Commodore's Report 2008
2007: At last, a relatively quiet year. This has been a year of settling dust, putting the chaos of recent years behind us.
Having cast off the hair-shirt of austerity, the subliminal effects of having such excellent facilities is evident all around us. People continue to make extrordinary contributions to club life. First up is the one we all share regardless of paddling persuasion. I have heard it said that an army marches on it stomach, but I know first hand that a hot dog and a cup of tea goes a long way after an hour and a half of clinging to a Hendron wash. The galley is the fulcrum of club life that brings all of the various groups together. Our thanks go to the many many people who work so hard each Saturday to make our galley happen. The driving force behind this group is Karen Quibel.
On the water: Peter Barnes continues to mobilise his masses. Their DW battle was fierce this year with a number of casualties, but the energy and enthusiasm was the same as ever. This year Peter's enormous novice coaching remit has been successfully shared with Ulrick and Sarah and great credit goes to them for their efforts, especially through what was a really challenging winter on the water.
The touring crew continue to thrive with a highly successful Big Birthday paddle from Thames source to Tideway. Already in their sights is a repeat performance for this year.
And at the other end of the demographic, Roxanne, ably assisted by Alex and Zosha, continues to nurture a vibrant and growing junior group. One of the most impressive things about this group is the consistency. Many of the same faces reappear, even in the depths of winter and many are now heading for their second and third summer season. In this the age of the Playstation, they keep coming back so you must be doing something right.
The really exciting development this year has been the placement at Richmond by the BCU of two dedicated coaches. First, the guru of the single blade, Marcus Gohar, is now poised to bring to a new audience to this most skillful of paddling disciplines. And second, the man himself, Trevor Wetherall, is now unleashed to pour his unfettered enthusiasm for all things canoe into the Richmond mix. We are very lucky. Not only do we now have two employed coaches but we have two coaches who are utterly passionate both about paddling and about this club. Our thanks go to Trevor and the BCU for making this happen.
Committee: This year we loose the sage wisdom of Tony Waszkiewicz who has for many years been the quiet guiding hand of the committee. We also loose the Rapier himself, Graham Stonehouse who has poured himself into the redevelopment. The committee is going to miss them but perhaps now they will be seen on he water more often. My thanks go to them and to all those who worked so hard on last year's committee.
Commodore’s Award: I dont give this award for competive endeavour. Competition has it’s own rewards. So this year’s reciepient is not getting it for the remarkable way that he put health and disabilitiy issues so far behind him that he could produce a top ten finish in last year’s Devizes to Westminster Race. In fact he does something far more impressive every weekend at this club. For me and many others, the ten o’clock senior group is a central part of our training structure. This group belongs to this years recipient, he runs it all year round and he runs it from the front, as one of the strongest paddlers in it. But after he has finished running that group, while the rest of us slope off for tea and flapjacks, he dons a second set of canoe gear and heads out on the water again. This time he leads our thriving junior group, who are such a vital part of what we are. In recognition of his exemplary contribution to paddling at Richmond, the award goes to our own, Alex Gohar.
Conclusion: It has been a year of settling, settling into our new home. But it has also been a year of growth. Ours remains the biggest canoe club in Britain. For the first time in our long history we now have employed coaches. So what of the future? We are already excelling in so many areas. But in racing, while the Hendrons, Piran and Netty, Paul Wells and our South Africans, Brett and Daan continue to blaze the Richmond trail at the top of national result sheets, now is the time to build a new generation of Richmond Racers. Names like Killip and Purcel could assume the mantle once held by the likes of Wells and Gohar. A renewed programme of investment in racing boats should mark the beginning of a new focus on sprint and marathon racing. We have it in us to produce a new generation of champions. Lets do it.
Commodore's Report 2007
Commodore's Report 2006