Farewell Jo!

Stratford Boat Club said goodbye to Jo Wyles who has been an active club member for a number of years.

Until the end of last season, Jo was the Club’s Club Honorary Secretary, a post she covered as a volunteer for over six years and Jo has also acted as Launch Driver, plus Regatta Secretary and other voluntary positions in recent times. One of the main tasks that Jo will be remembered for is most ably supervising of the setting-up of the Club’s marquees for the regatta season and Jo was seen each year with her partner Tony manning the Race Control station and radio allocations at the Club’s own regatta events.

 Said Paul Stanton, Club President, “Jo and Tony are relocating to their ‘home region’ of Kent and we will certainly miss them both, as well as the enthusiastic and willing support they have given our club over the years. Volunteering is the heart of Stratford upon Avon Boat Club and Jo and Tony have certainly exemplified this ethos.”

Jo was presented with a leaving gift and token of the Club’s appreciation – at ravel bag with a specially engraved “Bon Voyage Jo Wyles – from your friends at SuABC”

Farewell Jo and Tony – enjoy being beside the sea and start of a new chapter in Whitstable in Kent!

For media coverage, please see StratfordObserver online https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/boxing-day-fun-on-the-water

Stratford Juniors Win Gold and More at British Rowing Indoor Championships

Stratford Juniors shine once more at the BritishRowing Indoor Championships on Saturday. Held at the Velodrome in the iconic Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the annual event sees athletes aged from 11 to 80 years plus competing alongside individual entrants, club rowers, Team GB and Olympians.

First into the arena was Nixie Brunt in the Year 11 Girls’ six minute event. A very strong field, taken from some of the best known clubs in the country, made for good racing with Nixie starting off confidently to lead the race. Relentless opposition as the finish neared saw her finally place thirteenth from a field of fifty nine contestants with a distance of 1,573m.

The next race saw Sophie Elstone competing in the Year 10 Girls’ five minute event, with a field of ninety four rowers including the current U16 World Indoor Champion. With so many entrants the race was held in three heats, Sophie being in the first. Keeping calmly to her plan she kept a commanding and clear lead throughout to win her heat with little opposition. With the distances tallied at the completion of the third heat, Sophie finished in seventh position overall with a distance of 1326m, only 24m from the medals.

The velodrome crowd had now increased to maximum and next to walk up the ramp to be greeted by the collective cheers, were Harriet Noyes and Millie Hodgson, competing in the Year 8 Girls’ 500m event. Both started strongly with Harriet advancing up the field to establish an early lead, with Millie pushing through settling in the top third. Showing exceptional control in her first competitive rowing event, Harriet held on against strong competition from well established clubs, finishing a clear five seconds from her closest opposition to win the Gold medal in a time of 1:48. Millie maintained her position to finish ninth in the group of twenty four in 1:57, only two seconds from a medal place. 

A three hour break between events allowed Harriet to recover and prepare for the Year 8 Girls’ three minute event. More exciting racing was to come. Facing the current World Record holder, Noyes once again kept control and showing great physical and mental strength held her own during a tough three minutes to finish in a well deserved Bronze medal position with 787m.

The Stratford Juniors’ final events saw Nixie in the Year 11 Girls’ 500m event, with Sophie Elstone and Harriet Hodgson in the Year 10 Girls’ 500m. Taking to their machines on the floor at the same time, in different areas of the arena, the girls faced determined opposition in a sprint event that drains energy in a most extraordinarily short time. Support from all sections of the crowd for every rower was deafening as the large screens constantly displayed their ever changing positions. The races were quickly over and the drained and exhausted athletes awaited their placings, the heats having to be taken into account. Finally the results were announced, with Nixie finishing in Bronze medal position in 1:39, amazingly only 0.9 of a second behind the winner. In the Year 10 event, Sophie finished fourth in 1:44, one second behind Bronze place, with Harriet H in seventeenth place with a time of 1:49, six seconds from the medals.

