Welcome to Vesta Rowing Club
Vesta Rowing 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 this page so that 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.
If you’re a new member or looking at joining, we hope you have an enjoyable and rewarding time with the club. If you ever have any queries or concerns please contact your coach, the Captain or any member of the Executive Committee.
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: Pairs Head, National Championships, Fours Head of the River, Veterans’ Fours Head
- December: Vesta Scullers’ Head, Remenham Head
- January: Vesta Annual Dinner
- 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 and others
- August: Henley Town and Visitor’s Regatta
Events not only provide an opportunity for our members to compete at novice, club and veteran levels, but are also great social occasions for those not competing. Many of the head races row straight past our Club balcony and support on such days is actively encouraged and appreciated.
Vesta organises two major racing events during the season:
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 by serving 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.
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 information is available on its website.
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 via the Entries Secretary by request of the squad coach or individual members.
All regattas charge a race entry fee which can be more than £10.00 per seat per race; these race entry fees are charged back to our members when they enter a race. To keep administration as smooth as possible members are asked to deposit funds into Vesta’s ‘Race Account’ which are then debited at the appropriate rate to cover entry costs whenever a member wishes to enter a race. Members are required to ensure they have sufficient funds in their account prior to each race to cover the race/regatta costs, otherwise the entry will not be entered. In addition to the race costs, Vesta also incurs expenses for fuel to drive boats to races and trailer maintenance. Again, we recover the direct cost from members who are racing. On average this works out to roughly £1.00 per seat raced to cover the cost of fuel and trailer maintenance. For members who are actively racing throughout the season, the additional 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. Vesta has an ordering window for new kit at the end of September and in February. Kit is available via the website or the kit officer. 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.
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.
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 veteran’s men’s and 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 cover the cost of running and insuring the boathouse and the fleet, and supporting the administration of rowing. 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.
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 six levels of membership, with annual subscriptions for 2016/17 season proposed to be:
||£495||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)|
||£250||Students must be in a full time course for the duration of the season|
||£250||For members who only wish to race one head and one regatta race per year|
||£222||For those under the age of 17 on 1st October|
||£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 will be expected to complete a membership application form and set up a direct debit.
The Executive Committee will confirm your membership provided that the Club can accommodate additional members and that the “Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire” has been properly completed and does not indicate any potential medical problems.
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. Also, the Legacy Membership is designed to enable members who are not able to commit to train at the club, or who perhaps live elsewhere currently, to return and race one head race and one regatta race per year in Vesta colours.
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.
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 club will make every effort to provide members who wish to race with suitable equipment. At times this can mean borrowing or renting boats from other sources. In the rare occurrence where there are conflicting demands for the same piece of equipment the Captain will resolve this for members.
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 waiting list for racks to become available, although we have shortened this in recent years. 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, not so nice, 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.
The Club House
The Club House, we would hope you agree, is a beautiful Victorian building. However it, as with all buildings in constant use, needs to be well looked after.
In the past fifteen years we have invested significantly in a new gym, a new balcony, extending and refurbishing the women’s changing rooms, a new kitchen, rewiring and installing a new fire alarm system and improvements to the ergo room.
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 or share a locker with a fellow member.
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 Sign Out Book at the foot of 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 write them on the Maintenace board at the top of the stairs next to the changing rooms and 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 social media.
Everything you need to know about the running of the club tends to be on our 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, upcoming events, racing results, safety information and news.
There is a Members-only section on the website in development.
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. There is an All Vesta email address and this is managed by the Communications Officer. This mailing list is optional, so members who are not active in the club can unsubscribe if they wish.
We maintain an Official Vesta mailing list, which includes all members and we use this list for official notices, such as the AGM.
Members new to the club should ask their respective coach to include them on the relevant email list, or email email@example.com to add you to the relevant list.
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. If we have a problem wth your email address we are obliged to write to you to notify you of any subscription payments and of official notices like the AGM.
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 regular newsletter to our members via email. The focus is predominantly on squad and racing successes and outlines forthcoming events.
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 only engage the services of others for the repair to boats, equipment, the club house and in significant development projects.
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. In addition Vesta runs a number of socials and parties throughout the year for its members and naturally 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 enables us to continue to offer such generous opening hours for a members only bar. 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.
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 well-known for being a fantastic, friendly and welcoming members bar where you’ll always be greeted warmly and will find a fellow member to share a pint with.
The bar is run by our own members for our members and its surpluses have contributed to many club house improvements over the year. The more money members spend at the bar, the better the club is able to fund future improvements.
The bar is open to members 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, London Pride and often guest beers on tap, and all manner of other beverages from bottles.
We one of the few club bars to be open almost every night of the week and during the weekend.
Vesta Bar hosts all manner of pre-, during and post-event celebrations and parties throughout the year for its members. 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 can be made available for hire to our members for private parties subject to committee approval. However, please be aware that we have a limited number of late licences available to us, and we operate a strict ‘aways welcome’ policy for members; any member is always welcome even if another member is using the club for a private 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 members who have pre-purchased tickets only. This is solely to prevent overcrowding in the club.
Members take it in turn to prepare food for each other 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 surpluses from food sales go back into improving the club facilities for members.
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 four 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.
If you are interested in becoming a member of Remenham Club please speak to one of our current Remenham members or to our Remenham Club representatives Dick Welch or Vincent McGovern.
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 ten days before HRR. It is again a side-by-side, knockout event. We continue to perform extremely well at this event, with wins in Senior 8 and Lwt Single Sculls in 2004, Senior 8s in 2010 and Club 8s in 2012.
Information about Remenham Club can be found at: www.remenhamclub.co.uk.