ROYAL 1865 PROCLAMATION

‘It's clear, fresh and funny and playfully informative’
Mira Hozakova

Issue 78 October 7th, 2009

Dear Members of the Royal Family,

The last side-by-side racing of the season is finished (see below) and thoughts turn to Winter training, erg racing, braving the blizzards at the Suikerrace and – choucroute. However the last few weeks of the Summer have given us plenty to talk about, as you will see when you get to page 3 and realise that you’re still only half-way through.

Read on…

The Royal puts the WIN in HazeWINkel

Super weekend, super result. The Royal came away from Hazewinkel with sunburned smiles and two and a half titles. On Saturday, Jean-Benoit followed up on his Liège win with a storming victory in Novice singles, heading a field of 15 with a huge margin of almost 9s.

Then on Sunday he teamed up with Andrew for another win, in Novice doubles, by 3s from a field of eight boats Apart from applauding the guys for their great performances, we should note the contribution of Alain from SNUB and Olivier from UNB in coaching the rowers and expertly preparing their boats; the cooperative effort among the three North Brussels clubs is bringing our youngsters on in leaps and bounds.

The half a win was in the Women’s Masters quads, where a crew rowing as RSNB/Norwalk Leander/Circolo Ministero Affari Esteri had a row-over in the absence of anyone brave enough to challenge them. In fact the Italian bit of the crew was Catherine F, who hasn’t got her Belgian licence yet, and the American bit was Esther, returning to us briefly from her new home in Geneva (a US rowing club in Geneva … I didn’t ask). Esther’s clubmate David partnered Andy in Masters doubles, and then joined Andy, Peter H and myself in coxless fours. All involved expressed themselves as satisfied with the rows and if they’d had a bit more training … you know the story.

Best of the other Royal performances was Alex in J14 singles, who came a creditable 21st in a field of 33. In the same event, Nicolas decided to test the reaction time of the safety boat, by taking a dip, Unfortunately the incident didn’t register with the Royal lifesavers (Rebecca and me) who were communing with the cormorants around the half-way mark.

Off the water, diners were wowed by Sergio’s Spanish ham and Peter P’s skills with the filleting knife to produce Maatjes so fresh they had barely stopped wriggling. Unimpressed by the selection at the bar, a trio of cyclists (reputed to include the morning’s safety boat crew) bravely ventured into the Flemish countryside in search of some decent beer, and apparently found plenty of it. Club spirit was Royally reinforced with a gourmet Italian dinner on Friday, courtesy of Sergio, and a delicious barbecue on Saturday, with Albert at the coals.

What’s that? Oh, the Championships, they were won by Ghent. To be more precise, of the 15 Championship events, 8 went to Gentse, 5 to Sport Gent, 3 to Club Gent and none to anybody else. Which is what makes Novice and Masters racing so interesting.

Lots of superb photos here, courtesy of Catherine D.

Don’t stop there, it gets better…

On Saturday 3rd, Andy took his boat to meet its maker at the Carl Douglas Vechtrace, which runs across the Dutch/German border, and beat four other scullers to win the Masters E category. He seems to make a habit of disappearing off to Holland and winning things, when he thinks there’s nobody taking notice.

He hasn’t been out in his single for a while, it must have been that double I did with him a couple of weeks back that sharpened him up.

Meanwhile, down on the Meuse …

A (very) small contingent from the Royal went along to the Francophone League regatta at Wépion on Sunday. Jean-Benoit, Andrew, Pedro, Cyriane and Peter P entered a number of small-boat events, but without any high-scoring big boat crews the intention was not to get a league placing but just to enjoy some end-of-the-season sprint racing. Best result was a third place for Andrew and J-B in novice doubles.

The LFA regatta can be a grand day out if a lot of people go and turn it into a Club event, but coming just a week after Hazewinkel it’s difficult for the less committed rowers to keep the momentum going. It’s not just us who don’t get excited about it – Tournai and two of the Liège clubs didn’t go at all and Dinant’s participation was about the same as ours.

I don’t know the when & where next year. We’ll see …

Are you sitting comfortably?

This may take some time. The thing is, a 160km row, taking 15½ hours, isn’t something you can describe in a few words. So here is Claus being as brief as he can:

Friday 25.9.2009, 7:30 AM. Three brave Royal rowers meet at Zaventem airport to enter the plane heading for Geneve to do the "Tour du Leman".

Some time later we (Charles, Claus and Indrek) arrive in Geneve, where we take the bus to get to the apartment of Charles' parents. After having a coffee with Charles' mother, we take her car to get to the harbour of Geneve, where the rowing club is located. This place is already crowded with trailers, boats, oars and a lot of rowers. Here we get out rental boat: A white C-Line of the first generation. Luckily Charles knows people and boats here quite well, since he learned rowing in this club years ago.

Coverage for bow and stern? There was once one... But where is it now? It disappeared. Hmm. OK, then let's build one... The next little problem: Charles' brother Christian is joining our crew, too. But we still haven't found rower no. 5. A guy from Geneve was planned to row with us, but he is now in the US and begged for pardon some days ago. Charles was quite optimistic in Brussels, that there will be somebody around to jump in for rowing this easy 160km (Indrek tried to find one in Brussels, but he didn't want to :-).

So Charles and Claus start talking to the people to find Mr. X. Claus' first rowing club (Kölner Club für Wassersport / KCfW) is present with two boats and 10 rowers. And they are directly interested and ask twice "Do you really have a place free?" - "Yes, otherwise we won't ask ;-)" - "Ok, we have one rower for you - but - he is still in Cologne.". So they handed over Rolf's phone number and after several phone calls Rolf agrees to complete our crew. He admits later, that he started packing his stuff directly after the first call (as he planned to row in a third KCfW boat; but the crew break apart, one of them could get a place in one of the other two boats and Rolf was waiting until Friday morning for a call to get a boat place. So he was really happy, that he got a boat place to row this regatta for his about 20th time.)

The next step is to get our equipment together. Claus had a small electrical pump in his luggage (and lost his no. 10 key at the security check at Zaventem, (it seems you can crash every airplane if you get a no. 10 key on board), Christian organized a battery, some wood and tape. For the rest we entered a D-I-Y market in Geneve. And afterwards the supermarket next door to get water and food. After eating supper at Charles' family we take some tools and some more wood and wires and a switch and drive again to the rowing club.

We are quite late - nearly all other boats are prepared already and some crews are going out on the water to check it out. But since this is not the first marathon for us, we already have a plan in mind how to build a wavebreaker on the bow and how to make a comfortable seat for the cox place.

Around 10:00 PM we are finished with the boat. But Rolf is still not here. On the phone he apologizes and explains, that there was some traffic jam, where he lost one hour. We decide to wait for him and to use the time for checking the oars. We make them a bit lighter, since nobody really knows how hard it will get on those 160km...

Rolf arrives shortly after eleven and does a serious inspection of the boat. Everything was fitting for him except the plastic handles on the oars. Since it was already dark we decide not to go on the water any more to check the proper settings of oars and locks.

Instead the complete crew drives back to the flat of Charles' family where we fell asleep after having dinner. The night is quite short since we are proposed to get on the water at 7:15 AM. So breakfast and everything was a bit hectic but we get back to the club in time. After supplying the boat with all the things we think to need (life-jackets, lights, whistle...) we get some unplanned problem with a simple screw, that attaches a wire to the battery. Of course we fixed that, too. But for the price to be the last boat that goes onto the water.

The weather is really good for rowing this morning. Cloudy with some fog on the water, no burning sun and not too cold and just with a little wind blowing. For the start all boats are lined up close to the mole and wait there for the firing of a gun to start the race.