Said coach Trevor Tiller, “Another great day for the Stratford upon Avon Boat Club Juniors at the world’s biggest indoor rowing event and Britain’s biggest mass-participation indoor sporting event. For Harriet Noyes to win Gold and Bronze medals and become a British Champion at her first competitive eventis an amazing achievement and shows great promise for the future. The fantastic results from each of our rowers and the performances overall showthat Stratford Boat Club remains a club to keep an eye on.”

Meanwhile, in the senior events, Sophie’s grandfather Andrew Elstone raced in the first event of the day, the Masters 65-69 2000m, finishing fifth in his age group, fourteen seconds from the medals with a time of 7:26. Later, Harriet’s father Ed Hodgson, competing against members of the GB Rowing Team in the Open Men’s 2000m, finished only sixty two seconds from the medals in a time of 6:49. Commented Trevor Tiller, “Great performances from both, now to get them on thewater!”

For media coverage, see Stratford Observer online https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/stratford-juniors-shine-once-more-at-british-rowing-indoor-championships and Stratford Herald page 18 and 17

Stratford Juniors Take On and Beat Seniors!

Conditions at Wycliffe on Saturday were challenging for all the Stratford upon Avon Boat Club junior crews with a head and cross wind gusting as the athletes in all age groups raced down the 2.5k course on the Sharpness Canal.

Autumn Keil, Matilda Watts, Molly Gill-Swift and Katie Phillips put in a strong performance to finish sixth in the WJ18 coxless quad event. Considering they had not sculled together as a crew before the event it was a very good result.

Joe Hodson representing King Edward The Sixth School in his single scull demolished his opposition to take the Gold Medal. The Women’s Junior 18 coxed four, Katie Wellstead,  Emily Browne, Khloe Curnock and Molly Gill-Swift coxed tremendously by Mimi Hill and also racing in the Women’s Senior event left all the completion in their wake to win Gold Medals in both events. Racing over the course for a third time was Katie Wellstead partnered by Emily Browne in the Senior Women’s Double Sculling event: a great race developed with Wycliffe College with Stratford coming over the finish eight seconds ahead of the opposition to take another Gold Medal.

The morning division saw the four J15 girls’ singles of Amelie Sartain, Elisabeth Edwards, Harriet Hodgson and Sophie Elstone race strongly against a constant headwind and competitive opposition over the 2,500m course. Just over two minutes divided the race’s fourteen competitors with Elstone gaining Bronze position, closely followed by Sartain, Hodgson and Edwards.

The J14’s had a fantastic start to the day with the WJ14 coxed quad of Harriet Holmes, Freya Watts, Fleur Griffiths, Honour Keil and cox Toby Sartain finishing in third place and gaining themselves the bronze medal out of ten crews and less than thirty seconds behind the winners.

Next up was the J14 double racing against five all boys’ crews: Will Beattie and Lucy Browne had a fantastic row again finishing less than thirty seconds behind the winner and just 1.2 seconds behind Ross to pick up the bronze medals.

The weather for Division Two maintained its constant headwind with bouts of sun and drizzle now thrown into the mix. Not put off  by this, the boys’ double of Conar Aitchison and William Clarke firmly pressed on into sixth place against a large field of stiff competition.

The WJ14 doubles raced against a strong field of six crews to finish in a very respectable fourth place for Lucy Browne and Fleur Griffiths and fifth place for Harriet Holmes and Anne Mynors.

Thefinal division’s racing saw the squad’s four girls’ doubles compete in an eighteen boat field with the headwind still playing its energy sapping part. Due to a last minute illness in the squad, J14 sculler Lucy Browne despite already having competed twice in the day, bravely stepped in to row up an age group in the bow seat and partnered Sophie Elstone. The remaining boats in the day’s final division being crewed by Amelie Sartain and Harriet Hodgson, Abbey Meggeson and Julia Zampronio Gurden and Elisabeth Edwards and Emma Harrison.

