All posts by Reading Canoe Club

The Club’s Annual Picnic Paddle 1st August 2018

What better way to start the month than the Club’s annual picnic paddle.

Brian took us to Pangbourne bright and early with a collection of Canadians where we sat guard with Stormy’s help for a couple of hours until everyone arrived.

It was a mixed group of 18 adults and children who made their way to Pangbourne to paddle back to the Club with a fun-filled stop off at Mapledurham beach for a picnic. We did all miss Nigel though – he was poorly – but we were determined to try our hardest to enjoy ourselves.

The sun shone, the water was warm and everyone had lots of fun. We mixed up the boats, tried to keep together, but the children’s boat, despite their excitement, fell a little behind. So Timea hopped in and single-handedly paddled the 5 of them down the river.

A leisurely paddle became a bit competitive for some and we reached Mapledurham lock in record time, ready to descend the lock. Once we convinced the children they didn’t need to hold onto the side, we sank down and paddled out.

Next we arrived at the beach where we stopped to eat our picnics. Luckily the cows that had been there earlier had wandered off. We were joined by Erika and Dominic at this point too for a little added excitement. Food was followed by 2 hours of fun in the water, with children and adults alike enjoying Brian’s makeshift slide and trying desperately to sink the boats and each other. Almost everyone had a go in Dominic’s Nelo, some with more success than others and giving all juniors something to aspire to.

Soon it was time to head back to the Club so off we went, enjoying the scenery and wildlife, spotting kingfishers en route, whilst admiring Dominic’s skill at surfing the wash of any powered boat which passed us.

We all arrived safely back at the Club and ended the adventure in true junior style with a synchronised jump in! Another successful RCC outing.

The Annual Club Fun Day

What is it about the Annual Club Fun Day that makes it so special? Is it all those crazy games that Brian devises? Is it because children of every age, and most certainly the adult ones, become so enormously competitive? Is it that you have to do such silly things?

It’s all that and more, of course. And 2018’s was no different. We had a good turn out – 30 participants – across all ages. Plus, the wind … that was no help at all.

First up was the ‘Death Race’ – each team in a Canadian canoe, trying to pop all other teams’ string of balloons with a plastic fork. Next was the relay race – one paddler getting the rest of their team from one side of the river to the other, one by one. Saw some pretty nifty paddle work and dastardly moves too. There was a water polo game, with each team trying to get the ball and throw it into Brian’s boat – Brian was just too good at it. No scoring at all.

Then tug of war, paddle the black cross float around a course with all the team on it, human fishing and a nappy swim from hardy Annabel and Toby. The rest were too cold by then.

After all that exertion, a bbq was in order.

Big thanks as ever to Brian for putting it all on. Such fun!

National Marathon Championships 2018, 21st/22nd July Hosted by Reading Canoe Club – What a scorcher!

1080 boats from 55 clubs gathered prom side on 21st July for a National Marathon Championship of a lifetime. Glorious blue skies simply added to the occasion. It was an amazing weekend and supremely organized by a small team at the club, headed up by Amber and Paul. Main team players were Immi, Kat, Jim, Jo, Evan and Brian, with considerable support from Stefan and Dan in the last week. It was a formidable team that ensured that the event ran seamlessly and calmly. Smiles all round from their team of 85 volunteers and all the competitors and supporters.

Reading put out an impressive team of boats – 29 K1s and 29 K2s – bagging 6 medals and an amazing 3rd overall in team points, well in front of Wey and Richmond and only behind Nottingham and Norwich.

Top podium position for Reading was, of course, Brian with his Gold for O64 VMK1. Last minute entry Noel with Ethan Hunt gained a Silver in U10 hody. Bronzes went to Catherine Gaffard in K1 and in K2s a Bronze to Dan S and Stefan, Brian and Dave S, and Fran and Manon (ADS).

The largest event of the day was, unsurprisingly, the Mixed K2. That is a formidable event – for spectators watching the crazy start and for paddlers daring to enter it! 81 boats in total entered – a record … just try to imagine the wash at the back of that!

Jo Shephard did an amazing job in the catering tent – serving 1760 portions of paddler food, plus 350 burgers, 160 sausages, 20kg of bacon for the butties and endless cups of teas, coffee, cakes and much more.

Great commentary ran throughout the weekend from Brett (you’ll have heard him at Nottingham sprints) Kat and a few others besides. A most successful weekend on all fronts – thank you Nationals Team and all the many club volunteers who helped to make it run so smoothly.

READING CC take 5th at the MacGregor Inter Clubs Regatta

During yet another glorious weekend of weather (unheard of in past years), 39 Reading Club members and their supporters trekked up to Nottingham to take part in the MacGregor Inter Clubs Challenge Regatta.

