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2022 AGM Minutes Part 1

Bridport Gig Club Ltd – Annual General Meeting

Wednesday 2 November 2022 at 19.30

The Committee Room, Mountfield, Rax Lane, Bridport

19.00-19.30 Arrival & member registrations. All members sign in to record attendance on arrival.

19.30 The meeting will commence at 19.30 sharp.

Apologies received: Vicky Argyle, Oli Buchanan, Heather Coley, Stephen Goodman, Martin Huxter, Catriona Macphee, Jim Nightingale, Ashley Raison, Peter Slimon, Jo Todd.

Members in attendance: Andy Atkins, Simon Binns, Chris Bodycombe, Trisha Brooks, Karen Buchanan Harlow, Genna Bunker, Robin Carter, John Caswell, Andy Crawford, Rachel Davey, Jan Farnan, John Gordon, Diana Harvey, Cara Jenkins, Tom Jones, Liz Launder, David Lee, David Lohfink, Rachel Maltby, Carol Marsh, Jason Matthews, Donna Mckenny, Wreford Miles, Chris Mott, Lucy Nightingale, Sarah Orritt, John Preston, Paul Pruszynski, Michelle Sage, Kim Sankey, John Simmons, Paul Skillend, Sue Skillend, Linda Gemma Smith, Stevenson-Guy, Annie Taylor, David Thomas, Debbs Urch, John Ward.

1. Welcome and Introduction SB

2. Presentation and Adoption of 2021 Accounts

Simon presented accounts and explained details.  Much improved year for the club after the impact of Covid.  We are in a strong financial position, but some ‘artificial’ info is included in the form of what was really 2022 membership subscriptions.  Rowing fees were up by £4000.  Regatta figures were nil because of cancellations due to inclement weather.  Costs were well down on 2020 levels (no purchase of lifejackets for example).

Adjustments need making to cashflow for purchase of boats etc where grants are adjusted over each year.

2022 is not looking so good but details will follow at year end!  Harbourmaster decided to charge us launch fees this year which were high as we were charged for 2021 and 2022.  Our regatta this year did make some money which is a good result.

Collection of rowing fees needs to improve, and we are considering a direct debit payment from members.

Acceptance of Accounts

Proposer: Paul Pru

Seconder: John Simmons

Directors Update

Thankfully we have had a return to something like normality this year after two years impacted by covid.

Club Officers

We thank all Club volunteers for their support over the last year, particularly those on maintenance teams, our schedulers, coxes, vice captains, assistants, and of course our Club Officers for their efforts during a difficult time.  As always, the club could not run without its volunteer officers, and we thank everyone who has held an officer role over this last year.

We are delighted that many officers already in post are happy to continue with their roles for the year ahead.  We are sure that the blend of experienced officers continuing in post, combined with those new to their roles, will form cohesive and effective Administration and Rowing Committees for 2023.

We would urge all officers to be on the lookout for who might succeed them as and when they decide to stand down – it is an opportunity to share work, as well as provide mentoring for a clear succession.

We would like to thank Dave Lohfink for his work as Rowing Captain.  He has reorganised the way Rowing and Administration committee meetings are held, and he has sought to bring the various elements of the club together into a concerted whole.

A number of changes to officers will take place as we move into next year as per the list below:

  • Men’s Captain/SMT Rep – Chris Bodycombe
  • General Rowing Captain – Sue Skillend
  • Club Secretary – Lucy Nightingale
  • Committee Secretary – Sarah Orritt
  • Ladies Captain/SMT Rep – Gemma Smith (with Lucy Nightingale)

We are delighted that these members have come forward to stand as club officers and we wish them all a happy and successful tenure.

As we head into a new year we have some vacant positions among the officers, the most significant being Rowing Captain.  The directors will be looking to club members to fill some of the outstanding roles and hope to approach members with specific skill sets to embark on discussions as to whether more members will be willing to step up to fill the vacancies.

New Director

We are very pleased that David Lee stood for election recently and was voted onto the board of directors by a majority vote from members.  We welcome David to the Board and look forward to working with him in future.

As set out in the BGRC Articles of Association one third of the directors need to stand down by rotation at the AGM.  Simon will thus be standing down but offers himself for re-election.

KBH requested a show of hands to approve Simon’s re-election as a Director.  Majority vote approved.

