Dear Members

The Head Racing season is now well underway, and already we have seen Maidenhead crews of all ages achieving success at local, national and international events!

  • Wallingford Long Distance Sculls on 29th September saw a number of Maidenhead crews take part from the Junior Squad over the 4250m and 1500m courses, with the following notable performances:

WJ15 4x+ (Ameila Carpenter, Olivia Hall, Jasmine Stockdale, Ametz Parcell-Arregi and Ione Parcell-Arregi – Coach: Huw Jenkins) who despite being impeded by slower crews ahead, still managed to win their event over the longer course by 13sec over second placed Henley and third placed Headington.

WJ15 2x (Ellen Gomersall and Jasmine Stockdale – Coach: Hue Jenkins) won the shorter event over the 1500m course, with the Maidenhead WJ15 2x (Ametz Parcell-Arrigi and Dallas Thompson – Coach: Huw Jenkins) in second place.

WJ14 4x+ (Emma Rayner, Annabel Rayner, Sylvie Evans, Rucha Potdukha and Ione Pacell-Arregi – Coach: Huw Jenkins) also won over the 1500m course in a time that would have seen them placed in the top half of the WJ15 event, with the Maidenhead WJ15 4x+ (Tara Ryan, Olivia Everett, Milly Hall, Scarlett Hunter and Jimmy Hunter – Coach: Huw Jenkins) in second place.

  • Pairs Head on 6th October saw a strong entry from a number of Maidenhead crews who had endure particularly wet weather whilst marshalling. However once racing got underway we saw the following notable performances:

D2- (Alan Bird and Rob Brockwell – Coach: Owen Byrant) won a pennant for achieving first place in their event.

WMasC 2x (Nat Marti and Sue Harker) finished in third place in their event and the 7th fastest time out of the 35 womens’ 2x crews taking part.

  • Reading Small Boats Head on 13th October saw further wins for Maidenhead crews even though the organisers (somewhat prematurely as it turned out) cancelled all of the WJ14 events and the WJ15 small boat events due to forecast strong winds:

    WJ15 4x+ (Ellen Gomersall, Amelia Carpenter, Olivia Hall, Abby Jones and Jimmy Harlow – Coach: Huw Jenkins) won their event by an impressive 25 sec margin to win prizes of engraved whiskey tumblers!
  • Head of the Charles on 20th October once again saw entries from Maidenhead competing on the International stage  in the Men’s Senior Masters Fours event (50-59 age group) where the Maidenhead 4+ (Nic Hutchins, Rob Brockwell, Alan Bird, Andrew Scott and Ali Plump – Coach: Owen Bryant) achieved a creditable 8th place our of 49 entries. 

  • Seville Masters International Regatta on 20th and 21st October saw entries from Maidenhead in the G2x and G2- (yes – G!!!) events with the following success:

G2x (Piers Allington and Stephen Janisch) finished in second place behind the French crew, (and a long way ahead of the Russian crew in 3rd place) despite a punishing head wind and driving rain.

G2- (Piers Allington and Stephen Janisch) finished in second place again, but this time behind the Belgian crew and in glorious sunshine!

This year Armistice Day falls on a Sunday, and also marks the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1 making it a particularly poignant occasion. The Thames Regional Rowing Council has asked that Members of all clubs across the region observe a moment of silence at 11:00am on 11th November (even if they are out on the water) for what is not only a significant moment in history, but a chance to remember the Members of our own club who lost their lives in the line of duty. There will be a short ceremony in front of the Clubhouse at 11:00am which will be carried out by clubs nationally as a mark of respect – details to be circulated shortly…

As some of you may have already noticed, the club has recently bought our own towing vehicle so that we can now transport our boats to Regattas/Head Races without relying on the one or two Members who have a tow bar fitted to their private vehicles. The club has funded the capital cost of buying the vehicle, but the running costs of the vehicle (eg insurance, tax, repairs, maintenance and depreciation) need to be shared by the Members using the vehicle on a pro rata basis as outlined below. A big thank you needs to go to Dylan who not only organised the purchase, collection and insurance of the vehicle, but has also agreed to manage the vehicle moving forward!

The Committee has agreed the following basis for using the club vehicle:

  • The vehicle can be used by any Member (or Parent volunteer) with a full UK driving licence valid for towing at the discretion of the Vehicle Manager. Note that if you were born after 1997 you will need to have passed the separate DVLA test for trailer towing.
  • There will be a £5 charge per rowing seat towed (inclusive of fuel used) for all trips other than to Dorney Lake (which will be free of charge). This charge was calculated using the data from the past couple of years’ trailer usage (around 80 trips each year) and estimated running costs for the vehicle with the aim of achieving a cost neutral position, and will be reviewed every 12mths and adjusted accordingly. Whilst the “fixed rate” nature of the charge does mean that you are paying more for short trips (eg Marlow) than longer trips (eg Nottingham) it also means that racing costs are spread across the year as the longer trips often have other expenses such as hotels etc which all adds up. Also the “fixed rate” has the advantage of simplicity and transparency to administer and means that the Vehicle Manager isn’t chasing 20 Members for “pennies” after a trip to Marlow...
  • To keep track of wear and tear the driver collecting the vehicle will be asked to complete a short form with details of the driver(s), destination, safety checklist before heading out (eg lights, brakes etc) and details of damage before/after (similar to when you hire a car – but not as scary!) which will be put on the website to be available as needed.
  • There will be club fuel card available for longer trips where fuel top-ups are needed.
  • International trips will need to be arranged separately as additional insurance cover will be required and fuel costs for such trips have not been included in the fixed charge calculation.
  • If Members still want to use their own towing vehicle or make other arrangements for boat transportation, this is fine and the trailers can be booked as before.
  • In the rare cases (usually not more than once or twice a year) where both trailers are needed on the same day, the following approach will be applied:
    • For shared trailer destinations, the club vehicle will be used to tow the heaviest load and the private vehicle owner will be compensated using the calculation used at present. The fixed charge per seat will apply equally for boats on both trailers.
    • For separate trailer destinations, the club vehicle will be assigned to tow to the destination with the heaviest load and the fixed charge for using the club vehicle will apply. The other trailer will need a Member with a private vehicle to tow them (who will be compensated using the calculation used at present) paid directly by the Members racing at the secondary destination, but the fixed club vehicle charge will not apply.
  • When the new emissions charge for diesel vehicles come into force across the Greater London area, we will have to review how to accommodate this additional cost for trips to the Tideway.
  • The club vehicle will not be available for private hire/usage (eg trips to the rubbish dump).

Please forward your booking requests to Dylan directly. We will be tracking closely how this new asset for the club is working out and will keep the usage rules under review so that accessing the club vehicle is straightforward, safe, fair to all and cost neutral to the club – if you have any suggestions or concerns please let me know.

I can also appreciate that towing a large trailer may seem a daunting prospect for many, so if there is interest, we can arrange for “towing practice” sessions for Members who want to tow but would appreciate the chance to have some “dry runs” (ie without boats on the trailer) and with a more experienced Member on hand to advise – please let Dylan or I know if you would be interested in this.

As many of you will know, Karon retired from New Wave earlier this month after many years as their UK agent for supply of club racing kit to Maidenhead RC. Karon’s support in this regard has been very much appreciated and I would like to thank her for all the hard work over the years keeping us properly attired whilst representing the club on the water. It is really important that as a club we all wear the same kit at Regattas and Head Races – not only for “esprit de corps”, but also to comply with BR directives and prevent crews from being issued penalties, so confirming new supply arrangements for kit is a top priority. To address this issue, the Committee has approved a Members’ project team to review the following:

  • To select the official supplier(s) of Maidenhead RC racing kit (same design as at present) on the basis of quality, price and ease of supply. An effective on-line ordering capability direct to Members’ home addresses will be a key selection criteria. This is the top priority that needs to be completed as quickly as possible.
  • Work with the selected supplier(s) to extend the range of official Maidenhead RC attire to meet the needs of all Members. The project team will be seeking input on this point from all of the squads, so if the Veteran Men are looking for the latest design of hoodie/baseball cap – now is the time to ask!
  • Agree the frequency and next date for review of the official Maidenhead RC racing kit design. We will be keeping the design as is for the time being, but it is important that plenty of notice be given of a design review so that inputs can be requested from all squads and purchasing decisions adjusted as necessary.
  • Review the opportunities for sponsorship of club racing kit. A number of other clubs have taken this direction to reduce costs of kit for their Members, but it is important that we carefully review this option and agree on the best direction to take.
  • All proposals to be approved by the Club Committee.

If you are interested in joining this project team or have any suggestions to make please let me know!

Unfortunately, I have received complaints from our neighbours in the flats next door to the clubhouse of noise from the ergo room, which on busy days starts early in the morning and continues off and on throughout the day until late evening. Clearly the ergos are a key element of our winter training – but the noise of 12 machines being used together, radio on full blast and verbal encouragement from coaches etc needs to be contained. On the other hand, we need to ensure sufficient cooling and ventilation to keep athletes as comfortable as possible whilst training, especially in summertime.

As a trial running up to end-December, the Committee have agreed to keep the two roof windows adjacent to the flats permanently closed to assess if this significantly alleviates the noise issue – the windows overlooking the river and car park can still all be opened as needed. Dylan will be installing temperature and humidity sensors in the ergo room which will be periodically checked before/after training sessions at different times of the day so that at the end of the trial period we can make informed decisions on noise management and cooling arrangements (eg fans, air-conditioning, window tinting etc) that will enable us to strike the right balance moving forward. Your support during this trial period is much appreciated – and please let me know if you have any feedback to add to this study.

Well done for a great start to the winter racing season – and keep training hard on and off the water!