The Wraysbury Eye – March/April 2014

It seems to have crept up, but the season is truly here with the early long distance skiff events already underway as well as the first Dragon Boat League event under our belt; there have been time trials for the GB dragon boat crews and our first social event of the season in conjunction with the Boat Race.

General Club Stuff

The Floods – everything has subsided, but the river is definitely ‘temperamental’ and with everything being so wet, seems to go to Yellow and then Red boards quite quickly if there is any rain. It looks like the season will continue like this with a possibility that events may get cancelled if the boards reappear.

While everything has been jet washed and cleaned at ground level, there is still ‘clearing up’ to be done to put back things that were moved to where they are normally kept.

The WSPC AGM Thursday 27th March – The following people were elected to the Committee or have since been seconded:

President Paul Barfoot
Hon. Secretary Imogen O’Neill
Hon. Treasurer David Taylor
Club Captain
Vice Captain(s)


Ken Ducas

Pete Smith

Phil Costello

Chris Thornton

Vice Captain (Punting) Paul Barfoot
Vice Captain (Dragon Boating) Greg Floyd
Bar Steward (1) Greg Floyd
Bar Steward (2) Dom Walker
Bar Steward (3) Phil Oke
Hon. Auditor Gareth Jones
Social Secretary
Membership Secretary Debi Hallett
Regatta Secretary Imogen O’Neill
Youth Coach
Water Safety Advisor Carol Cornell
First Aid Advisor Carol Cornell
Property Supervisor Clive Hearne (Steve Myhill to assist)
Publicity Officer

The Vice Captains of skiffing along with Chris Thornton have split the roles up so that Phil is dealing with Entries and Regatta Fees, Smithy is dealing with Coaching, Chris is dealing with Equipment and Ken is doing a bit of everything, but we don’t have a figurehead Captain and general co-ordinator if you fancy the role.

Social Secretary – while people already organise individual events, like Ian Swinglehurst does the Fireworks, and Imo does lots, we don’t have an overall co-ordinator; a thriving social scene is also good for attracting new members; if you would like to volunteer to run an event or would like to be Social Secretary, please let the Committee know. It doesn’t mean you have to do everything; it is ideas, co-ordination and delegation!

Youth Coach – as our Juniors get older and some are now no longer juniors, Mike O’Neill will continue to coach those who are now skiffing, but we really need someone to take on Sunday mornings and the real juniors who are still in the canoes and dinghies; is this a role you could take on?

Publicity Officer – we have the Eye, which is really internal publicity, but we have very little external publicity; Paul Barfoot has obtained contact details for some of the local papers and they are very happy to print sports reports and publish pictures if you prepare the copy and send it to them by the deadline date. Could someone do this for each regatta, be it for skiffing & punting or dragon boating? Is publicising the Club externally something you could do? Please let the Committee know if you are interested.

Summer Circuits – Circuits have just seamlessly changed from Winter to Summer and continue on a Wednesday night as usual at 19.00 for a 19.15 start, and you may also get fed as well; they continue to be professionally run by Carol Cornell, or by Ian Bowers if Carol is not around; there is some variation from Winter circuits to keep it fresh with some outside work if it is nice and then some core work inside afterwards. All are welcome to come along and participate.

Scrap Tankards – the collection continues to grow and there is now a dustbin full of them, all crushed to get more in; thanks to Steph Willis for the latest contribution… nice big goblets Willis!

This is not for everyone, but if you have boxes of them, the kids are urging you to de-clutter or downsize and you have no idea what you are going to do with them, then donate them to the Club for fundraising; there has to be a target to aim for so, tankards… drinking… yes, the new Bar is our target for the funds raised by this initiative.

Club Kit – Our relationship with Rock the Boat has come to an amicable end and we will now be stocking kit at the Club for you to purchase; we are starting off with a sale at 20-30% off to dispose of some of the stock we have inherited before looking at new stock and possibly new lines; please let the Committee know if there are lines you think we ought to stock and we will get pricing and consider them.

Sale Items
Adult hoodie £20 Child hoodie £10
Adult polo £15 Child t-shirt £7
Adult cap £8 Child cap £5
Beanie £8 Stuff sack £4

Not in the sale
Zephyrs and shorts £32
Bow Ties £6
Ties £8
Blazer Badge £10

There is quite a variety of children’s stock sizes covering age ranges 5-6, 7-8, 9-11 and 12-13, so if you want to kit your kids out like Mummy and Daddy, then speak to Dave Taylor.