If anybody would like to become a director, please let us know.

Club Premises

Despite many club members putting considerable time and energy into putting together and developing an extension plan for the Boathouse, we have decided not to pursue these plans for the foreseeable future.  Primarily, covid took its toll and building costs have increased to a point where it is simply not viable for us to spend in the region of £100k on the Boathouse, when at the end of the day, it is a rented premises.

In the interim, we have a very cordial and agreeable relationship with the ladies who run West Bay WI and we have negotiated an agreement with them to use the WI hall for Club activities when it is not in use by the WI themselves.

To date we have been able to store our ergos in the WI hall and run ergo training sessions there, as well as use it for a meeting venue for Rowing and Admin Committee meetings.

Over the winter months, we hope it can also be used by our Juniors section as an indoor space for their training and social sessions.

We realise that use of the WI hall may be a medium-term option, although we hope to build on the relationship we currently have with the West Bay WI and formalise things more for the future if we can, but there are no guarantees for the future.  As such, the Directors are currently discussing the viability of putting together a club survey, to ask members for feedback and ideas/suggestions on how the membership sees the club going forward.  We will keep you posted on this.

New Gig

Brian Nobbs, who built Brydian, is building his last wooden racing gig, which will be the newest gig to join the BGRC fleet.

Building work is on schedule and we are due to take delivery of the new gig sometime around Spring 2023; we are hopeful the new boat will be ready in time to go to the IOS.  Fundraising has commenced to finance the purchase and we need £27,500 to cover the cost of the new boat.

David Thomas has been instrumental in setting up a virtual (ergo) row around Britain to kick start fundraising which has seen a fabulous response from members and friends.  Thank you, David.

We intend to sell Dagger to make room for ‘Dagger II’ and plans are afoot to discuss the best way to advertise her and agree a price.  Ideally, our aim is to dovetail the sale of Dagger I with the arrival of Dagger II if we can.


As you all know, we have functioned without anyone holding the Club Chair role since Steve Gardner stepped down some 3-4 years ago.  Whilst we had a Rowing Captain in post, who worked closely with the Directors, we have managed admirably to keep BGRC going forward.

Currently, we face the prospect of having no Rowing Captain for the year ahead and, frankly, the Directors cannot do everything.  Therefore, we have proposed a management team structure for 2023 which will mean that rowing management teams can work closely together, offering mutual support for rowing activities and reporting directly to the Directors:

The Squad Management Team (SMT) will consist of:

  • Chris Bodycombe as Men’s representative and Captain
  • Jason Matthews as Lead Cox and Captain
  • John Caswell as Junior Coordinator
  • Gemma Smith (with Lucy Nightingale) representing Ladies squad
  • Carol Marsh as Club Coach.

The General Management Team (GMT) will consist of:

  • Sue Skillend as General Rowing Captain
  • Tom Jones as Events Rowing Captain
  • Jason Matthews as Lead Cox
  • Carol Marsh as Club Coach.

Both of these management teams form part of the Rowing Committee.  Additional Rowing Committee members are:

  • Safety Officer
  • Bosun
  • LTR Coordinator
  • Club Secretary (CPGA liaison, IOS & regatta bookings etc)

The Rowing Committee consists of officers whose roles relate to all BGRC ‘on-water’ activities.

The Administration Committee consists of officers whose roles relate to all BGRC ‘off-water’ activities.

  • Treasurer
  • Membership Secretary
  • Webmaster
  • Communications Officer
  • Funding Officer
  • Welfare Officer
  • Safeguarding Lead
  • Merchandising Officer
  • Social Secretary

Both committees meet quarterly throughout the year and report to the Directors. Minutes of Meetings from both committees are available to view on the BGRC website.

The role of Rowing Secretary will become defunct, and we will now have a Committees Secretary who will attend both sets of committee meetings, and manage the taking and distribution of respective Minutes.

Officer Reports

ROWING CAPTAIN – David Lohfink

Firstly, I’ll kick off by confirming what most of you already know, which is that I am stepping down as Rowing Captain.  I am just too busy inside and outside work to find the time it takes to perform the role well.  I hope I leave the position with the Club in a better place in terms of policies, processes and levels of rower enjoyment, engagement, and satisfaction.  However, there are still some areas where I would like to see improvements and I will touch on these later.

