A BRIEF HISTORY OF RYDE ROWING CLUB.
A Rowing Club existed in Ryde before the foundation of our Club in 1877. It is clear that a Ryde Working Men’s Rowing Club was founded in 1861. It would appear that the Club split in 1877 – into Ryde Rowing Club and Ryde Working Men’s Club – which eventually became the Vectis Fishing and Boating Club. Presumably the split was bought about by the divergence of "rowing" and "fishing"! It is clear that the two clubs shared a boathouse on the pier from at least 1887 as on 30th June that year the Ryde Working Men’s Club subscribed £75 to Ryde Rowing Club being the amount agreed towards expenses of boathouse and slipway on the pier. Thereafter they paid £7-£10 per 1/2 year for rent. So while we have long believed that Ryde Rowing Club are the ” youngest” of the three existing IW Clubs (Newport, 1863 and Shanklin Sandown, 1871) its likely that Ryde are in fact, arguably the oldest Club – having emerged from the Ryde Working Men’s Rowing Clubfounded in 1861!
Ryde Rowing Club was founded in 1877 and is the only Isle of Wight based Rowing Club that has been in continuous existence ever since. It is believed to be one of the oldest sporting clubs in Ryde. The original Clubhouse was on Ryde Pier from where it carried out its competitive rowing and social activities until 1968 when the then landlords, British Rail, evicted the Club on the grounds that the pillars on which the Clubhouse was built were in a dangerous condition and beyond economic repair - these pillars can still be seen standing today, over 40 years later! Thanks to the old Ryde Borough Council the Club were re-housed in temporary accommodation in Appley Park which consisted of a Boathouse only, with no changing or social facilities. In spite of this the Club experienced some of its most successful seasons on the water and laid down the foundations for the even more successful years that were to follow. Thanks to further support from the Local Authority, Sports Council grant aid and a major fundraising effort by the members, a new clubhouse was opened in 1975. Still in Appley Park, Ryde, this provided changing and social facilities in addition to a boathouse. With new premises, the Club experienced a period of growth and significant improvement in performance, with a number of Hants & Dorset and South Coast Championships won and qualification for Henley on two occasions. In the mid 1990's a further problem developed with the Clubhouse suffering from major subsidence believed to beas a result of the construction of a sewage treatment works behind the building, for which the Club was not insured. As a result, a successful application was made to the Sports Aid Foundation and the National Lottery Sports Fund. This enabled the Club to rebuild a new two story Clubhouse, with much improved facilities, which opened in 1998.
For a small Isle of Wight based Rowing Club, Ryde have an impressive record in the South Coast Rowing Championships since winning their first Championship event in 1978. Following on from this initial success they have won a further fifteen South Coast Championships – sixteen in total - and numerous Open and Invitation events - including the aggregate trophy for best performing Club in the Open and Invitation events at a Regatta on five occasions. Crews from Ryde have represented their Association on thirty-four occasions and are best remembered for the outstanding achievement of the Men’s Senior Four who won the prestigious Bideford Bowl, for the South Coast Senior Men’s Championship three times in a row between 1985 and 1987 with, apart from the coxswain, an unchanged crew. In the same period this crew also won the Hants & Dorset Senior Championship three times. The Club has won thirty-nine Hants & Dorset Championships since its first in 1962 – including four consecutive Men's Senior Sculls titles between 2004 and 2007 by Nick Pike.
Two members of Ryde have gone on to row for their country, Martin Knight representing Great Britain in the Men's coxless four at the Olympic Regatta in 1984 and in the Quad Scull in the World Championships in 1985. More recently Simon Jones, who has won at Henley Royal Regatta with his university and mainland club, has represented Great Britain at under 23 and stoked the GB Lightweight four at the 2005 World Rowing Championships and won a Bronze Medal at the 2007 World Rowing Championships as a member of the GB Men’s Lightweight Quad Sculls.
The Club are the current record holders for Round the Island Rowing - in a Coxed Coastal Four, in a timeof seven hours, fifty-seven minutes, set in 1995 and a coxless Coastal Quad, in a Ryde record time of time ofseven hours four minutes, set in 2009. Crews from Ryde have completed the Round the Island Row on thirteen occasions since the first row in 1880 and this includes the only Round the Island row by an all ladies crew in 1999 and by Cub Sculler, Nick Pike, in 2005 in a time of seven hours, fifty-two minutes and ten seconds - the first person to complete the row in a Coastal Single Scull.
The Club has an active Junior Section, recognised by the Sports Governing body, British Rowing, in 2002 when we were awarded BR “Go-Row” status and accredited to run the National Junior Rowing Program. Further recognition followed in 2005 when the Club became the first Rowing Club in the Wessex Region, covering Hampshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight, and one of the first in the country to be granted Sport England Clubmark status. We are also the only Club in the Wessex Region with an Adaptive Section – and affiliation to OAR – Open Adaptive Rowing. In 2007 the Clubs outstanding contribution within their community was recognised with a National Sports Award when they became the first Rowing Club and the only Island Sports Club to win the prestidigious CCPR Sports Club of the Year Award. The Club was accredited as a BR Explore Rowing Club in 2010 – going on to achieve BR Explore Rowing “Pioneer” status with the IW Rowing Forum – the organisation of Island Rowing Clubs – in 2011.
Notable achievements of the Ryde Club –
South Coast Champions. Men’s Senior Fours - 1985, 1986, 1987, 2007 and 2012. Men’s Junior Senior Fours - 1979, 1999 and 2012. Men’s Junior Fours - 1995, 2000, 2005, 2008 and 2013. Ladies Senior Fours - 1978, 1979, 1986. 1987.
Hants & Dorset Championships. Men’s Senior Fours - 1985, 1986, 1987, 2007 and 2012. Men’s Junior Senior Fours - 1979, 1984, 2012 and 2014. Men’s Junior Fours in 2005, 2008 and 2013. Men’s Novice Fours - 1962, 1975, 1993, 1996 and 2011. Ladies Senior Fours - 1978, 1986, 1987, 1989. Ladies Novice Fours - 1986, 1990, 1995, 1996 and 2005. Veteran Fours – 2012. Mens Senior Pairs – 2008 and 2009. Men’s Junior Pairs – 1965 and 2012. Men’s Senior Sculls – 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2011. Men’s Junior Sculls - 1983, 1986, 1992, 2003 and 2009. Men’s Novice Sculls – 2003.
Gold Medal winners at the GB Masters Regatta – 2010 and 2011 (Ian Hayden).
Round the Island Rowing - Current Holders of the record for a Coastal Coxless Quad and Coxed Coastal Four - for Men and Fixed Seat Four for Ladies and for a Coastal Single Scull.
2001 awarded ARA “Go-Row” status and accredited to run the National Junior Rowing Program.
2005 – gained Sport England Clubmark status.
2007 - CCPR Sports Club of the Year.
A HISTORY OF RYDE ROWING CLUB AT THE SOUTH COAST ROWING CHAMPIONSHIPS - in Celebration of the 50th South Coast Championship Regatta in 2006 - can be downloaded here.