BGRC Rowing Committee
12th October 2022 19:00 – 21:00
WI Hall, George Street, West Bay
Apologies: John Preston, Cat Macphee, Heather Coley, Rachel Maltby, John Ward.
Present: Dave Lohfink (Chair), Debbs Urch (Minutes), Simon Binns, Donna Mckenney, John Caswell, Tom Jones, Carol Marsh, Wreford Miles, Chris Bodycombe, Jason Matthews, Rachel Davey.
Minutes of Last Meeting: Approved as an accurate record.
Warm-up Exercises for Rowers
RM has advised of some pre-rowing exercises. These are not yet on the website. Dave Lohfink offered to follow this up with JP. C/F
Rowing Coach sessions:
Kevin Sellar’s contacted but no response, as yet. C/F
Regatta details and crews to be posted on FB and website for supporters. Flag up with the new Comms team.
Simon Binns has been consulting with a cross-section of the club about plans for the club moving forward. Simon to discuss and move forward with the other Directors. C/F
Should Carol, as club Coach, be involved in the development/coaching of General Rowers? Carol’s role needs to be developed. C/F
Weight-training was agreed to be an important part of whole squad training for the coming winter. Rachel M said that more weights are needed for training – 4, 6 & 8kg kettlebells. Source and price up and let Simon Binns know (Treasurer). There should be some money in the training pot? C/F
Annual Coaching in Plymouth
Seven Coxes attended the annual coaching day. This is to be a discussion point at the next coxes meeting.
Rowing Captain – Dave Lohfink
Where did the summer go?
I don’t have a lot to report this time that won’t get picked up by others, especially the squad captains. It has been a successful summer given that we have been somewhat short of rowers at some regattas but those rowing have really burnt water. 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.
The season is nearly over with Swanage Supervets on Saturday 15th October and a number of BGRC squad members taking part for Dorset in the National County Championships in Plymouth the following day Sunday 16th. Good luck to all.
I am hopeful that my successor and the Directors will continue the good work we have been doing in the last 2 years in bringing the club together and I would like to focus (going forward) on:
• Closer integration with the General Section as we haven’t quite cracked that;
• Having one “Squad Captain” to aid cohesion and direction with vice captains in each area (Women, Men, Masters, Juniors);
• Growing the Masters side of Squad as Masters events are growing in popularity and quality;
• Getting the approved regatta list out quicker, asking for availability earlier and selecting crews as soon as reasonably practicable to give time for appropriate training together;
• A formal approach to coaching across the Club – something else we haven’t quite cracked yet but not helped by the Covid pandemic and everyone being so busy
I wish Tom Jones the best of luck in bringing together a good events programme for 2023 and hope that Squad and Generals will support him in that. Getting the regatta list approved and out earlier will also help Tom in his forward planning and, of course, we have (and should use) the Club Calendar on the website. The recent Thames Flotilla looked fabulous and got the Club some good publicity and that’s an important element when thinking about the Club’s profile and fundraising and sponsorship opportunities.
On the matter of fundraising, I’m hopeful this will grow now Kim Sankey is in post and we look forward to receiving and discussing Kim’s report at the next Administration Committee
Meeting. The priority is the new boat currently being built by Brain Nobbs and we need to support and promote Dave Thomas’s rowing challenge during October. We have a long way to go to raise £28,000. We will also need to think about new racing kit, probably for 2024, as the old kit is getting a bit worn. Pass any ideas or sponsorship contacts to Kim at email@example.com The boathouse extension is now formally on hold for the reasons reported last time. We should continue to discuss options for the WI Hall with the WI and Town Council.
I attended the latest quarterly meeting of the Harbour Consultative Group on 10th October 2022. Of interest to the Club was an item about the temporary bollards alongside the kiosks by Rise. These are to be replaced with permanent bollards and the roads and signage are to be properly done – a one-way road that allows boaters to also go out from the boatyard to avoid the bus stop plus double yellow lines from the kiosk to boatyard. I will try and get some plans from the Council’s Highways Team.
Early survey work (more to be done) suggests that there are some structural issues with the support for the footpath along the western edge of the harbour from the Harbour Office to the Salt House roundabout. Major works will inevitably be required but no work schedule yet.
Dredging is on course to be sorted in time for being carried out in March and early April 2023. The Licence application to Natural England is submitted and the tenders for the contract will be invited in late October or early November.
