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December 2013

Captain’s Column

Were you there? 
Did you join other club members for the outstandingly successful, inaugural OTRC Quiz?  If not, you missed a treat.  The Queen Victoria Hall was packed with 130 people for the first Quiz organised by OTRC.  The aim of the evening was mainly social, to enable different sections of the club to get together social.  However, the event also raised an amazing £1,327.87 for club funds. Wow!
The force behind the event was Rhona Murray, and many thanks need to go to her.  She organised us all with Military Precision – thank you, General Murray.  She was supported by a large team of club members who organised cooked, counted, scored, donated, moved furniture and poured drinks. We were also supported by various local firms.  There are too many names to list here but, suffice to say, we couldn’t have done it without you.  THANK YOU.
The winning boat of the evening was the Banana Boat with a cracking team (unlike at real races).  Next year, be there or be square!

Captain's Awards 2013

Each year the Captain makes an award to a junior and senior member of the club. The criteria for this award are at the whim of the Captain but reflect the ethos of the Club, as he sees it. Along with the theme of volunteering, the junior award went to a club member who had supported the club in a quiet and assuming manner. Always willing to help, volunteer and uncomplaining when asked to sub, whatever the crew, this sort of quiet help is the backbone of a club like OTRC and this year’s recipient, Lauren Lawson, demonstrated all these qualities. 
The club is not just about volunteering and we aim to offer rowing to those who wouldn’t normally access the sport. The senior recipient of the award not only demonstrated this core of volunteering by coaching throughout the club both at weekends and during the week, but also in committee. He has also grasped the opportunities OTRC has provided and progressed from novice to competing at the World Masters with CCRC last year.
Junior Captain’s Award: Lauren Lawson
Senior Captain’s Award: Simon Murray
Best Blazer Award:
The judge has struggled yet again to select a candidate for the Blazer of the Quarter.  People are still being too well behaved and compliant.  The Women’s 8 nominated the Men’s 8 for putting the boat in back to front last weekend (without washing it) but the judge feels that the Blazer goes collectively to ….. the Women’s VetC 4+ (Jo, Smithy, Becca, Vicky and cox Jon H) 
who won medals at Star without even recording the fastest time. How?

Dates for the Diary

Early in 2014: Club AGM – all welcome, nay, needed! Watch your emails for more details.
See the home page for details of upcoming events.

Captain's Update

The club has competed at Milton Keynes Invitation Regatta, Bedford Head and Star Head since the last Newsletter. The invitation event at Milton Keynes event is one of the highlights for members of OTRC,  as it provides the opportunity to experience side by side racing for the first time in a supportive and friendly atmosphere. For many of our junior members Milton Keynes was their first taste of this format and judging by their enthusiasm, not their last! We were very successful at this level of racing winning several events across the age and ability ranges, but were pipped at the post by Milton Keynes for the Victor Ludorum trophy.
Bedford Head race provided the first real racing for the 2013 intake and they were not overawed by the experience at all. The club displayed our customary spirit, with members subbing at the last minute and our support turning up in large numbers, despite the inclement weather. Philip was successful in the Vet D 1X and provided us with our only win of the day.
Bedford Star is rowed over the same course but hosted by a different club. Once again, subs were called upon at the last moment, but the spirit prevails and all the crews got to race. Our coaches are all rowers, who give up their time to coach, so it is encouraging to see our new racers take more responsibility for their own equipment and boating, allowing the club coaches to compete as well. It was the turn of the Women’s Vet C four to provide our only victory of the day.
As the club has grown, it is increasingly difficult to offer members the chance to row when it suits them on Saturday. While we wait for someone to take over the role from John, we will be using a less flexible system for the time being. Members have their training time, kit and coach allocated and it will be the responsibility of the senior squads to find their own subs and coxes. The juniors have their training times allocated and the lead coaches will sort out subs and coxes, but you need to keep the coaches informed about your availability. All the juniors will be expected to learn how to cox and will be expected to help out other crews by coxing occasionally. 


Oundle Town Rowing Club is much more than just the sum of its number of members. There is a huge amount of good will and team spirit. Those in positions of responsibility are volunteers - there are no paid posts. The club has a strong tradition of supporting and volunteering - one of its defining characteristics and one the reasons that it is has survived and flourished, becoming Sports Club of the Year along the way.  The breadth of the club and the Match Reports demonstrate a strong OTRC spirit that is evident amongst our members but also extends to their family and supporters. 
As the club is growing in size and we work to accommodate the Olympic Legacy we need more people to volunteer. In our short history we have relied on a small number of members doing a large amount, but as the club grows in size we run the risk of people feeling that they are just rowers, not members of a club. By all of us giving just a little back to the club, we can all feel that “it is our club” and that those doing lots behind the scene will not feel overburdened and struggle to keep all the wheels spinning.
The committee will shortly be asking for people to volunteer for formal jobs such as:
  • Equipment Manager
  • Social Secretary
  • Explore Co-ordinator
  • Saturday crew list organiser 
but here are also smaller untitled jobs, which can be done by non-rowers, such as;
  • launch drivers
  • boating helpers
  • video operators
  • trailer drivers
and we also need members to be understudies for some of the bigger jobs e.g treasurer.
If you feel that you would like to help out in any way or have a skill that the club could make use of, please contact one of the following:
Chairman: Alan McMurdo (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
Treasurer: Colin Bullock (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
Race Captain: John Milborne (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

