Grafton Rowing Club News: 2008 Iluka to Grafton Rowathon

The 12th Annual Iluka to Grafton Rowathon was held on Saturday, July 5. Start time was 7:30 am at Iluka with a cold southeasterly blowing and chopping up the bay and the river.

Rough water in the bay - the Dutton Park 8 prepare to start in the 2008 rowathon

70 rowers participated in 12 boats. The boats included:

  • 3 single sculls

  • 3 double sculls

  • 5 quad sculls

  • 1 eight

Entrants came from as far as Brisbane in the north and Taree in the south. Clubs included:

  • Grafton Rowing Club

  • Lower Clarence Rowing Club

  • Maclean High School

  • Murwillumbah Rowing Club

  • Dragons Rowing Club (Brisbane)

  • Dutton Park Rowing Club (Brisbane)

  • Redlegs Rowing Club (Brisbane)

  • Port Macquarie Rowing Club

  • Hunter Rowing Club

  • Manning River Rowing Club

John Ryan of Murwillumbah waits for Jim Stewart to come in for a changeover near Harwood Bridge - notice the good conditions on the Harwood to Lawrence stretch.

Conditions improved around Harwood to Lawrence but deteriorated again after Brushgrove, with the wind varying from side on to a headwind until the final few kilometres in Grafton.

Most crews alternate their rowers, changing over every 10 to 15 kms, but the following crews and scullers rowed the whole distance without crew changes:

  • Port Macquarie Rowing Club Double Scull

  • Hunter Rowing Club Double Scull

  • Lower Clarence Rowing Club Single Scull (Isaac Bolton)

The Hunter girls double scull after arriving at Grafton,
still smiling after rowing the whole 68km

The "winning" crew (i.e. the fastest crew on the day) was the Murwillumbah single scull shared by Rick Kranen and John Newcomb in a new record time of 5 hours 8 minutes. They were closely followed by another Murwillumbah single rowed by John Ryan and Jim Stewart in a time of 5 hours 17 minutes.

Three of these scullers set the race record last year in a quad - in 2007, the quad of Paul Carson, John Newcomb, John Ryan and Rick Kranen rowed the whole distance in a time of 5 hours 13 minutes - this was a "D" crew, so their average age was over 50.

The Murwillumbah/Port Macquarie Quad from 2007 - fastest crew that year

The Port Macquarie Double Scull was rowed all the way by Jim Young (formerly of Grafton) and Liz Levido. Jim has completed all twelve rowathons and has rowed the entire distance in each of them.

Liz Levido and Jim Young near Maclean in the 2008 rowathon

Isaac Bolton again rowed the entire 68 km in a time of 6 hours 54 minutes, 25 minutes faster than last year.

Isaac Bolton (16 years old) who rowed the whole 68 kms
taking 25 minutes off his time from last year

The results were:



Time Taken















Murwillumbah Single Scull (Kranen/Newcomb)

Murwillumbah Single Scull (Ryan/Stewart)

Dutton Park Eight

Grafton Rowing Club Double Scull

Port Macquarie Double Scull (Jim Young & Liz Levido) *

Dragons Rowing Club Quad Scull

Grafton Rowing Club Quad Scull

Hunter Rowing Club Double Scull *

Grafton Rowing Club Quad Scull

Redlegs Rowing Club Quad Scull

Lower Clarence (Isaac Bolton) *

Grafton Rowing Club Quad Scull


5 hours 8 minutes

5 hours 17 minutes

5 hours 35 minutes

5 hours 38 minutes

5 hours 41 minutes

6 hours 6 minutes

6 hours 21 minutes

6 hours 25 minutes

6 hours 31 minutes

6 hours 50 minutes

6 hours 54 minutes

6 hours 58 minutes

* Rowed the whole course without crew changes

The Dragons quad scull arrive back in Grafton - happy after knocking
over and hour and a quarter off their time from last year :-)

The Redlegs quad arrive back in Grafton

Overall the day saw another successful Iluka to Grafton Rowathon with the only mishap being a Grafton quad that had a bit of a "sinking" feeling about 3 kms into the row - seems the crew might have been a bit underboated??

Grafton mens quad coming in for a crew change - maybe a bigger boat next year fellas??
Full credit to this crew for persevering in the rough water early in the day.

The rowers all enjoyed the day and spoke of plans to return again next year. They then went to rest up, soak in a hot bath and bathe blistered hands before joining together for a presentation dinner and drinks at the Grafton District Services Club.

More Photos