*Boooom*. We are in the race. First we head from the harbour mole to the old town of Geneve where the first buoy is placed. After turning there our strokeman Indrek starts kidding, that only 159km are left... We planned to change the cox every 30min, so everybody has to row two hours and then gets a break of 30 minutes. The first 2 hours pass away quickly, but then we get into rough water at Nyon. This place is the area where the "Petit Lac" becomes the wider "Grand Lac" and it's known for being quite wavy. With the pumps we are able to get rid of the water, but from now on most of the shoes are wet (for the rest of the race).

After passing this area the water gets much better and in the following hours we find places where it is as flat as a mirror. We keep busy with rowing and changing the cox for some more ours. We catch up with some boats and overtake them, of course some other boats do the same with us. According to a GPS device we make something between 10.5 and 11km/h. We pass Lausanne and the we get to the buoy in Montreux, which marks the turning point for going home. There we are in a good
mood and still making jokes (in fact, we make jokes till the very end, if I remember correctly - according to our motto "I love rowing").

After Montreux we pass the little island with the big tree, see the Rhone flowing out of the lake, get thanks to Schengen without passport control to France and pass Evian. Somewhere around that point we finished around 3/4 of the distance. It starts getting dark. It also hurts a bit (well, not only a bit to be honest) while sitting and it feels quite tough to hold the handles. Rolf starts to put some tape around the plastic handles each time he gets onto a place where he didn't row before. So after some time the whole boat is taped and this is a great relief for all of us.

Rowing in the dark is also quite funny, especially when we enter the "Schweinebucht", the name most of the German crews use for the "Golfe de Condree". Thanks to Charles we have the GPS position of the next buoy and with some steering advice from Rolf and using the GPS we take the straight line over the bay to the buoy. Some other boats stay close to the shore to search for the buoy, but this makes their trip a bit longer.

After passing the "Schweinebucht" we get back on the "Petit Lac" but from this place are still 25km between us and Geneve. This is really the hardest part, no other rowing boat in sight, Geneve not in sight (it's hidden behind two or three capes), hands and butt are hurting, we feel really empty and on the cox place we fell into microsleep. But we managed to continue our rowing with a speed around 9 and 9.5km/h and finally get back to the mole in Geneve where a lot of people cheer for us.

After reaching the pontoon and getting out of the boat we get a fine lesson in how easy the body compensates life on a rowing boat. While standing on fixed land again, everything starts shaking and turning. We take out the most valuable parts of the boat, then a finisher photo is taken and afterwards we can take a really nice shower. After getting something to eat (at least the ones who where able to :-) Charles' mother taxis us to our beds, where we fell asleep quickly.

Sunday morning it's feels again too early to get up. After a little breakfast we drive down to the club, remove all additional constructions from the boat, clean it and put it back in the garage. The last official part is the prizegiving, where every crew is invited on the podium, every rower gets a unique trophy and every crew gets their own battle of Champagne. After chilling out with some beer on the pontoon we have to take the flight back to Brussels. In the plane we started thinking of buying tickets already for next year – so it was tough, yes indeed, but even more fun at the same time!

In the final results we end up on place 15 out of 28 boats. Our time is 15:36, i.e. an average of more than 10km/h including the breaks for changing the cox.

I would like to give a big "Thank you!" to Charles at this place for his organization and a second "Merci beaucoup!" to his family for their support! And of course a "Dankeschön!" to Rolf for jumping in the Belgian boat.

The mystery of the missing bus

Those of you who commute to the Royal by public transport may have worked it out by now, but our only means of access – bus 47 – has been interfered with. The city-end origin/destination of most services is now Hembeek, rather than Pont Van Praet. So if you are coming from town on the number 3 tram, or from Montgomery on the 23, you have to travel one extra stop, after the bridge.

There are still some 47s which run from the centre (De Brouckere) but not on Sundays, or in the evenings. On Saturdays they are every 40 minutes. The frequency between Hembeek and the Club (stop Chemin Vert/Groenweg) is still 20 one every 20 minutes.

For those of you who have found yourself having to walk from Van Praet to the Club, the STIB apologises most sincerely, I’m sure.

The Royal Winter Ergo League 2009/10 is up and running

You were warned last time, and it’s here already. Claus has been the first to put down his marker, and I can think of one or two people who won’t be far behind. To remind you – row a 2k on the C2 and send me your time, and in case I don’t know or can’t guess, your sex, age and weight category. I’ll work out the index to your target score and let you know – roughly – where you are in relation to the others. When we have enough names I’ll start to publish league tables. Repeat as often as you like until the end of March when we’ll declare winners and distribute prizes (maybe).

Suiker for punishment (sorry, that’s a joke for native English speakers)

Traditionally our last racing opportunity of the year is the Suikerrace, just across the border in Roosendaal, a 7km head race for both shells and heavy boats with handicaps by age/sex/boat type applied to the race time. Andy won men’s singles one year, and for a while the yole was unbeatable in the ‘clinker fours’ class, even setting the course record at one stage.

Equally traditionally, it is normally rowed in heavy rain or freezing wind or, more usually, both.

If none of this puts you off, the date is November 15th. The race is rowed in two heats, late morning and early afternoon, so the same boat can be used by two crews. I can coordinate expressions of interest initially, until we get to the stage of planning boat transport, etc.

Then, for those who prefer their pain to be condensed into 7-8 minutes, there’s OBIC, the Belgian Ergo Championships, in Antwerp on November 21st. Either you take part because your coach tells you to, or because you’re a superhero. See you there?

P’tit chou

Sauerkraut is back on the menu at the Royal … pause for each of us to consider our individual reaction to that news. For those who love the stuff, no doubt you can scarcely contain your excitement at the prospect of our annual choucroute weekend on October 23rd-24th. For those who don’t there’s an option to enjoy the party anyway with ‘boulettes tomates’ and chips.

There is always enormous demand for this occasion, so if you want to join in, get your name down on the sign-up list in the clubroom.

Crew rowing is more fun – official.

A study by Oxford University’s Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology (try saying that with a mouth full of cornflakes) had demonstrated that participants in team sports are happier than solitary athletes.

To prove this, they involved participants in ‘virtual rowing’ – the erg again I suppose – either individually or in groups and then tested them for tolerance to pain (is that how you measure happiness these days?).

Actually, it’s all about endorphins. Exercise produces endorphins, which make you feel good and also suppress pain. Exercising together in a team produced more of them than exercising alone.

So if you’ve ever wondered why single scullers are such a miserable lot, there’s your answer. When one of them overtakes your crew, despite all your efforts to hold him off, remember – you’re enjoying it more than he is.

Issue 77 September 10th, 2009

Dear Members of the Royal Family,

September … la rentrée … back to work or school, and back – briefly – to competition, in that curious five-week mini-season which starts in Liège and finishes at Hazewinkel. The latter is one of the most important occasions in the RSNB calendar, but from time to time the first one turns out to be a significant event for us too.

Another WinWinWinWinWinWin

A new name on the Royal’s Roll of Honour – Jean-Benoit won the Novice Sculls at the 1000m de Liège on 30th August. He headed a field of 13, from nine clubs, and his winning margin was a decisive 3½ seconds. Jean-Benoit emulates his sister Anne-Sophie, who won the corresponding women’s event here not so long ago (well I can remember it, anyway).

Warmest congratulations to J-B, and best wishes for the rest of the season, starting this weekend when he races J1x over the 2km distance in Ghent, both on Saturday and in a big international field on Sunday.

Still in Liège

It’s rare to come across a decent rowing club website in Belgium, but the new one from RSNML is rather good.

I particularly liked the section on the Marathon, which this year takes place on October 24th. In case you didn’t know, it involves either 5 or 7 circuits (you choose) of an 8650m course. What tickles me is that they have records of the maniacs who have done the most races and the most circuits. The Royal’s old friend Marcel Fourré is in the lead on both counts, with 45 Marathons and 298 circuits – that’s more than 2500km – and our own John De Bakker is well up the list with 33 appearances and 179 laps (1548km). Just think – if you start now, you could overtake him in 2034.

PS, here’s an interesting fact. Until 1949, Liège used to be called Liége. Not many people know that.

