Dear Members

It’s some time since my last monthly news letter, but I hope to get back into the swing of sending you regular updates of all that has been going on at the Club. We have been really busy on a number of Club Projects and the summer Regatta season is already in full swing – so there is plenty to catch up on!

Firstly – a gentle reminder on security of the Clubhouse. On a number of occasions in the past weeks Members have arrived at the club to find it deserted but with doors/shutters/windows left open. Before you leave, please check whether you are the last one to leave and make sure that the Clubhouse is left locked up – it only takes an extra few minutes to check!

As usual we have already seen a number of wins for Maidenhead RC at a number of Local and National events which is fantastic to see, and continues to do great credit to the club’s standing:

  • Phylis Court Timetrial on 9th April – the Adaptive Squad were the first into action for this summer’s racing season where they picked up a couple of wins after a day for close racing:

Ada 1x (Dan  Stevenson – Coach: Nick Steel)                                                                                  

Ada.Sup 2x (Dan Stevenson & Marcus Richards – Coach: Nick Steel) 

  • Junior Sculling Regatta  on 28th April – as usual saw a strong representation from Maidenhead RC with the following medals being won:

WJ15 2x (Amelia Carpenter & Jasmine Stockdale – Coach: Huw Jenkins) - silver

WJ15 2x (Olivia Hall & Ametz Parcell-Arregi – Coach Huw Jenkins) - bronze

WJ14 4x+(Annabel Rayner, Emma Rayner, Scarlett Hunter, Sylvie Evans & Matilda Stockdale – Coach: Huw Jenkins) - silver

J15 4x+ (Jacob Ioras, Nat Harlow, Max Bird, Danny Lewis & Jimmy Harlow – Coaches: Victor Kleshnev/Mike Harlow) – gold and qualification to Junior Inter-Regional Regatta 

  • Marlow Spring Regatta on 6th May – with another strong performance from the Adaptive, Senior Women and Masters Ladies Squads:

W4x (Vicky Palmer, Caroline Steel, Kelsey Murrell & Natasha Brown)

WC4x (Sue Harker, Laura Lion, Amaia Arregi  & Claire Pugh – Coach: Jim Hotchin)

WE2x (Sue Harker & Laura Lion – Coach: Jim Hotchin)                                                                     

Ada1x (Dan Stevenson – Coach: Nick Steel)                                                                                        

Ada.Sup.2x (Dan Stevenson & Nick Steel) 

  • Maidenhead Junior Regatta on 19th May – a fantastic day of racing with fine weather and a great atmosphere, this year’s Junior Regatta was another big success raising over £1000 for the Club. Thanks to Liam and his team for organising the event and to all the Members and Parents who volunteered to help out. It was also good to see the Maidenhead Juniors deliver a strong performance a number of wins:

WJ14 4x+ (Olivia Everett, Eloise Templing, Milly  Hall, Tara Ryan & Matilda Stockdale – Coach: Huw Jenkins)

J13 4x+ (Unai Parcell-Arregi, Benjamin  Jones, Henry Curno, Jimmy Harlow & William Bennett – Coach: Mike Harlow)

J15 4x+ (Luke Purnell, William Bennett, Jake Swainston, Ethan Towers & Jimmy Harlow – Coach: Mike Harlow) 

  • National Schools Regatta 23rd-25th May – good to see Maidenhead Juniors once again being very competitive at this National event with the following medals being won:

J15 4x+ (Jacob Ioras, Nat Harlow, Max Bird, Danny Lewis & Jimmy Harlow – Coaches: Victor Kleshnev/Mike Harlow) - silver

J16 2x (Dillon Cook and Olly Evans – Coach: Mike Harlow) won the B final to finish 7th overall

WJ14 4x+ (Amelia Carpenter, Olivia Hall, Jasmine Stockdale, Ametz Parcell-Arregi & Matilda Stockdale – Coach: Huw Jenkins) - bronze 

  • Twickenham Regatta on 25th May – another favourite early season regatta, with a good result for the Maidenhead RC Masters Ladies WC4x who were racing in the senior open event and progressed through the heats to reach the final only to be beaten by a crew of ladies from Mortlake RC half their age! We also had the following win for the Senior Women:

W2x (Nati Marti & Eva Mitring)

  • Peterborough Spring Regatta on 2nd June – was attended by the Veteran Men’s Squad achieving their first win of the year and setting a new course record for the E2- Event that had stood since 1990 in the process!

