Welcome to Vesta Rowing Club
Welcome to Vesta Rowing Club. The Club is renowned across the Thames region, throughout the UK and internationally as a highly competitive yet friendly and welcoming rowing club. We hope you enjoy Vesta in the same way as our many current rowing, sculling and non-rowing Members do.
We have drafted these prose so those new to Vesta, and indeed those needing a timely reminder, can understand how Vesta’s Members like to run their Club, whether training, competing or socialising.
We hope you have an enjoyable and rewarding time with the Club, but if you ever have any queries or concerns please contact your coach, the Captain or any member of the Executive Committee.
A full list of contacts is available on the Notice Board in the bar area.
2. Racing and Competition
Rowing is an extremely competitive sport with Club Members representing all tiers of ability from novice through to national level. We actively participate in local, national and international regattas, and we have had significant recent success at a large number of events; success we would like to continue.
The main regatta and head races (and Club social occasions) during the year are as follows:
- October: Fours Head of the River
- November: Vesta Scullers’ Head, (Vesta Annual Dinner)
- January: Remenham Head
- March: Reading Head, Kingston Head, Women’s Eights Head of the River Race
- April: Head of the River Race, Vesta International Veterans’ Head, Remenham Annual Dinner, The Boat Race Luncheon, Club training camps
- May: Wallingford Regatta, Ghent International, Twickenham Regatta, Putney Town Regatta
- June: Metropolitan Regatta, Marlow Regatta, Richmond Regatta, Henley Women’s Regatta, Henley Royal Regatta
- July: Kingston Regatta, Molesey Regatta, National Championships
- August: Henley Town and Visitor’s Regatta
These events not only provide an opportunity for our Members to compete at club and national level, but also provide for a great social occasion for those not competing. Many of the head races row straight past our Club balcony and support on such days is actively encouraged.
Vesta organises two major racing events during the season:
- November: Vesta Scullers’ Head
- March: Vesta International Veterans’ Head
We ask all our Members to support these events either by competing in the races or by volunteering to help on the day, whether as part of the timing team, marshalling, launch driving, or simply providing food and beverage to the on water teams.
British Rowing (BR) is the governing body of all rowing in the United Kingdom. The vast majority of UK regattas are run under BR rules, the exceptions being Henley Royal Regatta and Henley Women’s Regatta which have their own rules for entry.
The category of events are as follows:
All competitors, including coxswains, must be a member of the BR, with Vesta as a nominated club, to be entered into any race or regatta (including Henley Royal Regatta and Henley Women’s Regatta). BR membership is currently £44 per annum and includes a level of indemnity insurance.
All BR members are issued with a membership card which must be brought with you to any regatta. Day tickets are no longer available, so all competitors must be a registered BR Member before entering a regatta or head race.
Full details of the BR can be found at: http://www.britishrowing.org/
Race entries and fees
The Club enters all crews into regattas through the Entries Secretary by request of the squad coach or individual Members. Members are asked to deposit funds into Vesta’s ‘Race Account’ and are required to ensure they have sufficient funds in the account prior to each race to cover the race/regatta costs, otherwise the entry will not be entered.
All regattas charge a race entry fee which can be more than £10.00 per seat per race; race fees are charged to our Members in addition to the Club membership fee. In addition to the race fees, Vesta charges £1.00 per seat raced to cover the cost of fuel and trailer maintenance. For Members who are actively racing throughout the season, the costs of racing can be substantial (in excess of £250 per season for a highly competitive rower or sculler).
In addition to the regattas above, Members may enter other regattas of their choosing, though the onus on arranging entries and transport is the responsibility of individual Members in this case, and the Captain’s permission must be obtained for the use of Club boats.
All race entries should be submitted to the Entries Secretary via email.
All regattas and head races require that competitors wear the appropriate Club kit during the race. Vesta’s colours are crimson and black.
When racing for Vesta in any event you will need to wear a Club one piece. You may be able to borrow one from another member of your squad, but it will be your responsibility to have one.
Regattas have been known to disqualify crews (and entire clubs) from events for athletes not turning up in matching club kit. Although it might sound petty, it’s something we have to adhere to if we want our results to count. Kit is available via the website or the kit officer.
