query re rental boats, Thames rowing.

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Open-water rowing : One Thread

My wife and I will be in London 10 - 18 April and would like to try sculling on the Thames. Either a rec shell double or a pulling boat with two stations would be fine: we're not fussy, and perhaps on second thought,a classic Thames River pulling boat might be the best bet.

Edward Brown, Medford, NJ

-- Edward Brown (Edscull@aol.cm), March 13, 2000


Dear Edward,

In issue # 74 Nov/Dec 1987 WoodenBoat Magazine featured an article on Thames River rowing. In the piece editor Peter Spectre and his wife go to England and do their best reinactment of Jerome K. Jerome's novel Three Men In A Boat. For their adventure they rented a traditional Thames River Skiff. The article was filled with lovely color photos and contained much information on the men who build, maintain and offer these craft for hire. I believe it's still possible to procure this issue from The WoodenBoat Store. Peter Spectre is still with WB. Perhaps if you contacted him he could supply you with more up to date information. WoodenBoat's website address is www.woodenboat.com. I hope this lead proves fruitful and I must say I'm a bit jealous.



-- Andre de Bardelaben (middlepath@aol.com), March 13, 2000.

To rent a real skiff I think that you will need to go up to Oxford or maybe Henley ( do take in the River and Rowing Museum there, a rowing must) Martins around Hampton Court used to keep a few wood skiffs, and my wife and I rented one some years ago, disappearred for a couple of hours rowing down to the Royal Canoe Club near Kingston. The RCC has added the local skiff club to its offerings and if you were around there on a Saturday and was real nice you might get a chance at an oar, although they are pretty serious about training. Check Pete Spectre's article for an address. The Woodenboat Web site has an index. Pete eschews Email

-- Ben Fuller (bfuller@midcoast.com), March 13, 2000.

Many thanks, gentlemen!

-- Edward Brown (Edscull@aol.com), March 15, 2000.

Andre: one of your wonderful boats would be ideal for our plans, but wouldn't fit in the luggage!

Best, Edward

-- Edward Brown (Edscull@aol.com), March 15, 2000.

Ed and all others interested in rowing the Thames. Wife and I rented a 120 yo Thames River skiff from Mark Edwards at Constables Boat house in London- same as Uncle Pete did in woodenboat. They transported it overland to Oxford-where we began a delightful 7 day trip down river back to London.This is a wonderful trip-but I warn you, EXPENSIVE- we ended up paying some 500 pounds. Better to find an individual you can strike a deal with. If you find one, let me know, as we are going back spring 2001 to row Cricklade to Windsor.

-- Dale R. Hamilton (dale.hamilton@med.va.gov), March 15, 2000.

By now you have in hand the latest edition of OWR. In it is the description of the Skiff Club located with the Royal Canoe Club in Teddington with contacts etc. All the stuff I could not remember. These folks can get you plug you into the network. And the beer and hospitality is great.

-- Ben Fuller (bagfuller@compuserve.com), March 15, 2000.

Would one of you guys post the address- email or snail- of the RCC at Tedington. I don't have latest issue OWR. I'll be happy to inquire and post my findings. Maybe we can work out some reciprocal deal.

-- Dale R. Hamilton (dale.hamilton@med.va.gov), March 16, 2000.

DALE: From page 15 of OWR issue 21, the address is: The Skiff Club, The Boathouse, Trowlock Way, Teddington, Middlesex TW11 9QY, ENGLAND. No email address or web page is given for The Skiff Club however David Biddulph's Skiff Racing Pages might help at: http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/david_biddulph/skiffing.htm. An excellent description and history of the skiff design, written by Richard Gooderick, can be found at: http://www.imagic.demon.co.uk/openboat/skiff.html. Keep pullin'.

-- John Mullen (mullen@connect.net), April 02, 2000.

John- thanks for the skiff club address/ I'll send inquiry and if I get a promising answer, I'll post it for all.

-- Dale R. Hamilton (dale.hamilton@med.va.gov), April 03, 2000.

Richmond Bridge Boathouses?


-- Mark Annand (mark.annand@zetnet.co.uk), November 28, 2000.