Finally, as this is my last Rowing Committee meeting, I’d like to thank all of you for your enthusiasm, commitment, dedication and support.
Directors Update – Simon Binns
1. Our AGM is now booked and will be held at the Bridport Council building, Mountfield, Rax Lane, Bridport, DT6 3JP (same as last year), on Wednesday 2nd November 2022, from 7pm onwards. Please be ready to start on time as there is a fair bit to get through. Please aim to keep your presentations to 5 minutes max!
2. We are pleased that David Lee has agreed to join the board of directors. The vote is ongoing, and we are confident that we will confirm his appointment at the AGM.
3. Officers for next year – we have a number of significant vacancies and are interested in receiving offers / nominations.
4. New boat – we need to have someone in place to pull together activities related to financing the new boat – sale of Dagger, identifying capital grants we can apply for (in conjunction with Kim) What we are doing is great, but we need much more!!
5. Rowing Fees – collecting fees as at present is not working well enough. Possible options for future = include in annual charge, say £4 / week for 40 weeks would mean an annual fee of £235. Or revert to cash collections
There was extended discussion about ways of paying, the frustration of some not paying when others do. Treasurer reported that around 80% are paying, leaving a considerable shortfall. The time it would take to monitor individuals would be considerable.
Agreed that we wouldn’t want to go to a subscription style of paying.
Agreed that a reminder to all via the schedule, Facebook and in a Mailchimp to pay monthly by transfer.
Agreed that if there is no upturn in collecting payments then we would delegate to the Directors to decide on an appropriate payment system.
Safety Officer – John Ward
Annual lifejackets survey complete and 2 scrapped plus many bottles replaced, especially on handbag style. Cox jackets looked very tired need a discussion on replacement purchase.
Following club guidelines 2 Fit to Row (FTR) assessments taken place. One ‘no further action’ and continues as normal. 1 was an unusual case, who came out of LTR, with known ‘baseline requirement issues’ and had had long gaps between rows, due to health issues. First assessment result was mentor and re assess, after good deal of effort by several people, they passed their second assessment. Lesson learnt is that LTR candidates must not assume they will all migrate into general rowers, of whom we are not short, and that weak rowers who do not improve after LTR mentoring should be stopped there not passed on to general rowing.
2 incidents reported both of which had wider briefs issued to mitigate re occurrence.
Safeguarding – Linda Parkinson. Nothing to report.
Welfare Officer – Sue Skillend. Nothing to report.
Lead Cox – Jason Matthews
There isn’t much to report since our last rowing meeting, which was preceded two days earlier by a Coxes meeting. There will be another coxes Meeting later this month, or early November.
I would like to thank all of the coxes for their efforts, especially when giving up a row to allow a crew to get out. Unfortunately, we seem to be losing the odd row or two because of the unavailability of coxes, which is unfortunate and can only be rectified by more coxes making themselves available, rather than the familiar names taking on more.
This season we have had 18 signed off coxes, 2 of which are not active, and 6 Trainee coxes, of which 2 will hopefully be signed-off in the near future.
Events Coordinator – Tom Jones
Success and Thank You
After lots of chat about what Events might happen during the year it’s refreshing to report the resounding success of the Thames Reflections Flotilla Event on 24/9/22. 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 wide range of Club members. The input of Peter Slimon and other members of the crew was invaluable. The practical support from squad members in sorting out the Blaez trailer together with helping and advising how to load and unload Bathsheba was essential as were the encouraging comments from others.
Planning for Next Year
An important outcome is the development of the infrastructure necessary to run an Events 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.
Building on this success my aim is to create an Events Schedule which will be open across the Club. The framework will probably include 4 non CPGA events organised at intervals through the year interspersed with reciprocal visits with 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’re asking which clubs might be interested in reciprocal visits.
In addition to this Schedule there hopefully will be Lyme Rows and Intra Club Race Evenings organised by the General Rowing Team. Finally, where possible information will be published on the Club Calendar about events in which members might like take part as a crew or individually on the basis of a private arrangement.
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 and develop a template for future years.
The suggestion was made that members need to sign-up to events well in advance, give a deposit and get involved with the organising.
TJ – Andy Crawford will be working with him in the coming year, and he is seeking a representative from the squad, so that Events are across club and inclusive.
TJ – Support came from across the club to make the Platinum Flotilla event happen.
DM – expressed the importance of all dates being on the club calendar so that we can all work together to make things happen.
