Harker’s Yard Winter Series 2016-17


Stour Sailing Club Rowers are taking part in the winter series of races for Harker’s Yard Gigs. Our target for the first few races is to compete in all of the races, not do anything too embarrassing, have fun, and not finish last – so far we have been meeting our target!

Sunday 26th February

William Rose and crews took an hour and a half journey to Marconi Sailing Club for the ninth and last race in the 2016-17 winter series.  In contrast to Maldon there was no mud, but plenty of concrete (on balance we prefer just a bit of mud!).  There was however once again a very nice pontoon and a magnificent club house – the advantage of not being in a town location.

The conditions were a bit warmer than of late, but with a SW wind whipping up the waves and a strong tide which turned before the last race, meaning that the conditions were very different for each of the three races.

We had a series of hard rows over the three races – but what can we say except we ‘saved the best ’till last’. With the help of some brilliant tactical coxing making the best of the conditions (and of course some brilliant rowing as well) William Rose finished 3rd in the women’s, 6th in the men’s and 5th in the mixed. Overall the Stour Sailing Club finished 3rd overall on the day. A great end to our first ever winter series.

The overall results of the series (across all of the nine races) put William Rose 8th in the women’s; 8th in the mixed, 10th in the men’s and 9th overall.  Each Team now has the opportunity to discard the results of a men’s, women’s and mixed race that they have competed in, finished and not been disqualified from (Stour Sailing Club competed in all of them, and picked up no penalties along the way).  We will find out the overall results at the prize giving on Saturday.

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Third place overall on the day – felt like first!

Sunday 12th February

The eighth and penultimate race in the Winter Series took place on 12 February in Maldon, hosted by Maldon Coastal Rowing Club from the Little Ships Club.  After our extensive tour round venues on the East Coast we finally found a place with even more mud and less time on the tide than Manningtree!  They also have more East Coast Barges and plenty of pontoons though.

The weather was on the cold side, although thankfully the snow of the day before failed to make a repeat appearance.  The racing was keen, three races for women’s, men’s and mixed crews with the out leg a hard slog against the tide, and the return leg tide assisted.  The races were once again time trial style with pairs of Gigs racing each other with pairs starting at two minute intervals.

At the end of the day’s racing, our results (although not our best so far) were enough to keep Stour Sailing Club in 9th place in the league overall, 9th in the women’s competition, 7th in the mixed and 10th in the men’s.

The keen among you will spot the SSC Commodore Tim Goodwin in the Bow Seat for the men’s crew and Katie Goodwin in the Bow Seat for the women’s crew – both racing in William Rose for the first time.


maldon 12.02.17 women

Women’s Crew  

Maldon 12 02 17 men

 Men’s Crew   

  Maldon 12 feb 17 

  Mixed Crew

There is now only one more race in the winter series, which will be hosted by the Marconi Sailing Club on 26 February.

Sunday 29th January

Another race day and the seventh race in the Harker’s Yard Winter Series. This time the race was hosted by WivGigs at the Wivenhoe Sailing Club, and it was Stour Sailing Club’s turn to help with the timekeeping as well as competing in the races.

We decided to try out our borrowed oars (1990’s Sutton needle oars pinched from Lt Washington, and with lovely new leathers) in race conditions for the first time. It was difficult to tell whether they made the Gig faster, but they felt better to row with than the flat ‘training’ oars that we have used until now.

The racing was once again phased time trials with two Gigs stating at a time and with William Rose drawn against Tyrant, one of the leading Gigs in this year’s series and featuring SSC’s very own Sarah Howlett in the Tyrant women’s and mixed crews.

Racing along the river means exciting views  of the racing for spectators and it was great to have support there from family and friends.

Another set of good results for Stour Sailing Club in very close racing. Eleventh in the men’s and seventh in the women’s and mixed, keeping us in a very respectable ninth place in the league overall, eighth in the women’s  competition and seventh in the mixed with two races to go.

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William Rose Women’s Crew Racing Tyrant from RCRC

Sunday 15 January

The first race of 2017 and the sixth of the series took place in Burnham on Crouch, hosted by the Burnham on Crouch Coastal Rowing Club in the Royal Burham Yacht Club. For the first time in the winter series the weather lived up to its name, cold, rainy and occasionally sleeting. But at least the threatened snow did not materialise.

