THE HENLEY WHALERS - Weekend Whaling - Daylight Rowing (& sometimes sailing)
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What is it? - Usually Second Sunday of each month, 10:30. Where?. Short-notice changes here.

To meet the demand for more daylight outings, but constrained by our working lives, we also meet on one weekend day of each month, for a cruise from Henley.
This is in addition to our weekly Wednesday evening whaling, Local/Student sailing and our popular participation in various national and international events and competitions. (
Past events & Pictures,)

These weekend outings are either just rowing, or sometimes rowing and sailing. Upstream beyond Marsh Lock we have enjoyed Shiplake, Wargrave and Sonning. Downstream destinations, beyond Hambledon lock have included Aston, Medmenham and Hurley. These reaches are blessed with several pub-lunch possibilities. When better weather permits, picnics are sometimes preferred. (Who said "Never"?)
In the longer days of summer, or in conjunction with some towing by road, one can achieve longer one-way trips and days on the coast.

Some Summaries are below.

What does "Molly" look like?

2nd Sunday 14th Aug 2011

Dates are adjusted in special situations. See "Coming Soon" for updates.
Members check the Crew Booking System / read your emails.

Any crew unable to stay for the whole day can board or jump-ship almost anywhere along the towpath, thus the logistics of fitting some waterborne relaxation into a Sunday are easy.
Visitors welcome - Don't know if you'll enjoy it? - You don't have to become a member - Contact us for information
Weekend Whaling Summaries in reverse order - (Special events, major races etc are recorded in "Recent News" or "Past events")
(67 onwards) "Second Sundays" - The format continues, only the reporting has lapsed! Back up to Top
(66) Sunday 12th June 2016 - Start postponed till 11:00 to let the rain blow over. Relaxed row down through Hambleden Lock to lunch at Aston. Just a few seconds of light rain while returning to base.
No picture.
(65) Sunday 24th April 2016 - Date adjusted to suit crew availability. Past River and Rowing Museum, back to Mill Meadows for snacks, and back to UTRC.
No picture.
(64) Sunday 13th March 2016 - "Red boards" and few crew, but decent weather enabled a row up past River and Rowing Museum, back to Mill Meadows for snacks, and back to UTRC.
No picture.
(63) Sunday 10th January 2016 - An excellent start to the year's Sunday outings. Despite "Red Boards" the whole length of the Thames, six oars & helm made it to Wargrave in under two hours (and back after lunch in 45 minutes!) Some sunshine, and no rain!
No picture.

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(62) Sunday 20th December 2015 - Yet again the weather was unseasonally decent, with warm breezes and just two micro-showers. All aboard enjoyed a joval row to Wargrave. "The George" gave a better welcome, menu and servce than usual. An effortlessly swift "downhill" row home.
2nd SUnday 20th December 2015
Sunset over the moorng
(61) Sunday 15th November 2015 - Sceptics doubted there could be a decent-weather day sandwiched between two weeks of gales. Stalwarts were rewarded by a bright, breezy dry day out. Extra oar-power was Press-ganged in time to enhance safety in the initally rather windy condtions en-route to Wargrave.
Sunday 15th November
Click any pic to enlarge
(60) Sunday 10th Oct 2015 - Another pleasant row up to Wargrave and back. - Lunch there of course! Good weather.
Some pics - Pic1 - Pic2 - from our "Langstone Cutters" friend, and a link to his Blog. Thanks ChrisP.
Molly in Lock
9th August - Scuppered by crew injuries and other last minute issues.
July - "Lost" to Henley Festival.
June - Swallowed by the Magna Carta celebrations.


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(59) Sunday 3rd May 2015 - Brought forward a week because Molly would be heading for the Golfe du Morbhan on 10th May.
Not only rowing, but also a barbeque and a Ukulele concert!
Overnight and morning rain suddenly cleared to order at 10:30. Seven rowers and helm made their way upriver to a barbeque at "Val Wyatt's" at Wargrave, combined with a concert presented by The International Ukulele Band of Sonning Common (of whom several are Whalers).
The return trip included collecting the sailing rig in readiness for the forthcoming week in Brittany.