General Rowing Captain Report – Cat Macphee
The last 3 months, BGRC general rowers have been involved in:
· Assisting and supporting the LTR and Junior rowing programmes
· A great deal of planning went into an Intra-club Race Night, which was scheduled to take place on Monday July 25. There was huge interest from General rowers, juniors and some squad members – enough for 8 crews plus coxes and some reserves. Sadly, the weather was unkind to us again and this event had to be postponed for a second time.
· Assessing the competency and further training needs of some existing and new LTR rowers – identifying their needs and weaknesses and putting together a programme to assist them. Trisha Brooks has been successfully mentoring one new rower who was having problems with basic rowing requirements; Carol Marsh has been running a series of very useful Development rows, together with input from John Preston.
· As a result of our Vogalonga trip, we had a club visit from Deborah Charles, from Ditton Skiff club, who really enjoyed an evening row and a pint in The George with us and thanks the club for our hospitality. More to follow!
· We have a couple of general rowing members (Andy Crawford and Alan Burn) now who have the ability and willingness to tow a gig. Jim Nightingale and Chris Bodycombe have kindly mentored them, and they and various other squad members have helped with the knowledge transfer of getting gigs on and off trailers. Many thanks to all.
· We planned, organised rotas and project managed the BGRC stand at the Melplash Show on Thurs August 25th. This involved taking Dagger there on her trailer, towed by Bods and Alan Burn, transporting 2 ergos, constructing various signs and gig rowing histories – and having some superb flyers produced at short notice by Andy Atkins. Thanks to him and to all who helped heave stuff, man the stand, and run the very popular ergo competition. There were some cracking ergo scores, sadly from members of the public who live nowhere near Bridport.
· Seven general rowers took part in the Round the Island Race at Hayling Island on July 31st using a non-club gig. It was a choppy day, and the race was re-organised to miss out the sea leg. We had an excellent day and distinguished ourselves by overtaking the same boats twice after going slightly off course!
· Nine of us went off to London to take part in the Platinum Flotilla row down the Thames on Sat Sept 24th. Tom Jones will cover this more fully, but I would like to say a huge thank you to Peter Slimon, without whose planning, enthusiasm and contacts this would not have happened, and whose coxing, down a crowded river in darkness, was awesome. Also, to Andy Crawford, who towed the gig to London, and whose calm authority on launch and retrieves was inspirational. It was also apparent that he is a very well-respected figure on the Thames and knows most people in British river rowing. Thanks to everyone who helped decorate and provision Bathsheba and provide training and guidance with the trailer processes.
There was some confusion as to why Events were being reported within the General Rowing Report. Also, why events which weren’t club events were being reported? Rowing Captain and Directors to remind incoming/new General Captain regarding content of reports.
JC – made a suggestion that Wednesday evenings are regular club race nights next season. Too late this year, but JC to raise in the Spring.
DM – General rowing and squad helped with Learn to Row.
DL – clarified that Cat was probably making clear all that General rowing were involved in.
Squad Captain Report – Rachel Davey, Rachel Maltby, Jason Matthews, Chris Bodycombe
Heck of a lot to fit in this report: First up after the last rowing meeting was Rame where we performed respectably amongst a massive field of 24 clubs Ladies A 8th and SVs 4th were the highlights, as well, of course, as their legendary evening party!
One week later and with one of the tiniest group of rowers ever, we went to Langstone where almost everyone had to row three times. It was a fantastic day, with crews repeatedly performing better than expected– Ladies A and B 2nd, SV 1st and 1st in the mixed. It was a long but very satisfying day and a lovely minibus vibe!!
Lyme Regis on the 13th August was always going to be a good one – it was a very hot day but lovely to jump into the sea to cool off. We won Ladies A and SV and mixed, finishing Second overall. It was also the final day of the Jurassic League and overall, we came Second in that, for which we were presented with a lovely ammonite trophy, as well as trophies for first place in the Ladies A and the SV categories.
Our final regatta was Brixham on 20th August. Always hot competition in Devon but again we held our end up and performed respectively. No actual wins but we were close behind Brixham in the ladies races and the club came second overall. We had no idea we were even placed and didn’t attend the prize giving for which I have apologized to them!
At this point we said goodbye to Rachel Davey who was having an op. Happily all went well, and she is a fabulous supporter of the club and is raring to go again although her husband has made me swear, I won’t let her in a boat for at least another month!
