Hamble River Rowing

The event started in 1998, and has grown significantly ever since, entries for 2011 topped  320 boats, making for an interesting start!  Thankfully they didn’t all start together.  

The rules are quite simple, ‘Any sea worthy fix seat rowing boat, with a minimum of four oars in the water, a cox and a crew’.  With such an open rule, the variety of boats entering is mind boggling.  Ranging from 2 man sculling boats, to 3 ton lifeboats, to 18 man dragon boats, and everything in between!  

Three Bursledon Gigs from the club,  and their crews made their way up to London for the Great River Race, on 17th September for the annual 22 mile rowing race from  Docklands to Richmond along the tidal Thames.  With the second club gig only being finished four days before London, it was going to be quite a maiden voyage for it!!!

The club teams consisted of:  Bursledon Oars - Nicki, Richard, Katrina, Amanda, Lucy and Di

                                                            Bursledon Blades - Colin,Nicolla, Simon, Georgie, Sophie and Steve.

                                                            Bursledon Belles - Lorraine, Terry, Margi, Pat, Mel and Janet.

Some teams had time to practice and work out how their team would work, others had no time and no boat, so it was going to make for an interesting afternoon!!

The timetable of the event, meant that the boats were towed to London on the Friday night, thanks to Simon and Jamie for helping out with this, giving those teams that had chosen to camp at the finish line, the evening to enjoy the beer tent and band that was laid on.  

Tired and fuzzy heads the next morning weren’t quite in the initial plans, but with the start not being before 1pm, there was time for heads to clear, carbs to be eaten and nerves to ease.

Everyone then ‘mucked in’ to help each other launch the boats and sort out any last minute jelly baby storage issues!

1pm came around soon enough, and the boats started crossing the start line at their designated times, in theory slowest boats first, fasted last.  First boat across the finish line wins.   

With 8 Bursledon gigs in attendance, we had our very own start time, so it was just a case of avoiding the other 300 odd boats who where bobbing around in the tide - easier said that done some times!  And arrive at the start line in time to start  what was going to be a pretty long afternoon!!


The decision of  all three crews to carry waterproofs proved to be very prudent, as what started off as a warm and sunny afternoon, turned into an hour of  torrential rain! Those crews who where able to move their rowers around so that no one had to be the passenger or cox for too long, meant that crews weren’t total ice blokes when they finished.  The queue at the finish for coffee was longer than for beer at one point!!

Well done to all of the crews,    Mistress (Hand family) 60th 3:06hrs

                                                              Bursledon Oars 80th - 6th ladies crew 3:10hrs

                                                              Bursledon Blades 141st 3:19 hrs

                                                              Bursledon Belles 184th 3:27hrs

It was a long, cold hard day, but I bet there will be Hamble River Rowing gigs on the start line next year!!



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