Adaptive Rowing at Studland Bay

19 Nov

A guest post today from Guildford RC Adaptive Coach and Coordinator Robert Hall with an intro to adaptive coastal rowing.

Many of you who read Rowing and Regatta magazine will you seen the advertisements for the Coastal Rowing Centre which is located at Knoll Beach on Studland Bay in Dorset. Recently the adaptive rowing squad from Guildford Rowing Club have made two trips down to Studland to try out the rowing centre. In both cases we had an excellent host in Bob Cottell the coach at the rowing centre.

In the first trip Guy Williams and Chris Boys who use sliding seats tested out the singles from the rowing centre.

Here you can see that the conditions were perfect. Chris and Guy were joined by Guildford coach Robert Hall who was not going to miss out on this opportunity. Accompanied by Bob we did a 6km row along the length of Studland Bay to the Sandbanks end and back. The boats used were Liteboats which are far removed from most people’s perceptions of coastal boats. FISA approved they are fast, light yet stable with self-draining sterns.

In conditions like these Studland Bay offers unlimited scope for an outing. On the day we could have continued our row across to the Old Harry Rocks on the other side of the bay before returning to the launch point, a total of 9km. An even more adventurous trip would have taken us past the end of Studland Bay into Poole harbour with a trip around Brownsea Island before returning to base a trip of 15km.

The aim of the second trip was to test out the possibility of fixed seat rowing with Hilary Birkinshaw. Conditions were far more challenging with an onshore wind well in excess of 10 mph. The fixed seat, a Wintech, proved easy to fit into the LiteRace double which we used for the day.

On this day we went along the beach to the cliffs that lead to Old Harry Rocks. The waves were substantial and we started to learn the techniques for effective rowing in this conditions. The LiteRace was amazingly stable giving us full confidence to tackle the waves. Ending up a few 10s of metres away from Old Harry was exhilarating. We returned back to base across the centre of the bay where the waves were even higher. As we are used to having the river bank at Guildford to guide our directions navigating in such a wide expanse of water was a challenge in its own right. Luckily we were accompanied by Bob for the whole outing who gave us clear pointers on which direction to go.

For wheel chair users the wet launch at Studland will pose some challenges. I am certain these can be overcome with greater support on the launch team. We have shown that wheel chair users can wet launch at Staines regatta.

Guildford Rowing Club will certainly be back in Studland in 2019. If you would like to find out more the Coastal Rowing web site is on You can contact Bob on 01305257774 or to

Guildford Costal 2

Guildford Costal 3

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