The loading of boats on the trailer going to and from regattas is the responsibility of the individual crew. The crew is responsible for tying down their boat securely, and for ensuring the correct seats, riggers and blades are loaded onto the trailer. The first and last racing crews of the day are expected to accompany the trailer to and from the Club if required.
We ask squads to take it in turns to arrange a towing vehicle and transport boats to and from regattas. Any drivers must have the relevant towing qualification and insurance, and be signed-off by the Captain.
At the end of the regatta, we ask that our Members unload the trailer, re-rig the boats and store them back in the boathouse. For Saturday regattas please ensure boats are unloaded and re-rigged on the Sunday, and for two-day regattas the trailer should be unloaded on the Monday evening at the very latest.
Please do not leave unfitted riggers lying around the Club.
3. Squad Rowing and Coaching
Vesta Rowing Club will typically run four coached rowing squads in a season, though this does vary from season to season:
In addition, we have a Masters men’s and a Masters women’s squad for those no longer racing open events.
Whilst the Club shall endeavour to ensure Members receive the appropriate level of coaching, availability of places in these squads is contingent upon the availability of coaches, launches, rowing equipment and most importantly the commitment of the squad members to follow the designated coaching programme.
Coaches and Coaching
Coaches with the support of the Rowing Committee may decide to increase or decrease the available seats in each squad at their discretion. This may include competitive selection for crews in the form of seat trials, gym and ergo scores, and technical proficiency as appropriate.
All our coaches and members of the Committee are volunteers. They give up their free time to the Club because of their dedication to Vesta and the sport of rowing. Please treat them with respect and consideration. Your membership fees only cover the cost of running and insuring the boathouse and the fleet. Paying membership does not entitle a Member to coaching and nor does it guarantee an outing in a boat.
Coaching may be available outside the formal coaching structure on an ad-hoc basis upon request.
Any queries regarding coaching should be directed to the Captain.
4. Joining Vesta and Membership
The Club includes a wide range of rowing and non-rowing experience, from those who have recently joined Vesta from school or university to those who have competed at Henley Royal Regatta as Club Members in the 1950s. We presently have over 300 Members, evenly split between active and honorary (non-rowing) Members.
The Club offers three levels of membership, with annual subscriptions for 2008/09 season as follows:
||£445||Payable by all rowing members, whether they are part of a squad or not (Active Membership does not of itself entitle a member to coaching)|
||£222||Students must be in a full time course for the duration of the season|
||£60||Available to all ‘social’ members, coxes and coaches who do not actively row|
||£160||Holders of a rack must also pay the full Active Member subscription|
All new Members are expected to fill in a membership form before boating from the Club. This covers the Club for a number of issues including insurance. Within the first four weeks of rowing with Vesta, you may row effectively for free. However, at the end of that period you will be expected to pay by cheque £125 towards your annual subscription fee, with the balance paid either by Direct Debit or further cheque.
Election is by simple majority of the Executive Committee.
Though we take a strict line with regards to non payment of membership subscriptions, we do not want to exclude Members based on genuine inability to pay and would ask anyone with severe financial difficulties to contact the Membership Secretary if they have any concerns about payment or would like to seek a reduced subscription.
Other costs of rowing
In addition to membership of Vesta, Members can incur substantial costs for regatta entries, training camps, transport and the purchase of rowing lycra and kit. Please speak to your coach or the Captain if you have any questions.
Non-payment of the subscription and race fees
The membership fee is an annual subscription. Unlike commercial gyms we do not offer a monthly or a part year subscription (except as set out below). If you start rowing at the beginning of the year, we expect you to pay the full subscription for the season. However, those joining between 31 March and 1 July are liable for a half subscription. If you cancel a direct debit instruction before the full amount due has been paid, or with race fees owing, and leave the Club, any unpaid subscriptions will be recorded as a bad debt and the BR and/or credit agencies may be notified.
Any unclaimed surplus balances in the race fees account will be transferred into the Vesta Boat Fund within six months of a Member having resigned from the Club.
Resigning from Vesta
In the first instance, we always prefer to retain our Members, and therefore offer an Honorary Membership to anyone wishing to remain a social rather than active Member of the Club.
