“We must never forget why we first became involved in rowing and what it was that attracted us. We must never forget how to bring this to the world” Thor Nilsen, quoted in Thor Nielsen: Rowing’s Global Coach, by Chris Dodd.

We pressed ‘pause’ on our safe return to rowing plans last week. Limited senior rowing resumed after a precautionary 72-hour shut-down and deep clean, but Junior rowing remains suspended until completion of the incident investigation. I appreciate this is disappointing and frustrating, but hope you will all understand that our priority is keeping all members as safe as we can.

Once we have concluded this process, we will gather lessons to be learnt, and combine this with British Rowing’s updated guidelines, to frame our Wave 3 plan that should enable an even wider group of members to return to the water.

The Senior membership year began on 1st June, and I would like to thank Carolyn and Jim for a huge amount of work to process the memberships, with the payment flexibility for members creating added complexity for them. 

I would like to remind us all of our Club vision statement, and to think what it means for each of us: “Maidenhead Rowing Club aims to provide a friendly, safe and supportive environment for Members of all ages and ambitions to pursue the sport and fellowship of rowing to the best of their ability”.

Stay safe and care for your fellow rowers.

Nick

I’m pleased that we have had up to 48 members per day safely returning to the water last week, with representatives from every senior squad, including former MRC Junior, Jack Beaumont, and the majority of the W/J16-18 squad.

We are delighted to be able to progress to Wave 3, effective from 0700 Monday 22nd June, which will enable many of our younger juniors to return to sculling. We have also added a specific early morning slot for our ‘shielders’.

Please read the attached Wave 3 procedures carefully, as there are updates for everybody. They will also be on the club website. As a reminder of some of the key principles: this is a cautious, safety-led, risk-based approach, in line with UK Government and British Rowing guidance, which is “only to facilitate personal exercise, not a return to normal club activity and/or training”.

Coaches of Juniors younger than W/J16-18 will kindly organize their sessions, so will relevant parents please liaise with them, once you and Junior members have read the procedures, watched the covid19 safety video, and completed the consent process.

We are currently investigating training options for less competent scullers (of all ages), as we wish to enable all members to return to the water as soon as safely possible.

Please remember to respect our neighbours; particularly being mindful of noise and road traffic movements. I regret to advise that I am currently dealing with a complaint.

On the racing front, albeit on ergos, British Rowing are running an inaugural BR Virtual Championships on 27-28th June. Good luck to all members competing, including Marcus who has been training hard to smash his 500m PB.

We have reluctantly cancelled our 8th August regatta, but Al and team are investigating alternative possibilities, in line with British Rowing guidance.

Row safe, and care for your fellow rowers.

Nick

More windy weather this week, but I’m pleased that a large cohort of under-16 JW scullers got out safely yesterday for their first outing since March. We are planning to run basic skills assessments in the next couple of weeks to enable more scullers to safely resume outings, and then to consider how we can support development of others.

We also aim to issue Wave 4 next week although, to manage expectations, the latest BR guidance is not substantively different from the previous release. We are aware that our sweep fraternity, unless in household crews, are still unable to get onto the water yet. BR recognise this is a challenge for all clubs (and the national squads) and have it on their agenda.

I participated in last week’s BR Lockdown webinar (Playing your part: Getting your club back up and running safely) to share our story with the wider rowing community. One of the things that struck me was how varied the approaches are from club to club, dependent upon local contexts. We are extremely fortunate to have such great facilities, and a large boating frontage that enables us to boat many more people, whilst maintaining social distancing, than many clubs who are restricted to 2 boats at a time.

I would like to request that those members who are able to get onto the water respect and follow our protocols that are designed to keep our members safe. In particular: strictly adhere to boating times as per the procedures (to avoid congestion on pontoons and around the boathouse); and if you decide not to row/scull to notify Jim so that he may reassign your slot. Please think of the impact of your actions on others, be considerate, and follow the collaborative spirit of the endeavour.

In the six weeks since our first Safe Return to Rowing session on 16th May we have had over 1,400 individual outings enjoyed by over 136 members (seniors and juniors). The non-rowing activities continue, recognising that not all our members can row/scull yet, and that it is important to continue supporting, engaging and connecting with all members of our community.

All of this is enabled by a network of active and committed volunteers; 73 roles populated by 52 members. I would like to appreciate their efforts, and say a big ‘thank you’ to all volunteers, on behalf of the club.

