Established in 1882, Grafton Rowing Club has a long and proud history in the local and wider community but is always planning for the future.
Whether you are looking for a chance to race at various levels of competition; want to keep yourself fit and healthy; or just want a recreational physical activity, Grafton Rowing Club can cater for you.
Grafton Rowing Club has regular social activities, informally in the club, as well as regular get togethers, activities and trips.
Grafton Rowing Club aims to promote and participate in the sport of rowing within the local and wider community, in a friendly and social environment for members and visitors. The club provides and maintains a large fleet of rowing and sculling boats of various boat types, sizes and equipment levels, along with a variety of training, coaching and support equipment.
We can cater for beginners as well as those at various levels of experience or age, who want to row recreationally; or maintain fitness; or race at any level.
Grafton Rowing Club travels to, and hosts, a number of regattas throughout the rowing season, with competition for a variety of levels and age groups.
Grafton Rowing Club members enjoy a friendly, social atmosphere in the club on a daily basis, as well as in various organised trips and activities.
Grafton Rowing Club has a large fleet of boats of all sizes, along with other associated equipment, all stored in a boatshed right on the banks of the beautiful Clarence River.
The Grafton Rowing Club boatshed can be found at the river end of Prince Street in Grafton, below the memorial boulevarde. The shed contains boat storage, a kitchen, barbecue area, ergometer area, toilets and showers. This building, constructed in the early 1930s, is the third rowing club shed to built on this site and was, at various times, shared by the rowing club with the flying boat service and the water brigade.
Grafton Rowing Club maintains a large fleet of boats of all types, including eights, fours and quads, pairs and doubles, and single sculls. Boats of various experience levels are available to suit beginners, recreational, training and racing purposes. The club also owns a large collection of rowing and sculling oars for use in the various boats. A number of school boats and privately owned boats are also kept in the boatshed.
Grafton Rowing Club operates a number of power boats for use in coaching purposes but also as safety and support boats as needed, during both training and at organised events.
The doors to the six boat storage bays can be clearly seen in this photo. These gable-ended extensions and roller doors were added in the late 1990s and allow boats to be stored perpendicular to the river and carried straight down to the water. These extensions also allowed more boats to be stored in the boatshed. The small, square structure on top of the left end of the building is the judge's stand and is in line with the finish line of the regatta course.
The use of club boats, oars, and other equipment is included in the club membership, with boat and oar allocations determined by the club captain. The equipment is expensive and has to be maintained, so there is an expectation that club members wash boats out after every row, follow correct boat handling procedures, and assist with boat maintenance from time to time.
Several ergometers are available for club member use in fitness training, technique coaching and fitness testing. The large mirror allows the rowers to monitor their own technique during ergometer training sessions.
This aerial shot shows the boatshed on a regatta day some years ago. Whilst some changes have been made to the surrounds, the exterior of the boatshed itself has not changed from how it appears here. The proximity of the boatshed to the riverbank, which allows for easy boat launching, can be clearly seen. The boatshed is shown here with all the roller doors open.
Most club boats have a name - some are named after people associated with the club, past or present; some bear a supporter's name; some have an aboriginal word as their name, usually with some relevance to the river or the surrounds; some boat names refer to the river itself; but all have some relevance to the people and the spirit of the club and the town.
Despite the extra boat storage space afforded the club by the gabled extensions, boat space is still at a premium. One solution to this is the use of mobile racks to house single sculls.
Grafton Rowing Club hosts an annual Rowathon, a 40 km row from Copmanhurst to Grafton. Participants row the course, either the full distance, or sharing their boat in stages of various lengths. The 2016 Rowathon is on Sunday, July 10, 2016
Crews setting off in the morning mist at Copmanhurst for the 40km row to Grafton. Participants can row any type of boat but most go for sculling boats (singles, doubles and quads), with some rowing the whole distance and others making crew changes at several staging points along the river.
Whilst times are recorded, the event is not a race - emphasis is placed more on the challenge of completing the course, the enjoyment of being out on the beautiful Clarence River, and the satisfaction gained by participating.
The rowathon is a 40 km course from Copmanhurst downriver to Grafton. The map shows various aspects of the course, including tha start, staging points, river aspects be aware of, and the finish.
As a member club of the Northern Rivers Rowing Association and Rowing NSW, Grafton Rowing Club competes in a number of regattas each year. Regattas visited by the club include Murwillumbah, Tweed Heads (at Murwillumbah), Lismore (at Coraki), Lower Clarence (at South Arm), Port Macquarie Rowing Club, NSW Masters (at SIRC), Pan Pacific Masters, etc.
Club members who wish to compete at regattas must register as regional competitors of Rowing NSW for competition and insurance purposes.
Grafton Rowing Club also hosts several regattas per year and assists with hosting school and other local club regattas.
Masters rowers in the club regularly compete at the Pan Pacific Masters Games, NSW Masters and even the World Masters
Membership of the club is outlined below - note that these memberships include insurance and registration.