News Section - Season 2011/12
Ardingly's Henley Royal Regatta adventure 2012

Ardingly powering off the stakeboat at Henley Royal regatta 2012After the scratch win at Twickenham regatta in the borrowed vintage Tyrian empacher, the men's group decided to race at Dorney in an VIII at Metropolitan Regatta. Through Mostyn's negotiations and the Tyrian captain's understanding and highly commendable attitude, the crew raised enough money to rent Tyrian's Vespoli. A small delegation headed up to UL and loaded the boat on our trailer and 2 days later we had ARC's first ever eights outing on the reservoir. We fitted in about 3 outings before Metropolitan. The Met was Nick's first experience of 2000m multilane racing. In blowy conditions we had an uninspiring row, coming last in our heat, but posting a time that suggested that we could have a chance of getting into HRR based on some times from the other heats. Mostyn felt that in order to improve the chances of qualifying the crew needed to find about 12seconds improvement in the subsequent 4 weeks. The crew decided to give the challenge of getting into the Thames Challenge Cup a go!

With typical Ardingly organisational issues, the crew was not really together until a week before Marlow regatta. However each outing, using willing subs from our Masters squad, seemed to be getting better.

Marlow regatta allowed crews the last chance to race on the Olympic course, with grandstands being built along the course. The boating arrangements were different and the weather was pretty horrendous, with a challenging cross-wind. The IM2 8 heat that Ardingly was in, was started from a running start!! The crew hit the start hard and raced aggressively but longer than before, and were initially ahead. Hamptons School second 8 and a Pembroke/LMH Oxford composite pushed out ahead, but ARC stayed in 3rd and were hot on Hampton's heels. The crew was pleased with a hard race that saw them beat crews from Reading University and Queens University Belfast.

The crew was excited about the chance to race in the Henley qualifying races the following Friday, where the 40 entries would be reduced to 32, but were very pleasantly surprised when the Stewards pre-qualified them as one of the 28 crews to go straight into the draw. Satisfyingly though, comparing the results of qualifying with Marlow and the Met times, suggested that they would have made it through the qualifiers pretty safely.

After a weekend with some outings at Henley, giving the crew a chance to spar with other crews off the start, allow David steering practice and also soak up the atmosphere of this impressive regatta, Ardingly arrived on the Wednesday to race Walton RC at noon. According to Facebook, Walton were not expecting a fight, especially as Ardingly had drawn the less favourable Bucks station in 'the fastest stream I have seen here in 38 years' according to Mostyn. The plan was to stay in the fight after the island.

Walton were warned for being late to the start. As the flag came down Ardingly started strongly, and pushed ahead slightly by the top of the Island. Rowing very solidly and rating a little higher than Walton, Ardingly were 1/3 L up at the ¼ mile but Walton pushed (and had stream advantage) so the lead was cut to 2 feet by the barrier. Despite the stream coming to favour Ardingly, Walton's power and effective strokes showed through and they had taken the lead at Fawley by ⅓L. They continued to edge very gradually away in the next two minutes to lead by ¾L at the mile marker. Despite driving hard, Ardingly could not come back past the enclosures, shortening up and stabbing the water too much. With the stream now favouring Walton they were able to increase their lead quite quickly along the Stewards, the final verdict being 2½ L. The crew felt that they had had a good race, and were basically slightly outgunned in cruising speed. They had achieved what they had set out to do – to qualify an Ardingly club crew into the Thames challenge despite not owning an 8 or having much time together and to give a good account of themselves on the day. Many thanks as always to Mostyn, especially for arranging the boat rental and the Stewards tickets, to all the supporters who cheered the crew, and to those that subbed in to allow the crew to get some outings in!

However the 9 men in the eight were not the only club members racing at HRR this year. Tristan Vouilloz was the two man in the Tideway Scullers / Ardingly / Burway / Stowe School quad racing in the Prince of Wales. This is one of the 3 intermediate events, that are a step up from the club events. With the crew members coming from across the south of England (and all having exams for most of June) training outings were few and far between.

