Whitby’s local rowing clubs have taken to the water for the first time this year,
Despite a bitter wind that not only prevented any rowing at sea but also chilled rowers to the bone, attendances were encouraging.
Officials at the Friendship club were particularly pleased that the numbers who had turned up to the winter fitness and conditioning sessions showed no signs of diminishing. Captain John Eglon, summed up the mood: “We’ve had a really good preparation,” he said, “and I for one feel in much better shape than in previous years - now we need to transfer that into action on the water. With three-newly qualified coaches as well, once the weather allows us out of the harbour the prospects for the season are very good”.
One sign of the changing times has been the appearance of modern oars identical to those seen at the Olympic rowing events.
Known as ‘cleavers’ because of their shape, they are made of carbon fibre and much lighter to handle.
Club member and veteran rower Simon Grant, who has been coaching his sons’ crew and been instrumental in bringing the equipment into use at the club, said: “I have been urging John for some time to embrace new technology, and credit to the club for making the investment.
“Young rowers have always found the traditional wooden oars very heavy and difficult to use. Now, with much lighter oars and a new set of coaches, they can acquire the proper techniques at an early age, which can only be good for the future”.
Some members refer to the new oars as ‘granties’ instead.
Head of the new coaching team, Luke Clarkson, said: “It is probably too late for Rio in 2016, but who knows, coastal rowing could well feature in the 2020 Games.” Rowing takes place every weekday night at the Friendship club.