News 2021

Getting hooked into the bank at the start, watching the world go by.

Finish with a Flourish Dec 2021

A busy day saw the Men’s 8 win the open class at the Newark Head Race and the women mix it up with a combination of erging and rowing.

From the men’s Captain: “A really solid performance in testing conditions. Long row up to the start, then on the way back we had some wind and stream and the occasional wave to contend with plus a whole division of boats chasing us down. It would have been easy to melt under the pressure, but we were gutsy and maintained focus and determination all the way down the course. I was especially pleased by our push at the end to make sure that a pesky Loughborough quad didn’t get past us. “

Our early start for Division 1 was rewarded with clear blue skies and stiff breeze. We managed the whole process in the dry spell between two quite nasty weather fronts. A number of the smaller boats in the later division scrubbed and others were stopped from racing as the weather got progessively worse.

Sitting by the bank at the marshalling area after an 8km row upstream, allowed us to watch other boats arriving including our class competition – a notably younger team from Derby (being notably younger than most of the assembled Devils is not hard). Waiting and watching was not without entertainment as the strong run of the stream did cause some collisions and mishaps. Thankfully our cox, Jim got us there intact.

The race back down river was sporting in terms of the racing and the conditions. Keeping us in the best part of the stream was a challenge, with both a building wind and some real chop. 

Back at base, those ladies not out on the river, erged with a pair of them taking on a half marathon. 

Join a rowing club and get slick at building and stripping boats.
Watching the Ladies 8 from Derby arrive at the start
All done and the smell of bacon rolls is in the air.
The erg squad get busy
Whose idea was this?
All done

AGM and Awards Evening  Nov 2021

The main event of the social calendar took place at the Chequers in Breaston – our AGM and Awards Evening. The formal business was addressed first and the Devil’s Elbow is in a healthy position after a year full of major changes, the pandemic was the easiest of them to manage.  A feast of fish and chips preceded the awards, of which there were many spread across the squads. The Captains and others given the task to select the various winners had a tough task as the quality of rowing throughout the club continues to improve thanks to planned, progressive programmes, a positive atmosphere and for the women at least, bribery with carefully chosen rewards for their fanatical erg work.

‘Vamos Los Diablos’ – the Soar Head Nov 2021

As is so often the case after a less than brilliant rehearsal the week before, the races themselves went well. The Devils put out Men’s, Women’s and Mixed squads. We put out crews in all three divisions with quite a few rowers getting into two races. Although there were no wins, there were many seconds and thirds against crews very established in the smaller boats used for the Soar Head – our favoured 8s are not used.  Action – get better in the smaller boats. See the gallery and videos here

Playing Away (Again) Nov 2021

Our rehearsal row at Burton was very useful. So, ahead of the upcoming Soar Head,  a full complement of Devils headed down to Loughborough Boat Club to experience the Soar Head course. The Covid induced gap since the last one meant that it was the first time at this location for a good number of the Devils. The Soar is narrower and more winding than our home stretch of the Trent. Multiple boats got to cover the course and the ladies’ squad are now especially fired up for their first race since 2019. 

Hitting the finish line and going strong

Burton Head Race Oct 2021

It was a very different river to our training runs of a few weeks before. The heavy rain in the days before the race had fed into the Trent and flow was noticeable, especially for those having to hold station away from the banks at the start. We were in a morning division with most of our competitors in the afternoon, which is not ideal for comparison but such is life. The Devils put in a very good row, well balanced, excellent timing and strong effort from start to finish line – 3.5km away. This has provided an excellent platform for building into the rest of the Head season.  In the words of the philosopher Andy Goodall “Vamos Los Diablos”.

A quiet corner to prepare Bladerunner.
NOT our boat!!

Playing Away Sept 2021

The Burton Head race will be on us soon and the men’s squad took the opportunity to go and train on the actual course – twice! This was facilitated by the Burton Leander club who could not have been more welcoming.  Although ‘just upstream’ from our home stretch of the Trent, the river was very different. They have a longer uninterrupted run which novel. It did however have more bends and some distinct shallows, so the time spent checking it out and picking up on the landmarks was time well spent. Burton Leander do a nice pot of tea! 

Rigging 'Bladerunner'
Mug of tea after an 18km outing

In With the New Sept 2021

After a Friday night social of stone baked pizzas at the White Lion in Sawley, Saturday morning was all work for the Devils ladies squad. The recently acquired 8 had had some of the immediate work performed on it and it needed rigging. 