Click any picture to enlarge .
Ukelele 1
.Ukelele 2.Ukelele 3
Click here for Video! (sorry about quality)

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(58) Sunday 12th April 2015
A select few rowers (where were the others?) braved the choppy waters (a strong wind was blowing straight down Henley Reach) in brilliant spring sunshine. Significantly calmer conditions upriver made for a pleasant cruise beyond Marsh Lock and almost to Shiplake. Returned to mooring by 13:00-ish.
Above Marsh Lock
(57) Sunday 8th March 2015
A "Full House" (10 oars, Helm and passenger), enjoyed an easy run downriver past Aston, then back to moor for lunch at The Flowerpot. Slightly more effort required during the homeward leg, but the threat of oncoming rain was an effective motivator.

(56) Sunday 8th February 2015
Cloudless sunrise was a brilliant omen.
Only "yellow boards" and strong crew, so it was an easy pull up to Wargrave to lunch at The Bull, followed by an even easier run home.
A fender in the water above Marsh Lock offered a spontaneous man-overboard exercise - swiftly recovered and no artificial resuscitation required.
Stats:- Upstream 10:44-11:58, 3.26nm, Max 4.1, Av 2.6kt. Break 11:58-13:56. Downstream 13:56-15:05, 3.25nm, Max 6, Av 2.8kt. (Inc locking, etc.)

Marsh Lock. After lunch Wargrave landing

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(55) Sunday 18th January 2015 - Not the true SECOND Sunday, but a happy compromise. Strongish current but strong enough crew to feel confident of managing Aston and back. No problem, even the fast water below Hambleden wier on the upstream leg.
(54) Saturday 13th November 2014 - There's been a shortage of "2nd Sundays" this year. This was only the second, and all the better for being brilliantly sunny all the way.
Upper Thames, Marsh, Mill Meadows cafe for lunch, UTRC. Relaxed rowing. A pleasant day out.
Checked the new "Island" below Marsh Lock. There is adequate depth between the buoys, but not upstream of the upper (yellow) one.
2nd Sun . 2nd Sun

(53 a&b) Saturday 18th & Sunday 19th October 2014 - Annual Long Row

Report here
(52) Sunday 16th March 2014 - Due to floods since December, this was the first "Second Sunday" this year. - Six Whalers and two visitors enjoyed a shorter than usual (hour and half) Sunday cruise around Henley followed by snacks at The Bull.
(51a&b) Saturday 12th & Sunday 13th October 2013 - Two-Day "Long Row" - This has become an annual event. Slightly more ambitious than last year, this time we booked accommodation for Saturday night.

Report here.

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(50) Sunday 9th June 2013 - Yes, due to poor weather, floods, and other events, this really is the first "Second Sunday" since January!

Grey at the outset. 6 aboard including one new member (RM). A significant northerly wind encouraged us to set of down-river (to have the benefit on the row back up).
Down through Hambleden lock and past Aston. Found a relatively sheltered mooring for the picnic, just short of Hurley lock-cut.
Easy rowing back up with the help of a more-or-less following wind.
The day finished with brilliant sunshine. Molly moored by 16:00.

(49) Sunday 13th January 2013 - One dry and fairly bright day surrounded by rainy ones.

4 oars + helm left UTRC 11:00, arrived Shiplake (the forbidden mooring) 12:30.
Lunch in the village.
Return trip 2.44nm, 50 minutes, average 2.9kt including locking.
Molly to bed by 16:00.

(48) Sunday 11th November 2012 - Remembrance Sunday - Saturday's rains gave way to a brilliant Sunday sunrise, but being November, ice on the covers and lines came as no great surprise. Stream conditions had improved significantly since Wednesday's row, and Molly made good progress upriver with 8 oars and helm, pausing on Mill Meadows to observe 2-minutes' silence before tackling the turbulent approach to Marsh Lock. Warm, sunny conditions continued whilst a snack picnic was enjoyed opposite Shiplake, and during the swift current-assisted return to base.
11th Nov 2012 Opposite Shiplake

(47a&b) Saturday 13th & Sunday 14th October 2012 - Two-Day "Long Row" - Inspired by the success of last December (Weekend row no.40) and No.26 the Long Row to Windsor, June 2010.