What do men and women get up to after dark?

Another snippet from the RNSML website – a notice for a new event, sadly now over and past, organised by Belgium’s newest club, the Club Nautique de Visé. It is – or was, on September 5th – the ‘10 Mille Mixte nocturne de Visé’, and involved a 10km row, in doubles, fours and eights, with (obligatory) 50/50 mixed crews, starting at 21:00. Sounds as though it must have been great fun.

Seeking partners

Our old friend Esther, now in Geneva, is planning to make the trip to Hazewinkel, accompanied by one of her rowing partners, and they are looking for an opportunity to row in a composite with the Royal in one or more of the Masters’ events. Since they won’t arrive until Saturday afternoon, this means in effect the Sunday morning programme, and specifically the men’s double at 11:20 and the women’s quad at 12:00. There’s also a men’s coxless fours race and a women’s eights race on Sunday afternoon, although they would require a more remarkable feat of organisation.

Time is getting short – the deadline for entries is Monday evening although we can make provisional entries, then change them without too much hassle up to one week later. So if you are interested in making up a crew for any of those four events please let Marc know.

Esther’s friend is a Masters D while she is in the youngest category. They would be rowing in the colours of Norwalk Leander Rowing Club (US).

Warning: Science lesson ahead

Last issue, I set a conundrum:

Consider a single sculler: he weighs maybe 80kg. His boat and oars weigh 16kg. So 5/6ths of the mass which is being propelled along the course resides in the body of the rower.

Consider also: rowing is not about ‘sliding backwards and forwards’. That massive body of yours is always travelling in the same direction, and without a great deal of variation in its speed over the water.

So – is it the rower or the boat which is the object of the propulsive effort? Since anything more complicated than Relativity Theory makes my brain hurt, I turned to a real expert (and good friend of the Proclamation), Carl Douglas, maker of the world’s most beautiful boats.

What you want is for the boat to maintain constant velocity and trim. Non-constant boat velocity through the water incurs additional drag. The instantaneous power loss in overcoming fluid drag bears a very non-linear relationship to boat speed – P = k x V3 or worse - which means that the most economical way of achieving a set average speed is for the boat speed never to vary from the mean.

A further problem is that a surging boat will also be constantly changing in its pitch, & maybe its elevation, in the water. This pitching & bouncing of the boat generates additional wave patterns, and these take away energy for their creation.

To maintain constant velocity and trim is in reality is rather hard to do. We can do better or worse, according to how we manage our technique, since by the way we choose to move the body with respect to the boat we can apply variable forces through the foot-stretcher.

During the recovery, you have to get the stretcher closer to your own centre of gravity or there's never going to be a catch. You are the heavy, inert object which Newton tells us wants to continue with constant speed and direction in the absence of externally-applied forces. By that virtue, it is your inertia which keeps the boat running, although the drag of the water on the boat continually saps energy, so it reduces your kinetic energy & hence your velocity over the water – you grind after infinite time to a halt.

Since you must "get forward" (which in real terms means you must pull this dragging boat towards yourself) you are already committed to doing actual work - because the drag on the boat is pulling your legs straight and you must more than match that drag force, and move against it through the extent of your leg contraction & consequent relative movement of your centre of gravity and the stretcher – force x distance = work.

Your doing that work helps to keep the boat moving – it feeds extra power into the system. But it does so at the cost of reducing your own kinetic energy, which derives originally from your speed of motion over the water. The way you do that work can be varied in pattern and in intensity, which is how you can, in theory and in practice, markedly vary the boat's velocity profile during the recovery and, with that, the sum of the power lost in overcoming its fluid drag.

Now – go away and think about that for a while. It’s not rocket science, after all. Is it?

Well, that’s the Summer gone, what next?

We Royal rowers are more sensitive than most to the changing of the seasons, never more so than when we have to give up our evening sessions. Those of us who struggle to be on the water before 19:00 are probably looking to this Thursday as our last or second-last evening row of the year (sob).

But don’t despair, you can carry on building your muscles or burning your calories in our gym, which is available every weeknight except Monday. Last year, for the first time, we had a reasonable turnout on Thursdays, such that there was occasionally a wait (but not too long) for an ergo to become available. This year, with one more machine available, our capabilities are correspondingly increased. And you needn’t be doing all this ‘just for fun’, there’s an additional incentive out there …

Yes it’s nearly Royal Winter Ergo League time again

Starting 1st October and running until 31st March, all Royal rowers are invited to take part in the Winter Ergo League. All that is required of you is to set a time (once, or as often as you like) for 2000m on the C2 – at the Club, in a gym or at home if you have your own machine. I’ll feed your result into DEBS – David’s Ergo Benchmarking System – which will give you a score and a ranking that takes account of your age, sex and weight category. So the best man will not necessarily always win.

Just to remind you – last year Andy was the overall League leader and Carol the women’s champ. Only Andy beat his target time (equivalent to being in the top 25% in the world rankings in the previous year) but Jean-Benoit and Kevin both came very close.

You will be able to follow the progress of the League through the Newsletter and latest standings will be posted occasionally in the boathouse.

If you’re new to the ergo, don’t be scared of it. Get to know the machine, explore your own capabilities, set a time – no matter how slow – and then think about how you can improve on it. Andy, Kevin and myself will always be happy to advise.

Hazewinkel (one last time)

Yes, I know, you’re getting fed up with all these reminders. You know it’s on the 26th/27th, you’ve signed up at the boathouse or by mailing Marc, you’ve been given fun jobs to do like driving launches or less fun ones like making the judges’ tea, you’ve booked your chalet and you’re looking forward to the bike rides and the barbecues, early morning paddles and late night trips to the pub.

It’s just that I’ve got to mention it one last time, it’s in my contract.

Belgian Rowing Championships

26-27 September 2009

The Royal is the organizing club for the Belgian Rowing Championships for long boats (4s and 8s) which will take place on the rowing lake at HAZEWINKEL, Beenhouwerstraat 28, Heindonk (between Willebroek and Malines)[1].

We shall be there from Friday 25 September and have reserved on-site accommodation at Hazewinkel for the Friday and Saturday nights so we can also take advantage of the excellent facilities (rowing lake, classrooms and recreation rooms).

We need a large number of volunteers on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 September, in particular for:
• setting up the facilities,
• transporting the club’s boats there and back,
• the secretariat (issuing bow numbers, distributing results, collecting bow numbers again),
• the starting pontoon (6 or 8 + 3 people to hold the boats at the start + 1 coordinator),
• safety boats (drivers + rescue crew),
• umpires’ boats (drivers),
• technical assistance for the club’s competitors,
• operating the bar,
• preparing the catering (umpires’ meal, sandwiches, barbecue),
• commentary on the races,
• safety on land,
• video reporting and digital photography,
• taking down the facilities,
• 2nd regatta secretary
• collecting trophies, before the weekend, from various ministerial offices in Brussels and Namur.

Please reserve your accommodation and indicate your availability by means of the sign-up sheet displayed in the boat shed.

Your suggestions are also welcome.
For further information :
rowing@royal1865.be
Marc LEGEIN : legein@prolex.be
Pierre CAPPELEMANS : pierre.cappellemans@hp.com (Regatta Secretary)

It's clear, fresh and funny and playfully informative’
Mira Hozakova

Issue 77 September 10th, 2009

Dear Members of the Royal Family,

September … la rentrée … back to work or school, and back – briefly – to competition, in that curious five-week mini-season which starts in Liège and finishes at Hazewinkel. The latter is one of the most important occasions in the RSNB calendar, but from time to time the first one turns out to be a significant event for us too.

Another WinWinWinWinWinWin

A new name on the Royal’s Roll of Honour – Jean-Benoit won the Novice Sculls at the 1000m de Liège on 30th August. He headed a field of 13, from nine clubs, and his winning margin was a decisive 3½ seconds. Jean-Benoit emulates his sister Anne-Sophie, who won the corresponding women’s event here not so long ago (well I can remember it, anyway).