Also, after Brixham, we sadly lost Debbs who for health reasons had to pull out of the rest of the season. We wish her all the best and hope she will be recovered very soon.
So on to the National Championships at Newquay. We tried very hard to have a second crew but through many reasons, it wasn’t to be. Availability at the last minute was difficult even for the A crew, when Donna was prevented from coming home from Germany. So, a special mention and a massive thank you to Jo Todd, who changed all her weekend plans at the last minute to join us in the boat. Well, it was a fabulous effort, second in our heat so straight through to the Sunday. Third in our quarterfinal, beating Brixham, which we have been behind all season, so into the last 18 for the Semis, where we came fifth in ours, due to one boat being disqualified. Congratulations to Swanage, the other Dorset Club in the Semis, who finished one place ahead of us in the same race. A very special weekend, thank you to Cara and Andrew for transporting the oars, event shelter and pins and for Jason Matthews who came to support.
Availability has also been tricky for Swanage SV next Saturday, but we now have both a crew and a reserve, which feels a luxurious place to be!
Then it is the Tamar Challenge and the County Championships. I know it’s been a joyless task for Dave to organize the latter and we wish them all the best of luck next Sunday.
Men’s Captains report for 12th October 2022
Since our last meeting we have had our own, langstone and Lyme Regis Jurassic league regatta’s where we came a fantastic 2nd place in the Jurassic league behind Langstone who have been strong all season, but we also beat some very good crews, we have also attended Rame and Brixham regattas where we came 2nd overall which considering again very limited availability we did fantastically well. We then had the mens championships at Newquay where the mens A made up of vets and SV other than Seb got through to the quarter finals on Sunday and got revenge on St Agnes who we raced against all weekend at the Scillies and finished 37th overall. The Mens B made up of Masters and SV other than Mark, came 67th overall. All squad members that took part gave it their all and represented the club really well and everyone has enjoyed themselves. Hopefully next year we can have more of the same and hopefully more members to select from.
Thanks to Carol who is doing a great job with the development rows an also Thanks to Donna for organising all the LTR.
A big thank you to all the coxes throughout the summer as we couldn’t do it without them.
Bods – Everyone rowed their hearts out and enjoyed it. Great spirit.
DL – The racing is an important thing for the club, and we need to keep that going.
JC – Great report, it would be good to have a report posted on Facebook for all to see.
When regattas are on, please can regular updates be made on the day? Maybe a nominated FB updater?
Junior Co-ordinator – John Caswell and Cara Jenkins
We have 6 registered junior members, and 5 of these are regularly rowing on a weekly basis.
We are offering 2 Junior rows a week, usually on a Sunday and Thursday afternoon. Typically, we have had to add in 1 or 2 general rowers to make up the numbers. I would like to thank the general members who have been so willing to help out in this way.
We have 5 more potential juniors currently signed up for a Junior LTR course which is scheduled for the Autumn half-term.
As we move into the autumn and winter season, we plan to switch the Thursday session to a session on the rowing machines in the WI hall. The intent here to build strength and stamina, as several of the juniors do get quite tired by the end of a 90-minute session on the water.
The majority of the juniors are keen to race, and it would be good to get them ready for a full season of potentially racing next year.
John is attending the autumn Coaches Forum in Plymouth and will be focusing on the topics related to junior coaching.
We have just started discussions with the juniors about ways that they help in the clubs current fund-raising efforts.
We have sent out a communication to the three local Secondary Schools in the hope of generating a few more interested juniors for the autumn half term course.
Thanks for Support
DL – Thank you John! Stick with it, you’re doing a great job. Junior numbers across the counties/CPGA are an issue.
The squad would be happy to be involved with Juniors and historically very much have been. Please ask.
Rowing Development 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 new squad rowers to experienced squad rowers. At times the crew is very varied in their ability and understanding of the actual stroke. I mainly break down the stroke and we row at a slow stroke rate so that we can concentrate on good 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 boat sessions but might approach another cox or 2 to join me along the way.
DM – Good to see that the General rowing have been involved in the Development rows.
JC – Thanks go to Carol. All have enjoyed and benefitted.
JM – The squad now have pretty much one style together now. This is a brilliant idea, hopefully this will develop the same style across the club.
Learn to Row Co-ordinator – Donna Mckenney
For the first time since 2019 we have been able to run a full years’ worth of LTR courses. 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 35 of those on the list.