An impressive performance in Elite quads at Metropolitan helped the crew to avoid the qualifiers, but the draw cruelly pitched them against the GB under 23 crew (designate). One of the only two crews that beat them at the Met. However after some good work at Henley over the weekend, the crew were determined to go out and harry the U23's down the course. Despite a very quick start by Tristan's crew the GB quad was soon in control and powering into the headwind were sculling very impressively.

It was disappointing to come up against such a good crew in the first round as there were many crews that they could have undoubtedly beaten, but that's Henley for you.

Although this was the third year running that the club has qualified a crew to race in the regatta, having 10 club members achieving this is a very big step forward. 3 of these oarsmen were 18 or under, so they will have gained valuable experience. In our 3 races in the club events we have put up a good fight against our opposition, with the biggest verdict being 3.5 lengths in the first year. The next step has to be to win some races (but of course you need to avoid the really big names in the draw). Let's hope this experience spurs the members on for even better results next year.

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Henley and Ardingly

I'm sure you have noticed the eight down at the reservoir, and maybe wondered what was happening.

Well we have now raced at 3 regattas in an eight (winning at Twickenham and beating 2 crews in our heat at Marlow) and entered the Thames Cup at Henley.

The Henley stewards have decided that in the Thames Cup, 12 crews will race off this Friday for 4 places, and that 28 crews don't need to qualify. Rather shockingly they have selected Ardingly in the 28 that go straight into the first round draw, so we will have an eight racing on Wednesday at Henley Royal Regatta.

On top of that Tristan is racing in a Tideway Scullers / Ardingly / Burway/ Stowe quad in the Prince of Wales Cup. Under Henley's arcane rules only two clubs can be named per crew, so this crew races as Tideway Scullers and Stowe. Following an outstanding performance in Elite quads at Metropolitan (finishing 3rd behind Leander and The GB U23 quad), this crew has also avoided qualifying.

This event starts on the Thursday.

We therefore have 10 club members racing for Ardingly at HRR this year.

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ARC gains a much needed grant from GACT

After the theft of both our outboard engines late last year we have been managing to train efficiently but have only had the use of one safety launch.

After applying to Gatwick Airport Community Trust "GACT" in March we were the happy recipients of a cheque for £1,500. Almost immediately a second engine was sourced and we now have two operational launches which give us more flexibility in sessions and ability to take on less experienced people. We also have a small start towards a lightweight trailer which will increase our ability to go to multiple regattas

A big thanks to GACT for considering our club a worthy beneficiary.

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Twickenham Regatta - 19 May 2012

Ardingly rowing club at Twickenham regatta 19th May 2012An adventurous day out for Ardingly's 1st VIII - the first ever regatta entry in an VIII, the first ever win in an VIII and the first sweep win for Ardingly RC. Testing the water in order to plan the rest of the season's rowing, the senior squad entered IM3 and IM2 eights at Twickenham. David L, Jo, Alex, Paul, Patrick, Nick, Jonty and cox David Barraclough, together with old Ardingly hand Tom Bloomfield stepping in for Gareth, met at 7am at UL boat house.

Tyrian had once again agreed to help Ardingly by renting out their trusty old Empacher. The crew paddled up to Richmond Lock in their first outing together. After coming through the lock it was time for a couple of practice starts before landing to get David weighed and collect numbers.

The crew was to face Molesey in the semi of IM3 but they didn't show up, so a practice off the stake boat started the row over. A quick turn-around before the IM2 semi-final, against Surrey University, who we knew would be fast; and had probably had more than one outing together! Ardingly competed well off the start but couldn't transform that into mid-race pace and slipped back coming around the bend. Surrey romped home by over 2 Lengths.

In the final of IM3 the crew faced Sons of the Thames, who were only 2 seconds behind Ardingly at the HORR. Rowing more cleanly than in the IM2 race, Ardingly hit a good rhythm and moved away, stayed ahead and won by about 2 Lengths, before paddling back to the lock and onto UL. Bow 4 had lost their sweep Novice status! The crew and coach then drove back to the regatta to collect the pots, before coach and bow raced home to catch the Championship playoff.

