Welcome to the May edition of BCCC Matters 

In this issue:
  • BCCC Hasler 2022 - Important information for race entrants
  • Devizes to Westminster 2022 - Update
  • A Day on the Upper Thames - Cricklade to Lechlade
  • The Great Spring Barn Clean
  • Our London Adventure - Thames trip
  • Video Analysis of Paddling Technique
  • Technique in a Canoe
  • The Importance of good technique for all paddlers
  • BC Explore Course - Class of '22
  • BCCC Courses
  • The Surrey Heath Show 2022
  • And finally .... New Thursday evening paddle.

BCCC Hasler 2022 - Important Information for Race Entrants

Details of the event can be found here: Race Entries - Basingstoke Canal Canoe Club Hasler (

Please make your entry before the closing date of 2pm on Saturday 7 May.  The old system where Team Leaders collected the details and made the entries has changed.  Since last year it is all conducted online with payment in advance.  No late entries are permitted.  All entrants must be members of British Canoeing and registered on their system.  Race entries can be made via the Marathon Canoe Racing UK website.  Select Racing from the various headings across the top of the page and then select Race Entry System.  Alternatively, the link below will take you directly to the page that opens

Race Entries (





30 Apr 2022

British Marathon Short Course National Championships



Marathon Racing Committee

1 May 2022




Viking KC

8 May 2022

Tamar Circuit


South West

Tamar Valley Nomads

8 May 2022

Basingstoke Canal Canoe Club Hasler



Basingstoke CC

8 May 2022




Worcester CC

Select Basingstoke Canal Canoe Club Hasler.  (Nb Open merely means that entries are open as opposed to closed) This will lead to the information details on the race.  A direct link to these details is given below

Race Entries - Basingstoke Canal Canoe Club Hasler (

All the details that you need to know about the race are provided on this page.  To make your entry select Enter Now.  This will lead you to the Add Entry page.  A direct link to this page is given below.  (Nb.  Entries can only be submitted in advance via this means and closing date/time is 2pm on 7 May.  There will be no late entries on the day)

Race Entries - Add Entry (   The following guidance has been provided to help you complete your entry:

  • Select the appropriate Crew Type (K1, C1, K2, C2, Mini K1 (eg Lightning K1), mini-K2 (eg Hody K2)
  • Press Next
  • Add Entry Paddler 1.  Enter your name then press Search (Nb.  I entered David Howie but it did not recognise it even though that is the name on my BC card.  I changed to D Howie and it came up with Howie, Dave!).
  • If you have selected a double kayak/canoe in crew type, you will be asked the name of Paddler 2.  Provide the name and select search
  • Press Next (once it has recognised you or your crew)
  • Select event.  The options available will depend on your response to Crew Type above.  If you are already on the system, it will automatically select the appropriate event
  • Select OK then Add to basket
  • You will be asked to check that the summary of your entry, membership details and the fee to be paid are correct.
  • If correct, press Next
  • You will be asked to provide your details, provide a contact telephone number for the day of the event and respond to 4 statements
  • Press Next
  • On the Submit entries page you will be asked to pay now using a credit/debit card via Stripe
  • Press Next
  • Select Go to  
  • Provide your card details
  • Select Pay

David Howie
Race Captain

Devizes to Westminster 2022 - Update

Easter 2022 – so it must be DW time! Usually the Devizes to Westminster race finishes at Westminster (the clue is in the name!). After an absence of two years due to Covid, the race was able to be held again, but finishing at Teddington, a distance of 108 miles, competitors only missing out on the joys of the Tideway as all 77 portages were still required!

I was providing sports massage for the stages race this year, and managed to see Zoe and Liz off on Day 3, and also managed to get out on the course near Molesey to shout encouragement to all, including the Lord Wandsworth College crews I had helped coach. It was great to be on the other side for a change.

B3C had several members racing this year. In the Senior Doubles straight through race, Jon Freemantle, paddling with Tom Dawson (Falcon), finished in 17hrs 59mins 5 secs with Nick Holby and Chris Davidson finishing in 23hrs 8 mins 13secs. Mike and Johnny Oliver, who despite having just had Covid, towed the start line but unfortunately had to retire at Marsh. Well done for getting on that start line and giving it your best shot.

In the 3 day stages race, Hannah Gallagher and Joseph Langham (Wey) racing Junior Vets, finished in 17hrs 56mins 2secs, Liz Murnaghan, racing Senior Singles in C1, finished in 22hrs, 30mins, 45secs and Zoe Griffiths (pictured above), racing Senior Singles in K1, finished in 23hrs, 25mins 19secs

A huge well done to All.

