It’s about pulling together…
- We tend to run 3 sets of courses per year starting
- mid-January – for hard-core learners
- mid to late April – best time of year to learn
- mid to late October (after the Hunting Boat Club – Head of the River) – traditional time of the year to learn
- Currently accepting enquiries and registrations for the course starting mid to late October 2023.
- 5 sessions
- Session 1 please allow 4 hours – 2 hours safety & land training, followed by 2 hours of boat training focusing on stability
- Session 2 onwards please allow 2 hours
- Sessions are held on either Saturday or Sunday mornings (usually starting between 8am & 10am). The exact dates and times will depend on learner/coach availability, the weather, tide and boat availability.
- The total price for the course is only £80!
Additional Info – Frequently Asked Questions
- How much time on the water per session? we will aim for at least 45 minutes in the boat on the water.
- I cannot commit to 5 consecutive Saturdays / I cannot make any of April etc…. That’s ok! You just need to complete a minimum of 5 sessions before the end of the calendar year
- What if I do not learn to row in 5 sessions? The objective of the Learn to Row (L2R) course is to ensure you feel comfortable, confident, and safe in a Quad rowing boat (using 2 oars per rower). If you don’t, we will continue to teach you at no extra charge until you are competent or until the end of December 2023 – whichever happens first.
- Can my child (under 18 years of age) learn to row? Children of secondary school age (or higher) can generally learn to row, however Spitfire can only teach children/minors who are accompanied by a parent/guardian who is either learning to row in the same boat or helping the coach if they can already row.
- Is there a maximum age to learn to row? No, but rowing for the first time can be extremely exhausting. For that reason, we ask each beginner to complete a Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PAR-Q) when enrolling on the course. Depending on your responses, we may ask you to consult your doctor before participating on the course. Rowing is a major cardiovascular workout so it’s very important that we safeguard both you and the other rowers in the boat.
- Do I need to be able to swim? Rowing is a water sport so we strongly recommend learning to swim before learning to row. Rowers should be able to swim at least 50 metres in light clothing, swim under water for at least 5 metres and tread water for at least 2 minutes. If you can’t do this, you will still be able to row, but will be asked to wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) when in a boat or on the pontoon. It’s up to the individual learner or their parent to remember to put on a PFD for each session.
- Is a session every weekend guaranteed? We will work hard to try to make these happen, however sessions may not be run on days where it’s unsafe (e.g., due to very high winds), when clashing with a race or due to limited volunteer coach availability (i.e. every first Saturday of the month).
- Can I do an intensive course? Rowing for the first time can be both very rewarding and extremely exhausting. It takes a lot of focus and muscles that you may have not used in a while, plus the hands of new rowers need to get accustomed to the new type of work you are giving them. It’s also outside and exposed to the elements. As a result sessions on the water are generally limited to a maximum of 2 hours. Depending on your fitness, volunteer coach availability and the number of people learning who are also available it may be possible to organise more frequent sessions.
- What do I need to bring?
- Ideally, you should arrive in the clothes you intend to row in. Wear sports clothes such as tracksuit bottoms/leggings and tops. Although rowers tend to wear lycra, you don’t have to!
- Always bring a spare set of clothes with you…just in case!
- A pair of sliders/crocs, wet suit shoes or wellies can be very useful.
- Depending on the temperature in summer months shorts and a t-shirt can work fine; always remember to use sunscreen and bring a water bottle (reusable plastic ones are preferred as metal bottles are likely to damage the inside of the boat).
- Slide bite or track bites on the calves (comes from the repeated contact of bare skin against the seat slides/runners) – if wearing shorts it may be useful to protect against slide bite. One way is to use long socks that go to below the knee (e.g. compression socks for runners), purchase bite guards / calf protectors or fashion your own (by cutting the toes section off an old pair of socks)
- In winter months – Long sleeved warm layers are helpful as you may want to remove layers as you row.
- What happens when I complete the learn to row course? You will be given a completion certificate and invited to become a member of Spitfire.
- Why isn’t there a summer course? With both learners and coaches going on summer holidays at different times, plus events, and races, they just don’t tend to work out. Also, learners’ hands tend to get sweaty (from work) and develop painful hand blisters much faster than when it’s cooler. We find it’s best to learn to row when it’s cooler and then row regularly recreationally or train and compete over the summer months.
If you have any questions, require further information or want to discuss anything do not hesitate to contact us.