However if you do decide to leave Vesta, you do need to inform the Membership Secretary in writing or via email. You will also need to ensure any outstanding membership dues and race fees have been settled. We would also ask you to empty your locker and remove your padlock, and if appropriate remove your sculling boat from the Club.
For any queries regarding joining Vesta or membership fees, please contact the Membership Secretary.
5. Boats and Rowing Equipment
Vesta Rowing Club invests heavily each season in new rowing boats and equipment. In the past few years we have consistently spent over £25,000 per season on new boats and rowing equipment. We have a defined, long term boat buying policy in place which aims to meet the best, long term, competitive interests of the Club.
Allocation of Club boats and equipment
The Club only has a finite inventory of boats and rowing equipment. Whilst we endeavour to support our Members’ needs as much as possible, there are number of conflicting demands for boats throughout the year. This is particularly acute during March for the main head races, and June/July for the two Henley regattas.
The general principle adopted by the Club is that the best boats are allocated to those individuals and squads who will compete most successfully for the Club. In some cases, this may mean some Members will not be able to race in their chosen regatta or event.
Racking and Private Boats
The Club has a number of racks in the main boatshed which, on payment of a fee, are made available on an annual basis for Members who own their own sculling boats. These racks are made available entirely at the Captain‘s discretion and Members should note that there is generally a lengthy waiting list for racks to become available. Members should similarly note that if a rack is made available to them, any boat stored on that rack is placed there entirely at the owner’s risk, and that they are responsible for insuring the boat and otherwise ensuring its maintenance and safe-keeping. The Captain may ask Members who are not using their boat regularly to either let other Members use their boat or otherwise free up their boat rack for other Members to use. Racks are there to be used by active Members; racks are not provided for general storage for the boats of inactive Club Members.
The Club does not take any responsibility for Members’ boats or equipment racked or stored at the Club.
Requests for a rack space should be made to the Captain.
The tidal Thames carries a lot of silt and other debris with it. We expect all our Members to wash down their boats after each and every outing. Towels are available in the boat shed to wipe boats down, and a hose is available inside the main boatshed of the Club.
Damage to equipment
Inevitably due to the nature of the sport, and the amount of use they get, the boats and equipment may get damaged through accident or normal usage.
If you have problems with any of the equipment please log the damage on the white board in the crew room and notify the Captain by email.
We would all agree there is nothing worse than getting to the start of a race, miles from the Club, only to discover you cannot race due to avoidable equipment failure.
6. The Club House
The Club House, we would hope you agree, is a beautiful Victorian building. However the Club House, as with all buildings in constant use, needs to be well looked after.
In the past ten years we have invested significantly in a new gym, a new balcony, extending the women’s changing rooms, a new kitchen, rewiring and installing a new fire alarm system.
In the future, subject to funding and the usual planning consents, we will be seeking to develop the Club further by replacing the boat shed and installing a second storey above it to accommodate more flexible space including space for gym equipment and ergos.
We have a number of lockers available to active rowers, coxswains and coaches. At times we may not have enough lockers for all our active Members, and you may have to wait for a locker to become available. Lockers will be offered on the basis of merit not “first come, first served”.
If you are not actively using the Club, we do ask that you vacate your locker so that someone else may use it.
If you want a locker please contact the Deputy Captain who should be able to assist you.
We have a crew room next to the gym which is available to Members to use between outings at the weekend. As with the rest of the Club, please do your utmost to keep the crew room in a tidy state. Please wash up any used cups or cutlery.
Out of the funds from food prepared by and served to our Members throughout the year, we offer limited free tea, coffee and toast in the crew room at the weekends. Please bear in mind that many Members use the crew room, and excessive consumption of the free provisions is frowned upon, particularly by wet and cold crews who come off the water to find the fridge devoid of any sustenance.
Keeping the crew room tidy is organised via a squad rota, displayed in the crew room.
Club keys are issued to Committee members, coaches and owners of private sculling boats racked at Vesta. We do not issue key to Members as a matter of course, since we would like to retain some semblance of control of access the Club.
If you would like a key to the Club, please make your request to the House Captain. A refundable deposit of £20 will be required. Any keys issued should only be returned to the House Captain and not given to other Members or non-Members.