Thursday Evening Food – this started again in the run up to Easter; if you would like to volunteer to do a week, please, please let Imo know; there is a rota by the serving hatch with lots of gaps if you would like to put your name down. You will have seen Imo’s email.. she cannot and will not do every week, so please step forward to spread the load and keep this important social side of the Club going.

The Queens Row Barge Gloriana – most of the other skiff clubs have already had a go on Gloriana, apart from us; opportunities are available to either help deliver it somewhere prior to an event or to actually crew it at an event. The timing will not always be ideal – weekdays, evenings and then weekends for formal events, but I’m sure it will be a marvellous opportunity and occasion to be part of. If you are interested in having a go, please complete the form attached to the Eye email and send it to Dave Taylor so he can gauge interest and liaise with Malcolm Knight on a suitable event to be involved in; This is in no way restricted to just the skiffing & punting fraternity as to participate, only an ability to keep in time is required and an understanding of ‘watermanship’. When using a single heavy oar, skiffing is probably no advantage at all!

British Rowing Almanacs – In return for British Rowing featuring Skiffing in the Almanac, the Clubs have a small quota of Almanacs to sell; we still have a few left if you want to see your name in print if you won last year. There is also a review of last season; they are £23.50 each. Please speak to Imo if you want to purchase one.

Moan(s) of the Month

1. Recycling – we try to do our bit, so please help; there are an assortment of bins in the kitchen; they are clearly bins, so please do not put recycling in them; the recycling goes in the ‘big’ blue open plastic box by the table/door; you can put all sorts of mixed recycling in it – cans, cardboard, paper, glass and plastics. Behind the bar, there are separate bins for bottles, cans/plastic and rubbish; please use the right one. Please don’t leave plastic water bottles round the club – recycle them or take them home with you.
2. Paying into the Club Bank Account – we are always grateful for money paid directly into the club bank account, but to keep the accounts we do need to know who it is from and what it is for; could whoever paid £100 in on 30th April 2014 with the text WRAYSBURY SK please let Dave Taylor know.
3. Annual subscriptions are now overdue – there has been a good response to Dave Taylor’s emails reminding you they are due and updating standing order amounts, but if you do not pay by standing order, please pay your subscriptions as soon as you can; you can do this online or you can pay Dave Taylor down at the club.

On the Water

There is still not that much activity on the water on the skiffing and punting side; remember, all the Clubs are in the same situation as you… they couldn’t go out much over the winter either, so don’t be put off because you think you haven’t been doing much and are unfit; nor has anyone else, so now is the time to dust off your kit and get out on the water.

Vic Wood, our coaching/umpire launch has been repaired, painted and varnished; our thanks to Smithy and Chris for doing this… we just need to get it running smoothly now!

River conditions – because it is temperamental, please remember to check the link below before you go out. If in doubt… don’t go out… you can always use the gym on the mezzanine.

Skiffing & Punting regattas for the year

Saturday 5 April – S Mepham Mixed Marathon
Sunday 27 April DSPC Long Distance Singles
Saturday 3 May Tiny & Nancy Knight
Sunday 11 May Gordon Dear Mixed Marathon
Saturday 17 May Wraysbury Long Distance Sculls
Saturday 7 June SSPC 6K Head
Sunday 29 June Egham
Sunday 6 July WBC Junior Marathon
Saturday 13 July TVSC Club
Saturday 19 July Wraysbury & Old Windsor
Saturday 26 July Hampton Court & Dittons
Sunday 27 July DSPC Junior Regatta
Saturday 2 August Chertsey & Shepperton
Sunday 3rd August Punting Championships
Saturday 9 August Sunbury
Sunday 10 August Sunbury Junior Regatta
Saturday 16 August Walton Reach
Sunday 31 August Skiff Championships
Saturday 6 September Skiff Club
Sunday 7 September Inter Club (at TVSC)
Saturday 13 September WSPC Club
Saturday 20 September DSPC Club
Saturday 27 September Wargrave Club
Saturday 11 October Singles Marathon
Sunday 19 October Doubles Marathon


Saturday 5 April S Mepham Mixed Marathon

We had one entry for this event, but they had to scratch.

