Ryde Rowing Club Charity Cross Channel Row

Ryde Crossing

A crew from Ryde Rowing Club have completed their Charity Cross Channel Row, the first time the club has achieved this feat.

The Club has a strong tradition of charitable fund raising and every year they nominate a charity that they raise funds for. This year, due to the support they provided for a  member’s child, the Club has selected the Naomi House Children’s Hospice. Naomi House provides care and support through good days, difficult days and last days to children, young people and their families from the counties of Berkshire, Dorset, Hampshire, Surrey, West Sussex, Wiltshire and the Isle of Wight.

The Club had already raised several hundred pounds for the Hospice at the Club’s Annual Dinner and their Regatta but for their main fund raising project they decided that a group of senior oarsmen would attempt to row across the Channel from Dover to Calais – twenty miles of the busiest shipping route in the world. Obviously any attempt was going to be weather dependant and so the crew of – Chris Walker, Matt Bull, Lee Bennett and Ashley Maitland made their plans around a week long window of opportunity from Saturday, 27th September to Sunday, 5th October. They also chose to take cox Penny Glazzard from Southampton Coalporters A. R. C – a very experienced coxswain and senior oarswomen who would have been capable of taking over from one of the crew if the need had arisen.

The crew travelled to Dover on Friday 26th October in preparation for the attempt, along with support staff Sarah Morris and Coach Steve Bull. The Club must thank Wightlink who provided free transport to get the crew’s Coastal Four off the Isle of Wight. Further support was provided by Dover Rowing Club who have a wealth of experience in cross channel rowing and the crew was accompanied by a qualified pilot which also acted as the safety boat.

The crew were unable to attempt the crossing on the first available day despite a north easterly wind dropping as the pilot felt that a further day was needed for the swell to settle. So the team met at Dover Rowing Club, at 6.30am on the Sunday (28th September) when the Pilot declared that he thought it was safe to make an attempt on the crossing.

Following safety checks and briefings the crew finally took to the water and started the crossing at 8.22am and duly completed the row in a very respectable three hours and 26 minutes arriving in Sangatte, just South of Calais at 11.48am.

The Club have raised over £3,000 for the Naomi House Children’s Hospice which was presented to them at an informal function at Ryde Clubhouse on Friday 7th November. It is not too late to make a contribution via the  "just giving" web site which can be found at: http://www.justgiving.com/crosschannelrow

Report from Ryde Rowing Club