Before I do, it does need to be said it has been a successful summer on and off water.  On water, given that we have been somewhat short of rowers at some regattas but those rowing have done really well.  Good performances throughout the year including all the crews at the World Champs on Scilly and runners-up in the Jurassic League to a very strong Langstone is no mean feat.

Unfortunately, the Jurassic League plan of only having 5 point-scoring regattas (therefore allowing clubs to attend other regattas and row against harder opposition) didn’t quite work this summer for various reasons.  Next year might be better now we are out of the Covid woods, and everyone will be back in the swing of things properly.

Our regatta, a victim of the weather initially, was hastily rearranged for a much better summer’s day.  Although that meant a dearth of visiting clubs, those that did come all wrote in to say they had had an excellent day’s racing.  Trying to organise two regattas (the postponed one with its evening party that went ahead) and the actual regatta was pretty exhausting but couldn’t be done without all the help from both generals and squad sides of the club and so my thanks go to everyone who mucked-in; there are just too many to mention.

Off-water there have been few difficulties that I have had to get involved in mediating or resolving and those that I have been have relatively minor and are largely due to the high turnover in Officers needing policies and procedures to be refreshed, reissued, and restated.   The creation of a club calendar on the website has helped coordinate the activities of various parts of the Club across Squad, Generals and Tom Jones’ Events role.  Please use the calendar so that the Club as a whole can coordinate resources accordingly.

The Squad Captains have made working as part of the SMT a pleasure this year as the spirit has been one of unity and collaborative working and I am very grateful to the two Rachels and Jason Matthews and his assistant Bods.  I am sure this will be carried forward to the winter and next year.

Rowing and Admin Committees have sometimes been lengthy but always productive and enjoyable, so I thank a great bunch of people for making them so and working so hard for the good of the Club.  Those who don’t sit on a Committee have little idea just how much hard work goes on behind the scenes.

Turning to the areas where I would still like to see some improvements, one of these remains closer working between the General Rowing Section, Squad, and the overall management of the Club.  I am still aware of there being some distance between the Squad and General Section and I am not really sure why that distance still exists.  It has been discussed at Rowing and Administration Committees and there are some good ideas emerging to help.  I was also delighted to see Sue Skillend standing for Generals Captain and I believe her appointment will help this process.

One specific issue I keep hearing about is that “General Rowers never get to row in a wooden boat.”  I would like to be very clear that there is nothing to stop that happening as it is the coxes’ choice which boat(s) they take out.  Blaez is slightly trickier to launch and retrieve because of the way in which she is stored in the boatyard, but she is there to be used.

I’d also like to mention Tom Jones’ Events efforts as he has some big plans for next year and will work hard across the Club to bring them to fruition.  We should support him as best we can.

At this point, I’d like to address another couple of questions that have been put to me by various parties and have been discussed at Rowing Committee.

Firstly, there is the matter of how a rower gets into Squad. This is set out formally in the Selection Policy that is on the website.  In practice, it tends to work more informally through a combination of Learn to Row and other coxes spotting potential squad rowers either through the LTR process or through rowing with the General boats.  Those rowers will be invited to join Squad directly or via one of Carol Marsh’s excellent “Development Row” boats.  It is also possible for rowers to approach the Squad and Rowing Captains directly and ask to be considered for Squad.  It is an open and inclusive process subject to rowers being of a sufficient standard and fitness to join Squad.

Secondly, I wanted to clarify how the Club views the Masters Section.  In essence, it is not a separate section of the Club and is now very much part of Squad rowing.  Masters is fast becoming a highly competitive category with more races at more regattas than previous years and also Masters Regattas in their own right.  This does mean, however, that as Masters rowers need to be part of Squad, they also need to demonstrate a high enough level of fitness to race and also commit to a regular training programme to suit their level.  If anyone has any queries about their suitability to take part in Masters racing, then please do talk to the relevant captain.

Others will speak about the proposals to purchase a new wooden boat as some of the Club’s priorities have shifted as the year has unfolded.  One project I was involved in was the proposal to extend the boathouse.  We had a small working party looking at this including talking to our landlords, the Town Council, thinking about how we could use the space and seeking high-level cost estimates.  My thanks to Kim Sankey’s architectural firm for producing the planning drawings.