Since putting these numbers together for Tuesday’s webinar, I’d like to add another two: Laurie and Steve (from the Daytime squad), who filled up all the launch fuel cans during the week, even though neither of them has yet returned to the water. Thank you both.

We are convening a Rowing Committee meeting tomorrow (6th July) evening, so please take the opportunity to share your thoughts with your squad captains/reps. We have started considering options for the 2020/21 Junior season, albeit within the uncertain context, and I’m delighted that Izzy and Ollie will now be members of the RC to be the voices of the Junior members from within the junior community.

This weekend we should have been at HRR, but 4 Junior ‘quads’ represented Maidenhead at the Henley Virtual Championships. No results at the time of writing, so something to look forward to next week.

Our CRSAs Chris and Diane shared some guidance this week regarding sepsis and Weil’s disease. Please read their email carefully, noting preventative measures, potential symptoms and actions.

Finally, I would like to remind all members that as a club, and as a sport, we stand for diversity and inclusion. Please be mindful of what you say, do, and post.

Stay safe and care for your fellow rowers.

Nick

We’ve had a week of SRTR Wave 4, with up to 87 boating slots now available each day. Thanks to the SRTR team for continuing to facilitate this process to enable members to safely enjoy our sport.

Nearly all of our juniors are back onto the water; Huw and Liam have completed their assessments of their WJ14-15 and J14-16 groups and Adrian ran his first session for the younger group today. Katerina’s W/J16-18 group continues to be well represented and are building up water-time. Thanks to all our coaches and session supervisors for facilitating this. 

We will be running drills for less-confident-in-a-single adults next week, and have arranged some coaching for beginners and improvers from the Rec. and Daytime squads, so that they may all return to the water in singles with confidence.

British Rowing has made a submission to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in relation to the ‘teamsport’ aspects of rowing, relating particularly to crew boats. We await their feedback with interest, recognising that a sweep-single has yet to be invented.

For those booking session slots please: adhere to slot and pontoon times; if you cannot attend your session, notify Jim in advance (we are still getting no shows which impacts session supervisors or outing buddies); be judicious with ‘prime time’ slots (particularly 0700 and 0800 starts) and consider others who may not be able to row at other times, or also prefer an early morning outing.

A big thank you to Laura and Sue who cleared up broken glass from outside the boathouse last week, and frequently empty the bins of non-members’ refuse.

BRIC 2020 dates are yet to be announced (as with all other BR competitions), but some of our members are starting to line up training programmes. Adaptive squad captain Dan has suggested we set up virtual training cohorts to support each other. Please contact him if interested.

Stay safe, support each other.

Nick

The big news this week is that British Rowing have updated their advice, following positive feedback from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), outlining a phased approach to the reintroduction of crew boat rowing. Earliest dates are: coxless pairs and doubles from 1 August; coxed and coxless pairs, doubles, fours and quads from 15 August; eights and octuples from 29 August.

We are updating our risk assessment and logistical planning with a view to progressing to this next phase of Safe Return to Rowing as soon as safely practical. Stay tuned.

We ran capsize drills for a group from the Rec squad last week, who all did a great job, demonstrating boat skills and enjoying themselves tremendously (I think!). The coaching sessions (19 candidates, 5 coaches) are set to commence next week. Meanwhile, the younger juniors are getting more outings (and we hope they are more fortunate with the weather than they were this weekend).

A big thanks to Jim and Huw who have been fixing some of the club singles that are getting more usage than usual.

Thanks also to Gordon, Keith and Ken for sweeping up a lot of broken glass from outside the boathouse and the pontoons last Monday morning. It seems that the clubhouse area is something of a party-zone, and we continue to monitor the situation with CCTV footage, as our neighbours raise their concerns. In addition to the public disturbance there is risk to individuals from broken glass in boating areas (always keep your shoes/sliders on until you get into the boat).

We have had a series of near-misses with poorly navigated cruisers, and have raised one particular incident with the EA. Please politely remind the cruiser drivers of navigation and speed limits. Please also log incidents (including near-misses) on the online BR system; the more data they have the better the dialogue they may have with the EA and other relevant authorities.

We are still getting a number of ‘no-shows’ at boating sessions. Please consider fellow members who may be deprived of an outing, and/or the junior session supervisors who might compromise their outings, or travel to the club unnecessarily.

You will have noticed the hedgerows and areas around the clubhouse are looking tidier; thanks to John A, Dawn, Huw, and Brian for gardening/sweeping/clearing. If you wish to help, please put cuttings in the pile near the bike racks.

Stay safe, respect each other

Nick

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