THIS WEEK I WAS PRIVILEGED TO ROW GLORIANA!
I’m about fourth back on the right!
It’s not every day that one can say that one has rowed the Queens Royal Barge. Well, that was not until Wednesday this week when I was invited by Malcolm Knight, to take part in a test row in her.
We joined many other experienced rowers at Dittons Punting and Skiffing Club at Thames Ditton, Surrey and rowed her to Hampton Court Palace and back down to Kingston before returning her to Dittons for a spot of lunch on the veranda! Most pleasant…
Big thanks to Malcolm Knight for the photograph and to Lord Sterling for allowing us the chance to row the QRB, as we call her…
In June 1815, the British were victorious at Waterloo and sent an URGENT despatch back to England by Post Chaise. (Horse and cart)… On arrival at the Belgian coast, the escorting officer boarded the first Royal Naval Ship that was sailing back to Great Britain. The sailing ship was becalmed 20 miles from the Kent coast line. Knowing just how important this news was, the escorting officer and several other Royal Naval officers jumped into the ships Jolly Boat and rowed it the 20 remaining miles back to England, landing at Broadstairs in Kent.
The message was taken on again by road all the way to London where there was a massive celebration, leading to the Europe that we now all know and ‘love’.
To celebrate the 200th Anniversary, in June 2015, the journey will be recreated with one main difference! The rowing section of this epic journey has been extended to cover all the way from Oostende to Broadstairs – as a race!! The distance is about 55 nautical miles and will likely take around 14 – 16 hours to complete, depending on conditions on the day.
There will be 12 rowing boats invited to take part and to race against each other for an amazing once in a lifetime adventure to win a coveted prize (to be announced). For my sins, I have been deputed to organise this event.
The boats will all be of a Cornish Pilot Gig frame and anyone interested in taking part who already owns such a craft should start contacting me now. (We already have one entry so far).
To accomplish this, each boat needs two full crews to swap over every two hours until the task is completed.
Each boat and crew will need to fulfil certain criteria to be able to enter the race.
- The boat must conform to the stated frame type. This means that both wooden, GRP and carbon fibre gigs will be accepted, provided they are of a similar size to the original Cornish Pilot gig. Our decision as organisers is final on what this constitutes.
- Each crew will consist of 14 people to enable the event to be carried out with as much safety as possible.
- Each crew must have their own accompanying Safety Vessel that is certificated and covered for carrying 12 people to 60 miles offshore for up to 24 hours, the crew of which must be suitably qualified to do their duty on board.
- There will be an entry fee (to be determined in due course by the overall event organisers).
- Sponsors are invited to cover their local team. Flags, banners and stickers are most welcome on your rowing and Safety Vessels.
Contact us by email in the first place at
Found out from Richard Bain that Micky has been released back into the community to recover at home.
We all wish you a speedy return to work Micky, if you so desire it!
Latest news in from Richard Bain is that Micky has been moved to the Trauma Ward and has been started on puréed foods and yoghurts!
Let’s keep our fingers crossed that this is the road to recovery. It’s going to be a long and difficult road, but if anyone can pull it off, it will be Micky! His strength and courage during the London to Paris event of 2010 was fantastic and an example to all those that didn’t think they could do it.
GO MICKY! Let us see you back on the river swiftly please, and our thoughts are with your family.
Any future information updates, I will keep you all posted…
All thoughts and energy are going to Micky Russell and his family at a very difficult time. Micky is a member of Gravesend Rowing Club and one of the winning record breaking team that rowed a Thames Watermans Cutter from London to Paris in 2010.
He also works for the PLA based at Denham Wharf. Yesterday he was at work and ended up in the Thames crushed between a boat of some kind and the pontoon / jetty.
Presently, he is in intensive care in a Central London Hospital. Please join me in wishing all the very best to both him and his family.
Any more news, I will let you know here if permitted.
Respect. Roger G.
We now have a new boat club in our town!
Richmond Bridge Boat Club had our first and inaugural Annual General Meeting tonight at the 14th Richmond Vikings Sea Scout Centre in Retreat Road, Richmond.
Amongst other things discussed is the exciting prospect of having more people getting onto the river to take part in all manner of events. Our intention is to get some of them challenging each other to row from Gravesend to Richmond throughout the summer months in whatever boats they can muster. Along the same lines as our present challenge of rowing our Gig Tiger, they will be invited to row their own boats over the course and will of course be escorted by our very own Safety Boats supplied from Thames Workboats.
OUR OBJECTIVES ARE:
To get as many people taking part in Long Distance Team Building rowing events as possible.
Our rowing boat TIGER, was rowed proudly by our Sunday Rowing Team escorting the Olympic Flame, 2012
WHAT DO YOU NEED?
No experience is needed, just a willingness to take part and a level of basic physical fitness. We provide the boat and all the safety kit. We even provide food and drink for the day trip out.
An enthusiastic group of fun loving rowers turn out each Sunday…
WHERE DOES IT TAKE PLACE?
The row is from Gravesend in Kent to Richmond in Surrey. A distance of around 65 nautical miles. It takes around 12 -18 hours to complete and is done by having a total of 14 rowers split into two teams of 7. One team rows for a while the other rests on board our Safety Boat and takes on food and drink in readiness for their set. Timings are set according to fitness levels. This process carries on until the trip is completed.
You will pass all of the iconic landmarks and scenery along the length of the River Thames. This gives you the chance to raise public awareness of whatever charity you wish to raise funds for – especially as we row through the centre of London during broad daylight with patriotic music blaring from our speaker systems on the Safety Boat.