Sunday 27 April DSPC Long Distance Singles

We had one entry for this event, but they were scratched by the organisers, who decided to run the event on Red boards, but cut all novice categories. As you can imagine, the jury is still out on the merits of this decision, which has resulted in much discussion and debate!

Saturday 3 May Tiny & Nancy Knight

We had no entries for this event and it was eventually cancelled due to adverse river conditions.

Sunday 11 May Gordon Dear Mixed Marathon

We had one entry for this event in the Novice Restricted category, John Dymott and Zoe Hellmuth coxed by Imo and they notched up a first win of the season for WSPC. Not only did they win their category, they finished 17th overall out of 25, so were also faster than some of the higher categories. The full results are attached to the Eye email.

Our own Wraysbury Long Distance Sculls takes place on the morning of Sat 17th May, an ideal target for you to be aiming for, for your first race of the season and on home water. Imo will also be asking for help on the day with various official roles, course laying, the teas and the bar; if you’re not going to race, please come down, help and support those who are racing, or do both. You will by now have seen her email; please volunteer to help and enter.

Jui Dashes – Thursday 29th May – this annual event for classified and drawn scratch double skiffs over a short course from Citroen’s Warehouse to the Club has been scheduled for 29th May this year; this is a good opportunity to get some short racing practice in, have a bit of fun and a social evening at the Club. Look out for notices nearer the event for the start time and entry details.

Attached to the Eye email are the Skiffing Status spread sheets from the Skiff Racing Association; please check your own status to make sure your wins have been recorded correctly and that you have the right points.

Remember, you do not necessarily have to be at a status to race at that status and in doubles events, it is the combined points of the crew that count, so be creative and form crews to race.

For those that do not know or may have forgotten how the status spread sheet works…. here goes…

It is an Excel spread sheet with three tabs, one for singles, one for doubles and one for mixed, the three disciplines you can race under; remember, you have a separate status for each discipline; the sheet only contains WSPC members details; If you have won an event your name should be on there and it will show what you won, where and when. If you have not won yet, your name will not appear on the sheets. All the names are in alphabetical order with both sexes mixed in together.

Junior Skiffing

This covers the ‘Juniors’ who are competing in the Junior Pennant or have now graduated to the senior statuses.

At the moment, many of our Juniors are studying hard for either their GCSE’s or A levels and we wish them well in their forthcoming exams.

We shall look forward to seeing them all down the Club after their exams and when they break up from university.

Notwithstanding this, those who are at in between years and not taking exams have been going out in skiffs on club nights.

On Good Friday, a few J14 boys from Windsor Boys School came down to the Club, supported by Peter Smith, Phil Costello and Mike Lawson and thoroughly enjoyed their session. We will try and repeat it outside the boy’s busy regatta schedule and pull in some of the older J16 – J18s who may have stopped rowing due to time/physical commitment and might take up skiffing as an alternative less demanding activity to retain their skills.

Several of the older Juniors are now over 18, or will be as the sprint regatta season starts, so will be entering full status skiff events now rather than racing in the Junior Pennant and we look forward to seeing their progression against the adults.


Ian MacDougal’s family have kindly donated a 2’ punt to the Club and we will be christening it ‘Ian MacDougal’ in his memory, which is a very fitting gesture. It has been stored in the roof at Nicholls Boat Yard for many, many years and while it seems to be in good condition, it is currently in the water padlocked to the pontoon taking up so that it can be used as an easy access practice punt. It is floating, but does have some water in it; we will let you know when it is ready for use as it does need a small repair to stop it leaking.

Dragon Boating

While the river has been out of bounds, the dragon boaters have busied themselves with extra circuit training and O1 training over at Batchworth’s club at Troy Lake in Rickmansworth.

Not everyone who has paddled internationally before trialed this year for the forthcoming European Championships in the Czech Republic this Summer, but well done to all our paddlers who did, whether they got in or not.

Congratulations to Fiona and Neale Johnson who only started dragon boating last season when they moved to Wraysbury on qualifying for the Senior A squad along with Dom Walker and Julia Griffin.

Congratulations to Ian Bowers, Phil Endecott, Mick Roach and Clive Hearne on qualifying for the Senior B squad, along with Liz Hearne who will once again be Crew Manager.