We had seven paddlers new to sprints competing – Stuart, Marc and Craig in Masters D, Timi in Women’s Masters B, Joseph in Boys D, Georgia in Girls D and Bruno in Lightnings. All didn’t bat an eyelid and just got on with the business of racing.

It was great to see so many RCC boats steaming down the course throughout the two days, often two boats in a race … quite something to field in the K4 races. And there were wins galore as well – from Masters, to Seniors, to Juniors … right across the board.

There are so many great wins to mention (13 1sts and 31 podium places in total) – in K4, RCC took four 1st places (in Masters C/D 200m and 500m, in Boys D 500 and Boys A 500). So exciting to watch. In the K2 races, there were many 1st, 2nd and 3rds. Special mention to Joseph and Thomas for their hat trick of K2 wins, Stefan and Tom for a 1st and 2nd, Nik and Lee for their 3rd, Annie and Toby for a very convincing 1st in LTA. In WMasters B 1000m, Bethan and Rachel took 2nd and Vicky and Timi 3rd and Masters C/D 500m Marc and Brian took 3rd. Dan and Fred in Boys A 500m were 2nd, an aggravating 8 hundredths of a second off 1st.

Among the K1 wins, there was 1st and 2nd places in Boys A 200m (Dan and Fred); in Masters D, Tom won 1st in 200m and 500m, Stefan took 2nd in Masters C 1000m, Nik 3rd in Masters C 200m, Toby 3rd in U12 Boys, Joseph 2nd in Boys D 200m and Rory 3rd in Boys C 200m.

Over the weekend, we wavered between 4th and 5th place for total points, eventually ending up 5th overall (out of a whopping 53 clubs), and 37 points ahead of Richmond in 6th.

Not only that, three of our paddlers were promoted: Tom Hollins to Masters C, Joseph Beeney to Boys C and Rory Tietema to Boys B. Well done to all those who took part. Apologies to any great wins omitted! So many to keep up with!

One more chance to sprint at Nottingham this year – 1st/2nd September with the Junior and Senior National Marathon Championships.

June 2018 Reading Canoe Club K4 Race Day

K4 race day – always the best of the year – and just like usual, Brian had arranged clear blue skies and, hurrah, minimal wind. Everyone loves K4 race day.

Twenty nine boats from 12 different clubs competed in the five races, each one split according to the speed of the paddlers.

The Juniors were on winning form: Freddie, Daniel, Jim (not Junior!) with RLS Philip Miles came in first in Race A. Fran, Sam B, Jarvis and Rory took top spot in Race B. Bruno, Annabel, Toby and Immi (not quite junior!) came 2nd in the Rocket race, while Reading took 3rd (Chris B, Conor, Danny and Matt) and 4th (Debbie, Vicky, Timi and Nikki) in the C1 race. Thanks Matt A for jumping in last minute to the Vets boat.

Well done to all who competed. It was a great day, with just the right balance of competition and having fun.

June 18 Handicap time trial race and bbq No.2

What an evening! What a turnout of boats! 28 must be a record. The chop on the water was super-lumpy ‘fun’. Must have Kat’s extra large bump!

Youngest on the water was Miss Ruth Shephard with Brian G, both sporting RCC mohicans, with Noel-the-Iron-man in the superhero K2 with Jim second youngest. Which was the fastest. Tricky for both in the front, as there wasn’t much rudder in the water.

The Betts boys – Toby and Sam – made an excellent partnership, and they won a prize … for simply being awesome!

Suited up for the occasion we had Alex and Magnus … very nearly getting the fastest time, but that went to Dan and Freddie, although they didn’t quite break the RCC all-time record.

Great bbq work from Nathan and Mark Kubisch – thanks so much – and fabulous salads from volunteers. Thanks Kat and Immi for organising and hosting, and all the ever-helpful helpers, too. Good turnout!

Children’s Festival Taster Sessions 2018

Every year Reading Canoe Club hosts 3 days of Taster Sessions as part of Reading’s Children’s Festival. This year we were delighted to welcome 84 children to the event and introduce them to the world of kayaking. The weather was kind – sometimes sunny, sometimes wet, but always warm.

Our volunteer coaches comprised Seumas, Mark King, Alex Lane, Tamsin, Miriam, Hannah and Evan, with extra help from Juniors Sam B, Alex T and Thomas. Obviously they provided a lot of fun, because a handful of children insisted on coming back for more and a good number have signed up for Junior beginner courses. They got to paddle K1 – yes, there were a few swimmers – then finished the session altogether in the bell boat, jumping into the river for those who dared. A big thank you to all for giving up your time to help.

Welcoming the children and parents were Keith, Jo, Ana, Nicola and Katy – thanks all for doing a brilliant job, explaining all the necessary to participants, making them feel very welcome and extolling the virtues of joining the club.