We launched at Abingdon Marina at 10:00 on Saturday. Molly was soon being "flushed" downriver by the recent rainwaters.
It was interesting to row these narrower, more rural reaches. One lock was on "Red Boards" and a couple on "Yellow" but most on White.
Crew took turns at the helm and somehow we dodged most of the showers. Lunch was taken whilst drifting below the Wittenham Clumps. Then the sky opened, so we made haste to the cafe at Benson. "Re-fuelled", and with improving weather it was an easy run down to Goring for the night mooring.
Stats - 4hr57, 18.6 m. Av 3.8 mph, Max 8.4 mph. (16.1 nm, 3.3 kt, 7.3 kt).

There was frost on the covers on Sunday morning but bright sunshine encouraged high spirits and Molly got off to a good start. Sun shone all day and we reached "home" well before sunset.
Stats - 5hr10, 20.4m. Av 3.9mph, Max 7mph. ( 17.7nm, 3.4kt, 6.1kt).

The whole crew agreed it had been an excellent two days.

Long Row 2012 Caversham Lock

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(46) Sunday 9th September 2012 - "Carson's Return" - It was great to welcome Carson back aboard after his enforced absence, and impressive that he was keen to row. Six "passengers", propelled by six rowers, cruised gently upstream to enjoy a sublimely sunny picnic.

(45) Sunday 17th June 2012 - "Carpe diem" - Nothing to do with fishing! - We grabbed a fairly sunny day; one of the first after the irony of so many rainy ones which had plagued us since the introduction of the hose-pipe ban.
Lots of current running, though "Red Boards" earlier in the week had been reduced to "Yellow". None-the-less, quite a challenge for five rowers plus helm. Almost up to Marsh Lock; refreshment at the cafe on Mill Meadows;
then drifting most of the way "home".

(43, 44) April, May. - No reports
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(42) Sunday 11th March - One of those unbelievably bright pre-spring days, ideal for a floating picnic. A sheltered spot out of the wind and in the sun was found on the upstream end of "Poplar Eyot". Willows were showing a touch of green. Back on the mooring for 14:00 to suit one crew member.
(41) Sunday 7th January 2012 - Despite a modest current, five oars & helm made it to Wargrave for lunch, and back before sunset!
(40) Saturday 10th & Sunday 11th December 2011 - Long Row - An experimental format - Upstream on Saturday - Return on Sunday.
Saturday - An easy row up to Wargrave Rowing club, and car lifts home
Sunday - By train to Wargrave, row up to Sonning, and brief drink in the village, then "home" to UTRC.
2nd Sunday Nov 2011 .. 2nd Sunday Nov 2011

(39) 13th November. Brilliantly sunny. Only the colours and low sun reminded us summer has gone and it really will soon be Christmas.
We observed the two minutes silence (right) then rowed upstream.
Middle = At the Wargrave landing after jovial pub lunch.
Far right = After putting Molly to bed.

2nd Sun Nov 13th 2011. 2nd Sunday Nov 2011. 2nd Sun Nov 13th 2011

(38) 15th October. Six aboard enjoyed a great cruise below Aston, plus Flowerpot for lunch
(37) 14th Aug 2011. Lovely weather. Picnic upstream of Marsh lock. (Picture right).
10th Jul Henley Festival.
3rd Jul. Henley Regatta. (Not strictly "Second-Sunday" outings)
26th June. To Wharfe Lane for Regatta.
10th April - To Aston (Flowerpot) & back.
9th Jan 2011- Shiplake (Picture, below right).

