Bridport Gig Club Ltd – Annual General Meeting, The Committee Room, Mountfield, Rax Lane, Bridport
Wednesday 2 November 2022 at 19.30
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.
Welcome and Introduction SB
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
Thankfully we have had a return to something like normality this year after two years impacted by covid.
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.
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.
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.
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:
•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.
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.
SB, KBH, DU, SB
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.
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.
GENERAL ROWING CAPTAIN – Catriona Macphee
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.
EVENTS ROWING CAPTAIN – Tom Jones
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
JUNIOR COORDINATOR – John Caswell
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.
LEARN TO ROW COORDINATOR – Donna Mckenny
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:
•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.
BOSUN COORDINATOR – Wreford Miles
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.
SAFETY OFFICER – John Ward
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.
TREASURER – Simon Binns
2021 was a much-improved year for the club, income exceeding expenditure by £8,191 in the year, taking the year end cash balance to £44,026, a strong financial position.
This good result was exaggerated due to a lot (£2,260.86) of membership fees relating to 2022 being paid during December 2021, much more than is usual at year ends.
Rowing fees were up by more than £4k, as the impact of covid was far smaller. Once again, our regatta was cancelled.
Costs were well down on 2020 levels, which included the purchase of the new safety equipment and almost £1k on sanitisation equipment. 2021 saw money being spent on repairs to the boats and on training of coxes, a return to normality.
You may recall that the legal books are different from these figures due to the way we account for grants received in previous years and to depreciation on fixed assets. The profit declared to Companies House was £1,659.
The 2022 accounts do not look so good at the moment, though I do not expect our cash balance to fall. For the first time the Harbourmaster has charged us launch fees for our 5 boats, charging us for both 2021 and 2022 – a total of £1,560. On the other side we did have a regatta, leading to £1,166 income, despite the original date being a wash out and the event being smaller than we would have hoped.
Collection of Rowing Fees has recently been discussed by the Rowing Committee and by the Directors. The current system does not seem to work well in some cases. It is suggested that a Direct Debit system be introduced from 01 January.
MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY – Karen Buchanan-Harlow
Membership numbers are at 138 as of today.
The uptake from those who participated in LTR programmes earlier this year has not been 100%, so our estimations to make allowances for those individuals has fallen short and we are subsequently below our anticipated 150 threshold, which had looked likely to be achieved back in July.
In recent weeks, we have had some experienced rowers joining us from other clubs, and our final LTR cohort for the year has completed, which may result in a further 6 new membership subscriptions before year end.
New Members (following completion of LTR)
Donna has put a large number of people onto LTR courses this year and we have run a successful LTR season. Donna, Jason and I have had email exchanges about what worked well, or not, from the LTR/new members perspective.
Whilst BGRC is a CASC registered club and everyone involved with the running of BGRC upholds the aim of offering ‘rowing for all’, we should be mindful that the criteria stated on the UK Government website describing CASC status is: ‘CASCs must be open to people of all ethnicities, nationalities, sexual orientations, religions or beliefs, sexes, ages and ability – except when a certain level of physical ability is needed to take part in a sport’.
Our Safety Officer, Welfare Officer, LTR Coordinator, Lead Cox, and club coxes have, on occasion, had to commit considerable extra time and energy to work sensitively with (a few) new LTR members who had been signed off from LTR as having attained our required basic level of ability/competence by some coxes as a matter of routine.
However, it should not be assumed that becoming a full club member following participation on a LTR is ‘a given’ as some participants have either required considerable further mentoring, or who we have had to advise retrospectively that they have not met the standards required. This often involves difficult conversations which may have an emotional or negative reaction from the LTR participant at the time and, frankly, it is a lot to ask of (BGRC) volunteers who have already given so much to our gig club.
On a few occasions the above situation has occurred, it must be questioned as whether the amount of time and effort that our officers and coxes are giving to this sort of scenario is realistic for an amateur rowing club, such as ours. I believe we should maintain our desire to endeavour to offer rowing to all – but within realistic boundaries – and be mindful of what is realistic for us, as volunteers, to achieve with the facilities we have, and the sport we offer.
The new CPGA online membership database went live in August. I have attended online zoom training for using the database. Our ladies and men’s racing squads are registered on the database and our entry sheets for each team were successfully entered for the Newquay Championships this September.
