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About The Club

The Eastbourne Boat Club was originally formed in 1865. The name was changed to The Eastbourne Amateur Rowing Club when regatta racing rules did not allow professional boatmen nor fishermen to compete against "gentlemen".  Racing initially started to support the town at a resident festival including many other events. 

As the local events moved towards the turn of the 19th century and trains connected the seaside towns, it became possible to transport equipment to other towns....... and so started the regatta programme that we know today. 

The main racing fours we use today still retain the overall length of 34 foot, which was the length of a guard’s van!  The club would take boats to the station on wheels, load the boats onto the train, then the wheels, and do the opposite when they got to the next seaside resort.  

In the early 1900’s, it was quite common for there to be twenty regattas a year.  In those days, there were only ‘open races’ with maybe no more than six to eight events, including single scull, double sculls, coxless pairs and coxed fours.  

Before the war, Eastbourne was the dominant force on the coast, winning the senior fours with coxswain, pairs without coxswain and single sculls.  This continued after our members returned from World War II; however, other than a few specific crews and individuals, the club has suffered in terms of producing winning crews on a consistent basis up until the last five years.  In 1972, the club did produce a South Coast championship boat in the ‘junior senior’ category.  In 1988, we produced our only senior four championship winning boat since the Second World War!  

The club has produced one full international oarsman, Ivor Lloyd, who represented Great Britain in 1977 at the World Rowing Championships.  Ivor also went on to win two National Championship titles as well as numerous coastal titles in his scull.   In 1983, Ivor set the world record for sculling across the English Channel which he held until only a couple of years ago.  He is now the Managing Director of Dorney Lake and is producing the venue for the 2012 Olympics where the rowing will be held.

Ivor also holds the distinguished position of Chairman of Leander Club, the world’s oldest rowing club.  Leander is the most decorated Olympic club in the world where it has produced a massive 99 Olympic medals from its members and will probably produce 50% of the Olympic medals for 2012.  Ivor has held the position of President of Eastbourne Rowing Club for many years.

In addition to this the club has produced a Henley medallist.  Colin Guppy won the Ladies’ Plate in 1985 with Leander Club as well as three National Championship titles. Colin also won numerous coastal, sculling, pairs and fours titles.  

Under Bob Noakes’ leadership, the club took it upon itself to set up a junior section where the club travelled to all the local schools to promote the sport.  During this time, the club raised substantial amounts of money through numerous fundraising events, allowing it to buy high quality rowing machines, boats (six in total), land training equipment, blades (both sculling and rowing), and many other supporting items.  

The club took the approach that the youth of the town is where the lifeblood of any healthy club starts. With this in mind, we invested significant amounts of time to promoting the sport with the aim of producing both fit and technically competent athletes.    We took on kids from the age of twelve through to eighteen where we provided a platform for them to progress. 

In 2005, we held the inaugural schools regatta in the town where we invited all the schools from the town to enter crews for a race on the indoor rowing machines.  We had seven schools take part with in excess of 120 youths.  It was a fantastic event and Sir Stephen Redgrave attended to present the prizes, which was indeed a great honour.  We held the regatta for a couple of years after this event in association with Tim Foster and Ben Hunt-Davis, both Olympic gold medallists.  

Many of these athletes have now matured into great racers and, more importantly, great club members.  Since 2005, the club has produced a minimum of one if not two championship crews a year.  Many of these crews include those athletes from the junior development programme. The championships won are detailed below:
1. Junior 4+ Champions, 2006
2. Junior Senior 4+ Champions, 2007
3. Ladies Senior 4+ Champions, 2008
4. Under 16 4x Champions, 2009
5. Veterans Champions, 2010
6. Junior 4+ Champions, 2011
7. J16 Boys 4x Champions, 2011
8. Junior 2- Champions, 2011
9. J16 4x Girls South Coast Champions, 2011.

The truly outstanding performance by a club member, in 2011, was that of Joseph Guppy.  Joe was selected for Great Britain’s Junior Team and was in the ‘double scull’ in the 2011 World Rowing Junior Championships – they achieved a fantastic result, coming 6th in the world.  Joe has come up through our ranks and is an exceptional athlete and leader.  His passion for excellence and relentless continuous improvement is truly inspirational for club members.  Joe spends time working with those coming through the ranks, he is now concentrating on his progression into the Under 23 World Championship group with eyes on the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

The club continues to grow and we now have numerous projects in hand to further advance the assets needed to develop the club as a whole.