We are all looking forward to restarting rowing from Monday 29th.
We plan to hold the 2021 Goring and Streatley Regatta on 17 July. We do not know yet what COVID-19 precautions will be in place but it seems that government restrictions will relax enough for us to hold an event. If 17 July is impossible we will fall back to a September date. Unless we are in total lockdown, we should be able to hold some kind of race. We will need plenty of volunteers to help with regatta training over the preceding month, site set-up in the days leading up to the 17th and running the event itself. Please get in touch with Nick Josephy, who is regatta chairman this year. It should be a great day out for the whole family after a long and dreary lockdown!
The next Learn2Row course will be held on Saturdays 3rd, 10th, 17th and 24th April. The cost of the course is £150 but if our graduates join the club within the month they will get £50 refunded. We still have a few places available, so contact Richard Berkley if you would like to join or you know anyone who would.
There have been work parties over the last few weekends getting the boathouse and site into shape for the new season. The boathouse and grounds are looking far better. There were some pretty grim jobs like cleaning the pontoon, our kitchen, the toilets, Snuffy’s hull and the whole of the launch, so big thanks to all involved.
We recently linked up with Goring Gap Wildlife Walks, aka Steve Godz. Steve is helping us rebuild our otter holt which was washed away by the floods. A new site has been chosen on the other side of the slipway, with the kind permission of the Steljes. As you can see, a start has been made with Brian Barnes’ digger and we are confident the new otter holt will be much more suitable for the otters and longer lasting.
Alastair Davies is putting together crews for a virtual rowing race to replace the Ocean to City race in Co. Cork, Ireland. It looks like a great way to keep fit and get back on the water in racing crews. Alastair has more information in the attached flier.
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!
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.
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.
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
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.