In addition, CPGA rowing register information on our membership statistics were submitted at end of September. The final register for 2022 will be submitted at end December.
All new members are given full information on how to book a row, how to pay for a row, when they join the club. I have also now produced a document highlighting our rowing fee costs, which has been uploaded onto the BGRC website, as a reference for members.
Unfortunately, through the year we have seen a drop in the payments made for rowing fees across the board from club members. Online rowing fee payments via BACS should be an easy process for all, but it relies on each club member taking personal responsibility to submit their fees monthly (or when fees hit the minimum £10 threshold amount).
We are looking at the viability of asking all members to set up a direct debit/standing order at the point of joining (or on payment of membership subscription), so that a monthly amount can be paid automatically from bank accounts to cover rowing fees.
We are looking at a way to make it relatively easy for members to check how many rows they have had, or if rows are cancelled, or crew members swapped in/out, from information on the rowing schedule, which could assist club members with keeping a running total of the rows they have taken.
I am opposed to reintroducing the return of cash payments for rowing fees as I see it as a retrograde step, as it means more work for our coxes and treasurer.
Bridport Leisure Centre
I was advised recently that our long-standing arrangement for corporate membership rates at BLC for BGRC members had ceased during Covid lockdown. I have contacted the new Marketing Manager at BLC and he is currently offering a 15% discount to our members if 10 or more club members sign up for BLC membership. Full details below:
If we were able to sign up 10 or more of your members, we would be happy to offer them a 15% discount on our standard rates. This would reduce a full access membership from £45 p/m to £38.25 p/m, payable by direct debit. We do offer a concession for those of retirement age or older which would reduce an already discounted rate of £40.50 p/m to £38.25 p/m for a full access membership.
As stated, these are for full access (Gym, Pool, Group Cycling, Squash and All Classes), however we offer a multi access membership which includes everything else but limits the class access from All to just Circuit training and Swim Fit. Prices for this would be £34 p/m, reduced from £40p/m, for a standard membership and £34 p/m, reduced from £36 p/m for a concession.
As well as membership we could also explore the idea of something bespoke to your members. Just an idea at this stage but perhaps a dedicated Group Cycling or Skill X session (small group circuit training in a dedicated studio, the first of its kind in the country) just for your members.
WEBMASTER – Andy Atkins
Since taking on the role of Webmaster in March I’ve been getting to grips with the website to understand its workings and the best way to update and edit the various pages and platforms. We may need to consider a complete overhaul or update of the website but this will be taken forward with Directors as and when.
This year we have tried to use the website as much more of an essential ‘go-to’ resource for club information;
Events and Calendar
Learn to Row: dates have been scheduled for the year, which now include a list of what to expect at each training session.
Regattas: dates for the year are included and updated with a timetable for the day when it becomes available. All CPGA and Jurassic League regattas will be listed and BGRC attendance confirmed as soon as we know.
Events Rowing: for next year we plan to include much more information about Events this will be coordinated through Tom Jones I believe.
Thanks to Vicky Argyle and the comms team for reports on regattas, these are updated regularly with club news and upcoming events and announcements.
New to the website is the general and training kit catalogue which seems to have been successful, I’m considering whether this can be a more interactive shopping platform although based on our ordering schedule it may be best to announce order dates via MailChimp to members and cluster orders into the current monthly arrangement.
Over the course of next year, I would like to update our site with the new rendering of the club badge and colours, plus a more engaging ‘front end’ to attract new members and also add some member exclusive features such as;
Picture Gallery of Events
Squad Kit Catalogue (TBC)
Club Sponsor List
Plus anything else members would like…
In addition to the website, I’ve been looking after our email system, which I can report is pretty robust although there have been one or two issues with access. I’ve given support to those concerned although I think there is still an access issue with Fundraising we still need to resolve.
We plan to get the most out of MailChimp and will be reviewing and maybe upgrading our subscription for next year to optimise access and use. I’ll also be creating a ‘How To’ guide for new and lapsed users on how to create mail outs and adding text and pictures etc.
