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Club History

In 1989, the city of Hampton allowed a new VRC to take over the space under the Booker T.Washington bridge (Settlers Landing). The founders, H.Shaw, Trip Ferguson and Bill Parks fenced it in for their Peinert single shells. Later Coach Gene Jeffords and the founders designed and built boat racks with a floating wooden dock. Jeffords was a coach for William & Mary and guided our early growth and interest in racing.

 

A heavy wooden Pocock 4+ shell was purchased from the Naval Academy in the early 90's and we started racing with the also new Norfolk club. As membership grew, so did our boats. A carbon fiber Vespoli 4+ was purchased and so local racing began. We raced at the East Coast National Masters races (1000m) with Mike Page, John Bates, Tom Butterfoss and Bob Howard. Sandi Hurst an experienced cox inspired and endured us. This crew with Hank Vicellio, replacing Bob H with Tom at stroke won their age group in the National Masters in 2006. An old  8+, 2 new doubles and another racing 4+ led the intramural and high school racing but without coaching and high school support racing was dropped.

A tornado in June 2012 broke our 2 racing boats and most of the club moved on. They were repaired by 2016 and we have slowly built up the club, with new rowers joining yearly. The pandemic lead to more singles for "distancing" so our present inventory is 6 Alden training shells, 2 Maas, 2 Peinert racers, as well as our race Vespolli 4+ and Vespoli double. We have a coach boat and access to all  of the CNU 8's and 4's. They have shared our boathouse since 2015 but have been unable to row since the pandemic. Our 20 year floating dock began sinking in 2017 and the Hampton city graciously put in a new EZ dock of durable plastic.

We have taught sculling to hundreds of new rowers in the past 5 years; presently we have 20 paid members. This year, 2023 we look forward to an active year of new members. During the pandemic we built a new rack for 8 new singles, and thanks to this early warmth we are on the water.

Some of our 20 new members have helped rebuild this 33 year old club, and we are one of about 12 other adult rowing clubs in South Eastern Virginia. So, please come join us in this great sport that can be practiced from teen years to the end of our times....

Bob Howard

President

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