If you are the last to leave the Club at night or during the weekend, or even believe you are the last to leave, please ensure the Club is locked up and is secure. Check the whiteboard on the gym stairs for anyone who may still be on the water. Then please lock the boat shed doors, sculling bay doors, the balcony doors and the front door, and turn off the lights. We spend over £5,000 a year on utilities, most of which is on electricity, so please don’t waste it!
If you do spot any particular issues, such as blown light bulbs or broken locks, please refer them to the House Captain.
We use a number of forums for communicating with our Members. This includes email, our website, direct postal mail, notice boards and the quarterly “Vesta Times”.
Everything you need to know about the running of the Club tends to be on our very well maintained website at http://www.vestarowing.co.uk.
We use the website to communicate as much as possible with our Members. The website includes content from this document, rower availabilities, racing results, to forthcoming events and news.
There is a Members-only section on the website.
We have a number of email lists appropriate to the Club, the Executive and Rowing Committees, our coaches and squads.
We would ask our Members to use these addresses sparingly to avoid excessive clogging up of our Members’ email inboxes, particularly email@example.com.
Members new to the Club should ask their respective coach to include them on the relevant email list, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to add you to the relevant list and get a user logon for the Members only section of the website.
Direct postal mail
In keeping with trying to minimise our overhead costs and putting as much money into our equipment, we do not mail very many items to our Members.
The only mail you are likely to receive is a subscription letter in October. We also endeavour to post the “Vesta Times” to any member without email.
We have a number of notice boards dotted around the Club for various purposes.
The main notice board is in the bar and is used to notify members of forthcoming elections, recent results, and other current Vesta news.
The safety notice board is at the top of the gym stairs, and includes a board for recording any incidents or damages to boats and equipment.
The Club issues a short quarterly news letter to our Members via email. The focus is predominantly on squad and racing successes and outlines forthcoming events.
8. Committees and volunteering
Vesta Rowing Club is a club run by its Members for its Members. Vesta’s success is testament to the efforts our Members put into the Club; without this support the Club could not be a success on or off the water. We do not employ any staff, and only engage the services of others for the repair to boats, equipment and the club house.
To help run the Club, we have two committees: the Executive Committee and the Rowing Committee.
The Executive Committee is responsible for the day-to-day running of the Club. This includes managing the Club’s finances, facilities, events and safety. Any non-rowing issues should be directed to the Executive Committee.
The Rowing Committee is responsible for overseeing rowing and sculling within the Club. This includes setting squad sizes, allocating boats and equipment, and deciding which events to enter. The Rowing Committee is attended by the Captain, Deputy Captain, Vice Captain, Chairman of the Executive Committee (as observer) and the coaches. Any rowing specific issues should be directed to the Rowing Committee.
Volunteering for events
Throughout the year the Club runs a number of events, most notably the Vesta Scullers’ Head and the Vesta International Veterans’ Head. These and other events are both critical to the success and standing of the Club, and the success of rowing as a sport. For these and other events the Club does ask its Members for support in running the events, whether assisting with the execution of the events themselves, providing pre- and post-race refreshments or assistance with serving at the Vesta bar.
In addition Vesta runs a number of socials and parties throughout the year and asks that Members provide as much support as possible. This includes preparing the Club for parties and help with running the bar.
We also ask as many of our Members as possible become au fait with running and managing the bar. This minimises the amount any one Member must contribute to enable the bar to run efficiently and bring in much needed revenue for buying boats. If you are interested please speak to the Honorary Steward or any current member of the bar team.
Coaching and umpiring
We encourage Members with enough rowing and/or sculling experience to participate in coaching and/or to work towards achieving the BR Umpires licence. Rowing remains a predominantly amateur sport and any time Vesta Members put back into the safe and competitive running of the sport is highly appreciated within the Club and the wider rowing community.
9. Social and Vesta Bar
Vesta is an extremely social club. Our Members are our Club and we like them to all take part in Club activities, whether rowing, sculling or social, as much as possible.
Vesta Bar is renowned along the length and breadth of the Globe with numerous international connections from Canada to Australia.
