January is traditionally cold (and as I write this, wet!) and the weather doesn’t make it very pleasant on the water. However, the winter months are crucial to ensuring good performance in the summer. The long hours on the ergometer will pay off with enjoyable rows in the regatta season. We have plenty of ergos and they need to be used!
On the water, the Masters C men’s eight have raced at the Stourport Winter Head, finishing third in their category to two strong crews from Worcester (who won their division overall) and Hereford. Both the Worcester and Hereford crews have years of experience, and knowledge of the vagaries of the River Severn.
Unfortunately, Vics had to borrow a boat at Stourport because we have still not been able to resolve the towing issue, since the unfortunate accident that wrote off John Sargent’s car (happily no-one was hurt). The Captaincy team have researched local hire companies but the initial enquiries have shown how expensive this can be. If anyone in the club has any ideas please speak to the Captaincy team.
The lack of towing capacity has meant that only one crew (borrowing a boat) is currently entered for Warrington Head of the Mersey – traditionally the first head race of the season over two legs of the River Mersey. We need to support our local events, to give us racing experience and to ensure that our events succeed.
Our own Merseyside Regatta is fast approaching (Saturday 4th May) and although we have only just had Head of the Float in December, preparation for the regatta is well underway. We need as much help as we can get from members as volunteers to run the event. We must finalise the volunteer rota much sooner than we have in the past and members must understand that their principal role is to support the running of the event and put their own rowing second. The regatta and Head of the Float are the main money-earners for the club and have to be successful.
After the regatta, we hope to run a ‘Corporate’ event, training groups of new rowers from local companies. In the past we ran these events as ‘Pubs and Clubs’ approaching local sports clubs and pubs to find teams to teach to row. They were a good source of income and new members. The idea of a Corporate event is to carry that principle forward.
To support the Corporate event and to make it easier to teach the Learn to Row groups and the beginner juniors, the club is going to buy a new Explore stable coxed quad. Having a pair of stable boats will allow Heather and Alex to get more Learn to Row participants out on the water together. It will allow Lesley to boat more beginner juniors and also allow the club to offer Explore events at future regattas. Last year Vics had two Explore beginner crews at Hollingworth Lake and it would be good to offer a similar category at our events.
The new boat will cost the club very little, as £6000 has already been pledged by senior members of the club. With Gift Aid, this sum can be increased to £7250 and the remainder should be recouped from further fund-raising, the Corporate event itself and increased income from Learn to Row.
We can be very positive about the New Year, with opportunities for all areas within the club. On 3rd February 2019, the club’s juniors have entered the English Indoor Rowing Championships at the Manchester Velodrome. I hope to report on some very good performances in the next news post!