At the start of the season there was much talk about whether we would continue to race as Tao or whether we were both ready to revert to our separate clubs of Wraysbury Dragons and Bristol Empire Dragons; while Wraysbury were ready to go it alone, it seems that Bristol were not as ready as they thought and this caused some upheaval at their Club; the result is that we will continue to race as Tao this season, but our intention would be to race as Wraysbury next season; we are aiming for our first outing as Wraysbury at the National Cup event at Nottingham in September.

Dragon Boat Events for the Year

Sun May 4 – Liverpool
Sun May 18 – Nottingham
Sun Jun 1 – Exeter
Sun Jun 15 – Stockton-on-Tees
Sat Jun 28 – Milton Keynes
Sun Jul 6 – St Neots
Sun Aug 10 – Worcester
Sun Aug 24 – Crosby
Sun Aug 31 – London

Sun May 4 – Liverpool

Liverpool saw us very much start where we left off last year, in third place; at the time, there are often thoughts that we could have done better, but when we look back, the crew actually performed very well considering that we were only racing with 18 paddlers (all the other top crews paddled with 20) after one each from Bristol and Wraysbury had to drop out at the last minute; of the 18, 5 were our outstanding girlies (way more girls in the crew than the other top crews) and on top of that, we had a completely new paddler from Bristol doing his first event, so to come third in all three race categories was actually pretty good; not only did we come third, but we were very close to taking second place coming just under 1 sec behind Worcester in the 500m, missing out on the 2 boat major final of the ‘Out round the Buoy and Back’ event by 4/10 sec and posting a quicker time than Worcester in winning our minor final and lastly, just 7sec behind Worcester in the 2000m a race they thought they had lost to Tao; the results were consistent; Amathus 1st, Worcester 2nd and Tao 3rd.

We were also thankful to our ‘guest’ paddlers from Hurricanes and Batchworth who enabled us to race.

We can look forward to the rest of the season with confidence, as those who were not available for Liverpool join the crew for the rest of the events.


Sun 5th April – Cocktail Party – This Boat Race themed event was a great success with the race projected onto a big screen, cocktails served from the bar and a buffet to go with it; everyone dressed up for the occasion and a great afternoon was had by all. Perhaps we should make this an annual event?

Forthcoming Events

Fri or Sat 18th/19th July – Jazz at WSPC – We haven’t quite firmed up the date for this yet, but Jazz Band Howard Lawes plays in would like to come down to the club to perform again this year and we will go for one of these evenings; put a note in your diary for a fun evening at the Club; there will also be food available.
Forthcoming External Events
Sat 7th June – SSPC After Regatta Party – St Mary’s Hall, Green Street, Sunbury-on-Thames – There is a flyer attached to the Eye.
Sat 28th June – Remenham Club – Combined Skiff Clubs Ball – There is flyer attached to the Eye email; please contact Imo for your tickets.

Signage – for those who have been to the Club recently, we hope that you have spotted the new and changed signage.

1. WSPC in large white letters have been stuck on the boathouse doors
2. Wraysbury Skiff & Punting Club and Wraysbury Dragons in white letters have been stuck on the Clubhouse above the veranda doors
3. The Club sandwich board, which was previously moved in and out of the boathouse to be displayed on our frontage has been split in two, had dragon boating added to the wording and the 2 parts have been permanently fixed to the flag pole and the railings on the front of the veranda
4. New banners are being ordered to be fixed on the railings on the car park side of the veranda.

Lawnmower – perhaps the only real WSPC casualty of the flood was our new electric lawnmower; this is being repaired courtesy of Gareth Bennett at Bosch who supplied it and it will be available for your use shortly; if you get a spare moment and could cut the lawn on a regular basis, please do. (We have also started a compost heap behind the club house in the far left hand corner)

Mezzanine and the Showers – these projects are continuing in the background with specifications being drawn up and quotes obtained.

Boat House – on Sunday 11th May, Dave Taylor and Greg Floyd tidied about ¾ of the boathouse and put everything that had been displaced back in its rightful place; there is still the last ¼ to do encompassing the area around the container; underneath the Clubhouse needs to be tidied/re-organised to make better use of it, but does involve the punts we have either sold or donated being removed to make a start. The mezzanine also needs doing.

Hatch, Match & Despatch

Nothing to report.

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Categories: Wraysbury Eye

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