(31) 14th Nov 2010- Hambleden Mill.
10th Oct - Temple Island then snacks at Mill Meadows
(29) 19th Sept - Shiplake wier (GRR practice)
(28) 4th Sept - Phyllis Court Disabled Regatta. No we weren’t competing. Carrying passengers and disabled rowers. Some pictures here
(27) 18th July - The Hennerton Backwater - Yes Molly DOES fit .
20th June 2010 - Whalers 2nd "Thames Long Row" to Windsor - No report?
(25) 9th May - Wargrave
(24) 11th April?
(23) 13th March - Wargrave
(22) 14th Feb Caviar & Vodka
(21) 17th Jan 2010 - Wargrave

(20) 13th December 2009 - Row around Henley .
(19) 7th November 2009 - Whalers sail at Datchet. - Report currently here.

18th October 2009 - Whalers 1st "Thames Long Row" - Witchurch bridge to Henley, with sociable and refreshing pauses at Caversham and Shiplake. Mostly sunny and warm. Some crew were inducted in the use of the steering oar, and liked it!

(17) 10th October 2009
Despite grey skies and only moderate wind we collected the mast, and decided to limit the sails to just gib and "Julia" (our trysail). From a safety perspective this was ideal, making capsize "impossible". Aston, The Flowerpot, and return, achieved, but mainly under oars.

Sunday Aug14th 2011
14th August 2011
Sunday Aug14th 2011
10th April 2011
9th Jan 2011
9th January 2011

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(16) 26th September 2009
Stunning September sunshine, almost no wind, and minimal current, made ideal conditions for a downstream cruise, even with only four oars plus helm. Turned below Medmenham then beached on the Buckinghamshire shore for lunch aboard. Easy rowing "home" still in brilliant sunshine. Molly secured by 16:30.

Henley Festival 2009
High definition/large version available on request

(15) 9th August - Shiplake.
(Early July) - Henley Regatta & Henley Festival
(Not strictly "Second-Sunday" outings)
(14) 14th June - No details . (13) 10th May - Phyllis Court Races . (12) 19th April 2009 - Wargrave?

(11) - Sunday 8th March 2009

Blustery and bright. See the picture.
We stayed within the Henley Reach. Two visiting crew Parked aboard. Down almost to Hambledon. Up-stream and up-wind to Mill Meadows. Refreshments at the cafe.

2nd Sunday pic

Squally shower as we approached the mooring. Covered up by 13:30, then it TIPPED down! - Splendid timing.

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(10) - Sunday 8th February 2009

Another excellent "2nd Sunday".
Brilliant sunshine most of the day, and virtually no wind. (This followed a week of school closures due to snow). Six aboard for the row to Wargrave where we used the public landing then enjoyed a brief stroll to The Greyhound for lunch.

With eight aboard for the "downhill" run, and a strong following current, we were home in around 50 minutes, achieving 6.2 knots with very little effort, and just before the weather turned again!
(8th Jan we went to Rye and won the Rum Race)
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(9) - Sunday 9th November 2008

A Tale of Two Temples
and another great success!
The weather was far better than forecast, being dry and mostly sunny from the outset.
09:30 cast off with 10 aboard.

By 1015 we had passed Hambledon lock, picking up 2 more crew en-route.

Here we are heading down toward Temple Island
At Temple Island
(Click to enlarge)

11:00 saw us observing two minutes silence in Hurley lock, and by 11:15 we moored at Temple lock for beer and cakes. 
At Temple Lock
(Click to enlarge)

Unsurprisingly the return journey against a fair amount of landwater, was much slower, yet still dry apart from a brief shower as we moored for lunch at "The Flowerpot". The strong current below Hambledon lock was no problem, but headwinds and squalls in Henley Reach reminded us of "Devils Point".
Moored around 15:30.

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(8) - Sunday 21st Sept 2008. A rowing-only day.

