Denver Sluice saw a different type of Rowing Boat upon the water on Sunday not the sleek Sculls of the local rowing club but our wonderful St Ayles Skiff.
We had a great turn out for the club with some new members some (ehem!) old members and a couple of have-a-goers.
So we had both Rewets out on the water with full crews which is always good to see, and a couple of tag-a-longs in Kayaks (don’t ask different adventure).
The sun shone brightly on the two crews as they set off towards Hilgay if albeit a tad on the windy side (again not fun in an inflatable Kayak).
The crews set off in good form with the new guys and gals picking it up quickly with instruction from our competent Cox’s and our experienced crews.
The two crews attempted to get to Hilgay with tight banks and moored boats with the use of short oars and bow and stroke sides, but alas they were forced to turn back so with both crews returning to the slip for much needed hot chocolate and flapjacks and catch up.
A good successful location for when the tides aren’t right or for training.
Ouse Réwet nears completion and is nearly ready for sea-trials. (People keep asking us… “Rewet: to wet, drench, saturate, soak imply moistening something. To wet is to moisten in any manner with water or other liquid: to wet or dampen a cloth. Drench suggests wetting completely as by a downpour: A heavy rain drenched the fields.” or in Olde English: “Réwet: rowing”
The new lighter-weight oars proved successful and popular when tested over a 5-mile row.
We’ve kept up our twice-weekly afternoon workshops throughout winter – similar to keeping up the rowing. Such is our enthusiasm!
Ouse Réwet nears completion, Lynn Réwet is in great shape and now there’s another boat in the workshop; a potential safety boat in the form of a RIB, which is being assessed before we’re committed to buying.
So there’s always plenty to do. During the winter we’ve seen some new faces at the workshop who have bought new skills, broadened the scope of what we do and are very much welcomed.
Amongst the new faces are our group of students from the College of West Anglia, who join us regularly for a taste of boatbuilding. We’re planning to take the group beyond boatbuilding and out of the workshop, onto the water and into rowing. All in 2016.
Never were we going to fail for lack of preparation. Three weeks on the trot, 100mile round-trips to Norwich, to check out the course, the slipways and the landings were not done in vain.
The day was always going to be cold – there’s a clue in the date. So we gathered in Lynn under leaden skies, hitched up the Rewét and set off into the starting rain. In Bishopsgate, Norwich, under Bob’s wing we launched smoothly into the flooded Wensum. Inflatable seagulls prepared, and sou’wester outfits donned, the crew were ready.
Despite a little mixup with the order, the start was prompt and well organised… The crew knew what to do.
The cold and the rain had increased. The going at the start was tough. “It was hell for the first minute, but then I got used to it” said Will.
Past Carrow Road bridge, to the cheers of the arriving football fans…
The rowers were out of sight from the bank for a couple of kilometres, until they came into sight of the finish at Broadland Boat Club, downriver on The Yare. Just a quick rest and congratulations, then turn to home, at Whitlingham, to recover the boat.
Back on dry land, in the superb Whitlingham Boathouse we find out the results, and a very nice surprise – we’re not last, in fact we’ve made a very respectable time – considering it’s our first racing event and it’s still early days for us.
The Carrow Cup race will be held in Norwich on 12th December. It’ll be the 202nd year; so a magnificent tradition, organised by Norwich Rowing Club for both fine and traditional boats. Traditional boats (i.e. Fixed seat – that’s us!) compete on handicap for the Bicentenary Silver Bowl, which was given in 2013 by the Norwich Society.
The traditional boat race is run as a time trial (head race) and there will be a variety of craft competing for the “Bicentenary Bowl”. Any coxed boat, with fixed seats is allowed to compete. The handicap is based on that used in the Great River Race in London, but without the permission of the GRR organisers. In addition there’s a 10% time advantage to women. So, a crew of three men and one woman would get 2.5% advantage etc.
The start is at Pull’s Ferry, which is between the station and cathedral in the heart of Norwich. The handicap is used to arrange the starting order, with the slowest starting first and intervals between starters to reduce overtaking where the river is narrow. This does not always work out!
There is limited availability to launch at Carrow Yacht Club. The slipway is opposite the Whitlingham Boathouses/NRC slipway. Access is from Trowse rail bridge. An alternative is at Griffin Marina, Griffin Lane, Thorpe St Andrew. Several of the visiting clubs will be launching there.
Adrian Hodge put a short video on YouTube some years ago. Look for Norfolk Skiff Club in the Carrow Cup…
I’ve attempted a map of the course, with a potential launching place. All to be confirmed…
Access to Carrow Yacht Club is as shown on the map. Turn left near the top of the Trowse rail bridge towards Lafarge Aggregates yard, but turn right before the entrance. The route to CYC crosses redundant industrial land (The Deal Ground) and three gates, which will be locked when not in use. Unfortunately this access road is used as a parking place by football fans, which could obstruct our exit after the race.
The course is about 3200m and will take just over 20 mins to row.
Detailed instructions will be issued nearer the time, but the traditional boats will marshall above Bishop Bridge allowing the fine boats to start at Pull’s Ferry. This is convenient for the pub if refreshment is required.
Once the fine boats have cleared the start line, marshals will call the traditional boats in starting order (slowest first). Last year there was 7 mins between the first and last starter.
After the race we recover the boats and attend the prize giving at Norwich Rowing Club (probably at the new Whitlingham Boathouse).
Whilst building our second St Ayles skiff, Ouse Réwet, we’ve considered improving the footrests used on Lynn Réwet and come up with some options. The originals were always meant to be somewhat experimental and have actually done pretty well, considering they weren’t expected to last long. But now, with a bit of experience and an understanding of how important they are to rowing, we could do with something better.
So here’s a collection of examples trawled from other clubs (thanks and acknowledgements to their sources):
Rowporty – centred, rails glued to hull
Ullapool (Coigach)- centered, adjustment rail fixed to keelson
Ayle of Quinte – adjustment rails hung under thwart
We’ve made some prototypes, for comparison:
They’re at the North Lynn workshop, to see. Or use the Comments, below to have your say.
It’s long overdue that we had some more formal training in rowing, so a small group of KLCRC members travelled along the North Norfolk coast at the invitation of our friends at CRABlakeney to spend some much valued time with their experienced rowing coach Mike Gilbert.
We went out into Blakeney’s waters, amongst the small sail craft on a grey and drizzly Sunday morning and went through some drills, which taught us about the length, timing and strength of our rowing strokes.
Thanks to the CRABlakeney club for the invitation; we will reciprocate, and especially thanks to Mike, who will follow up by teaching us more in the future, maybe at our home ground on the Great Ouse in King’s Lynn.