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. Not forgetting Karen B-H as membership secretary and Sue Skillend as welfare officer who have put up with my many emails and been there to support me through my ‘you what’ and ‘are you kidding me’ moments
70% of those who attend the courses took up full membership with 5 who should complete by the end of this month.
I sent emails to all on the list that had not responded to dates offered asking for contact to be made by certain dates or they would be removed from the waiting list and removed around 30 people due to no reply.
However, we have received a lot of new interest throughout 2022 and this means the list of actively interested new rowers is sitting at 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.
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.
In all I have enjoyed being able to be part of a fab team which brings in new rowers and see them fall in love with the sport and go on to join and become be a vital part of a great club.
Bosun Co-ordinator – Wreford Miles
Since the last report (12th July) aside from small repairs none of the previously identified maintenance have been started. Plastic gig and boat house cleaning has been organised and completed by rowers participating in the London event and those who have rows cancelled due to the weather – This proactive ‘housekeeping’ maintenance is much appreciated and it’s good to see that we are using the FB page to recognise those doing this.
The preparation for London also identified a rusted cross member on the Blaez trailer and thanks to Martin Huxter and his contacts a rapid repair was completed. Simon Crafter also organised two new tyres.
We still have a list of ‘other’ minor off to be completed jobs and we will need to identify owners for these and will look to call upon skills and ownership within the club – For example broken spars on Dagger footboards.
The big job mentioned in July is Blaez to be moved to the Boat House for a full inspection and refurb inside and out – This will require turning the boat over and having a committed effort of several to inspect, sand, fill and paint
To discuss at this meeting – Using Blaez more
Summary by boat and oars
Broken Footboard spar needs replacing
Cosmetics scrapes an autumn job – It’s now autumn so we need to plan this
Moved to the boat yard as the #3 boat while Blaez is refurbished
Cosmetic scrapes an autumn job – As above!
Moved to the boathouse for a full refurb
Trailer repaired and two new tyres fitted
Bucky-Do and Bathsheba
Alan Pinch had recommendation to avoid painting, the best approach is to use an orbital polisher to restore the gel coat and look of the boats – The recommendation was the club buy an orbital polisher, we now have this and I have had some guidance on how to use it so a test polish of a section is to be planned to better understand time/people required to do each plastic gig.
Aside from some tape replacement no other maintenance has happened – The post on Gig Rower highlighting the need to remove and check under leathers has prompted the need to record when we do and have done this.
For the meeting my question is:
How can we make rowing Blaez an easy option? My thoughts are, why row plastic when you could row wood and if you can row wood why would we want a new plastic gig!
Considerations would include how do we make getting Blaez onto and off trailers an easy task and the need to have a set maintenance schedule monthly/ quarterly what we do and by who etc…
Debbs and Wreford to meet to market Dagger.
Blaez to go into the boathouse for work to start soon.
DM – At the coxes meeting maybe discuss briefing coxes on how to use the wooden boats/support keels, so that they feel more confident?
Bods – A cradle for sitting the wooden boats on might be helpful. Offered to draw up some plans.
· Update from Schedulers – Donna Mckenney
Everything seems to be going pretty smoothly with all 5 of us working together to ensure we get as many boats out as possible across the whole of the club.
We are often low on coxes on weekends but have tried our best to cancel as few boats as we can.
A reminder for people to put any time restrictions on their booking form and to also try to remember to book in before the deadline, as late requests or advising of times that can’t be made after the schedule is published causes difficulties.
PLEASE CONSULT THE SCHEDULE TO SEE WHAT IS (or isn’t) HAPPENING BEFORE YOU GO ROWING. DL to write a mailchimp. SB to send.
· Leaving boats in overnight – Simon Binns
This needs to be kept to an absolute minimum. For safety reasons is OK, but not for convenience. Overnight mooring costs £11 a hit – that is the rowing fees for that boat gone.
Raise at Coxes meeting.
· Thanks to our Rowing Captain – Simon Binns
Simon thanked Dave for his term as Rowing Captain. He has done a great job bringing the squad closer together and making these meetings run smoothly.
Date of Next Meeting(s):
Administration Committee – Wednesday 19th October. 7-9pm. WI Hall, West Bay
AGM – 2nd November 2022. 7pm onwards. The Committee Room, Bridport Town Council Offices, Mountfield, Rax Lane, Bridport, DT6 3JP (same as last year).
Rowing Committee – Wednesday 11th January 2023