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Shanklin Sandown Rowing Club

View of the club from the clifftop

Club History

Shanklin Rowing Club was inaugurated in 1875 and was housed in a hut with a tin roof on the beach on the north side of Shanklin Pier. The boats being mainly four oared galleys, probably the same ones which had been used for smuggling brandy and the like from France, had all been reduced from six oars by an act of parliament as they were in the habit of outrunning the customs cutters by turning directly into the wind.

In those early days the club belonged to the "Coast Association" and was very active in attending regattas along the south coast and had their share of success. Evidence of this exists on "The Borough of Portsmouth Grand Challenge Cup" which Shanklin won the first three years it was competed for (1888 -90). This is now the Senior Fours Cup at Southsea Regatta. We are also in possession of a prize goblet engraved ‘Bournemouth Regatta 1892, South Coast Championship Senior Fours’ and these are clearly visible in a photograph of the crew which is in our Clubhouse.

In 1903 Shanklin RC, with several others, broke away from the Coast Amateur Rowing Association and was one of the seven founder Clubs of the Hants & Dorset Amateur Rowing Association. Rowing at Shanklin came to an abrupt end on the 5th November 1916 when an extremely high tide, together with high winds, swept the Club hut away together with the boats and equipment inside.

From around 1900 a rowing club existed in Sandown and was active up until the outbreak of the second world war in 1939 when the premises was taken over for defence purposes. The boats were removed and placed outside in a car park whilst most of the members were enlisted in the forces. When the members returned after the war they found the local Sea Scouts had been given permission to take over the premises. As the club had no lease to secure the building they were unable to reclaim their base and the Sea Scouts still reside in situ today.


In 1953 a local man, Archie O'Leary, gathered together a few like minded people and acquired what is said as ‘the better of two galleys’ left from Sandown R.C. before the war (The galley they left behind had a tree growing through it). Archie and co. spent many hours trying to get the galley into a usable state, a goal never fully achieved. They Christened the boat the "Lena" (originally the "Silver Spray" of Ventnor Rowing Club) and it, together with four oars loaned by Ryde RC (and never returned) was the catalyst for revival of rowing in Shanklin.


In December 1954 a meeting at the Grange Hotel approved the reforming of the Shanklin Rowing Club. A group of former Sandown R.C. members informed Shanklin that when Sandown Rowing Club had ceased to exist, they had put their funds into a bank to be available to anyone who attempted to reform the club. It was then agreed that if we were to include the name of Sandown into our club name, we would therefore be entitled to those funds. Hence the adddition of 'Sandown' to our club name.


In 1955 a new wooden boathouse was built on Osbome Beach in Shanklin. Situated just a few yards from the original site but further up the beach, the new building saw the construction of one new galley and the subsequent purchases of two more galleys from the Electricity Rowing Club at Portsmouth. Over the years, boats of all types used in our regatta programmes have been built for the club. No second hand boats remain.

The year 1975 saw a great change when after many years of planning department and council delays, plus objections from the owners of Shanklin Pier Shanklin Sandown Rowing Club finally managed to build what is the present stone Clubhouse. This enabled SSRC to increase equipment, maintenance and social facilities and gave us a good base from which to run our Annual Regatta.

The first regatta was run jointly with Ryde R.C. at Yaverland in 1972 and then split into two events in 1977. Over the years hundreds of young people, boys and girls, have learned their watermanship skills at the Shanklin Sandown Rowing Club but this tends to be only for a few years however, as they mostly move on to university or employment on the mainland. Many of those who move on do continue with their rowing and several have been selected to train with the national squad. The most successful of these who started with us and won his first ever trophy in our colours (Novice Fours at Lymington) was Louis Attrill, who was in the winning gold medal eight at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. More recently two of our Ladies, Lesley Walters and Emma Hindsley were finalists at Henley rowing for Twickenham.


Whilst competing in the many South Coast and Hants and Dorset event races we have had numerous periods of success winning various championships on a number of occasions, particularly in the Ladies events. Towards the mid-2000's Shanklin became slightly dormant, with only a few crews racing between 2004-2010. Despite this, Shanklin won the 2009 Junior pairs championship (Grattage and Thompson) and were runners up in the 2010 Junior Senior Fours. Following the 2012 Olympics the club saw an increase in membership and with that an increase in success, Alex Robertson won the 2014 Mens Junior Sculls championship and teamed up with Joe Murray to win the 2014 Mens Junior Pair Championship. More championships came in 2015 with Murray taking the Mens Junior Sculls, with the club winning both the Mens Novice Sculls and Ladies Novice Fours championships. 

Success at SSRC has been abundant in recent years. 2016 saw Daisy Faithfull win the Novice Sculls Championship, while the club’s men’s four tasted victory in the Junior-Senior Open at the South Coast Championships. The following year, Daisy followed up her success with two more H&D championships, one of which saw her team up with sister Emily, to win the Junior Pairs Championship. SSRC enjoyed another South Coast success with a win in the Junior Men’s Open event at Dorney Lake. 


2018 brought tremendous success for the club, with countless successes from its athletes. SSRC kicked off the year with 3 national medals at NJIRC, including two Golds. Riley Horrix continued the success on the national stage with a Silver medal at the British Rowing Junior Championships, following a Bronze medal at the Junior Inter-Regional Regatta with Ethan Walters. Daisy and Emily Faithfull’s dominance continued as they won the Senior Pairs Championship, with Daisy also winning two Gold medals for England at the Home International Regatta! The summer’s racing was capped off with wins in both Novice events at the South Coast Championships, while Kayleigh Bachelor was crowned national champion at the British Rowing Indoor Championships in December.


Shanklin took home three more national indoor medals in 2019, including Kayleigh Bachelor being crowned national champion for the second year running at BRIC. On the water, the club took home another three Hants and Dorset Championships; Ladies Novice Sculls, Men's Junior Pairs and Men’s Junior Fours. The Men’s Junior Four went the whole season undefeated, finishing their season in style by being crowned South Coast Champions, Shanklin’s first ever men’s crew to do so. However, the stern pair of this crew, Walters and Horrix, also tasted unprecedented inland success. The duo won a silver medal at the British Rowing Junior Championships in the J15 2x, followed by the club’s first ever win at the national ‘Pairs Head’ in the Championship J16 2x.

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