As the budget estimate (which is just that: based on plenty of assumptions and open to value engineering) came in at well over £100,000, we took the view that we probably weren’t going to get value for money extending the boathouse at this juncture.  Build costs are rising rapidly and we would probably spend all our time chasing our fundraising tails.  The Club, through its Committees, decided to pause the idea and instead see if we can make better use of the WI Hall and work with the WI to secure a more formal position.  That work is ongoing.

Finally, I have continued to represent the Club on the Harbour Consultative Group which meets every six months.  It is a good group as its members include all users of the harbour area as well as the Harbourmaster, the Dorset councillor with harbours responsibility and the lead officer at Dorset Council that oversees all the harbours.  It has proved a good forum to understand the Council’s priorities and intentions and also to get our views across on the issues that affect BGRC.

If you have any further questions, then I cover my attendance in my reports to Rowing and Administration Committees and the Minutes of these are available on the club website.

Debbs Urch will caretake the rowing captain email in the interim period whilst we do not have a rowing captain.

MENS CAPTAIN – Chris Bodycombe/Jason Matthews

Since last year’s AGM the mens squad started their winter training which also included circuits on Thursday evenings. The plan was to concentrate on the IOS, our own regatta and Newquay.

The season started on 12th March with the 3 Rivers at Tamar, where we had 2 x crews with the A crew coming 38th and the B crew finishing 55th.  The course was slightly reduced due to the weather.

It was then onto the Scillies at the end of April. Then men’s SV crew came a very good 15th.  In the open the A crew came 46th and the B crew came 88th.

We then moved on to the regatta season where we had 5x Jurassic league regattas, Weymouth, Swanage, Bridport (on the rearranged date), Langstone and finishing at Lyme. Overall, the A crew were 2nd, the B crew 4th, Vets 2nd, Supervets 5th, and the mixed were 2nd – which all contributed to us finishing second overall behind a very good Langstone squad who thoroughly deserved their 1st place, although we had some very good races with them and we even beat them on some occasions.

We also competed at Rame and Brixham. where we came 2nd overall as a squad out of 18.

Then it was off to Newquay for the men’s championships where again we had 2x crews, with the A crew getting into the quarter final on Sunday and finishing 37th and the B’s finishing 67th, so all on all a very good season considering limited availability at times with some having 3x rows at the regattas. 

The season finished with the National County Championships at the Mount Batten Centre in Plymouth. Lohfers and Bods rowed in the Vets and Open, with Jason coxing both crews, and Wreford rowed in the SV’s. The Cornish crews won every event – Men, Ladies and Juniors – but the Dorset Men’s Vets finished 3rd, and SV’s finished 4th and the open crew finished 5th (out of about 6 but it was very close). It was a great day of racing and next year will only be better, I’m sure.

Huge thanks here go to Dave Lohfink for organising all of the Dorset crews (Ladies, Men and Juniors) at very short notice and with very little help from some of the other Dorset clubs. It was useful in giving Dave a geographic lesson as he has come to realise that Langstone, Sidmouth and Exmouth aren’t actually part of Dorset!

Also, a big thanks to Dave for organising our regatta which was a great day and for being an excellent rowing captain, which we are going to miss.  We would also like to thank the coxes, duty captains and schedulers, especially Donna for all her hard work organising LTR, development rows and squad taster.

LADIES CAPTAIN – Rachel Maltby/Rachel Davey


Neither of us set out to be a captain but once decided we thought we’d give it our best shot.  We knew had a range of experiences between us and quickly set about finding out what these were and who could do what.  We both had the same motivations.

Inclusivity~ A fair selection ~Ambition to win

Get Fit** Have Fun **Row together


Working together through our Senior Management Team meant we all worked together and helped each other out (one squad)

A commitment to a routine of winter training.  Tuesdays and Thursdays.  A planned programme using the external circuits, ergo plans designed by Pru and floor exercises delivered by Rachel.

Protocols in place each month gave clear goals for the whole squad

Individual coaching and feedback quickly seeing the improvements – Technique was a focus throughout the season.


We realised early on that lightweight crews can still row fast boats, concentrating on a powerful, smooth rowing stroke, to let the boat glide produced results, as seen at Scilly and beyond.