Warmest congratulations to J-B, and best wishes for the rest of the season, starting this weekend when he races J1x over the 2km distance in Ghent, both on Saturday and in a big international field on Sunday.

Still in Liège

It’s rare to come across a decent rowing club website in Belgium, but the new one from RSNML is rather good.

I particularly liked the section on the Marathon, which this year takes place on October 24th. In case you didn’t know, it involves either 5 or 7 circuits (you choose) of an 8650m course. What tickles me is that they have records of the maniacs who have done the most races and the most circuits. The Royal’s old friend Marcel Fourré is in the lead on both counts, with 45 Marathons and 298 circuits – that’s more than 2500km – and our own John De Bakker is well up the list with 33 appearances and 179 laps (1548km). Just think – if you start now, you could overtake him in 2034.

PS, here’s an interesting fact. Until 1949, Liège used to be called Liége. Not many people know that.

What do men and women get up to after dark?

Another snippet from the RNSML website – a notice for a new event, sadly now over and past, organised by Belgium’s newest club, the Club Nautique de Visé. It is – or was, on September 5th – the ‘10 Mille Mixte nocturne de Visé’, and involved a 10km row, in doubles, fours and eights, with (obligatory) 50/50 mixed crews, starting at 21:00. Sounds as though it must have been great fun.

Seeking partners

Our old friend Esther, now in Geneva, is planning to make the trip to Hazewinkel, accompanied by one of her rowing partners, and they are looking for an opportunity to row in a composite with the Royal in one or more of the Masters’ events. Since they won’t arrive until Saturday afternoon, this means in effect the Sunday morning programme, and specifically the men’s double at 11:20 and the women’s quad at 12:00. There’s also a men’s coxless fours race and a women’s eights race on Sunday afternoon, although they would require a more remarkable feat of organisation.

Time is getting short – the deadline for entries is Monday evening although we can make provisional entries, then change them without too much hassle up to one week later. So if you are interested in making up a crew for any of those four events please let Marc know.

Esther’s friend is a Masters D while she is in the youngest category. They would be rowing in the colours of Norwalk Leander Rowing Club (US).

Warning: Science lesson ahead

Last issue, I set a conundrum:

Consider a single sculler: he weighs maybe 80kg. His boat and oars weigh 16kg. So 5/6ths of the mass which is being propelled along the course resides in the body of the rower.

Consider also: rowing is not about ‘sliding backwards and forwards’. That massive body of yours is always travelling in the same direction, and without a great deal of variation in its speed over the water.

So – is it the rower or the boat which is the object of the propulsive effort? Since anything more complicated than Relativity Theory makes my brain hurt, I turned to a real expert (and good friend of the Proclamation), Carl Douglas, maker of the world’s most beautiful boats.

What you want is for the boat to maintain constant velocity and trim. Non-constant boat velocity through the water incurs additional drag. The instantaneous power loss in overcoming fluid drag bears a very non-linear relationship to boat speed – P = k x V3 or worse - which means that the most economical way of achieving a set average speed is for the boat speed never to vary from the mean.

A further problem is that a surging boat will also be constantly changing in its pitch, & maybe its elevation, in the water. This pitching & bouncing of the boat generates additional wave patterns, and these take away energy for their creation.

To maintain constant velocity and trim is in reality is rather hard to do. We can do better or worse, according to how we manage our technique, since by the way we choose to move the body with respect to the boat we can apply variable forces through the foot-stretcher.

During the recovery, you have to get the stretcher closer to your own centre of gravity or there's never going to be a catch. You are the heavy, inert object which Newton tells us wants to continue with constant speed and direction in the absence of externally-applied forces. By that virtue, it is your inertia which keeps the boat running, although the drag of the water on the boat continually saps energy, so it reduces your kinetic energy & hence your velocity over the water – you grind after infinite time to a halt.

Since you must "get forward" (which in real terms means you must pull this dragging boat towards yourself) you are already committed to doing actual work - because the drag on the boat is pulling your legs straight and you must more than match that drag force, and move against it through the extent of your leg contraction & consequent relative movement of your centre of gravity and the stretcher – force x distance = work.

Your doing that work helps to keep the boat moving – it feeds extra power into the system. But it does so at the cost of reducing your own kinetic energy, which derives originally from your speed of motion over the water. The way you do that work can be varied in pattern and in intensity, which is how you can, in theory and in practice, markedly vary the boat's velocity profile during the recovery and, with that, the sum of the power lost in overcoming its fluid drag.

Now – go away and think about that for a while. It’s not rocket science, after all. Is it?

Well, that’s the Summer gone, what next?

We Royal rowers are more sensitive than most to the changing of the seasons, never more so than when we have to give up our evening sessions. Those of us who struggle to be on the water before 19:00 are probably looking to this Thursday as our last or second-last evening row of the year (sob).

But don’t despair, you can carry on building your muscles or burning your calories in our gym, which is available every weeknight except Monday. Last year, for the first time, we had a reasonable turnout on Thursdays, such that there was occasionally a wait (but not too long) for an ergo to become available. This year, with one more machine available, our capabilities are correspondingly increased. And you needn’t be doing all this ‘just for fun’, there’s an additional incentive out there …

Yes it’s nearly Royal Winter Ergo League time again

Starting 1st October and running until 31st March, all Royal rowers are invited to take part in the Winter Ergo League. All that is required of you is to set a time (once, or as often as you like) for 2000m on the C2 – at the Club, in a gym or at home if you have your own machine. I’ll feed your result into DEBS – David’s Ergo Benchmarking System – which will give you a score and a ranking that takes account of your age, sex and weight category. So the best man will not necessarily always win.

Just to remind you – last year Andy was the overall League leader and Carol the women’s champ. Only Andy beat his target time (equivalent to being in the top 25% in the world rankings in the previous year) but Jean-Benoit and Kevin both came very close.

You will be able to follow the progress of the League through the Newsletter and latest standings will be posted occasionally in the boathouse.

If you’re new to the ergo, don’t be scared of it. Get to know the machine, explore your own capabilities, set a time – no matter how slow – and then think about how you can improve on it. Andy, Kevin and myself will always be happy to advise.

Hazewinkel (one last time)

Yes, I know, you’re getting fed up with all these reminders. You know it’s on the 26th/27th, you’ve signed up at the boathouse or by mailing Marc, you’ve been given fun jobs to do like driving launches or less fun ones like making the judges’ tea, you’ve booked your chalet and you’re looking forward to the bike rides and the barbecues, early morning paddles and late night trips to the pub.

It’s just that I’ve got to mention it one last time, it’s in my contract.

Belgian Rowing Championships

26-27 September 2009

The Royal is the organizing club for the Belgian Rowing Championships for long boats (4s and 8s) which will take place on the rowing lake at HAZEWINKEL, Beenhouwerstraat 28, Heindonk (between Willebroek and Malines)[1].

We shall be there from Friday 25 September and have reserved on-site accommodation at Hazewinkel for the Friday and Saturday nights so we can also take advantage of the excellent facilities (rowing lake, classrooms and recreation rooms).

We need a large number of volunteers on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 September, in particular for:
• setting up the facilities,
• transporting the club’s boats there and back,
• the secretariat (issuing bow numbers, distributing results, collecting bow numbers again),
• the starting pontoon (6 or 8 + 3 people to hold the boats at the start + 1 coordinator),
• safety boats (drivers + rescue crew),
• umpires’ boats (drivers),
• technical assistance for the club’s competitors,
• operating the bar,
• preparing the catering (umpires’ meal, sandwiches, barbecue),
• commentary on the races,
• safety on land,
• video reporting and digital photography,
• taking down the facilities,
• 2nd regatta secretary
• collecting trophies, before the weekend, from various ministerial offices in Brussels and Namur.

Please reserve your accommodation and indicate your availability by means of the sign-up sheet displayed in the boat shed.