After much beavering away and trays of tea, the new boat, its old name removed was ready for its first outing on the Trent. 

The boat (as yet untitled) was purchased partly with the grant funding from Erewash Voluntary Action CVs Small Grants Scheme – see story from February. The crew staged a ‘Thank You’ as this funding should help a move things forward significantly.

How was the new boat? It felt good in the water and was noticeably lighter than its predecessor. After this short test drive, proper training will start with it on Tuesday evening and it should make its race debut during this Autumn and Winter’s head racing season. 


Another Step Back to Normal Aug 2021

Even though we had managed to run our two ‘Learn to Row’ courses, there was still the swim test for the learners to complete. A number of existing club members were also near the point of having to requalify. It was at last possible to book a pool and get this underway. In parallel to the swim test, we put everyone through the capsize drill and some practice with throw-lines, both for rescuing and being rescued. Club Chairman, Jim Hawkins then energetically demonstrated self recovery in a single for when that becomes the necessary action.

Throw-line rescues
In trouble, but no panic
Working the problem

Learn to Row – Mini Regatta July 2021

The ‘Learn to Row’ course usually finishes with a mini-regatta to put their new found skills to the test with some racing and the opportunity to properly mix in with the existing club members. This year’s was delayed – the original date postponed because of storm forecasts.  The new date was bright and hot, with a flat, slow flowing river. Some of the learners couldn’t make the new date and so the crews were made up of both learners and Devils. 

The first side-by-side races were also time trials to then establish the running order for the final ranking races. Good, tight racing coxed by Devils, Joules and Murray.  

At the end of it all we had our winners, Lydia, Matt, James and Alex with joules at Cox. 

Some great photography from the launch and you can see the gallery for the day here.

Louis, left, Slightly Stunned
.....and the winner is

Louis’ Big Day Out July 2021

One sunny morning, couple of months back, I was cycling along the canal path with my wife trying to beat the Covid blues, when she called out ‘what are the doing over there!’ Any excuse for a breather, we stopped and saw people getting boats into the water and seemingly having a good time. It struck a deep memory with me, I told Annette how I used to row at school and would love to do it again. She reminded me that was over 40 yrs ago, so best if we cycle on….

I couldn’t get ‘that thought’ out of my mind, after a week I made contact and Nigel invited me over to have a go. I was nervous and not expecting to even get in, but found everyone in the club really welcoming and encouraging, really felt they were happy for me to be there.

The idea that I was a rower rapidly evaporated, although I had the basic memory of rowing, soon discovered there was a great chasm between what I thought I could do, to the reality of rowing. So started a steep learning curve in how to row, how to train on an ergo, how to use core strength, how to coordinate in a team, how to… how to…

A couple of months in, I got a real surprise being selected for Open 8+ team row at Burton Regatta. A whole mix of emotions – shock and honour, to panic and fear, to excitement (I was a nightmare at home!). One thing it did was focus my mind, as I had to change my mindset from beginner learner to competing team member. We trained and trained, pushed ourselves but always managed to keep our sense of humour. The team were really encouraging and supportive.

Race day was a blur – I remember rowing up to the start thinking ‘What am I doing? Really don’t want to let the side down, Will I survive this?’. Then we’re off, something remarkable happened, all the training took over, it felt like a dream, I was there heaving, pulling, pushing back, heaving, breathing in unison with the crew – all clicked, all together. Time disappeared. Next, cheers went up, we had won. WOW, WE HAD WON!

What a great day – what a great feeling – I now knew why I returned to rowing. It’s hard work, real graft, both mental and physical – the whole crew working as one. When we are all together working at our best, but in harmony, there is no better feeling as we fly along.

The very best part of the being with Devils Elbow is it’s a family club where everyone encourages and supports each other, experienced and leaners all together, where effort and commitment is valued most . . . alongside having fun. It was good to win, with these guys it made it special.

Burton Regatta Jul 2021

4+ Open

Men’s 4+ (Jim, 4. Matt, 3. Brian, 2. Paul, 1. Philip) lost by one and half lengths to a decent crew from Warwick. Since we’d only managed a few outings together and this was only the second time we’d rowed in this specific line-up with Philip at bow, we were reasonably pleased with our performance. We were caught out a bit at the start – a rapid and rather quiet ‘attention go’ – but managed to stay alongside the opposition in the early stages. We mainatained splits in the 1:30s for the first two-thirds of the race, then dropped to low 1:40s before a bit of a spurt at the finish.   