As the light began to fade, the remaining headwind failed to diminish the crews’ resolve as they vigorously made their way down the course. Sartain and Hodgson finishing in bronze medal place, Browne (J14) and Elstone only sixteen seconds behind them in an outstanding fifth place. Slightly further down the field, Meggeson and Zampronio Gurden, Edwards and Harrison finishing less than two minutes from the medals.

SaidJ14 coach Abi Terry, “Given the conditions, the WJ14 singles did a fantastic job to complete the course let alone to finish so well in the field of eleven scullers. Freya Watts and Honour Keil both out in amazing performances to finish in fourth and sixth respectively.

The J14 coxed quad raced against three all boys’ crews. The crew of Will Beattie, Bella Chappelhow, Anne Mynors, Toby Sartain and cox Harriet Holmes finished just 6.3 seconds behind the winners to bring home the silver medals. This was a fantastic way to end the day for the J14 squad at only their second head raceever.

Commented J15 coach Trevor Tiller, “Good performances all round from all on a very demanding day.”

For media coverage, please see StratfordObserver online https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/stratford-juniors-take-on-and-beat-seniorsand Stratford Herald page 23 and online http://www.stratford-herald.com/93720-stratford-youngsters-enjoy-medal-winning-performances.html

Hampton, Evesham and Chester in One Weekend!

Last Saturday, several young athletes travelled to Hampton Court to compete in the Hampton Small Boats Head, a processional time trial over three thousand metres. This race is recognised as the highest quality winter event for small boats: it attracts over seven hundred crews from famous and highly successful rowing schools and clubs. 

In this extremely competitive cauldron of racing, the J17 athletes competed in two events. Joe Hodson representing Stratford in the J17 singles and King Edward Sixth School in the schools event finished ninth and sixteenthwith Molly Gill-Swift competing magnificently in the comparable but very challenging girls’ races. Emily Browne, Katie Wellstead and Talei Dunn all sculling with great skill and determination finished their singles’ race in thirteenth, twenty seventh and twenty eightieth place respectively. Then followed the partnerships of Talei Dunn with Katie Wellstead and Khloe Curnock with Emily Browne tackling the girls’ J17 double sculling race. They finished within three seconds of each other and only forty five seconds behind the winners to take thirteenth and fourteenth place. These are all tremendous performances by a small club in this most demanding sculling theatre.

The morning division saw the J15 doubles partnership of Amelie Sartain and Sophie Elstone finishing an outstanding fifth from a strong field of thirty three and within only five seconds from a medal winning position. The second double crewed by Harriet Hodgson and Sienna Rawlings followed closely with an equally respectable fourteenth, against very tough competition from the country’s top clubs.

The afternoon saw the OJ15.2x of Conar Aitchison & Will Clarke placed twenty seventh in a close division of forty, sculling confidently against fierce competition.

Spread over the morning and afternoon divisions the WJ15.4x+ event saw the crews of Sienna Rawlings, Amelie Sartain, Sophie Elstone and Martha Usselmann coxed by Elisabeth Edwards: along with the boat crewed by Abbey Meggeson, Elisabeth Edwards, Emma Harrison and Julia Zampronio Gurden, coxed by Conar Aitchison, placed twenty seventh and thirty ninth respectively from a strong and large tightfield of forty three.

Stratford Masters were in attendance at Evesham on Saturday supporting the Senior crews with a number of development crews and scullers looking to commence their winter racing season.

After their success at the prestigious Fours Head, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s Senior Men’s squad was at Evesham for the annual Masters of the Avon head races. Racing against the stream over four thousand and five hundred meters, the top boat a coxed four of Mike Hourigan, Patrick Hourigan, Finn Sprackling and Max Marcus, with local coxswain Amie Jones steering, set off first against competition from Evesham, Trafford and Worcester. 
A powerful steady row allied to Jones’s local knowledge of the stream quickly enabled them to pull clear of the pack – ending up with a  comprehensive forty five second win.

The morning division also featured the first outing in a Head race for the youngest member of the squad, Harvey Mole. Harvey was up against ten other singles – all from Stowe School and got out of the blocks quickly, catching two of the Stowe scullers just after halfway and had nearly caught two more by the end of the course. He ended up finishing a very promising third.