Your suggestions are also welcome.
For further information :
rowing@royal1865.be
Marc LEGEIN : legein@prolex.be
Pierre CAPPELEMANS : pierre.cappellemans@hp.com (Regatta Secretary)

Issue 76 Auguist 7th, 2009

Dear Members of the Royal Family,

Hope you’re all enjoying the nicer weather. Yesterday evening was so pleasant it was hard to begrudge the waterskiers and jetskiers their ‘sport’. We self-propelled aquanauts, being naturally superior to the motorised kind, can afford to be magnanimous once in a while.

As long as they stick to their designated areas.

A new addition to the Torture Chamber

In its constant drive to improve the condition and commitment of its rowers, the Club has added a new C2 ergometer to its inventory. In fact the machine, pre-owned but as new, was found by Andy, who proposed that a large number of members could fund the purchase for a relatively small individual outlay, which is just what happened. Andy made everyone’s life easier by getting the seller to knock a further €70 off the already attractive price.

Anyone who missed out on this opportunity to upgrade the Club’s equipment first time round can still join in, as some of the original subscribers would be happy to switch their donations to another project, for example a set of sweep riggers for the new four (hint).

Meanwhile, back in the gym, there is even less excuse not to get stuck into the ergo. There will be another Winter Ergo League starting in October and beyond that there is are the OBIC national indoor championships at the end of November.

Or if competition isn’t your thing, you can just use the machine for the sheer pleasure of it.

Time to empty the piggy bank

The end of this month is also the end of the membership year. So we know what that means; Pedro the Enforcer will be breathing down your neck if you so much as pick up an oar or step into a boat before the appropriate funds have been transferred. The annual rowing membership is unchanged at €175 for grown-ups, €85 for juniors, with a little bit more if you want to add another sport.

If you think it’s expensive, there’s an easy remedy – come more often.

Fly your flag

The high-performance rowing season is upon us, with the Junior Worlds taking place this week in Brive (FR) and the Seniors in Poznan (PL) coming up between the 23rd-30th.

You will all have your own flags to fly, but a special mention to the Belgian Junior Womens’ quad, which includes Marine Lewuillon of SNUB, whose dad (and dog) are familiar faces at the Royal.

Two Belgian medals at the Lucerne World Cup – silver for the LW2x of Jo Hammond and Evi Geentjens and bronze for Tim Maeyens – who beat Beijing silver medallist Synek – has got the Proclamation all excited about a good showing at the Worlds. Best wishes to all the Belgian crews.

Summer stage

As usual, the RSNB and the SNUB are jointly organising the kids’ learn-to-row stages at the Royal on the 17th-21st and 24th-28th. This means that the club will be open, mornings and afternoons, during these two weeks in case anyone should want to come along for a row, although it would be appreciated if you could check with the instructors and monitors if there’s anything you can do to help.

Coming up

Don’t forget the all-day Rowing Clinic on Saturday 29th August (got the date right this time). Coaching on and off the water will include video playback analysis and there will be a barbecue at the end of the day. I don’t have details about the cost but it will undoubtedly be highly affordable. Keep your eyes on the website and/or the notice boards.

And still another reminder for the Hazewinkel weekend of 26th-27th September. What more can I say? You really should be there.

What is rowing anyway?

Something to ponder as you lie on the beach
As you progress from A to B are you doing so by:
 Using the oars to push the water behind the boat?
 Using the oars to lever the boat past a fixed point in the water, taking you with it?
 Using the oars to lever yourself past a fixed point in the water, taking the boat with you?
More insights next time.

Learning to fly

But I ain’t got wings…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BXxL9gztO8

‘It's clear, fresh and funny and playfully informative’
Mira Hozakova

Issue 73 April 2nd, 2009

Dear Members of the Royal Family,

Where are we – let’s see … the calendar says April, the clocks have changed, there isn’t a cloud in the sky – it must be Summer. And that means the Royal is open for business 7/7.

While crews and individuals are welcome to come along any evening, Thursdays are traditionally ‘club night’ and hopefully this year numbers will be up and folks will stay on to socialise afterwards.

If you are aiming to row in anything bigger than a single or double it would be helpful to contact David or Carol beforehand so you’re expected and we’ll give you a mobile number to call in case you’re on your way and you’re held up. A 6:30 rendezvous would be nice but 6:45 is probably more realistic for the working classes.

Early season exploits

Most of the large Royal contingent who descended on Wépion for the Handicap intenational de printemps de la vallée mosane namuroise (try saying that as you come up the slide) enjoyed themselves but not, unfortunately all.

The borrowed boat used by the ladies eight of Carol, Geneviève, Heather, Liz, Marie-Hélène, Rebecca, Toni and SNUB guest Eva, coxed by Jean-Pierre, revealed certain technical deficiencies in the steering department and after a tentative departure from the pontoon which involved two encounters with the opposite bank, the crew called it a day and returned to shore.

Out on the water, the other Royal crews enjoyed a pleasant afternoon, an unexpected bonus after the terrible conditions on the journey down. Pride of place went to the yole of Andy, the Peters H and P and Graham, cox Martine, which finished 13th of the 47 starters. In 17th was the canoe of François and Pedro, just one place and five seconds ahead of the double of Claus and Indrek which had started 3:10 behind them.

In 32nd place was the ‘conjugal quad’ of Marc and Solange, Philippe and Patricia and in 44th our new four made its debut in the hands of Brigitte, Lars, Paul and cox Catherine, with a substitute from RCNSM.

The event remains one of the most attractive and friendly on the calendar. No doubt we’ll be back next year, but I guess the ladies will be in their own boat.

We’ve been to one or two other events too. In Bruges at the beginning of March, Claus and Indrek rowed in doubles and Kevin in a SNUB eight, then Kevin and Indrek rowed doubles and Andy in singles at Seneffe two weeks ago. Not forgetting of course that Claus and Indrek showed how inseparable they are by competing in the RSNB Run’n’Bike at the end of February.

As far as the randonnées (rowing rambles?) are concerned, we’ve already got the first one out of the way, last Saturday, when a cox and three rowers from the Royal (JePee, Carol, Pedro and myself) rowed our new four in various combinations with various guests down the Sambre from Jeumont in France to Landelies south of Charleroi. Don’t ask how far it was – the river was in flood and it took no time at all, if you discount the time spent trapped against the bank by the roaring stream, or going through locks which were 1m50 narrower than the boat and oars. Scary.

Coming up

This Sunday, April 5th, sees the UNB Regatta, with a new date, about 3 weeks earlier than usual, and a new, 500m course from the Buda Bridge to the clubs. I can only assume they were sore at losing the masters ladies’ quads last year to the Royal in the last few strokes of the 1000m course that they shortened it this year.

We have lots of people entered in lots of events through the day, including some notable debut appearances. A couple of events are uncontested, so we’ll have a guaranteed winner or two. Apart from that, I quite fancy the ladies’ quad to retain their title – if they can get off to a faster start than last year.

The masters men’s quad is the only Royal boat performing in the morning session. Our other crews are in action all through the afternoon, from just before 14:00 to the end of the regatta at 16:15. If you’re not rowing, come and cheer!

For the aficionados

The best rowing you will see in Belgium this year will be on display at Hazewinkel on Easter Sunday and Monday when the British final team selection trials will be held. Most of the Beijing medal winners will be there, racing singles or pairs.

If anyone wants to join me I plan to go along for the finals on Monday. Although the timetable hasn’t been published yet it’s usually an early-morning affair which is all over by about 10:00 (unless it’s delayed by mist on the lake) so you can be back home before midday to enjoy the rest of your day off.

Yet more classy rowing

As the first week of July comes around, there’s only one place a rower wants to be – Henley. The Royal Regatta takes place this year from Wednesday 1st to Sunday 5th and as usual I have some spare Stewards’ Enclosure badges for anyone wanting to soak up the atmosphere of this unique event.