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Wallingford Regatta - 6th May 2012

Ardingly won their first 2km race at one of the 'big 3' Dorney regattas, courtesy of a powerful and controlled row by Tristan Vouilloz and Patrick Frost in the J18 2x. Starting steadily, they were in contact with the leaders early in the race, but sculling well. They continued to power through as the competition faded, and won by about 4 lengths – a superb win for the club and achieving one of Mostyn's long-held aims! Donning Tideway Scullers colours, Tristan achived a second win in the IM1 2x, again by a fair distance. Patrick competed in a strong J18 1x field and did well, staying close to the pack and coming 5th, only 4.5 seconds adrift of 3rd place. This was a very good showing from our very talented younger club members

Wrongly thinking that some of their IM1 4- competition might also take the opportunity of racing twice and therefore enter Elite in the morning, the men's four of Paul, Alex, Jo and David L found themselves amongst some very fast crews in the Elite 4-. Treating it as a training row, they were not too disheartened by staying reasonably close to Thames B to 1000m (albeit with Thames losing 1/2L due to a steering error at 750m). The crew eased off at 1250m, to conserve energy. In the afternoon they raced in IM1 4- and in a fast heat came 4th. The first 250m let them down as Hampton and Cardiff eased ahead (Upper Thames right out in front). The rhythm in the middle of the race was encouraging though, as was the overall time placing them 11th of the 22 crews entered, although disappointingly 4 seconds adrift of qualifying for the repechage.

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Vesta Veterans Head - 18th March

Following last years two composite entries with Thames Tradesmen, we hit a new milestone with two Ardingly only entries

The younger crew were entered in C, and continuing on with the previous days theme, our 3 man had a total of 4 sweep outings under his belt. To give him his first ever outing in an eight, the crew went for their first ever paddle together in the morning. This also allowed their cox for the day Adam Beake, to get used to his crew and the crew to him. They discovered that, like the previous day, we had found ourselves a gem (all thanks to a coxing group on Facebook). Using Tyrians boat and blades for the second day the crew was Bow Tony, 2 Mick 3, Nick 4, Gareth 5, Major Chas 6, Alex 7, David L stroke Martyn cox Adam. In the race the crew hit a solid rhythm and with Nick doing an excellent job they passed crews right down the course.

The final results showed a very pleasing break into the top 20 at 15th overall (there were 228 finishers) and 5th in C. Mostyn was very pleased that the crew was only just slower (4.4 secs) than Tyrian in the same age group.

Using Thames Tradesmen RC equipment (well half the crew have rowed for TT in the past) the crew was; Bow, Steven H 2, David P 3, Slavo 4, Keith 5, Andy L 6, Reg 7, Andy A stroke, Steve B cox, Woody. Having decide on a race rate (lower than what Steve wanted but that's democracy for you) the crew powered down the course. They overtook the crews in front of them so quickly that they ended up in vacuum between Barnes Bridge and Chiswick eyot. The target was a top 3 finish for their age so Woody kept them pushing on right down the course. In the end they missed that target by a very slim 0.7 secs, finishing 4th in E and 42nd overall.

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Head of the River Race - 17th March

With the aim of beating last year's highest position of 186th, and breaking into the top 150, we borrowed an eight and blades from Tyrian. The crew line up included our top sculler Tristan, despite the fact that he had only ever done two sweep outings in his life. Having arranged for our highly experienced tideway cox Andrew Probert to reprise his last years cameo, there was a minor panic when Andrew went ill with less than one day to go. However we continued to be extremely lucky with coxes when Alex Parr (ex Latymer 1st VIII cox) was persuaded to step in.

The final line up was Bow Jonty, 2 Gareth, 3 Tristan, 4 Patrick, 5 Paul, 6 Alex, 7 Jo, Stroke David L and cox Alex Parr. A solid row over the course, and an excellent course by Alex, gave the crew our best ever finish of 156th out of 394 finishers. This was a tantalising 1.7 secs off the top 150, but a very solid 29th out of 139 in Intermediate 3 and an encouraging 19th out of 66 in The Jackson Trophy (for British Clubs who don't row on the Thames). Video can be found on youtube (if you search using ardingly and rowing).

