February Newsletter

Even if we were not locked down we would not have been able to row due to some of the worst flooding in years. Andy McKenzie, who is a hydrologist, measured the high water mark at over two feet high in the boathouse. The flow meter at Reading Bridge peaked at 238m³/s on 2 February. We usually ban all rowing above 100m³/s, so it was pretty extreme. Andy warns that that the 100 year flood line would be significantly higher, so we should expect flooding like this every 5 to 10 years.

The good news is that the boathouse coped with the flood as designed, so the flood water left as easily as it arrived. The silt deposits on the floor were not bad and there is no significant damage inside, apart from the wood cabinets.

The otter holt was washed away and ended up trapped by the small pontoon. We rescued it and we will rebuild it.

We had some impressive icicles.

In other news, a salvage company used our slipway to rescue a sunken cruiser at Pangbourne.

Brian Barnes took a video of an otter by the boathouse. It could have been a mink but you decide!

Otter or mink?

Tina Wilson has been doing a brilliant job organising events to snap us out of lockdown monotony. We have had race night, cooking with Joy Skipper and even a Valentine’s quiz.

January 2021 Newsletter

It is frustrating that we still cannot row. At the moment the river is flowing at 122m³/s at Reading Bridge, but it was just over 200m³/s a week ago. When it goes under 100m³/s we can start to think about rowing again, but with the river temperature approaching freezing we have to be extra careful. Last Monday a man fell into the river and was swept three miles, from Sonning to Wargrave, in 45 minutes. Amazingly he only had mild hypothermia, but it could easily have been far worse. Once conditions improve, Richard will send out an email.

It was especially annoying that we had to call off our mini-head race to replace our annual Santa Row social. Hopefully this year we can have the Santa Row as normal.

Club AGM

Thanks to everyone who attended the club’s first online AGM.

The main news is that the membership proposal was agreed. In summary, we have new membership categories and fees from this month:

  • Full – £150
  • Junior – £75
  • Student -£75
  • Discounted – £75 (Available for members in receipt of a means-tested state benefit.)
  • Fun boats – £75 (All social events and use of fun boats)
  • Visitor fee – £10 (Visiting clubs)
  • Guest fee – £5 (Accompanied by members.)

We are also asking that members pay by an annual direct debit, in order to reduce the workload of the membership secretary. You will always be notified in advance of a direct debit payment.


On 27th December the club was almost flooded.


Since the last newsletter we have had a general knowledge online quiz, run by Sheila Forde, a music quiz organised by Richard Berkley and a cooking lesson run by Joy Skipper. The online rowing machine sessions are also continuing as they have been since March. Big thanks to them for helping to keep our spirits up in these strange times.

Slipway flood

Over the summer we have been exacavating a slipway for launching boats into the Thames. At about 3pm on Sunday, courtesy of the rain and a rising river, it began to fill. By 5:30pm it was full!

The trench and most of the core team on Wednesday:

The slipway is not quite finished, but it is not a major problem as all the steel sidings are in place and we can precast and install a concrete apron later.