You would have to promise to be on your best behaviour, and of course observe the dress code, since the rules are rigidly enforced and my member number is on the badges. Or do what everybody else does and exit the Stewards’ before misbehaving.

A caption competition, of sorts

Have a look at this video, then see if you can resist coming up with a catchy phrase. Or if you are Michael in Luxembourg, see if you can resist coming up with ten catchy phrases – honestly, some people have too much time on their hands.

That’s all, folks. See you tonight, Sunday, next week or … whenever.
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‘It's clear, fresh and funny and playfully informative’
Mira Hozakova

Issue 72 February 23rd, 2009

Dear Members of the Royal Family,

Sunday 8th February was sunny and pleasantly mild – for half an hour or so around midday, in between the Head in the morning and the Handicap in the afternoon. While the boats were on the water for both events, it was downright chilly.

Eleven boats started in the Head. Overall winners, with the fastest time of the day, were a Masters’ quad from VVR/GRS, essentially the same crew which has finished behind our quad for the last year or two. The UNB juniors were second fastest, but third on adjusted time behind a CRB coxed four. Our crew of Claus, Kevin, Maxime and Indrek, rowing as RSNB/SNUB, were just a few seconds behind and classified fourth.

The Royal ladies – Rebecca, Toni, Heather and Katie, coxed by Vince – had a very good row, but with just two outings together as a crew, one of which was hampered by equipment issues, finished down the field in tenth overall. And not forgetting Marie-Hélène, who subbed in a SNUB quad, before doing it all again in the afternoon.

The Handicap saw 49 starters (was it ever below 50 before?) and the winning crew was a double canoë from CRB, the only crew to beat 20 minutes.

Best Royal performer was François who finished 19th, followed by the yole of Graham, David R, Graham and Peter H, cox JePee, in 30th, A cluster of Royal crews finished within half a minute of each other in the mid-30s – the yolette of Chantal, Lars, Genevieve and Marie-Hélène, coxed by unexpected (and very welcome) visitor Jacqui; then the single of Pedro, just squeaking in ahead of his son David and partner Romain in a double.

Carol, Paul and Brigitte were 43rd in the triplette and a Royal/Luxembourg Rowing Club combination including René and coxed by Kevin came 45th.

Lots of photos on the website.
http://picasaweb.google.com/pankracek/HeadOfTheRiverWinterHandicap2008?a...
http://picasaweb.google.com/laurent.engels/HandicapDHiver2008
http://picasaweb.google.be/SkiffeurRoyal/BrusselsWinterRowingRegatta2008...
http://picasaweb.google.com/raymondbnora0/2008HandicapDHivers

A grand day out

The Royal’s next competitive outing will be to the Meuse Handicap on March 8th. This race, hosted by the Namur club from their boathouse in Wépion, was held for the first time last year, and a sizable Royal contingent enjoyed an excellent event in a very pleasant setting – and came away with two category wins.

This year we are even more numerous, and assuming everybody shows up we should be 25 rowers and three coxes, including a ladies’ eight, three fours/quads, two doubles and a single. The course is bordered by a ‘Ravel’ cycle path so it’s great for spectators too.

For the linguists out there, you might care to enlighten the rest of us as to the translation of the race starting point – L’ile Va’s t’y Frotte.

Mudlarking

On Saturday February 28th, the Royal is once again hosting the annual Rowers’ Run’n’Bike. Despite the name, this is not just or even mainly for rowers, it’s part of a series of events which take place through the winter and go to make up the national Run’n’Bike Championship, attracting some serious maniacs. It has been tirelessly promoted and energetically organised for the last few years by René and always brings a large number of welcome visitors to the clubhouse.

The premise is dead simple: teams of two people and one bike race over 15km of cross-country terrain, and the only rule is that the two runners (and the bike) should never be more than 10 metres apart. The other essential ingredient is mud, and those of you who are familiar with the woods just behind the Club will guess that, as long as there isn’t another freeze, we can provide plenty of that.

This year, there is a special category for rowing club members. There is at least one Royal pair (Claus & Indrek) signed up and hopefully there will be more on the day – last-minute entries can be accepted. Details and inscription form is here, but René regrets he’s not able to pair up individuals looking for a partner. If you’re desperate, let me know and I’ll try to put people in contact with each other.

Anyone rowing that afternoon is advised to get off the water and into the shower before the runners and bikers get back. Otherwise get up into the woods and watch the fun.

Dabbing it here, dabbing it there

Pretty soon (we hope) dreary winter will give way to a riot of colour, and we’re giving the process a kick-start with Blade-Painting Weekend. This Saturday and Sunday afternoons, a cheery squad will be sanding, priming and painting their way through all our blades, plus anybody else’s which might be lying around.

All are welcome. A big job for a few turns into no job at all for a crowd. There will be rowing sessions both mornings, for those who want to Row’n’Paint.

And while we’re at it, if any handymen out there have a spokeshave (fr: vastringue) in their toolkit, the handles on the ‘new’ sweep blades need taking down to manageable proportions.

Smarten up

Head and Handicap day saw an awful lot of kit-swapping, when a large number of Royal competitors attempted to wear a slightly smaller number of pieces of club kit. The ladies’ four in the Head gave up trying to assemble a uniform uniform and opted to row all in black, which looked very elegant but may not have impressed the umpires.

Anyway, Marc has launched a new round of kit orders, and the order form can be found at the next page .

The greatest eight in the history of the world…

… and one of the crew is Belgian.

What would you get if you put the eight best scullers in the world into one boat? We may be about to find out. Tideway Scullers School, one of the UK’s elite clubs, plans to enter a ‘super eight’ in the Head of the River Race in London on March 21st. The crew, as planned, will contain all six Olympic finalists in singles, plus two more ex-world champions – including of course Tim Maeyens, who was fourth in Beijing.

It is an old English rowing maxim that the eight strongest men will not always make the strongest eight – although the Americans would tend to disagree. It will be interesting to find out.

BON DE COMMANDE 2009

EXEMPLAIRE POUR LE CLUB

         

NOM :

PRENOM :

TENUE

TAILLE

PU

QUANTITE

TOTAL

Collant SUPPLEX

45€

T-Shirt manches longues SUPPLEX

40€

Tenue courte SUPPLEX

55€

Gilet technique

55€

Coupe-vent

80€

TOTAL

MONTANT A VERSER SUR LE COMPTE BANCAIRE : 310-0036715-38 du RSNB Chaussée de Vilvorde, 170 à 1120 Bruxelles

SIGNATURE :

BON DE COMMANDE 2009

EXEMPLAIRE POUR LE MEMBRE

         

NOM :

PRENOM :

TENUE

TAILLE

PU

QUANTITE

TOTAL

Collant SUPPLEX

45€

T-Shirt manches longues SUPPLEX

40€

Tenue courte SUPPLEX

55€

Gilet technique

55€

Coupe-vent

80€

TOTAL

MONTANT A VERSER SUR LE COMPTE BANCAIRE : 310-0036715-38 du RSNB Chaussée de Vilvorde, 170 à 1120 Bruxelles

‘It's clear, fresh and funny and playfully informative’
Mira Hozakova

Newsletter 71 February 2nd, 2009

Dear Members of the Royal Family,

A very Happy New Year to all our readers.

January 1st is of course the official birthday for all junior and masters rowers. Congratulations (or commiserations) to all who have moved up a category, notably Bob, who has reached the grand old age of Vet H, René who is now a D and Andy who is an E, not to mention my own achievement in making it to level F. We look forward to more generous time allowances in the handicap races – and a few ‘special’ birthday celebrations during the course of the year.

Did somebody mention the cold? We thought we’d seen the worst of that a couple of weeks back, but yesterday was the coldest Sunday outing so far, and our eight had an unusual and unexpected encounter with sheet ice in the Humbeek reach while travelling at some speed. Maybe all those seagulls standing on it should have been a clue …

We might be mad, but not as mad as the fishermen who are as numerous as ever up at Vilvorde – who have been sharing their pursuit with quite a number of cormorants as well as the occasional heron, so something must be swimming about in those murky waters.