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Burway head of the River - 18th February 2012

This race attracted crews from several major clubs last year, so the Ardingly contingent were disappointed by the apparently low entry this year, and even more so when their competition from Staines withdrew on the day, leaving some events, where categories had been combined, as Ardingly vs Ardingly. Still, a chance to race hard, with Alex and Mick having to race in all 3 divisions due to illness of one of our number. By the end of the day's racing, 6 out of the top 9 finishers were Ardingly crews. Alex, Tristan, Gareth and Paul came 2nd overall in a scratch quad, unfortunately 17seconds adrift of the Elite Burway 4x but winning IM2 4X. 4th fastest crew on the day was our IM3 4x of Jonty, Nick, Tristan, Mick just beating our 'top' 4- of David L, Jo, Alex, and Paul, who won IM2 4- . 6th was an IM3 4- made up of the top four, but with Jonty in place of Paul. The Masters C 4x of Reg, Andy L, Gareth and Mick were 7th and the Masters D 4x were 9th. (Reg, SteveB, Andy L and Slavo) An IM3 2x and MasE 2x also put in good performances, with the IM3 2x of Mick and Nick winning their event (Mick getting his first Ardingly pot).

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Walton Small Boats head - 10th December 2011

Racing the same course (but in the other direction) as the Weybridge Silver Sculls, Ardingly send a strong contingent on a bright and sunny day. The 2 fastest doubles on the day were exceptional Junior crews from Walton and Westminster. Our double of Tristan and (a slightly poorly) Alex raced in the morning division and were fastest in that division. Patrick then teamed up with Tristan to win Novice doubles in the afternoon and was very pleased when they beat the morning crew by 2 seconds, so that Ardingly came 3rd and 4th overall (10:45 and 10:47) – a good showing and a good reflection on Tristan and Patrick. Alex struggled in the later division racing IM1 2x with David Law, coming 19th overall (11:07). Jonty and Nick raced well to finish half way up a big field of IM3 doubles. Whilst Jonty and Patrick were the only novice pair entered. Seven masters doubles raced in various age categories, with the E double of Bob and David Category winning their age group. Our 3rd win came for Steve Banks in the E singles

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Kingston Small Boats Head - 19th November 2011

Some good racing at the long Kingston course saw 2 wins for Ardingly; Tristan winning J18 1x and Keith and Slavo winning MasE 2x. The IM3 4x of Jonty, Gareth, Tristan and David Law were going very well but had 'problems' passing Tiffin School. An unfortunate racing incident lost Tiffin (the crew supposed to give way!) nothing and Ardingly well over 10 seconds at Ravens Ait. Still that's head racing and 6th overall (out of 335) (2nd in the category) is still a strong showing. Ardingly also fielded a MasE 4x and IM3 2x who gained valuable race experience

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Veterans Fours head - 6th November 2011

The oldest crew was yet again our most successful of the weekend, coming in as winners of MasE 4x. the crew of Reg, Keith, Andy A, and Slavo were very pleased. They finished 28th overall, and only 1 seconds ahead of our first sweep entry in this event C4- (David Law, Gareth, Andy l, Martyn.), who were a very strong 3rd in their category. The C4x (David C, Jon, Pete and Mick were about 6 seconds behind and 35th overall, and not completely happy with their race. Another first was our women's squad racing a quad in this event.

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Fullers Fours head of the River Race - 5th November 2011

The IM2 four of David Law, Jo, Alex and Paul attempted to hit the race hard and sustain the pressure all the way through, following a couple of lacklustre rows in the previous years. They came off the water feeling that they had achieved this, and were pleased with the overall 129th out the 454 boats, coming 13th out of 36 IM1 4- crews (there is no IM2 4- event offered). This achieved Mostyn's pre-race target.

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Weybridge Silver Sculls - 22nd October 2011

No wins for Ardingly this year at the Silver Sculls. A group from the squad attended and raced in a number of categories. Nick and Jonty were fastest and came 3rd in IM3 2x and 19th overall in doubles. Mick and Andy L raced MasC 2x, coming 3rd in their group. After the handicapping had been applied Bob and David Cowderoy came 4th in MasE/F/G/. Patrick, Slavo and David C also raced in single sculls

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Pairs Head of the River Race - 8th October 2011

Ardingly fielded 6 men's squad crews for the pairs head raced from Chiswick to Hammersmith. The fastest crew on the day was the IM3 2x of Paul and Tristan, coming 45th out of 401. Ian 'Andy' Andrews and David 'Vinnie' Vincent were the days' success story for the club, winning masters E 2x. Alex and Jo battled a long in Masters B 2x, but the last third became sluggish, so they finished 13 seconds behind the IM3 2x winners.