A noticeable improvement throughout the season, especially in the SV’s boat, as confidence and techniques improved.


Keeping the balance of training fair in the run up to Scillies and filling up a ‘B’ boat.

Availability throughout the season, having enough to fill boats.

Special Mentions

Andy Smith~ Fired up race cox.  Committed to helping our ladies’ squad was a welcome addition.  Thankyou Andy

Carol who has been on hand to support individuals with their technique.

Cara & Kim who have been constant throughout training and the season as a whole, missing training only a handful of times!

Jo Todd for a last-minute replacement at Newquay and that whole crew for digging very deep on that first leg in the quarters to take us through.

Participants in the mixed races – it feels like we need a suit of armour sometimes!


Jason for the coffees, coaching support, and the laughs.

The Coxes, rowers, towers, schedulers, bosuns and team reserves, who have all helped, along with many others, to keep the whole show on the road!

Each other for keeping ourselves sane at challenging times.

Thank you for kind words from men’s squad and general rowers when we’ve been successful – it means a lot.

Dolly Parton for keeping our Mo~Jo!


We haven’t gone anywhere.  We are still committed and passionate about our club.  We just both need time to concentrate on our own work now and hoping who ever steps forward will be happy to use us to support them. There is potential for a high performing squad next year – let’s make it happen!

Simon noted also that we did take part in a Masters regatta at Lyme this year, so thank you to all who were involved in that event.


This has been a busy and productive year for general rowing, focussing both on variety and on improvements to health and safety of all rowers, from launch, through rowing, to retrieval. This has included several very successful sessions of trolley training, which all general rowers are encouraged to attend.

We have implemented a programme to assess ongoing competency and training needs, assisting with the development of new LTR rowers, running oar-lifting practice sessions, mentoring weaker rowers and supporting those who are having particular difficulties. We have also helped out with the junior rowers.

We ran a very well attended row to Lyme, blessed with beautiful weather, and also organised two very popular intra-club race events – sadly the weather was unkind on both of these days, and they had to be cancelled at short notice after much hard work by the committee and helpers.  General rowers also helped enormously on the club regatta day, umpiring, recording, and serving food and drinks.

During the year, general rowers from the club have had the chance to be involved in rows further afield, including the Head of the Dart, the Vogalonga in Venice, the Round the Island race at Hayling Island, the Platinum Flotilla, and also rowing the Spanish Trainera at Langstone.  Apart from the wonderful experiences, we made many useful contacts and now have open invitations to row in the Santander regatta next July and to row with Portishead gig club.

We also entertained rowers we had met from the Ditton Skiff club who came for an evening row in the bay – we have another open invitation to join them on the Thames.  As a result of these trips, we identified the need to have a pool of general rowers prepared to tow a gig and as a result a training and mentoring programme was introduced – many thanks to all who gave their time.

General rowing organised and ran (with help from all sectors of the club) a stand at the Melplash Show in August.  The ergo competition was particularly popular and identified some outstanding talent, all of whom sadly live nowhere near Bridport.

I would like to thank all who have helped so much over the last year to make general rowing vibrant, supportive, and interesting and I wish all the best to Sue Skillend and Linda Parkinson who will be taking over – general rowing will be in very capable hands.


1. Whilst this has been a frustrating year it has also helped clarify what sort of Events Programme to aim for next year. Several possible events were considered this year but proved impossible to take forward for a variety of reasons, including the continued disruption of Covid.

2. Late in the year however we had the resounding success of the Thames Reflections Flotilla Event.  The explosion of photos on Facebook shows how much the event was enjoyed by the crew and the positive press coverage was also appreciated.  The arrangements were complicated, and participation would not have been possible without the support of a number of Club members across Squad and General.  Managing the process was helpful in gaining an understanding of the necessary infrastructure required to develop and sustain a successful programme.  We now have 3 viable trailers, several new accredited members able to tow and an increasing knowledge about how to manage the boats on and off trailers.

3. Building on this success my aim is to create an Events Schedule which will be open across the Club.  It will provide a range of opportunities for everyone to join in and will sit alongside the Regatta Schedule.  The framework will probably include 4 non CPGA events organised at intervals through the year interspersed with reciprocal visits with probably 2 clubs, making an additional 4 events.  The experience of other clubs is being sought in an effort to widen thinking about events beyond those with which we are familiar.  Similarly, we are asking which clubs might be interested in reciprocal visits.