E2- (Nic Hutchins & Mark Stockdale) 

  • Weybridge Ladies Regatta on 9th June - saw a strong contingent from the Junior Girls, Senior Women and Master Ladies with the following wins:

WJ15 1x (Amelia Carpenter – Coach: Huw Jenkins)

WJ15 2x (Amelia Carpenter & Olivia Hall – Coach: Huw Jenkins)

WC4x (Sue Harker, Laura Lion, Amaia Arregi & Claire Pugh – Coach: Jim Hotchin) racing in a C/D age group event where they had to catch-up from a 9 sec head start given to their older competition in heats and final to win, making their victory all the more impressive!

  • Marlow Town Regatta on 15th June – again so some good wins for Maidenhead:

WE2x (Sue Harker & Laura Lion – Coach: Jim Hotchin

MxE2x (Eva Mitring & Orlando Fricker)

Henley Royal Regatta is now approaching fast and I am very pleased to see a Senior Men’s crew from Maidenhead RC already entered into The Wyfold Challenge Cup – with a Junior Boys crew looking to enter The Fawley Challenge Cup before entries close on Monday. If you are planning to head to Henley to support our crews, John Truswell has kindly agreed to co-ordinate tickets sharing for the Stewards’ Enclosure and is proposing to arrange a club picnic if there is sufficient interest – please get in touch with him asap to register your interest…

Since the Club EGM on 13th April where the new Gym Project was approved, work has begun on the second floor converting the flat into the new Cardio Suite project managed by John Steers and his team of helpers (Roger Macrae, Ken Bedwell, Brian Smith, Dylan Gomersall, Chris Stratham, Mike Dyer, Phelim Daniels, Tim Hudson, Jerry Bailey and many others). A huge amount of work was done to remove walls etc at the Club Work Day (in addition to all the other jobs undertaken around the club on the Workday), and has progressed significantly with builders/electricians/plumbers undertaking the “heavy lifting” task and decoration now well underway before the flooring and wall mirrors are fitted in a couple of weeks time. The flexibility shown by Members by adapting to ergo training on the first floor of the clubhouse whilst works on the second floor are in progress is also much appreciated – hopefully it won’t be long before we are back on the second floor in the new Cardio Suite which is already looking to be a fantastic asset to our Club! 

Fund raising for the rest of the Gym Project is also well underway led by Kelsey Murell and her Commercial Team (Laura Lion, Billy Brooks, Nick Steel, Anne James, Sue Harker, Layla Gilhooly and others) who have between them already raised over £25,000 through grants, sponsorships and fund raising events is a fantastic effort in just a short space of time, and have plenty more opportunities in the pipe. I am sure you will agree that this is a fantastic effort and testimony to the huge amount of work they have put in to getting the Gym Project off the ground.  I will keep you posted how we progress over the coming weeks…

As you will all have noticed Carlotta Marshal has taken on the provision of weekend breakfasts for hungry rowers which she has already transformed by extending the range of food and beverages on offer to include fresh fruits, pastries and “posh coffees” in addition to the traditional bacon, eggs, sausages and toast. I am sure you will all agree that this new arrangement is working very well, and our thanks go to Carlotta for not only stepping into the gap to take this for but for bringing together so many fresh ideas together with friendly and welcoming atmosphere in the Function Room on Saturday and Sunday mornings which is great to see!