Thanks Mark for referral to Richmond Bridge Boothouses on the Thames- It seems Mark Edwards from Constables has sold the boat letting business to Tom Balm-his old letting manager. Anyway, the two are indeed in business and I'm seeing about gettinh Megan for Spring Trip from Cricklade down to Hurley. By the way Mark- I was the guy you delivered Megan to at Ousley Lock back years ago- it was a wonderful trip- and I'm anxious to repeat it (without that particular wife however). Might interest you to know that old Mr Peasley still has a boatbuilding shop at the bridge- although, alas he is retired, and he turned me down when I asked if I could come and work for him to build one more skiff. Too bad, I don't know if there are anymore of the old time Thames River skiff builders still around. I would have loved the opportunity.

By the way, read your walking the railways story and enjoyed it very much- Excellent pictures that accompany. A true adventure to savor a life time.

-- Dale R. Hamilton (dale.hamilton@med.va.gov), November 29, 2000.

If anybody wants information about skiffing on the Thames I'll do my best to help.

I'm based at The Skiff Club, Teddington which is referred to above.

We have had requests to use our skiffs from other clubs and from individuals for trips down the Thames and will try to help out where we can. However we aren't in the business of undercutting Mark Edwards skiff hire operation at Richmond. It is unlikely that the club will loan skiffs to individuals but it may be willing to do so to other clubs on the basis that an informal reciprocal arrangement would benefit club members.

I _may_ be able to find individuals who would be interested in a boat swap but please don't count on it.

Please contact me by email not by letter.

If anybody reading this is planning to be in London I'll be more than happy to take you out on the river on Thursday nights or Sunday mornings during the season. We usually organise a supper on Thursday nights and guest scullers will be made very welcome.



-- Richard Gooderick (richard.gooderick@hotmail.com), January 05, 2001.

to Dale R. Hamilton

I paddled a canoe from Cricklade to Oxford a few years ago and I must warn you of several things. First the waters immediately down from Cricklade are shallow and narrow, often choked with rushes. On several occasions I had to get out and push/pull my 12 foot canoe. Of course this depends on the season but being on the Thames/Isis during the rainy season is very dangerous. After Lechlade the river meanders through water meadows which are high banked and very boring to someone with their bum almost on the water--you can't see a thing! The area just above Oxford--Godstow and down to Abbingdon is very nice (I have also canoed from Oxford to Clifton then Maidenhead to Teddington). I suggest getting the Nicholson Ordance survey guide to the river Thames and planning the trip carefully, trying to read the survey map and deciding upon your trip by the picturesque quality--what you can actually see from the boat--where you will be spending most of your time. Also it is NOT the current that will help you the most but the wind. I have been in the water meadows with the current ,but against the wind--and have fought white caps where for every stoke missed due to fatigue I am driven two back! Choose nice sheltered waters and have fun. If you want a ride with the current I suggest renting a canoe on the River Wye on the Welsh border (summer 2000 for us)--that has a current that will carry you. Anyway I found this site by wanting to do something like what you have planned--except I want to rent a rowing skiff of some sort and muck about in and around Oxford and her backwaters. We will be staying there on another of many research trips and I have taken a canoe with me for the past six years. Now I would like to play around, spend a few nights close by on Port Meadow and have the luxery of retreating to our rented accomadations if the weather turns sour (IF?). You do what you must but as romantic as it can be it also can be arduous, boring and sometimes dangerous. Some day I hope to take the family on a narrow boat holiday (where you are high up and can actually see!) and have a small canoe/kayak on deck for me to have excursions.

Good luck. And yes I would do it in spite of what someone like me says! but forewarned is forearmed!

-- Alex McKay (mathes4@uwindsor.ca), October 29, 2001.

I rode down the Thames in 92' and it was wonderful and I want to do it again - so where is the best place to rent a skiff now? Sally

-- SALLY SLATER (ssslater@seanet.com), June 29, 2004.

There are still quite a few of us still sculling skiffs (Three Men in a Boat style)up and down the Thames,mostly in private boats. The only place I know where you can hire a classic camping skiff is Richmond Bridge Boathouse (Mark Edwards) on 020 8948 8270. Hubbocks in Oxford are a possibility but I have no up to date information on them. Boat letters at Henley, Marlow, Oxford will hire you a plastic skiff. If you feel wealthy the following will build you a classic wooden skiff:-

Richmond Bridge Boat House as above,

Henwood and Dean, Henley, 01491 571692,

John Cox ("the master") at Stanley and Thomas, Windsor, 01753 833166

-- mike dulieu (mdashcroft@onetel.com), August 10, 2004.

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