4. Although not Club Events, a number of club members with others, have taken part in a range of rowing events including Head of the Dart, The Vogalonga in Venice, and Round Hayling Island.  These have also provided good learning experiences which will be helpful in drawing up a schedule for next year.  To facilitate club members ability to take part in this way, information will be noted on the Club Calendar so that individuals or crews can take part on the basis of a private arrangement.

5. In addition to this Schedule there hopefully will be Lyme Rows and Intra Club Race Evenings organised by the General Rowing Team and open to everyone.

This is an ambitious plan which should be possible given the continuing support of the whole club.  Together with Competitive Regattas it will help provide a range of interesting rowing opportunities for everyone and develop a template for future years.

Please note that dates for Events rowing are fixed dates and Tom needs to have firm commitment from rowers for these events from the off.

CLUB COACH – Carol Marsh

The on-water development rows have been appreciated by all participants. I have had direct positive feedback, and feedback via others.

Donna arranges the D-crew whilst building the weekly schedule.  The rowers who just finished with their LTR have priority, and then seats go to who has requested a D-row when they book in, whereby priority is given to the newer rowers.

So far, I have had a varied range of rowers joining from general rowers, new squad rowers to experienced squad rowers.  At times the crews can be very varied in their rowing ability and understanding of the actual stroke.

To keep it beneficial to all, I break down the stroke and we row at a slow stroke rate so that we can concentrate on good posture and technique. I have also covered the odd ergo session, to implement good rowing technique, which is transferable to the gig boat.

Recently I have got together with John Preston to write a small coaching section for the coxswains manual so that the teaching of rowing is the same throughout the club.  The aim of this being that a completed LTR can join in with general rowing and will be coached correctly from the start and then progress through to general rowing or squad rowing having achieved set targets.  Until then I am teaching development boats sessions, but aim to coach other coxswains and approach another cox or 2 to join me along the way


We restarted Junior rowing in April of this year, and since then have been running up to two sessions for Junior rowers every week. In April we ran a 4-day Junior LTR course, using new training materials, from which we picked up 5 new junior members to add to the one we had left post the Covid lockdown.

We have a further course due to run over the winter months, and plan to run a further course in April of next year. The hope is that by the beginning of Spring we will again have a self- sustaining Junior team, and from this an active squad to enter into all of the Jurassic League regattas.

As well as improving both rowing technique and fitness and of course having fun out on the water the Juniors were able to row competitively in our own Regatta and did very well as a novice crew against some much more experienced junior teams.

Our juniors thoroughly enjoy being on the water and have even been singing sea shanties as they row!

Over the Winter months we will continue to offer a single on-water Junior session at the weekend, and also a weekly shore-based training and fitness session.

I would like to thank the many club members who have helped us get Junior rowing going this year, either as coxes, or additional “Young at Heart” rowers in the Junior boats or as the onshore co-ordinator who is there with a radio in case we have any difficulties out on the water.

Please do continue to support our Junior club members over the coming year, either as part of a Junior Session or even just by waving to them as they enter or leave the harbour.  We want to integrate the Juniors into the club as a whole and if you know anyone who may wish to join our junior crews, please put them in touch with me.


Due to covid we had a very long list of people wishing to join a course.  Throughout 2022 we have managed to offer courses to 38 of those on the list.  70% of those who attend the courses took up full membership.

I would like to thank all the coxes and rowers that have helped to make the sessions possible in particular Simon Binns, Sue Skillend, Jason Matthews and Debbs Urch, who have run the majority of the courses as well as John ward, who as safety officer, has been supportive when we have had concerns about suitability and helping with the running of the courses.

As well as coxes that have been happy to fit in a single Learn to rower when they have not been able to attend the scheduled course

We have received a lot of new interest throughout 2022 and this means the list of actively interested new rowers is sitting at over 45.  I am hoping to have dates arranged for the 2023 courses as soon as we have the dates for 2023 Regattas and any other planned events that we are expecting to attend, which I am hoping will be available by the end of the year.

There was lots of help offered from all areas of the club to fill the LTR seats but ideally it would be good to have a few more coxes that are happy to run the sessions, so they don’t fall to a few.  If any coxes would be interested in helping run the courses in 2023 please give me a shout as we cannot run them without your help.