We have also seen evening mid-week suppers restarting with the launch of Chip-Ole run by Claire Langley on 28thMay with a Mexican Chili evening where 23 meals were served and many other Members joining in for drinks only for what was a very enjoyable evening of good food and good company. The next Chip-Ole evening will be on Tuesday 18th June for Italian Pulled-Pork Porchetta (or veggie alternative) with Ciabata bread and all the trimmings followed by seasonal dessert. There are already 16 bookings made, so please contact Claire on 07920280777 to make a reservation as places are limited!!! Following this we can look forward to an Indian feast of Chicken Tikka Masala (or veggie Paneer alternative) with Pilau rice, Minted Cucumber Salad, Yoghurt and dessert on Tuesday 25th June where bookings are again filling up fast. It is great to see Chip-Ole becoming a popular feature of the Club’s mid-week social scene, which I would encourage you all to try to ensure its continued success…

Thank you all for your support (in particular Carolyn Smithson and Jim Hotchin) in facilitating the smooth transition to the new ClubHub system for 2019/20 membership renewals. I am pleased to see almost all of our existing Members signed up for another year – and I would also like to welcome the new Members who have joined us for 2019/20! It is also good to see the Learn to Row courses and follow-on Learn to Row courses not only being filled to capacity, but also the great progress that the new rowers have made on the water over the past weeks thanks to Natasha Brown and her team of Lead to Row Coaches. This project is key to bringing new people into the sport (and new Members to the Club), and will be helped by the two brand new tub boats now on order to replace our existing tub boats that are now getting a bit tired after many years good service to Beginners, Recreational and Adaptive athletes.

A number of you have contacted me in recent weeks over the pressure of demand being placed on our limited number of 2x/2- boats. This has been an issue for a few months and is being addressed in a couple of ways:

Firstly by selling underused boats to make rack-space for new boats to be purchased. Its “one out, one in” for racks as we are pretty much at capacity - but we have now sold the Tim Wildboar (2x) and the Sean Kearns (4x+), so once these boats have been collected I hope to use the funds raised to purchase additional 2x/2- boats to add to our fleet. If you have current/future plans for 2-/2x rowing please get in touch with your Squad Captains to outline your needs so we can be sure we buy boats of the right weight and specification to meet future demand and allocate boats to Squads accordingly.

The second area where we have been working to managed the demand on 2x/2- is boat sharing. The Squad Captains meet monthly at the Rowing Committee meeting to agree (amongst many other things) boat allocation to Squads, prioritisation of usage and allocation to crews. Without boat sharing we would not be able to sustain so many members who fund both our fleet of 81x club boats and our Club Infrastructure – so the making the practice of boat sharing work smoothly is an essential element of our Club’s success! To make boat sharing work we all need to observe the following principles to avoid the chaos and frustration that ensues when the system breaks down: 

  • “Communication, communication & communication” – find out who you are sharing a boat with and agree with them who will use it when, and which regattas you will be entering (Squad Captains can assist with this – or look at the chart on the boathouse wall nearest to the car park) – and if you plans change ask the other crews if they can accommodate. There is nothing more frustrating than turning up for a training session to find your boat already on the water, which then forces the displaced crew to take another boat which passes on the frustration onto the next crew etc etc…
  • Share your racing plans – there is a link used by the Rowing Committee to have visibility of racing plans for crews which we plan to use in the future for trailer and truck booking. The further ahead we plan the more time available to resolve any clashes (
  • Follow the Boat Allocation to Squads – you can find this on the wall of the boathouse nearest to the car park. In the case of a clash that can’t easily be resolved escalate to your Squad Captain as  there are clear prioritisations for boat usage agreed, and the Squad Captains are normally able to propose alternative solutions that will work for all.
  • Leave rigging as you found it - Another common frustration is to turn up to race or for training to find that someone has changed the rig of a shared boat. The smaller the boat the more frustrating this can be - especially when you are not sure what changes were made. If you need to change a boat’s rig (other than foot plate position which is easily re-adjusted) please discuss first with the other crews using the boat and agree what changes are to be made BEFORE making them.
  • Avoiding damage – we are currently in the busiest time of the rowing year, and any boats damaged will have a further impact on water training whilst they are being repaired to ALL the crews using them. Most damage is avoidable, so please take extra care… 

Finally, a gentle reminder on litter – particularly the number of plastic bottles that are being left on the wall outside the club and which end up in the river. A headline on the BBC website highlighted that – “‘If everyone picked up a piece of plastic each week (and didn’t drop any in the first place) canals and rivers could be free of plastic in a year”...

Keep training hard – and I look forward to continued success in competition on the water over the coming weeks as well as good fellowship and support from the riverside!