Slavo and Andy Lowes were in the top 1/3rd of Masters D 2x entries and Jonty and Patrick were about halfway up the J18 pairs field. Finally David Reed and David Law had a 'pretty but not very fast' row in Masters B 2x.

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World Masters Championships, Poznan 8-11 September 2011

A select (well at least that's what they thought) group of the men's senior and masters squad travelled to Poznan in Poland for the FISA World Masters. David Law, Slavo, Mick, Reg, Ian 'Andy', David Phillips, Alex, Pete and Jon all raced in between 5 to 7 events, sometimes in scratch crews. Travel to Poznan was hard work for the group that flew to Berlin – but the many stops were for traffic jams and not for the 24 hour 'nightclubs' along the trucking route. The team stayed in the town, a few km from Lake Malta, and on the Wednesday jumped into the Mercedes van to have a look at the excellent facilities and rig the boats that had come across on the UTRC trailer (many thanks Clive) before heading out to the town for piles of polish dumplings the size of Cornish pasties, and a beer.

The first 2 days were marred by a cold howling wind, making the 2nd 500m of the course very bumpy indeed: especially for the B4- and A2x on the Thursday. Despite the weather, the regatta ran exactly to time with races every 4 minutes, often with 8 crews per race. On Thursday everyone got to race, representing Ardingly in D4-, E2x, C4-, D4x (1 place behind Tees again!), B4x, C2x and Andy rowing for Dart Totnes in F2x and F4x

The roll call for Saturday was even longer – B2x (x2), D2x (x2), A4x, E2-, C4x, F1x and 8 of the 9 even entered C8+ made possible by borrowing the UTRC Empacher and a passing American cox called Andy. Lots of confusion ensued as 'easy' means 'light paddling' in the US and Andy was confused when the crew stopped rowing after every burst in the warm up! Slavo in particular enjoyed his discussion about 'start line yoga' when we were attached to the stakeboat.

As for results – sadly no medals for Ardingly. 'Andy' Andrews was closest with 2 second places, and there were some notable performances: the C4- was well in the middle of all times posted for the event and the B2x raced well in a fast heat, overhauling a huge Dynamo Moscow crew to finish 5th of 8, in the top half of all entries in the event, and closing the gap on the German heat winners to 6s from over 12s in the A2x event 2 days earlier. In the other B2x Jon and Pete enjoyed a storming race not far from the leaders. And the C8+ blasted off the start and did very respectably for a completely scratch combination. Most Ardingly results were 5th, 6th or 7th. None of the crews felt that they had a bad race (apart from the A2x), and all enjoyed the level of competition and hard racing - it was simply that the standard was very high. There were a lot of very well drilled, very big crews, many with past pedigree.

What can we learn? That the German, Russian and Polish crews were all uniformly massive; that everyone rated very very high; that Ardingly crews generally have good starts; that ARC is not full of ex-internationals; that the umpires don't like non-matching t-shirts under one-pieces; that we need more accuracy of placement at the catch; that Gina and George's support and lunches were brilliant(thanks!); that the organisation and atmosphere at the Masters is great; that we all looked very smart in our matching tops sponsored by AXIS (cheers Reg); and that zurek is a soup that comes inside a bowl made out of a breadroll the size of an adult human head!

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Ardingly's Henley Royal Regatta adventure 2012
Henley and Ardingly
ARC gains grant from GACT
19 May Twickenham Regatta
6 May Wallingford Regatta
18 Mar Vesta Vets Head
17 Mar Head of the River
18 Feb Burway Head of the River
10 Dec Walton SBH
19 Nov Kingston SBH
6 Nov Vets fours
5 Nov Fullers Fours
22 Oct Weybridge Silver Sculls
8 Oct Pairs Head of the River
8-11 Sep Poznan