Weybridge Ladies Amateur Rowing Club
La Coupe de Dames
A WLARC crew made the eight hour long trek to Angers, France to compete in the Coupe des Dames, now in its 26th year. Angers Nautique Aviron kindly hosted us and lent us an 8+, so we were ready to take on the gruelling 15km course. With winds gusting to 40mph, rain showers and a course with "handbrake turns" and challenging corners, we were delighted that our crew came in 2nd of all the sweep oar boats and 10th overall. Our hosts put on a great party for all the crews after the race, to round off a very enjoyable weekend – we’ll be back!
A WLARC Novice’s Story
I was walking along the Thames path on a sunny day in April when I came across (what I now recognise as) a coxless quad. It turned out to be ladies from WLARC - gliding along the river in perfect unison. “That looks awesome!” I thought. “And it seems so easy too, what a bonus!” Hmm. Totally right on count one. Totally wrong on count two.
I signed up to the next TRY day, and what a revelation it was. Turns out that there is a LOT more to rowing than meets the eye. Even though the other newbies and I only learned the very basics that day, we all came out of it with a new respect for what turns out is an incredibly technical and rewarding sport. (I also learned that it is very important to stretch one's hamstrings properly if one does not wish to hobble around the following day).
The “Intro to rowing” course was the next step, and it was undoubtedly the best decision I made all Summer. The coaches and volunteers at WLARC were absolutely lovely and beyond patient with us. The three other newbies and I learned the art of square blading and a whole host of crucial concepts such as timing, hand levels, digging, the catch, the slide, bow, stern, sculling vs. sweep-oar…. The list goes on and on (and on!) I don’t think we ever believed that we’d be in double sculls practicing our feathered blading in no time… and yet that’s what happened!
Naturally, all four of us signed up to become bonafide WLARC members after the course. I’m amazed at the natural warmth and the easy encouragement offered by the ladies in this club, and I cannot think of a better way to start my Saturday and Sunday mornings than by gliding down a river shared with swans, ducks, herons, great company in the boat… okay and perhaps a few canoeists on the wrong side of the river..!
For the few months that we’ve gone from the TRY day to members of WLARC we have had so much fun. We’ve been out sculling in coxed quads, coxless quads, doubles and even the octo. Learning a new sport and being part of this club has been more rewarding than I could ever have imagined. We’ve even had the pleasure of being part of a capsize drill in the freezing cold Thames (bizarrely, even that was sort of fun!) As our captain of WLARC said - “You haven’t even scratched the surface yet!” Bring it on - we can’t wait. Kirsten Hoppe, new WLARC Member
Weybridge Ladies in the Community
Many Weybridgers, stranded by Prudential Ride London, thought they had a relaxing afternoon off, BUT they were soon to learn the WLARC crew in the form of Caroline and Tamryn had other ideas! Our 1-minute ergo challenge resurrected that good old competitive spirit and very soon everyone had forgotten about the cycling and were queuing up to jump on the machine to flex some muscle. In the end we had a phenomenal 50+ competitors with new records being smashed all the way from the under 3s to the over 60s categories. It was an awesome day, inspiring many on monument green to go that extra metre and of course raise the profile of the club.
Many thanks to all those at WLARC who helped make it happen and supported our athletes on the day.
You can listen to our radio interview on Brooklands radio if you click the Prudential Ride London section and then fast forward to 23:37:
Our fleet is growing!
WLARC will soon be the proud owner of two new boats: a Swift Racing ‘Club A’ single scull and a Burgashell double scull. Both will be with us before the end of the year and in the meantime we’ll be keeping a look out for some good second-hand boats that require little or no repair.
Flying Colours has had a full refurbishment, looks great, handles beautifully and is now rigged as a 4-. Three of our doubles Amelia, Gemma and Ivy will be scheduled for refurbishment over the winter.
After the spectacular pageant that is the “Vogalonga”, 14 Weybridge Ladies wore 14 big smiles, having taken on the 42 km Vogalonga course, rowing in 28 degree heat for 7 hours.
A must do event for every rower, the route takes the flotilla of unpowered craft (c7000 oarsmen and women in canoes, gondolas, dragon boats, paddle boarders, kayaks and all manner of paddle powered craft), around the Venetian Lagoon with a final wonderful row along the Grand Canal, starting and finishing in front of the famous Piazza. Weybridge Ladies rowed in 3 colourful coastal rowing boats, hired from an Italian club, Canottieri Luini.
At the finish every rower’s name was announced and a bag of medals and certificate thrown in (or near enough) to each boat; an amazing experience with lots of great memories from the time both on and off the water!
This year’s regatta went very well after a couple of worrying moments prior to the day e.g. a large boat parked on the course and heavy rainfall sending the flow rate dramatically upwards the week before……
The racing programme was so popular that entries were suspended for a while during the week before the draw. The inevitable cancellations and scratches allowed us to reopen to crews waiting to sign up: we ended up with 23 clubs taking part in 160 races and 135 medals were won. The day was filled with great racing, sunshine, good food, music and a huge effort from WLARC’s army of volunteers! There was a lot of positive feedback from umpires and visiting clubs who say that Weybridge Ladies is one of their favourite regattas.
20th May 2018 is the most likely date to be allocated for our regatta next year – pencil it in your diaries now!
Head of the Dart Victory
We had a very successful start to our racing season with our Head of the Dart crew – Marion, Alex, Martina, Laurily and Lucia winning their Women’s Coxed Four Category, coming 65th overall out of 144 mixed crews. An excellent time of 57 minutes over 15km provided proof that training certainly does pay off!
WLARC Boat House
Thames Tow Path