Time: approx. 2:17         Average split approx.: 500m@ 1:38       Top split: 500m@1:32

SPM approx: 33

8+ Open

Men’s 8+ (Jim, Matt, Brian, Paul, Philip, Darren, Ant, James, Louis)  won by half a length against Derby RC. The opposition were masters F/G and very experienced. They had rowed at Henley masters the day before as 2 x 4+ and one of their crews had won. They got off to a quicker start than us, but we gradually reeled them in. We maintained good boat speed (splits in the low 1:30s all the way) and composure throughout the race. Given the relative lack of experience in parts of our crew this was an impressive performance which testifies to fitness levels, improving technique and character. We can look forward to building on this towards the next competition. Everyone played their part in the victory, but I’d particularly like to mention the following:

Louis & James – great job in the technical seats at bow

Ant – for stepping in as a sub late in the day even though he’s just got over a dose of man flu

Matt – first time at stroke in a regatta and did an excellent job with the rate

Philip – who took one for the team by rowing on his weaker side 

– last but not least, Jim – for his customary expertise as cox – excellent steering, calls (the Warwick crew must have been completely demoralised by his call to take the rate ‘down 2 pips’ in the home stretch!) and motivation. And not forgetting all the trailering he did yesterday as well. 

Time: approx. 2:10        Average split approx.: 500m@ 1:33      Top split: 500m@1:30

SPM approx: 33

As mentioned above, our showing yesterday underlines the potential we’ve got as a squad. If we keep up the commitment to training, medals and pots at future events will become routine!

What Katie Did Next July 2021

Henley Women’s Regatta: Katie Cooper qualified racing her single scull 1x this week, amazing. Here at Devil’s Elbow RC we are all so proud of this one.
Katie raced last night and was leading until 750m from the finish line, her opponent overtook by a length overall in the second half.
Well Done Katie and to Katie’s coach Adam Stancer. What an amazing few weeks, Katie also won her race at the British Masters in June. Well Done Katie, enjoy your rest. 

Neighbour’s Nuptials June 2021

Devil’s Elbow shares its home with the Trent Valley Sailing Club, which built the current clubhouse on the island opposite Trent Lock in 1907. Saturday was a day off rowing for the Devils as the TVSC,  after much sprucing up of the club house and its surroundings, was hosting a wedding for some members. It was a close run thing with the delay in opening up of Covid restrictions – the wedding itself was OK, the use of the boat-shed as a dancefloor was not. It did however provide a most unusual backdrop for the band.  Congratulations to Emma and Tim on their wedding day. On a clear and calm summer evening there are few prettier spots than our home on the Trent.

Farewell to Welbeck Regatta June 2021

Welbeck Defence Sixth Form College has shared the facilities at the Devil’s Elbow since we started – indeed a number of our boats are theirs. After a long history, Welbeck is closing for good. Their remaining upper sixth have still rowed and trained hard, but with Covid have had no events with which to test themselves. To mark the the ending of the relationship we set up mini regatta between the two clubs, a home fixture for both, with a variety of races and multiple opportunities for all the rowers followed by a barbecue overlooking the river. The weather held and some intense and frenetic racing was had by all. For all the pictures that tell the story of a great day click here

What Katie Did June 2021

Katie Cooper, who learned to row with Devil’s Elbow and races under our colours has won her Singles event at the British Rowing Masters Championship at Holme Pierrepoint on the 12th June.  Having learned with us, Katie caught the bug and progressed with private coaching and an independent programme to get to a national level. Being a member of the Devil’s Elbow allows her to have a club affiliation and she is very happy to wear our strip. 

With her mission accomplished, it would be great to see her back at Trent Lock to share some her secrets for success. The pressure is on for the rest of us to make sure that this is not the only silverware for the Devil’s this season – however truncated it may be.

Side by Side by Side June 2021

Ahead of a special upcoming event (more of which in the next few weeks) it was time to get some practice in on race starts and the additional pressure of side by side racing. A mix of boats and ad hoc crew combinations warmed up and found themselves upstream, ready for a series of 500m sprints back towards the boathouse. The last race was past one of Learn to Row crews so we actually managed 4 abreast. The jury is out on whether the racing suitably inspired the learners. More of the same to come and the prospect of actual regattas is getting firmer – Covid restrictions permitting. Top photography of all our Learn to Row sessions by Andy Grimmett on the launch. We were just getting in his way.