Caviar, and a lock too far?
A brilliantly sunny September day.
Against a modest stream, 5 &1/2 crew made it to Shiplake College, and dropped off the 1/2.
There followed a gently drifting picnic. One of our number having recently returned from Russia, our diet included a little imported speciality. The salty substance was washed down with a perfectly pleasant white. The things we suffer for our sport!
The now following stream aided a swift return, enabling several crew to disembark at The River and Rowing Museum to attend the Henley Literary Festival.
A lock too far? - Not quite, though meeting the 1430 deadline required some pretty focused rowing. Molly safely home by 15:30.
(7) - Sunday 10th Aug 2008

A day of mostly good weather. Rowed upstream to Wargrave. Lunch. Gentle sail downriver - Winds fickle as ever!
One crew member went ashore at Marsh lock on the homeward journey. Molly "put to bed" at around 17:00.
(6) - Sunday 11th May 2008

A splendid spring day - Perfect picnic weather.
In preparation for our forthcoming competition in Venice, we had been hoping to fine tune our reefing technique. The forecast 14mph winds would have been ideal. The plan was somewhat scuppered by breezes varying from dead calm to subtle and fickle.
Some non-sailing crew were so sedated by the good weather they stayed aboard and enjoyed the very gentle sailing.
More crew joined at picnic-time. A discussion about reefing, gust-management and getting off the mud was followed by some adjustments to the reefing gear and some practise with it.
A further crew change took place at Marsh lock on the homeward journey, and Molly was "put to bed" at around 17:30.

Thanks are due to NG for his pics, here.

Molly sailing above Marsh Lock

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(5) The Calm Before The Storm. - Rowing-Only

Sunday 9th March 2008
10:30 - Despite prophesies of foul weather, seven optimistic crew (including a visitor) mustered at the mooring in brilliant sunshine and a gentle breeze. We had already decided to make this a rowing-only trip, and to keep it fairly brief. The Flowerpot (aka "The Poacher"?) was our chosen destination. There was time for a brief diversion downriver of the Aston landing, and after mooring we were still at the doors a few minutes before high noon. Just as well because the tables quickly filled.
Recent moderate rains gave a slightly "up-hill" feel to the return row, but Molly was safely tucked up by 15:00, and we had enjoyed another delightful, mostly sunny cruise with not a shower in sight.
(Storms struck the UK, notably the South Coast on the following day, causing damage and traffic delays)

(4) - Was this really 10th February? 2008

Sunny all the way, virtually windless, and at least 10C in the afternoon.
With eight aboard we rowed upriver, enjoying the various skills of several of our crew. Warm sunshine during an outdoor lunch. Just enough breeze to justify "sailing" home. The return trip became a leisurely drift downriver whilst wondering whether the faint occasional breeze would ever give us more speed than the current. This was so gentle that even some non-sailors were pleased to be aboard. The sun remained bright to the end, even whilst Molly was covered up.

(3) - Sunday 11th November 2007

Rain before the start was a temporary concern. Once under way with the sail gently filling we cruised sedately to Hambledon.
After the lock, a more certain tail wind pushed us swiftly down to Aston.
Lunch at The Flower Pot was generous and good quality.
The return voyage involved a little more rowing, but we were secure on the mooring before dark. All-in-all a pleasant day out, and a moderate test for the new spar.
Helen's pics . Madeleine's Pics

11th Nov Molly at Aston Ferry mooring

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(2) - Sunday 14th October 2007

Sunny all the way. Without the sailing rig (repairs in progress, following damage in Dorestad) we rowed to Wargrave, picked up a passenger en-route, and dined at "St George". During the return row we were unable to resist an invitation to tea and cakes at a riverside residence, perfectly positioned to watch the sunset.

(1) - Henley Whalers 1st July 2007 - "Sunday Sail" is successful

Gentle rain gave way to dry, windy, and overcast. With 8 aboard we rowed to Marsh Lock, rigged the sails and fought headwind and strong current for 3 hours. With much tacking and some rowing, we reached the "St George" in Wargrave for a late lunch.
With only the "Julia" and the gib, the following wind and current swept us back to Marsh lock in under half an hour!
Brilliant sunshine during the return trip helped make it an excellent day's sailing.
Definitely an experience we intend to repeat.

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