History of Lymington ARC
Lymington Rowing Club was originally founded in 1881, alongside the Coastguards slipway, now the Royal Lymington Yacht Club site. The first notable rowing achievement was Gig racing at which they won 40 consecutive races and were never beaten. In those days regattas were held at Lymington, Yarmouth, Ryde, Southsea and Southampton.
In 1890 the local MP, the Hon John Scott Montagu was elected president. Dr Pithie became chairman and Mr Edward Elliott (Of the Family department store still on Lymington High Street) became the Hon Sectary for the next 20 years.
In 1891 the club had its first win in a fixed seat clinker four when they beat the Southampton club’s boat “Black cross” Unlike today, winners actually received prize money. As early as 1891 the club purchased sliding seat boats at a cost of £35 each.
It is not clear when or why the club first broke up, but it was before the Second World War.
Edward Austin and Bart Wilshin re-founded the club in 1947. In 1950 Mr H G May, of the Berthon Boat Company offered the club a derelict site on the corner of Nelson Place and Quay Road. The club cleared this site and erected the present building, a Nissen hut brought from Beaulieu airfield. Despite several attempts to find better and larger premises, the Club remains at this cramped site.
The club struggled for survival during the early post war years. Neil Williamson was club captain from 1962 to 1972 and saw the club transfer from a state of mere survival to a far healthier state, enjoying some real success. Despite a lack of any proper coaching the Junior crew of 1969 (Including our longest standing member Charlie Phillips) gained a place at the South Coast Championship.
Despite rowing unfamiliar river boats with unsuitable coastal blades, they achieved a second place. Charlie went on to achieve the same result in the 1971 South Coast Championship at Junior Senior fours, again in river boats. Charlie also achieved the clubs first senior win in the pair with Alan Taylor at Swanage in 1975.
Another problem Lymington encountered in those early years was transport. Having no vehicle capable of transporting the 30 foot boats, crews usually had to race in boats borrowed from other clubs.
The only exception being their own regatta, held in the Lymington River, until increasing river traffic forced a move to nearby Milford in 1983.
Ladies rowing started in the mid 1960s. Originally wives and girlfriends of the male rowers just having a go, ladies rowing became ever more serious as ladies races became a regular feature of the season.
Lymington had their first ladies senior win in the pair with Michelle Sloper and Mel Young at Swanage in 1998. Lymington now has equal numbers of men and women rowers and had their first female captain, Sue Mullins in 2001.
Men’s senior four success eluded Lymington until Shanklin in 1994 when Gordon Stillwell, Kenneth Chalk, Kenneth Street, Glyn Mullins & Mark Sloper won the club’s first Senior four race since refounding in 1947. The club achieved several Hants & Dorset championships during the 90s, in most categories, but further senior success eluded them.
The second senior win came in 2000 at Worthing and the third again at Worthing in 2001. This pattern was broken in 2002, Lymington’s most successful year ever.
The crew of David Mans, Rupert Davis, Marc Tremain & Peter Lock beat BTC in the final at Christchurch, securing their 7th win of the season and Lymington’s first senior fours championship.
Peter & Marc also won the senior pairs championship. Tim Bull must surely have achieved a first in 2002.
He not only coached the senior four crew, but also achieved a win with them at Newport, when one of the crew could not attend the regatta.
Lymington’s increased success since the early 1990s is largely due to Colin Fagan. A former crewmate of top international coach Mike Spracken, Colin has raised the technical standard of Lymington’s rowing hugely. All of Lymington’s current coaches have been coached by Colin at some point in their rowing career.
Lymington have been very successful in Men's Pairs rowing in recent years, having won the Men's Senior Pairs Championship 5 times since 2002. In 2007 they won both the Men's Senior and Junior Pairs Championships.
Success at the South Coast Championships (The most prestigious event in Coastal rowing) has for many years eluded Lymington with several crews coming a very close second. A Championship was finally achieved in 2007 at Dorney Lake, Eton where the Junior Men’s crew of Rob Maltby, Tom Springbett, Liam Oliver, Lewis Roberts and Cox Laura Viner achieved a surprise win.
In more recent years, the club has continued to enjoy more championship success, both domestically and at the South Coast Championships.
In 2010, the Lymington Ladies Junior Four crew went nine races unbeaten to secure the HDARA title before they went on to win at the championship race at Wimbleball in September.
The Men's Veteran Over 50's went three years unbeaten at the SCC in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
Then there was more history being made for the club in 2012 where, at Newport Regatta, Lymington secured its first ever Ladies Senior Fours championship. Pete Lock & Geoffrey Fryer also claimed the Men's Senior Pairs title, Lymington's sixth in that category since 2002.
More championships followed as Chris Schreiber secured the Men's Senior Sculls championship in the Hants and Dorset in 2013.
As the club continued to grow and develop, new plans to leave its current home started to become realistic. On the water, two more championships were secured. In 2014, LARC were the winners of the Men's Novice Sculls championship and then won the Ladies Novice Fours title in 2015.
The future of the club looks bright as two years hard work for Livvi Bull and Lucy Taylor saw them finish as runners up in the first ever Ladies Junior Pair championship in 2015, before they went 10 races unbeaten to secure the 2016 title.
In 2017, Livvi Bull and Katie Martin won the Ladies Senior Pairs championship to continue our run of title victories.
Ladies' rowing keeps on improving at the club as Steph Fletcher-Jones became Lymington's first ever women's rower to win an individual race at the South Coast Championships after she won the Girls J16 Coastal Single Scull.
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