Once again the races were for Women’s, Men’s and Mixed crews, this time over a longer course and with a mass start. The Club had its best result in the series so far, 8th in the Women’s, 9th in the Men’s and 6th in the Mixed. Overall we remained 9th out of 15 Gigs in the series overall, with three more races to come.

With so much rain there were not many photographs taken on the day!

Burnham 15 January 2017

Our Cox demonstrating the standing up to see where you are going technique


Mixed and Women’s Crews in Action

Sunday 18 December

The fifth race day of the series and the last for 2016 took place in Brightlingsea.  The day before had been fog bound, and the journey over was also a little murky but luckily conditions at Brightlingsea were just a bit hazy and fine for rowing.

Once again fourteen of the current seventeen Gigs took part in some extremely close racing.  A mass start and a short run down to the first turning mark meant that there was no time for the field to spread out resulting in most of the Gigs trying to turn at the same time. The conditions for Coxes were challenging as the Gigs are each twenty four feet long and over twenty feet wide with their oars, and far from turning on a sixpence have a tendency to want to continue in a straight line.

Brightlingsea 18 Dec 2016

The William Rose Women’s crew had an epic battle with Defiance and beat them by a whisker over the line to take 7th place. The Mixed crew came home 8th and the men’s crew 9th. Overall William Rose is in 9th place in the league with four races to go – not at all bad for our first season!


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Women’s crew taking it to the line

Sunday 27 November

A cold and early start as we took William Rose to Stone Sailing Club at St Lawrence to take part in the fourth race meeting of the Harker’s Yard Winter Race Series. Fourteen of the current seventeen Harker’s Yard Gigs took part. Launching from the beach, and with a mass start rather than the more usual time trial format made for some exciting starts and racing, especially round the marks.

The races were a bit longer than usual over a triangular course of 2 miles or so in choppy and cold conditions. At the end of the day the results had William Rose at 11th in the women’s, 8th in the Mixed and a fantastic 5th in the men’s – moving us from tenth to ninth in the overall league so far – way to go crews!


Mass Start at Stone


After the Racing

Sunday 13 November

The day before had been miserable, pouring with rain and windy and we had had to cancel our planned Club Row. However the forecast for Sunday was better and so it proved as we set off for Mersea Island for the third leg of the Harker’s Yard Winter Race Series. The day was also Rememberance Sunday, with the two minute silence observed on the water. The event was hosted by Mersea Island Coastal Rowing Club at the Dabchicks Sailing Club. We had a good day for our third ever race event in a Harker’s Yard Gig. We were joined by Keith and Maria both in their first races for the Club, and Keith racing without having rowed in a Gig before. This time we competed in Pyefleet, trying to win the record for the crew rowing in a different Gig for each race! Fourteen Gigs took part and the Stour Sailing Club Teams came home 9th in the men’s and mixed and 8th in the women’s. Overall that kept us at tenth in the league for the time being – and still hoping to move up over the series.


Sunday 30 October

Second Race in the Harker’s Yard Winter Series and a trip to Rowhedge along with thirteen other Harker’s Yard Gigs. Sadly William Rose picked up some damage at launch which meant that we could not row her in the races. However the William Rose crews raced in Tyrant, gallantly lent to us by Rowhedge CRC for the occasion.

women's crew racing at Rowhedge

Across the three races (women’s, men’s and mixed) the crews did really well with the women coming home 8th out of 14, the men 12th and the mixed crew a brilliant 5th. The results placed us 11th out of 14 in the league so far, but only two points away from 8th.

Sunday 16 October 2016

The first of the winter series of Harker’s Yard Gig races and we were off to Brightlingsea along with twelve other Harker’s Yard Gigs. Our objective was to have fun, and if possible, not to come last. We succeeded on both counts.





Across the three races (men’s, women’s and mixed) we came home 11th out of 13 Gigs on the day. The women’s crew did really well, coming 7th out of 13 Gigs in a close competition. Video of the women’s crew crossing the finish line https://www.facebook.com/marcel.mcclarnon/videos/10210054397663911/

A good first time out with plenty of room to improve over the series.