 The afternoon division featured the Hourigan brothers racing a pair for the first time, where they finished a very respectable second behind an experienced pair from Worcester Rowing Club.

Seniors’ Coach Bill Sullivan said, “The squad have trained hard since September and been rewarded with some good wins at Worcester, London and now Evesham. It’s a promising start to the season and bodes well for 2019”

Racing in the morning division first off were the Men’s’ Masters F age group quad in their first race outing of the season. The crew, Gary Clay, Neville Hand, Wallace Brown and Tom Doherty in a borrowed boat took on local crews from Worcester, Warwick and event hosts Evesham.

On a demanding four kilometre course with a number of tight bends requiring significant steering input, the crew settled into a solid row rating thirty one strokes per minute for the whole course to finish in a time of seventeen minutes and nine seconds to finish seconds behind a much fancied and very experienced Evesham crew who finished in a time of sixteen minutes and forty four seconds but ahead of crews from Worcester and Warwick finishing overall tenth fastest crew of the day.

Masters rowers were further represented by Gina Fusco taking part in her first single sculling event. Gina, up against a very experienced sculler from Exmouth Rowing Club, produced a very creditable racing and steering performance to finish in a time of twenty three minutes and twenty nine seconds, behind the Exmouth sculler winning in twenty one minutes and three seconds.

Stratford’s Masters Women’s daytime rowing squad of Rona Fitzpatrick, Jackie Joesbury, Rosie Stone and Clare Nash, coxed by husband Alfie Nash, not to be out done, also competed in the Women’s open coxed quad event and finished in a good time of 21.33 twenty one minutes and thirty three seconds, behind a significantly younger Evesham winning crew in twenty minutes and sixteen seconds

In the afternoon division, Stratford Masters rowers Gary Clay and Tom Doherty teamed up with their old friends from Bridgnorth to continue their success in a composite Men’s Masters E coxed four to record their third straight win following previous success at Grosvenor and Stourport against crews from Worcester, Warwick, and Evesham in a time of seventeen minutes and fifteen seconds. Said coach Helen Smith, “It was great to see so many development crews getting some good quality race experience.”

On Sunday, the Masters’ men continued to build up their season race experience with a trip up to Chester to take part in Chester Long Distance Sculls. Held on the picturesque River Dee in glorious winter sunshine over a five kilometre course, the day produced some good quality racing against strong opposition which saw Stratford’s Masters’ Men’s quad of Simon Beard, Richard Shepherd, Richard Nelson and Tom Doherty taking on crews from Grosvenor, Runcorn and Kings Chester in the Masters D event.

After a steady start and hitting some debris in the middle of the river which caused a few steering issues, Stratford were unable to hang on to a good quality Grosvenor crew racing on their own water, rowing at three/four strokes per minute above the Stratford crews rating of thirty two strokes per minute, and found themselves instead in a side by side battle for two and a half kilometres with a very experienced Runcorn crew who despite closing on Stratford could not overtake and towards the finish Stratford’s better fitness meant they were able to pull away from them until the end of the race to finish third in a time of twenty minutes and twenty three seconds.

For media coverage, pleasesee Stratford Herald page fifteen and online http://www.stratford-herald.com/93380-youngsters-take-best-hampton-head.htmland Stratford Observer page twenty three and online https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/excellent-performances-against-top-opposition. For more pictures of Hampton Small Boats Head,please see David Phillips’ great selection https://1drv.ms/f/s!AgY7EiDB2lCOgsx7iw3lkzfVJQfNlA

Lessons Learnt By Masters on the Soar!

It is said that competing is more about what you learn than where you finish: Stratford uponAvon Boat Club Masters Squad Christine Goodwin, Tim Lunel and Chris Strawlearnt a lot whilst they competed at the Soar Head in Loughborough on Saturday!