Not too cold to race, either

Next Sunday, February 8th, is one of the biggest dates in the RSNB calendar. The “Brussels Winter Rowing Regatta” combines two events, a Fours Head in the morning at 10:00 and the 85th Grand Winter Handicap in the afternoon at 14:30.

If you haven’t grasped the distinction, the Head is a time-trial with crews setting off at intervals and chasing each other over a 5km course which begins below the Royal Park, between the Van Praet and Laeken bridges, and finishes shortly before the Ring viaduct. It’s for (supposedly) competitive crews in racing shells.

The Handicap is also a 5km race but because of the need for room to manoeuvre at the start it begins just above the yacht club at the Pont Van Praet, and finishes shortly before the Vilvorde Bridge – so the Club is round about the half way point. It’s for (supposedly) less serious crews in any kind of boat other than racing shells, and each crew has a start time which allows for age, sex and boat type, with a first past the post finish – so if the winner is one of the faster boats starting at the back, they will have to overtake 50-plus other crews along the way.

The Head has attracted 13 entries, which doesn’t sound much but it’s the best so far. The Royal has two of them. The men’s quad contains Indrek, Claus, Kevin and a mysterious ‘Mr XX’. We also have a ladies four consisting of Katie, Heather, Toni and Rebecca, with François on the rudder-strings. As always, the event will have a strong international flavour, with regular supporters (and winners) Treviris from Trier sending five crews, with another from the Saurus club in Maastricht.

The Handicap had 53 entries at the time of the draw; hopefully a few more will materialise before the day. We have seven crews entered, with rumours that Kristian may trek down from Denmark to go off third in the trimmy, followed by François 9th and René 13th in canoë singles. The yole containing Peter, Bob, David Roberts and Graham, cox JePee, go off 17th and the yolette with Lars, Chantal, Géné and Marie-Hélène, cox Alex, go 24th. The triplette with Carol, Brigitte and Paul aboard go 32nd and completing the Royal contingent are Romain and David de Portocarrero it 37th in the double canoë.

This being a big Royal ‘occasion’, there are plenty of tasks that need to be done, from selling soup to helping to get the fleet of boats on and off the pontoon with the minimum of delay. Plus, of course, lots of Royal crews to cheer for. So let’s hope we have the biggest possible turnout on the day, not least to show our visitors that the Royal means business this year.

The boat of my dreams

Well, not quite, but it could be.
Thanks to the great generosity of Pierre Cappellemans, we have a new arrival in the boathouse. It’s a shell coxed quad, which we have obtained, pre-used but in excellent condition, from a club in Amsterdam. It’s suitable for 70-75kg crews so I shall probably never have the pleasure of rowing in it, but it’s ideal for our ladies and our lighter men. Here it is with Pedro, JePee and François ready to start its trip South yesterday.

Coxed quads are not common boats in Belgium, however. It could be raced in some of the Spring handicaps – Liège for example – and there are several long-distance events in Holland which have a 4x+ category.

However, I’m starting a one-man (and several women) campaign to fit the boat with a set of sweep-rowing riggers,, giving us much more flexibility of use, both in training and in competition. Maybe there’s a world-famous rigger maker reading the Proclamation and thinking “I could do that”.

I hear the boat may be (re)-baptised at a ceremony on the 8th. Let’s hope they know what they are doing; renaming boats can be a risky business, you have to follow the right protocols. There’s a version of the ceremony here, which gives an idea of how tricky these things can be.

Ergo League update

One or two newcomers and one or two changes of position in the ergo league. Jean-Benoit’s effort in the OBIC championships has been upgraded since he is actually a lightweight, which moves him into second place, and a good test by Kevin brings him in at number three..

Here’s the ranking list. I’ll put up a full list including times and scores in the boathouse next weekend (for all our visitors to see on Sunday). If you want to get onto it, or improve your position, you have until Friday afternoon …

1. Andy
2. Jean-Benoit
3. Kevin
4. Pedro
5. David
6. Carol
7. Claus
8. François
9. Paul
10. Bob

Alright, you can stop sending the captions now

The €100 prize for getting exactly the right answer to the ‘Titanic’ caption competition sadly went unclaimed so will be carried forward to the next time.

Michael Mann from LIRC Luxembourg must be desperate because he sent in seven attempts, so we’ll give him an honourable mention for
“Ernest Wingbottom poses as 'January' for the 1912 ARA Calendar sponsored by M&S thermal underwear”
Special mention too for Rebecca Caroe from Rowperfect UK (who should know a thig or two about ergs) for
“I say, Darling, am I half way there yet?”
And to Andy for
"The man who put the "erg" in "iceberg"...”
-break-->

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May 16th, 2008

Dear Members of the Royal Family,

On the winning trail

Strike up the band, roll out the barrel… At the UNB Brussels event on May 4th, the Royal scored its first regatta win in a crew boat for quite some time, when Carol, Dorota, Marie-Hélène and Patricia won Masters Quadruple Sculls, beating local rivals SNUB and Union. Not only that, but they did it the heroic way, rowing through both their opponents in the last couple of hundred metres.

Congratulations especially to Dorota, making her competition debut at the regatta, and to Patricia, in her first side-by-side race.

Another win, of sorts (they all count…) came a couple of days earlier, at the Tournai regatta on holiday Thursday. Lars and his former crewmate Carine, who now rows for the Namur club, had a row-over to win the ‘handi-rowing’ coxed doubles – the cox for the occasion being none other than Albert. Shame that they had no opposition to demolish, but at least they posted a much quicker time than the winner of the other ‘handi’ event, for quads.

If you’ve seen one Canal, you’ve seen them all

Well not quite. The Grand Canal in Venice is a little bit special, and never more so than during the Vogalonga, when it is part of the itinerary for 1500 rowing boats of all shapes and sizes as they follow a course of 35km through the city and around the lagoon. The Royal were there, of course, with our yolette and triplette, crewed by Brigitte, Catherine, Généviève, Marie-Hélène, Dorota. Pedro and Albert.

We’ll have a fuller report, with pictures, in the next issue.

News from far and wide

Hi everybody, it’s already quite a while since I left Brussels for Timisoara. David’s newsletter gave me the opportunity to come back in contact with you all to tell you how everything is going !

I’m in Timisoara till the end of the school year, enjoying a fantastic Erasmus year. Things are quite different here though Timisoara is the most “occidental” city of Romania. The school is great and I got to know lots of really cool students.

One of the great things of Timisoara is that the Bega river crosses the city from east to west. And there is a rowing club, approximately 200m from the centre of Timisoara!! The trainers of the club, Ioan and Caty are in fact the two trainers who took care of my one month preparation in Snagov before the Athens world junior championships. Add to this that except for a few kayaks, there are no other boats on this canal than ours, and that there is an average of 1 day of wind on the canal per month, and you will understand why Timisoara is according to me one of the best places I ever rowed in.

Three weeks ago, I participated to the Romanian national long distance championships in double and pair oar. For the first time, I rowed with a partner that had exactly my size and my weight! And I must say it’s quite comfortable.

We rowed in the open senior category and guess what, we finished last twice! It seems our 20 training outings together weren’t enough to beat the bunch of seniors training for a qualification for the Olympics and training three times per day! Because in Romania, senior rowing is not very popular, except for the lot (the national team).

Still, it was a nice experience, reminding me of this month I spent there, waking at 6 for the first of three daily outings. I also saw friends I had enjoyed rowing with four years ago.

Greetings to all the Royal rowers!!
Pierre
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You also get a Hello from Vincent who’s settled into regular training with Vesta at Putney, with his eyes on a possible Henley berth this summer, and Rudy, who has found a little club on a lake near to where he lives in Norway. Meanwhile Dick is working hard to revive the fortunes of the Cape Fear River Rowing Club in Wilmington NC and has been getting up before dawn to coach the University of North Carolina – at his age, too – it can’t be good for him.

