Merton College Boat Club – We need better boats!
Out target is to raise £25,000 for two new boats!
Who we are
Founded in 1838, Merton College Boat Club has had a long and illustrious history. We’ve had two Olympic rowers, a world champion, oh, and a blues winner who attempted to scale Everest. Not to mention a Headship on both the men’s and women’s sides of the Boat Club (Summer Eights 1951, Torpids 2003 & 2004).
Yet it has been over ten years since Merton last had a headship. Our best successes have followed the acquisition of both new boats, and in the example of the 1951 crew, following the construction of a new Boat House to store the College fleet. Since the millennium, the College Boat Club has had the highest number of women’s blues rowers of any College. But, sadly, the Boat Club’s equipment isn’t up to the same standards as our wonderful crews.
Why it’s important
Merton College Boat Club keeps punching above its weight, given the old state of most of our rowing Eights’. Many College Boat Clubs look to renew shells every six years; our best is at least 12 years old and was second hand when acquired. We don’t have enough shells to field three crews for both the women’s and men’s squads at present, despite the large number of students at Merton who could compete for us. For many, Oxford is the most accessible environment in which anyone can dab a hand at rowing; and many discover they have a wonderful future with the sport. As such, whilst we’re seeking to raise the minimum of at least £12,500 for one of our first boats to be replaced, we’d really need to raise double the sum so that we can set both men’s and women’s squads on equal footing!
The Boat House is being extended and renovated next summer, providing us with the perfect opportunity to begin to upgrade the fleet. The additional storage the Boat House extension shall enable us to store our shells to a higher standard, extending their life, and the dedicated workshop space at the back of the Boat Club will ensure that these shells can be better maintained by the College’s Boatman. Furthermore, the Boat Club has recently developed a strategic plan for the next five years, and these new eights will help realise this potential – so that we can work hard to put ourselves on a successful footing to kindle a golden age within the Boat Club.
We need your help!
Many of the top crews around the University have brand new boats, but purchasing a single one would cost north of £30,000. So our plan is to source two used, good-quality boats (for less than half of that cost) for our top two womens’ and mens’ crews to use, and to refurbish the current first boats for our seconds’ crews to use. The Boat Club has been building funds for equipment purchase over recent years, but we are looking to close the gap and get these boats purchased as soon as possible in line with the College’s New Boat House Extension. This the perfect opportunity to get this new equipment!
We’re looking to raise a minimum of £12,500 to purchase one new shell, however, any extra will go towards a second shell and if beyond that, to other equipment costs for the Boat Club.
If we don’t get two shells in this Campaign, we will work to the raise the rest of the money by next year, as we are committed to getting a new Boat for both the womens’ and mens’ crews! We’re launching this project, under a rainbow of hope – so please help us today!
Find us here
Share our Work!
If you don’t feel you can support us financially, we would very much appreciate it if you would share our project with your friends and professional circles on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and beyond!
Thank you for your help!
Crew photo (middle) copyright of John Cairns (www,johncairns.co.uk), crew photo top copyright of Chris Madell (1974) and photo of the launch (bottom) by Peter O’Connor.