Loughborough have a saying, “You race the straights and you steer the bends”.  Stratford’s Masters learnt there is good reason for this as the green weed at the side of the bends may look friendly but however many times the steersman says, “let’s go”, it doesn’t let go of your blade until you hack your way back out into clear water!

The hare and the tortoise also applies to rowing – when you overtake two other scullers and then if you then row so far into the reeds that you have to back out of the reeds then the tortoises just effortlessly pass by!

The final lesson that Stratford’s Masters learnt was to have a steersman that knows the course and then you can stay rowing on the water rather than examining the wildlife!

 Said Tim Lunel,Masters competitor, “All said, it was a really enjoyable day made by better by the fact that this is a head race run by rowers for rowers, none of the endless waiting about at the start. Marshalls with a sense of humour who don’t feel any need to shout and free tea and coffee for everyone there – we’ll be back next year now that we know the course.”

Later on in the day, Chris Straw and Tim Lunel put in a very creditable performance in the double coming second out of three crews in the Masters E category and third out of seven crews in the overall combined D/E categories. On the straights, Christine Goodwin and Tim Lunel did a great job of matching the boat speed of the very competitive Derwent mixed double that Stratford competitors know all too well.  They did find that bouncing from bank to bank round the tight bends seemed to reduce the boat speed, a lesson learnt earlier, and so came second best on this occasion. But being only twenty seconds behind having watched the Derwent crew steer a perfect course behind them means they are looking forward to their next encounter on a straighter course! Christine had an excellent first two thirds of her race overtaking to other scullers and is looking forward to returning to the Soar Head next year to complete unfinishedbusiness.

For media coverage, pleases see Stratford Observer online https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/lessons-learned-by-masters-on-the-soar and page 31 and Stratford Herald page 17

Stratford upon Avon BC wins 2018 Davison Award

“We are pleased to announce that Stratford upon Avon Boat Club are winners of the inaugural Davison Award.

There were many clubs and many commendable performances that met the criteria of the Davison Award which were all reviewed by the Fuller’s Head of the River Fours Committee and after much deliberation, the conclusion was that Stratford upon Avon Boat Club would be worthy winners.

We look forward to seeing members of the club at the prize giving on 10 January 2019 where they will be presented their Davison ‘blade’ by members of Noel Davison’s family.

Richard Phelps
Chairman, Fuller’s Head of the River Fours”

The Davison Award is a new discretionary award in memory of Noel Davison. Noel was, in addition to many other rowing related volunteer roles, the Honorary Secretary of the Head of the River Fours from 2014 to 2018. He tragically lost his battle with cancer thus summer.

In honour of his significant contribution to this event and in recognition of his stalwart support of our sport, the Fuller’s Head of the River Fours Committee has decided to create the Davison Award. After consultation with Noel’s family, and in line with his roots, interests and passions, the award will be given to “the standout performance from a small club” and it will be at the Fuller’s Head of the River Fours Chairman’s discretion. The winning club will receive a decorated blade and club representatives will be invited to the prize giving party at Fullers Brewery in January 2019.

Paul Stanton, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club President commented, “This is an outstanding achievement and puts the Club right in the centre of top class rowing in the UK. It was especially pleasing to see such strong performances at both Senior and Junior level. It bodes well for rowing at Stratford upon Avon for the immediate future and the long term. Our sincere thanks from our members, athletes, supporters, coaches and helpers to the Fuller’s Head of the River Fours Committee and the Davison family for their commitment to our small club and honouring us with this inaugural award. ”

For media coverage, see Stratford Observer page 31 and online https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/top-honour-for-stratford-boat-club and also Stratford Herald online http://www.stratford-herald.com/92779-boat-club-receives-inaugural-award-head-river-fours.html

Stratford Battle The Weather at Henley

On Saturday, Stratford upon Avon Junior Squad travelled south to the spiritual home of rowing, Henley on Thames, to compete in the annual Long Distance Sculls event.  Contested over three kilometers on Henley Reach, the event attracts top clubs and schools from around the country. Athletes from J14 up to J17 represented Stratford over two divisions.