She’s new, she’s blue, and her name is…

Well actually, she hasn’t got one yet. The boat in question is Carol’s C-class single which arrived from Germany on May Day. Just four kilos heavier than a racing single, it promises to be both practical and fast, and Carol is looking forward to handicap-racing, setting off at the front and playing ‘catch me if you can’, something that takes a lot of courage.

As for the name … well, you’ll have to wait for the ceremony on June 22nd, as a curtain-raiser to the Chicken Party.

Floating geography lessons

A small but dedicated group of Royal rowers have diversified into ship-spotting. No, not the barges, they don’t count, but real ships, the kind that go to sea. They are to be found occasionally, either in the direction of town, beyond the ‘Meunerie’, or moored at the quay just before the Pont Brulé. Having thoroughly spotted them, the ship-spotters paddle back to their search engines, where they find out as much as they can about the vessel in question.

Here’s our latest ‘spot’

If your Cyrillic isn’t up to scratch it’s also known as the Temernik, 4600 tonnes, built in 1997 in Rostov-on-Don.

One of the spin-offs of this harmless pastime is you can learn a lot about places you’ve never heard of before. Recent visitors have been registered in St John’s, Antigua, and in Avatiu, which is in – no, you can look that one up for yourself. Here’s a clue:

The Temernik comes from Taganrog, which as we all know is famous for being the birthplace of Anton Chekhov.

The combination of Rowing and Wikipedia can broaden the mind wonderfully.

Did I mention the Chicken Party?

As you may have seen above, it’s early this year, because of Global Warming. June 22nd is the date, and if you don’t know about the Chicken Party it’s the highlight of the RSNB calendar, when members put on chicken suits and run across the Chaussée in front of the speeding traffic.

Well, that’s not quite true. It’s our Rowers’ Summer Barbecue and as well as prime poultry products there will be succulent ribs, delicious salads and an aperitif, all for the democratic price of – actually I don’t know the price, but it will be democratic.

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April 21st, 2008
Dear Members of the Royal Family,

This newsletter has been some time in the making (June 2006 !!! I hear some of you cry) so it starts with some bits of news that are already well over a month old. Anyway, the clocks have changed, evening rowing is under way and the weather, for the time being at least, is being kind to us.

And the water is warm for the time of year, as both Toni and I can testify.

Ascent of the Meuse, 9th March

New events in the Belgian rowing calendar don’t pop up very often, so when one does come along it’s worth supporting it with enthusiasm. Which is what we did when RCNSM invited us to their inaugural Spring Handicap on the Meuse at Wépion, just south of Namur.

Fourteen participants from the Royal went along, in five boats. Starting no 3 was François in a canoë, followed by the yole of Carol, Toni, Graham and David, with Heather making her coxing debut. Then came Andy in his single, the triplette with Pedro, Lars (in his first race) and Marie-Hélène, and starting at the back of the field of 32 the quad of Kevin, Felipe, Luc and Indrek.

The race distance was 5km, over an extremely attractive course. However a strong stream and at times an even stronger wind turned it into the equivalent of a 7km slog, especially for the heavier boats. My yole crew was passed by Andy in the second kilometre and the quad came blasting by before half way. Early hopes that we might catch François were blown away in the wind, but we maintained our distance ahead of the triple. Our final kilometre was not made any easier by a neck-and-neck battle with a CRB yolette which had caught us but which we wouldn’t let by – we beat them by half a second.

In the final reckoning, the quad was 5th overall, Andy 14th, François 17th, the yole 22nd and the triple 26th. Satisfactory enough, but mostly we were pleased to have beaten the elements. The race was won by a double canoë from RSNM Liège, with a CRB quad second in the fastest time of the day at just under 24 minutes.

The big surprise came at the prizegiving, where unexpectedly the awards were given by age category rather than by boat type, and the Royal carried off two trophies, Andy for Masters D and the yole for Masters F.

I should point out that our two lady rowers are far from Masters F status but under the arcane Belgian handicapping rules ladies in mixed crews are expected to add ten years to their age and row as men!

Thanks to François and Kevin for towing duties and to UNB for loaning us a second trailer. All in all, a grand day out despite the conditions. The organisation of the event was generally excellent – although there was the usual interminable wait for the results and the prize ceremony. I’m sure we’ll be back next year, although we should be prepared for a 35 rather than 25 minute row, and personally I’m tempted by the idea of doing it in an eight, to make the race just a bit shorter.

And Seneffe, 16th March

The Royal entered four boats in the Seneffe Head; in Masters singles Andy and Pedro went in a thirteen-strong field, Andy finishing seventh. In Masters doubles, Philippe and Marc were third of three while the quad of Filipe, Kevin, Luc and Claus, also rowing Masters, put up the second fastest time but were third overall on handicap.

Just to prove the point, the quad were nine minutes quicker than at Wépion, and Andy eight minutes quicker, although both races were over the same distance.

A sad farewell

Uinseann, whom we all know as Vincent (for obvious reasons) has decided to follow in the footsteps of countless of his countrymen and seek his fortune in London. We didn’t have the heart to tell him that the 2012 rowing trench had already been dug.

Vincent has been with the Royal since early 2005, and deserves a lot of the credit for the revival in the Royal’s fortunes at the senior level, not least for just sticking with it through the lean times and showing the newcomers who followed on that there was more to the Royal than weekend paddlers of a certain age. The pay-off came with the inaugural Brussels Head in 2006 when he and his crewmates Indrek, Kristian and Claus carried off the title in fine style.

More recently he’s been concentrating on rowing in the single and posting some good results, including an excellent debut in the Scullers’ Head in London last December.

I’m sure that of all the memories of the Royal he takes with him, the most vivid will be of that head-on collision with a peniche while going flat-out in a double with a partner who wasn’t looking where they were going. He hasn’t been in a boat with me since.

Slán agus go n-eiri go mór leat, Uinseann. We wish you all the best in your new endeavours and hope that rowing will continue to be a big part of your life. You know where we are in case you need to take a break from the Tideway to reacquaint yourself with the delights of the Willebroek Canal.
Rowing in faraway places

The ‘loisirs’ section have been active in putting together a calendar of prospective trips, coordinating with UNB and SNUB to make use of our new shared trailer. For some reason they have a preoccupation with events as far away from Brussels as possible, and are talking seriously about the Vogalonga in Venice on 11th May, and on 5th July, 24km on the open sea between Marseille and Cassis. For more information on these, and on events closer to home, contact François.

Further still… On Sunday last we had the pleasure of welcoming back Chantal Bortnowski, on a flying visit, who is organising a four-day trip down the Danube, where it forms the border between Romania and Serbia, starting on 4th May – just in case anybody is feeling impulsive, she still has a couple of seats available. This is just to ‘test the waters’ and she assures us that she would be able to repeat the exercise in the future should we want to get up a Club expedition.

Nearer to home

The UNB Brussels Regatta takes place on Sunday 4th May, over a 1000m course either side of the clubhouse. If you want to row, let Marc know immediately – the entries close on Tuesday 22nd April (do they accept late entries? I’m not sure). Otherwise note that there will be no Club rowing that day.

On 27th April, the Royal has been invited to demonstrate the sport at the ‘La Rasante’ fitness club in Woluwe St Lambert. This involves, amongst other things, floating a single on their pool (hope it’s got a clean bottom) and showing the workout maniacs how to make a C2 ergometer go twice as fast with half the effort. Marc asks for volunteers during the day who can explain the sport – in French, Dutch, German or Spanish.

Light reading

Following a clear-out of the attic, I have placed a bundle of old ‘Regatta’ (UK) magazines in the boat shed, they date from about 1995 to 2002. Plenty of Steve Redgrave, in other words. You’re welcome to take them away, and even bring them back once you’ve read them.
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April 21st, 2008