•Club Badge: as mentioned earlier I have also updated the club badge using the ‘Bridport Dagger’ to encompass the oars, which now look much more like gig rowing oars too and freshening the colours to be more legible. This is being rolling out across club assets and applied to the new general and training kit and MailChimp comms.
•Kit Catalogue: This has been a labour of many hours selecting the various items of kit, creating mock-ups with club print applied to front and back, adding product descriptions, size and colour guides then uploading to the website alongside the order form. Hopefully the soon to arrive garments will be worth the effort.
•Squad Kit: There’s been a shortage of squad kit over the summer season and now might be the time to think about new kit, especially for the men. I’ll be happy to look into options for this and maybe we could start the 2023 season with some smart new kit. Ideally funded by a kit sponsor or purchased by individual members.
FUNDING OFFICER – Kim Sankey
With a small team of 6 members, a three-phase strategy has been put in place for fundraising, in the short, medium, and long term for the funding of the following:
•A new wooden boat
•A new GRP boat
•New squad kit
An application to the Bridport Town Council’s Grant Application Scheme – 2022/2023 in September was successful and an award of £500 was made conditional on being spent in this financial year and attendance at the Annual Town Meeting on 21 March 2023, at 7pm to speak about the organisation.
David Thomas has implemented the Round Britain Ergo Challenge to enable 28 rowers and 2 walkers to ‘row’ 2880 km with sponsorship towards the new wooden gig to replace Dagger. The current total (as of today’s date) is 2238km which is about 77%. A ‘crossing the line’ photo opportunity is planned for Sunday 6 November to celebrate an amazing achievement.
About 30 local sponsors have been identified and are being approached with an agreed pitch and presentation giving them the options for sponsorship. Sponsors include breweries, estate agents, and prominent business owners in the town and hinterland. The benefit to sponsors would be automatic access to all events and coverage on social media. The options for sponsorship include website, pins, rivets, planks, cushions, trailers, trolleys, oars, boats, and kit, all dependent on updated costs before these meetings can take place. An offer has already been received for advertising on the trailers.
The potential sponsorship of races (Lyme Regis were sponsored by Otter Brewery). A Masters regatta at Bridport would enable sponsors to promote their businesses and award prizes.
Other fundraising ideas have been carefully considered and these include the cost of production and profitability of calendars and cards, but this is unlikely to be prioritised over and above sponsorship as the return on investment is limited.
The club currently offers a community benefit but if this were widened to offer training to school groups, youth clubs, small groups with specific needs, it can attract even more funding.
There is an opportunity for BGRC to become a partner and apply for funds from the Henley Royal Regatta Charitable Trust which is the main supporter of the Rowing Foundation. This promotes the participation in rowing of young people under the age of 18 or in full time education and the disabled of all ages. It gives capital grants of 50% of the total cost of rowing equipment needed by organisations and clubs affiliated to British Rowing.
A mail chimp to all members to gather more information on the demographic of the club, to enable us to apply for grants suitable for the needs of specific groups of rowers, juniors, masters, and everyone in between.
Social events are also a valuable source of funding and opportunities for integration of all members. These events are vital since most applications require evidence of match funding.
Thanks are due to those members who volunteered to give their skills to assist in raising money. Huge thanks to Dave Thomas for front loading the fundraising.
COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER – Vicky Argyle
Good support from local press in terms of taking articles from us through the season. Most of the regattas in which we competed have featured together with the recent Platinum Reflections Flotilla and the BGRC volunteer spots. There is genuine goodwill and support for the club amongst those willing to feature these. In particular the Dorset Echo, which includes Bridport News.
Difficulties have arisen through the shared nature of this role recently and the availability/abilities of Subi Sidey and myself, which has led to some communications being missed/taking longer to materialise than preferred. These issues have been presented to the Directors for consideration.
To date the articles featured have been predominantly squad related, to the press these are obviously of greater interest than BGRC social activities but and going forward it would be great to have more general rowers/club events to promote.
Subi has stepped down from his role within the Comms team and therefore we are actively looking for someone with IT/website/social media skills who would be competent to upload documents to the club website as required, organise Mailchimp mailings, manage & monitor the BGRC outward facing social media (Insta, Twitter, BGRC Facebook page) as these tasks currently are not covered and I have no capacity to take on this side of the Comms role myself.