Unleash the Beast Jun 2021

Our new learners are progressing well and so both the Tuesday and Saturday Squads have experienced the Octuple. Our 8 seat scull is a lovely wooden boat and the longest in our fleet. The warm weather has brought out more general river users so some land drills were in order to remind them on the backing down procedure in a sculling boat. With sixteen blades on the water it is certainly worth getting this right. Using the Octuple alongside our Quad Explorer meant that, supported by experienced club rowers in their midst, we could all the students on the river at the same time. Working in fours we got the timing right and refreshed everyone’s muscle memory and then with just the bow seat setting the boat we had 14 blades going. All the basic skills got better with this extended spell out on the water and we able to venture further up river, all the way to the Harrington Bridge. 

Learn to Row – The Saturday Squad May 2021

Our new starters on Tuesday now have some competition – the Saturday squad is in town. Slightly grey weather and a threat of rain did not put them off and the water was pretty flat and river flow was modest. A good series of outings and for a first showing there were some promising performances and everyone got back to land dry and with some confidence to head out again next saturday which will have more actual rowing.

Learn to Row – The Tuesday Squad May 2021

After Covid-19 stopping last year’s ‘Learn to Row’ it was great to see some new faces for this year. In fact, driven by demand, we are actually running two parallel courses with one on Tuesday evenings and the other on Saturday mornings. Shown here are the smiling Tuesday squad whose first experience on the water did manage to just slot in between heavy rain showers. The group photo was suitably socially distanced. Our Explorer boats provide a stable platform for these first forays and everyone came back in smiling. Whilst waiting for the run out in the Explorers they were introduced to the delights of the Concept 2 rowing machines – less smiling, which makes sense.

Back for Good? Mar 2021

Our first session back at the club was on a warm sunny evening. The clocks had just changed and the mood was lifted. Some nerves as a lot of the club members had been kept off the water for months by previous Lockdowns and the Tier system. The water was flat and those that went out on the water started slowly, hoping the muscle memory hadn’t deserted them. Some opted for  land training – socially distanced of course. It all went suspiciously well, although the reappearance of blistered hands shows that it was indeed a long time off the water. The hands will toughen up again. 

Making the Most of the Situation Feb 2021

Covid and the recent flooding has kept us off the water. The rise of the Trent caused additional problems. One of our Explorers was holed when the floodwater pushed it into a boat trailer hitch. The need to get that repaired also opened up the opportunity to get other wear and tear issues sorted while the boats were off the water. Those in need of some TLC were taken to Technique Composites in Ripley. It looks like rowing might be back as an organised outdoor sport by the end of March, so with this repair and the other work, we should be ready to go.  

Thank You Feb 2021

Some good news….

Devil’s Elbow Rowing Club has gratefully received a grant of £1,500 towards a New Womens Eight, to replace our old, very heavy and slightly broken one! The Grant was awarded in Dec 2020 By Erewash Voluntary Action CVs Small Grants Scheme. The Erewash Small Grant Scheme is funded by Derbyshire County Council Public Health, Derbyshire County Council Adult Care Services and Erewash Borough Council.  

The Erewash Small Grant Scheme has three priority themes. The priority themes include: 

  • Health Inequalities 
  • Community Wellness 
  • Building Resilience

The Grant also focuses on The 5 Ways to Wellbeing – Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give. I’m sure all you rowers out there will agree that rowing certainly encompasses all of these!

We very much hope that with the purchase of a new 8 our women’s crew can expand, grow, thrive and perhaps even win?! 

Thank you Erewash

Off Off Rowing Feb 2021

Lockdown III continues and we now have flooding on the Trent to contend with. Water levels neared record highs and we will have to wait to see what damage has been done to the boat-house and the equipment stored outside. This is further complicated by Lockdown preventing the possibility of work parties as have been deployed before.  

Where and how they can, the Devils are land training and we should come back stronger and fitter, but might need a bit of time to get the boat skills back up and running. 


Lockdown III Jan 2021

All a bit familiar. Tier 3 saw access to the club limited to Derbyshire based members. That did at least allow some cobwebs to be blown away and  preparations made for some virtual time trial racing. Tier 4 made that harder and no sooner had we got our heads around it, we went into another national lockdown. When we can we will unwind the restrictions and the Covid-19 protocols on the dedicated website page will come back into effect for some time into the future.