third erg last Christmas, after which the remaining machines were wired together to deter thieves.

Although you may wonder why anyone in their right mind would want to steal an ergo, concept 2s (even older models) continue to have a high sell-on value (just look at e-bay). Clubs should be aware that they may be targeted and take appropriate security measures -- The gym at Molesey is secured with a keypad lock, on top of which, after hours, members need a key to get into the boathouse - and they still walked.

One possible option is to paint your ergs in club colours, as this will reduce re-sale value. Changing codes on club locks on a regular basis is also a good idea.

The club is uncertain of the time the ergs were stolen but it is likely to have been overnight, as they’re not the sort of things you can just wander off with under your arm.

MBC do know the serial numbers of the stolen machines, so if you are offered any ergs in unusual circumstances please make a note of the serial numbers (on model Cs and Ds this is Located between the V of the flywheel support legs on either the bottom of the rower or on the left side of the flywheel housing) and contact the captain

The UK surfboat Championships took place last weekend at Saunton Sands, North Devon

Despite a larger entry from river clubs this year, the top prizes went to costal clubs, though Twickenham came 6th in the women's Open champs and 2nd in the men's, while Molesey made 7th and Marlow 10th in the men's.

Molesey may not have won, but they did have the best kit, the best names and the best drinking game and they got eveyone else drunk...

Full results at:

Offical pics

There was polite amusement at the World Under 23 Rowing Championships last weekend at Strathclyde Park in Scotland when a certain commentator from Evesham in England-shire referred to the facility as a "Lake" rather than a "Loch".

Amusement turned to consternation not long afterwards, however, when the same commentator described how the "England" crew was leading a race – notwithstanding the big letters GBR on the side of the boat which might have been a clue.

Happily, Scotland’s recently installed nationalist First Minister was not present, or an international incident could have ensued!

Katherine Grainger looked suitably bemused at goings-on at Aberdeen Boat Club’s recent Inter Company Regatta on the River Dee.

Never mind the quality of rowing (which was surprisingly good for complete beginners)... just look at the rowing colours some crews were sporting!

A mixed crew of bunny girls (??) was spotted in one of the boats but the winning crew was one of the Viking Squads who were exhorted to victory (or threatened with the penalty for failure) by their sword-wielding cox.

The fairies won the best dressed crew competition despite Darth Vader’s efforts to use the force to his advantage.

Snapper Ron has published lots more photographs of this highly enjoyable event on the Committee of the Dee site at:

If you're not aware of the spot of rain we had over the weekend, you're either reading this from abroad or you've just come out of a coma.... Anyway, although the British media love a good flood story, most rowers don't, and the torrential downpour on Friday combined with strong winds and lightning storms over Nottingham, left organisers of the National Championships with little choice but to cancel racing around 1pm on Friday (and none to soon at that, as several crews had already snapped oars in the sea like conditions ).

While competitors and coaches sat around waiting for news, the committee huddled into a room for several hours to come up with a cunning plan that would allow them to fit the 55 lost races into the rest of the weekend.

A better forecast for Saturday & Sunday meant that plan B had a good chance of working and, having settled on time trials instead of rescheduled heats for the junior events, racing kicked off early on Saturday morning in conditions which were perfect for rowing, though not so hot for spectating or marshalling. By the end of Saturday the regatta was back on track and although a number of crews scratched (mainly through problems getting to Nottingham), by far the majority turned up to race.

Sunday saw the sun finally make an appearance but there were other problems in evidence as the day dawned with raised water levels in the lake. This meant that the boating and presentation pontoons were some 10cm under water and crews looked like they were walking on water as they boated. A Thames women's four fell foul of the "something's missing" test during pre-race practice, when they kept going and removed several inches off the bows of their boat on a submerged pontoon.

The lake was also sporting a fine crop of weed, which was causing a few problems - one pair ended up getting wetter than expected when they flipped on the pontoon while pushing off and when they turned the boat over the rigger was completely covered with thick green weed.

Although conditions were quite good for the early heats on Sunday, the wind picked up as the day went on, and conditions near the start were quite challenging by mid afternoon.

Looking at wins in the senior events, Leander cleaned up with five golds – though perhaps, as they are effectively a centre of excellence these days with full time (expenses paid) athletes, it's possibly surprising that they didn't win more... Scullers and Mortlake weren't far behind, with three golds each and one shared in a composite women's quad while the recently formed local club, Nottingham rowing club ended up with gold in Lwt 4- (pinching it from London in the last 500m) even though they had some problems getting boats to the course as they weren't allowed to row them down the Trent.

No doubt the weekend's results will have been of interest to the HIR selectors, though with the England team being asked to cough up £450 a seat to go to Cork in August, maybe it's not a bad thing that the wealthy Leander Club are likely to be coughing up quite a lot of the money. It can pay to shop around for HIR if you have the family connections, as Scotland are reportedly charging £350 a seat, while the Welsh practically get a two for one offer at £200 a seat.

Finally, back to weathering the weather, and with severe flooding around areas like Glouceter and Evesham (the water level reached the balcony on the boathouse), there will no doubt be several clubs who will find some limited comfort in knowing that some of their boats were safe in the relatively flood free area of Holme Pierrepont over the weekend.

Full results are available at