WELFARE OFFICER – Sue Skillend
A good relationship with Dorchester Volunteer Centre has made it possible for DBS checks to be carried out very quickly and easily. We pay £10 per annum for all checks as opposed to the £15 per application that CPGA ask for. All Coxes and Captains have DBS certificates that are renewed every three years.
All Captains, Vice Captains and Officers, where appropriate, have completed and passed a Safeguarding Course this year.
The Welfare and Safety Officer have worked together to improve and maintain the safety of rowers on and off the water.
Six Club members have been referred through Welfare to external agencies for help and support and a further 4 people (including a Junior) have been supported and advised by me.
A Safeguarding issue was reported to me and discussed with Linda Parkinson. External advice was sought, and the matter resolved.
SAFEGUARDING LEAD (incl. Covid-19) – Linda Parkinson
This year I have been able to help John Caswell with the new & increasing junior rowers, by meeting and rowing with them on a few occasions.
In the summer, I successfully dealt with a safeguarding concern and as a result established contact and dialogue with the Dorset Local Area Designated Officer (LADO), Martha Sharp. She was very helpful and pleased that at BGRC we take the safeguarding of our club members and the wider community seriously.
I also attended a meeting of the Coxes to raise their awareness of safeguarding, and their role within it, but also to help to support or advise them on any concerns that they may have. I also reassured them that they do not have to deal with safeguarding or welfare themselves but that I, and the Welfare Officer, are there for them, too.
Covid-19 Officer Update
I have not had to collate any information regarding testing or lateral flow tests for Covid-19 this year! As it is no longer reportable, I am not sure where this role will go in the future. I am happy to continue with it, should it be needed or ‘Mothball’ it as required.
MERCHANDISE OFFICER – Rachel Davey
It’s taken a year so firstly would like to say thank you all for your patience.
Objective was to coordinate a BRGC Brand across all 3 platforms.
Boats~Website~KIT – all one brand
We wanted to offer good quality clothing at the right price, something for everyone with a comprehensive catalogue of choice
At first, we had hoped that we would build an online shop linked to our website where members could hop on and purchase at their leisure. Steve Gardner, our old webmaster, made a start with that but hit so many difficulties it didn’t happen.
Fortunately, Andy stepped forward. A designer, someone who knows what good looks like. Someone who is meticulous with detail, knows what he wants and ultimately gets it.
Andy has spent days if not weeks perfecting our logo and catalogue. A very well thought through document which shows detailed individual product specs and pricing which links to our website.
Simon stepped in to support us and to iron out financials. We’ve all worked together to put an ordering process together to present to our provider, Carillion.
First order was supported by some 28 individuals who ordered 44 items; You ordered lots of blue with a smattering of Yellow and Red. Thank you to each and every one of you who have taken the leap of faith.
I will be sending out our KIT page to discuss all things KIT on the messenger. Hopefully you’ve all seen our rail in the WI Hall. This is where we can exchange or sell unwanted KIT and have the option of donating to the club with any unworn items. We can also use it for any items we wish to sell perhaps if they don’t fit you as we have a no returns policy. Watch this space!
Over time we can refine what works well and what doesn’t, communicating the good and the not so good. Finally, our Next order with be Friday 18th November deadline in time for Christmas.
SOCIAL SECRETARY – Linda Stevenson Guy
Our Christmas 2021 event at the Market House was well attended. It was great to see everyone together again.
Unfortunately, due to increase in Covid, the next Social did not take place until the 14th May, which was the Pizza evening at the Salt House. Luckily, we were very fortunate with the weather and able to stay outside for most of the evening. It was good to note that quite a few of the new members that have joined the club this year made the effort to come along.
Skittles at The Woodman in Bridport later in the year was fun, with 30 members who came along and enjoyed a vicious game of Killer Skittles.
Another Skittles evening will be happening Friday 11th November at The Woodman.
Christmas will be at the Bridport Golf Club this year and hopefully I will see an increase in numbers before the 16th November, when the invite will close. Currently we have an uptake of 30 members. We have organised a great menu and anticipate a fun, festive evening, so please come along if you can.
Social events should always be viewed as a good way to get to know other rowers, improving integration, which can only be beneficial to the club as a whole.