W for Winter

The non-rowing population seem to struggle with the concept that we, as rowers, carry on with our sport through the depths of winter.  Yes, it is often cold and miserable but also extremely beautiful and very good for the soul, The river is amazing in the frost and snow!
Here are some hints and tips for comfortable winter rowing for everyone but especially new and junior rowers:
  • Wear layers! And lots of them.  A winter rowing wardrobe is not just adding a hat to your t-shirt and shorts (please note, Jack S)!  You can always take off layers when you get hot, but you can’t put them on, if you haven’t got them!  Quick wicking thermal tech wear is best, if you can afford it. 
  • Waterproof socks are great for keeping your feet dry in the wet /snow.  They are expensive but worth it.  A warning, though: they are like Dementors and suck the heat out of your body.  Buy them big enough to wear over warm socks. 
  • Warm socks – “Heat Holders” are brilliant at keeping your feet warm – they even have a tog rating - or any other thermal socks.
  • Woolly hat and gloves – well, they don’t have to be woolly.  You may hate wearing hats but it may be necessary, even if just for 10 minutes.  Even Auntie Angela has an emergency hat in her bag even though it makes her look like an idiot! Gloves of any kind are great – you can get waterproof versions too, which are useful for carrying boats or rigging
  • Welcome spares – capsizing in the winter, although unlikely, is even more unpleasant that in the summer.  Make sure you have a set of dry clothes so you can warm up asap.
  • Waterproof gillet – not essential but great for keeping the trunk of your body warm and dry, while still being able to move in the boat.  See the clothoing options available from Godfrey Sports here
  • Enjoy your winter rowing!  There are no prizes (or sympathy) for getting cold.  The Captain will look on with disdain and the Judge may even award the Blazer/Underpants of Shame to shivering people!

Coxing Workshop

Rhona attended a coxing workshop at Star Bedford.  She reports:
Everybody was very welcoming and friendly and talking about coxing for 2 hours was super for me. There were a small number of us from other clubs and lots of Star members who were prepared to try coxing for the first time. 
We started indoors covering the basics, i.e. the function of coxes, basic commands, potential hazards, etc.  Night rowing with lights is an issue we do not have to contend with at OTRC!  We got hand-outs which explained rowing terminology. Then we went onto the river for hands-on coxing for the first-timers….
It became apparent that coxing on the Bedford Ouse, where we race, is quite hazardous as there are so many crews, from different clubs, using that stretch, all of whom might decide to turn at any moment.  It made our bends seem quite tame in comparison. 
The session has been really helpful for me to improve skills, chat to more experienced coxes and also to plan for a similar session in our club, perhaps next Spring. The best bit was talking to a lady who has coxed the Tideway 4 times and she gave me lots of useful tips for our race next March.

Letters to the Editor

Dear Auntie Angela,
Yet again the Yuletide period has hastened upon me, and I realise that by committing my evenings, Saturdays and Sundays to rowing training rather than Christmas preparation, I am about to be in deep water again. Not the flat, easy to row in stuff, but the troubled and turbulent 'family' eddies, if you get my drift!  I understand that we get a few extra days off work, which is brilliant, because I assume it's ok for me to get in a few more rowing outings. My family have mumbled something about an 'important birthday' being the focus of Christmas. Is it anyone from the club? (I think the 'He walks on water' comment was a clue, but I'm pretty sure the Captains birthday is February, not December.) 
Apparently it's also traditional to have friends round for nibbles and drinks. Does this happen only if outings are cancelled? Is beetroot juice still 'in', or are we talking mulled wine with an isotonic chaser? Do jelly babies count as nibbles if they are offered on a plate, not straight from the pocket of a splash top? Are flapjacks and Welsh cakes still in season?
Yours, in need,
Noel Pinmee
Auntie Angela responds:
Dear Noel
Unfortunately for you, there are some people who, strangely, put Christmas before rowing.  Annoying as family can be, you may need to spend some time with them if you do not wish to be an outcast or even ex-communicated.  Why not spend some quality time with them by getting them to drive the launch while you are rowing?  If they don’t like this idea, pay your children to create a diversion or ply family/visitors with alcohol until insensible, then you can sneak out for a row as often as you like.  But don’t serve it in your winning pots in case it reminds them of the thing you want them to forget! 
If you do invite friends for drinks and nibbles, take care what you serve them, dear Noel.  Jelly Babies are completely acceptable.  Maybe you could arrange them within a Nativity scene or knit little Santa hats to make them more festive (I’m sure you have plenty of spare time to do this).  However, beetroot juice and isotonic drinks will never go down well at Christmas gatherings. Where is your brain, Noel?
I know there are many men in the club who claim that drinking the vile stuff improves their performance but you and I know it’s a load of old twaddle!  They merely think we will be impressed by their athleticism and rowing prowess.  Ha, ha!  Or even Ho, Ho, Ho! As if!
Unfortunately, you would be lynched if you didn’t serve drinks that promote jollity, indiscretion, a sense of well-being and, in some cases, dad-dancing.  You can’t do that with Beetroot Juice!  The Judge may even award another Blazer for lack of his ‘sleeping juice’ (red wine to the rest of us).  Don’t do it!  Stick to alcohol and possibly some cocktail sausages, Mulled wine is disgusting but acceptable in some circles.  Flapjacks and Welsh cakes are acceptable at any time of the year, of course, but you may struggle to source them at this busy time of the year. 
Stay calm, keep your nerve and I am sure you will sail row effortlessly through the Christmas Season. Bon Voyage!
Auntie Angela xx


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