LEAD COX – Jason Matthews

I’m pleased to tell you that last month 7 BGRC coxes attended a coaching forum at the Mount Batten Centre in Plymouth.  These coaching forums are very helpful in learning new skills and meeting other coxes and coaches.

The choice of topics offered (of which each person attending could choose 3) was as follows:

  • Coaching Juniors
  • CPR and Defib training
  • Developing a winter training programme
  • Rower Development guide and coaching style
  • Strength and conditioning 

Although everyone had a choice, some topics were more obviously more relevant to some coxes rather than others.  For example: John Caswell – Coaching Juniors and Carol Marsh – Developing a Winter Programme.

The feedback from the course was positive and I think all of those recommend it to others.

Throughout the year we have ongoing training with Lyme Bay Sea School, namely VHF Training and Licensing and First Aid training.  The first aid training happens every 3 years and we are trying to sort a day for the renewal of first aid course for 8 coxes and initial first aid course for 3 coxes.

During the past 12 months both Lucy Nightingale and Tom Jones have progressed from trainee cox to signed off cox.  I know I probably mention this at every AGM, but for those new members, a cox cannot be signed off to cox on her, or his, own without supervision, with having attended a Learn to Cox course, passed on-water assessment, have a DBS certificate, a first aid certificate and a VHF licence.

After being signed off I’m pleased to say that Lucy has been race coxing, culminating in coxing for Dorset at the National County Championships in Plymouth a few weeks ago.  I would like to give a mention to Sue Skillend who race coxed for the first time this year – despite her initial protestations.

At present we have 18 signed off coxes and 8 trainee coxes.  Of those 18, 1 is inactive and of the TCs, I would say 3 to 4 are very close to being signed off.  It is something that can’t be rushed, especially with the sort of conditions that we have to row in at West Bay.

I am pleased to say that this month we will be getting a cox to join from another club, but he will have to be a TC until he is familiar with the conditions.

We always need more coxes and now is no exception, with a membership of approximately 140 we are on the cusp when it comes to cox availability to cope with the numbers requesting rows.  From my point of view, there’s nothing more disappointing than seeing a row cancelled because of the lack of a cox.  So, if anyone here is interested, or knows of any member who has expressed an interest, please let me know and I’ll have a chat with them about it and hopefully take it further from there.

I would like to thank John Preston for the ongoing work he is doing with Carol with regard to coaching rowing technique across the club.  Thanks.


The main activities since the last AGM have been:

  • Preparation of Brydian for Scilly which required an internal Varnish and Paint
  • Painting of Dagger Keel
  • Oar overhaul – Big thank you to the John’s
  • All trailers serviced
  • Review of all Gigs by Alan Pinch and recommendations of ‘work and how to’
  • Ad hoc cleaning of boat house and gigs – Big thank you to those who proactively own and undertake this.

Activities in plan or to be planned:

  • Review of scrapes and touch ups required after a season on regattas – Gigs and Oars
  • Do this now while Brydian is dry (last used at Lyme) – Then get Brydian back in the water
  • Focus on Blaez – Detailed maintenance which may require turning over and looking at options to make it easier to use Blaez. ‘Why row plastic when you can row wood’
  • A recommendation by Alan Pinch was to use a machine polisher to maintain the gel coat on the plastic boats, we now have one of these, but first the hulls need a good clean.

I am the bosun coordinator and I am reliant on help from across the club so thank you to everyone who helps with maintenance.


There have been 10 reported incidents since last AGM, of which 7 came under slips and trips category highlighting need for care and attention on slipways and when boarding or disembarking from gigs. Warning notices as applicable sent to all Cox’s to mitigate against re occurrences.

2 FTR assessments have been conducted; 1 required NFA after initial review while the other, after initial review, had addition mentoring before being successful at second review.

It is important that all those involved emphasise to LTR candidates not to assume they will automatically graduate into general rowing after 4 LTR sessions unless they meet a baseline requirement and if after LTR mentoring they do not achieve this standard then they will be stopped there.

Annual life jacket survey conducted in September and 2 jackets scrapped. This survey led to a discussion on the need for the club to have a rolling replacement policy in place for lifejackets which do not last forever. To be discussed at next cox’s meeting.