All BGRC Officers
Bridport Regatta 2023
15 July 2023
1st July was our original date but it clashed with Cattewater and Ilfracombe so we chose 15th as our second choice. Harbourmaster agreed with this, however, the CPGA will not include it in their calendar because it clashed with their Junior Championships so there has been attempts from us, with CPGA, at ongoing dialogue about running our regatta on 15th July anyway.
We have been told by CPGA we can invite clubs, put it on Gigrower but we cannot advertise the event on the CPGA calendar!
David Lohfink intends to put a ‘How To Run a Regatta’ guide together so we can all get together to organise the 2023 event across the club.
If our Juniors wish to go to the Junior Champs then there is nothing to stop them going to Newquay if they want to, although we recognise that it seems a shame that our Juniors would not be able to participate in their home (Bridport) regatta if this was the case.
We could potentially look at having our regatta on a Sunday but this may make the evening party less desirable.
Discussions are also going on about dates for the Jurassic League.
Discussion topics raised by members
No topics were raised by members in advance of the AGM.
Jason Matthews advised that there is a squad meeting in the sports bar at The George at West Bay at 7pm on Friday 11 November. JM asked if the Skittles evening can be moved to another date.
John Ward commented on the positive statement about the purchase of the new gig by Spring 2023 but commented that he thought that the purchase of the boat was dependent on the sale of our old Dagger. John asked for clarification if it were the case that we need to sell Dagger first and what happens if we don’t sell her?
Directors responded that we have made a financial commitment to purchase the new gig. Dagger will have to be sold but nothing has been formally agreed yet about the sale. Fundraising has also started to dovetail with the sale of Dagger. Grants are being sought and these funding streams, combined with the sale of our old gig will make the purchase viable, but yes, we do need to raise money to augment the sale proceeds of Dagger. We are assessing Dagger and we aim to raise up to £15,000 for her as she has been well maintained, is in good condition, is seaworthy and she is very well looked after.
Trisha Brooks asked when a good time would be to sell Dagger, in response we think as soon as possible would probably be advisable. Unfortunately, Dagger did not go to Newquay this year which was a shame as this could have been a good chance to show her off. A private buyer did show some interest, but we are currently not sure if this will go ahead.
Paul Pru commented that he appreciated the comments above, but it should be borne in mind that Dave Thomas has already made a considerable fundraising effort and if we take a hit for the short term then we will recover as Dagger will eventually be sold and fundraising will continue. Paul also asked if the Board had considered approaching the members to ask if they wish to make donations towards the cost of the purchase of the new boat. The directors will probably send something out to members to give them an opportunity to contribute donations towards the funds for new boat.
Paul also asked if we aiming to purchase new oars as well? Not at the moment.
Pru thanked all the officers and the directors for all their time and noted that all club members owe all our volunteers a huge debt of gratitude for the time to give to the club.
John Simmons has 2 tickets on Friday to see Seth Lakeman at the Electric Palace for a donation to the club.
Trisha asked if the coxes lifejackets can be cleaned. Unfortunately, they can’t but this issue did kick started the conversation about replacing coxes life jackets at rowing committtee.
Simon raised the issue that the harbourmaster is taking launch fees which means we have leverage to put pressure on about cleaning the slipways!
Dave Lohfink reiterated our presence on the Harbour Consultative Committee is appreciated and we – the club – should channel complaints through this group formally, particularly the issues about slipways, so we can keep a record of items raised centrally. There will be a Harbours Regulation Order coming into being whereby financial income will be coming back to Bridport harbour rather than being absorbed centrally.
Debbs Urch commented that BGRC have offered to help with assisting cleaning of the slipways on more than one occasion, but the Harbourmaster cannot permit this due to safety concerns, so it is vital the club keeps pressure up – but centrally through the safety officer and rowing captain emails. Jason commented that we generally have a good relationship with the harbourmaster team.
Simon also wanted to promote the Eype training sessions on Thursday evenings, 6-7pm. Simon also mentioned a concert at Eype church on Friday evening.
Kim presented Rachel and Rachel with gifts, given on behalf of the ladies squad members, as they step down from Ladies Captaincy roles.
The directors thanked everyone for attending and the meeting closed at 9.31pm.