As the sun blessed the course, division one got underway. First to go was the women’s J16 double scull of Mili Wilcock and Alice Baines enjoying the conditions and making their mark with a solid seventh place. Next up, Masters Women sculler Kjersti Woolley tackled course but a lack of competition meant her row over the course formed part of her training for later in the season as opposed to a competitive measure.

The J15 squad began their season strongly in the morning division with a mixed quad of Martha Usselmann, Sienna Rawlings, William Clarke and Conar Aitchison, coxed by Mary Walton, finishing a respectable seventh place against strong competition from the boy crews of Henley and Wallingford. Later in the division, the two WJ15 double scull boats of Amelie Sartain and Sophie Elstone and Emma Harrison and Abbey Meggeson raced well, with Sartain and Elstone winning third place with Harrison and Meggeson in seventeenth place.

The action continued in the afternoon, however conditions deteriorated significantly as the skies opened. All athletes contended with hail, rain and a strong head wind as they lined up to race. The women’s J16 single sculls of Nixie Brunt and Jasmine Mountney battled hard to make it back to the boating rafts in eighteenth and twentieth place respectively.  

The WJ15 quad of Rawlings, Sartain, Elstone, Usselmann and cox Walton, all rowing the distance a second time, fought hard through the worsening conditions to finish a commendable sixth place. The squad’s final race of the day saw Harriet Hodgson and Will Clarke in their double scull up against not only the hail and wind, but strong competition from the boys of Henley and Shanklin, to finish in an admirable fifth place.

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald page 22 and online http://www.stratford-herald.com/92849-stratford-juniors-battle-rivals-tough-conditions.html and also Stratford Observer back page and online https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/saturday-successes-at-henley-long-distance-sculls.For more great pictures, see Stuart Baines’ selection at https://1drv.ms/f/s!AiW2DAyn9tg9jNwbwkhAYDUUu3-dLw

We Will Remember Them

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club observed a two minutes’ silence on this Remembrance Sunday to honour those who fell in the World Wars and other conflicts. The Club’s thoughts were led by the Club’s President, Paul Stanton

Wreaths were laid at the memorial in the Club grounds by the youngest member Emily Cryer and Colin Upchurch, one of the oldest members: seventy six years separate their rowing experience!

All the crews and rowers came off the water during a busy Remembrance Sunday to attend the act of remembrance. Said Steve Wellstead, Stratford Boat Club’s Junior Co-ordinator, “The memorial is literally at the heart of the Club and our sporting life goes on around it: this was an opportunity to stop, reflect and remember those Stratford Boat Club members who had died so that we can live in peace and enjoy our sport.”

This year there was the added poignancy of marking of the hundredth anniversary of the First World War. Amongst other members of the Club who died because of WW1 was Norman Kinman: the Club was honoured that Norman’s grandson, Chris Kinman, also laid a wreath at the Club’s memorial. Chris was accompanied by his wife, son in law and daughters, Norman Kinman’s great grandchildren. Contact was made with the Kinman family after extensive research by the Club’s Archivist Mark Dewdney

The ceremony was further enhanced by the playing of reveille by the Club’s Piper Joe Moore: coincidently, Chris Kinman and Joe hadn’t seen each other for some fifty years after being at school together in the Warwickshire area!

Great pictures by David Phillips and Trevor Tiller: many thanks!For media coverage, see Stratford Observer online https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/news/wreaths-for-fallen-laid-at-stratford-boat-club-memorial and page eleven and Stratford Herald page eight

Stratford Boat Club Battles It Out On The Tideway!

Saturday saw the first major event of the rowing head season with the prestigious Fours Head taking place on the Tideway in London. Raced over the reverse Boat Race course, from Chiswick to Putney, the Fours Head saw 450 crews, including rowers from the GB National Squad, taking part in quads, as well as coxed and coxless fours.

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club put out two crews, a coxed four and a coxed junior women’s four. Conditions on the day were a mix, being relatively benign up until past Hammersmith Bridge before the strong southerly wind picked up the waves in the last third of the course.