The bar is run by our own Members and it is a vital support for our boat buying programme. The more money we put behind the bar the more boats we can buy. It’s easy: Beer = Boats!!
The bar is open every Saturday and Sunday from late morning to the last Member standing, and during the week (Mon-Thurs) from about 7pm. It serves Guinness, Carling and London Pride on tap, and all manner of other beverages from bottles.
Not only are we one of the few club bars to be open almost every night of the week and during the weekend, but we also do not charge our Members and their guests for entry during the major Tideway events.
Vesta Bar hosts all manner of pre-, during and post-event celebrations and parties throughout the year. There are five major Head races, our Annual Dinner, the Boat Race, and other Vesta parties typically in May and August, all providing the perfect excuse to frequent the bar, strut your stuff and generally let your hair down. This of course is in addition to the normal weekend and mid-week post-outing/training drinks.
The club house is available for hire to our Members for private parties. However, please be aware that we have a limited number of late licences available to us, and we only shut the bar to Members once in the season, so please bear this in mind when planning an event.
The only time Members are not permitted free access to the Club is on the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race day. During the Boat Race the Club is open to ticket holders only (notices will go up informing you when and where to purchase tickets). This is solely to prevent overcrowding in the Club.
Food is prepared by Members on many Sunday lunch times and on most Thursday evenings. Please turn up and support the volunteers who make the food. We always need more volunteers so please help out.
All proceeds from food sales go directly to the boat buying fund. Most of our new equipment is funded via the profit made over the bar. So instead of complaining that you want to row in a newer boat, pop up to the bar and buy a drink to ensure there is enough money to pay for one. See the website and notice boards for details.
10. Remenham Club and the Henley regattas
Vesta Rowing Club is a founding member of the prestigious Remenham Club in Henley-upon-Thames. Remenham Club was founded in 1909 by seven Metropolitan rowing clubs, including Kingston, London, Molesey, Thames, Twickenham and Staines rowing clubs.
Remenham is an excellent venue from which to watch racing crews during Henley Royal Regatta (HRR) every July and to socialise with other rowers from our fellow founding clubs. It is open throughout the five-day regatta and serves food and drink to its members and their guests.
Membership of Remenham
Membership of Remenham is earned by merit. This includes competing for one of the founding Clubs to a minimum (high) standard of rowing/sculling proficiency. Typically applicants are expected to have won 4 points and raced at either Henley Royal Regatta or Henley Womens’ Regatta to qualify for membership. Applications are accepted from proficient coxswains and coaches.
There is a waiting list for membership, and though members are accepted typically in chronological order, merit is given greater emphasis in selection. It can take a number of years to gain membership but it is certainly worth the wait.
Remenham members are able to purchase guest tickets for their partners and guests, though ticket applications should be made early particularly for Fridays and Saturdays which typically sell out a month before the event.
Membership of Remenham Club is a closely guarded honour and those Members of Vesta who use Remenham Club, either as a member or as a guest, should treat it as such.
Henley Royal Regatta at Remenham Club
Henley Royal Regatta (HRR) is a sublime affair.
As many of those who have competed at HRR and Henley Women’s Regatta (HWR) will confess, there is nothing more terrifying yet exhilarating than racing side-by-side in a knockout event, in a wooden boomed crucible, as you run the gauntlet of the “Remenham Roar”. Particularly if you are ahead.
For those spectating or nursing their wounds, Remenham Club is a great place to take in the sunshine, watch some high class racing, and wistfully dream of your future prowess or historic athleticism, as you de-beer the Remenham Club of its stock.
Having last won an event at HRR in 1981 (The Britannia Challenge Cup – ‘the Brit’), Vesta again reached the final of that event in 2009. Whilst the crew was beaten in one of the closest races of the day, their sterling efforts in reaching that stage marked Vesta men’s squad putting itself firmly back on the rowing map!
Henley Women’s Regatta
Henley Womens’ Regatta is run 10-days before HRR. It is again a side-by-side, knockout event. We continue to perform extremely well at this event, with a win in 2004, 8 rowers in the semi-finals in 2008, and 12 finalist rowers in 2009.
Information about Remenham Club can be found at: www.remenhamclub.co.uk.