The Senior men’s crew of Mike Hourigan at stroke, Tom Coles, Finn Sprackling, Patrick Hourigan at bow, along with coxswain Amie Jones were pitched into the Challenge Coxed Four event against eleven others. The crew had determined to start hard and fast and make the most of the better conditions before the wind picked up the waves. Approaching the first major landmark on the course after the start they quickly began to pick off crews from Lea and Quintin rowing clubs and split times showed them the second quickest crew to Barnes crew. Knowing that conditions would make overtaking difficult past Hammersmith, coxswain Amie Jones called on the crew to really push on in the two kilometer stretch between Barnes and Hammersmith. They slalomed past two more crews just before the approach to Hammersmith Bridge and shot the bridge alongside another crew from Lea Rowing Club. They quickly skated past them on the outside of the Hammersmith bend and then tucked in to avoid the worst of the waves around Fulham football ground, and the run in to Putney.

It was a strong, powerful row by a promising Stratford crew. Results came out quickly and showed that not only were Stratford the winners of their event but they had also finished as the twenty fifth quickest coxed four overall out of 137 men’s crews, including the top boats from Oxford, Cambridge and Leander Club.

The Senior Squad now moves on to further head races at Evesham and Wallingford where they will be looking to build on this performance. Oliver Smith, Club Captain, “The performance of both crews shows that clubs like Stratford upon Avon can punch their weight and more at these national level events. We would like to say a big thank-you to all of our club sponsors and supporters who help us to succeed.”

The Junior Squad were represented by the formidable coxed four of Katie Wellstead, Talei Dunn, Molly Gill-Swift and Khloe Curnock piloted down the course with encouragement, commentary and ace steering by Mimi Hill. This was only the second time these 16 year old young ladies have visited and raced on the infamous Tideway course. The crew rowing extremely well together had overtaken crews before reaching Hammersmith; they continued in overtaking mode as they hit the rough water arriving at Putney in a time of twenty three minutes and twenty nine seconds. This put them in fourth place; but after racing 6.5k only one second separated the second, third and fourth placed crews. Said Dr Graham Collier, Junior Coach, “This was another tremendous effort from these young people as they prepare to join the seven hundred crews who will contest Hampton Small Boats Head towards the end of the month.”

Stratford’s Masters’ crew competed in the Sunday Veterans Fours Head, no better for first race for a new quad combination (Richard Nelson, Tim Lunel, Piers Copham and Simon Beard) than the tideway – always a good test!  The result of fourth in a strong field of fourteen crews in the Masters E category certainly bodes well for the future as did the time which put them thirty fourth out of the overall 280 entries. Overtaking four crews over the course made for an enjoyable row and an added extra challenge or two for steersman Simon.  With pretty ideal conditions for the Tideway it’s difficult to ask for more from a day’s racing!

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald http://www.stratford-herald.com/92531-stratford-rowers-get-head-start-shine-winter-opener.html and Stratford Observer online  https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/stratford-boat-club-rowers-battle-it-out-on-the-tideway

Stratford Boat Club Celebrates Drivers’ Success

Time was taken to celebrate four Stratford members’ recent success in achieving their qualifications as launch drivers and their RYA Level Two licence. The RYA course focuses on low speed close quarters handling, man overboard recovery, an introduction to driving and collision regulations.    

“Safety is a matter that we take most seriously here at Stratford upon Avon Boat Club not only for our members, especially the Junior Squad, but also for all river users and the general public,” said Shân Stokes, Stratford Boat Club’s Safety Advisor. “All our safety and training launch drivers are all put through rigorous RYA Level 2 training to ensure that they are up to the highest standards and comply with British Rowing’s recommendations. We are especially pleased to see four more volunteers join the rota.”

For media coverage, please see Stratford Herald page 15 and online http://www.stratford-herald.com/92112-boat-club-quartet-pass-rya-course.html and Stratford Observer back page and online https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/stratford-boat-club-celebrates-drivers-success