Sarah Francis

A Day on the Upper Thames - Cricklade to Lechlade


On Saturday 9 April, Pina, Fiona, Jane, Rick, Keith, Anne, Brian and Tom met at Cricklade to paddle 17Km of the uppermost reaches of the River Thames. A local man assured us that we’d need to portage our craft the first 100m as the river was totally impassible, many had tried before and failed. Pina and Fiona did a recce along the Thames Path and informed us that we’d all get through although it might be a tight squeeze for the canoe. They were right and with the canoe turned on it’s side we squeezed that through too (don’t worry QM it was our own canoe). Though  a number of other trees had fallen across the river we were able to paddle past all of them with a little sawing, sliding and shimmying. 

The sun shone most of the day although it was a little cool even in the sunshine. There were few other craft on the water apart from a couple of young men who launched their canoe just after us intending to paddle to London. We passed a very well behaved flock of swans, juveniles we thought, not yet in protective parent mode. We spent a few minutes practicing our ferry gliding just before stopping for lunch. Our ‘high tea’ stop, just before Lechlade, attracted a large herd of young bovine creatures all jostling for a look at the strange humans with their brightly coloured plastic things, which might be worth licking to see if they were tasty. We have to admit, removing cow slobber from our kayaks didn’t feature anywhere on our risk assessment. Landing at Lechlade we trolleyed our boats to the car park. A good paddle, a beautiful day, great company. What more could one ask for?

Anne Biffin

The Great Barn Spring Clean

They say it’s cathartic to have a spring-clean …well on Saturday 23 April, over twenty club members and even two who have not yet joined turned up at the barn, rolled their sleeves up & set to with gusto! Having cleared all the lowest boats outside, brooms & brushes were wielded energetically. They say an army runs on its stomach: well the kettle was switched on, supervised by Wanda, chocs provided by Debbie and a dual effort by Bill & Calvin (who would have preferred a greater involvement in the tasting aspect) were on BBQ duties for bacon butties & sausages. Murray made sure the washing up happened too. Thanks to Anne, Brian, Calvin, Bill, Brett David Howie, Debbie, Geoff, Tony Gallagher Kevin, Miriam, Murray, Nancy, Rick (bad cold but still lent out brooms), Ross, Tony (soon to join), Wanda, and to everyone else involved - what a fantastic team effort!
The barn, kitchen & changing rooms are now gleaming  - so can we all make a special effort to keep them looking like this please. Not just for our Club Hasler (still time to sign-up and help get points for our club ), but for all of us re pleasure and comfort. Wanda spent about 3 hrs cleaning the kitchen today …and whilst she likes a cuppa … she’s definitely not responsible for all those dirty mugs in there. Let’s try to keep it that way. Ditto for the barn - please put boats & other equipment back where you got them from.

Next barn clean will be circa September. Thank you

Zoe Griffiths

Our London Adventure - Thames trip

Our challenge was to take Zoe Giffiths down the tidal Thames in a K1 to familiarise her with the conditions in preparation for her DW attempt. A band of merry paddles accepted the challenge and set about our first task which was a deep water rescue of Zoe and a K1. Donning drysuits to play in the canal, we found a method of righting and emptying the K1 and getting Zoe back into it. However, it  was resource hungry as 2 sea kayaks were needed to right and empty the K1 as you can’t use the usual  sea kayak method of dragging it over upside down. It needed a more gentle action which took time. Time in which to be blown or taken with the current to who knows where on the Thames with fast moving traffic all around. So the plan developed, whilst the K1 was being emptied, the 2 sea kayaks were taken under tow by a third in order to keep things in a place. In the meantime, Zoe was hanging off another sea kayak waiting for it to be emptied, and we needed another kayaker to keep a lookout and an overall eye on the situation. So 5 sea kayaks required as a minimum!

So we were set to go and launch from Putney Embankment with the aim of getting to at least Westminster Bridge and beyond if we had time. The first date was blown out by the weather; whilst DW may run in a F5, we weren’t so sure it was worth the risk. The weather was good for our next date in early March but Zoe was taken out with Covid.  By this time we had found out that the DW was not going to include the tidal Thames. However, as our plan was in place. we decided to go ahead with the trip, particularly as it’s rare to have the right tidal conditions on a Sunday - the only day you can park!

The first mile or so from Putney saw some good speed recorded on Garmin at about 6mph, the tide pulling us along nicely over flat calm water. At Chelsea, the water was a bit more messy and we met more and more traffic, usually in the shape of river buses, busy keeping to a schedule and no time to make way for little old kayaks – if they saw us.  One or two slams of the noses of the sea kayaks as we went over wash waves and thoughts of wonder how that feels in a K1? Westminster Bridge came up quite quickly. It’s Always a joy to go through the centre  of London from a completely different viewpoint, spotting the landmarks and eventually arriving at Tower Bridge by which time we were no longer being assisted by the tide – time for lunch. We managed to get the kayaks out of the water and after a little scramble to get up to the pedestrian area in front of the Tower. We did  get some curious looks and questions from people passing by.  After a while we realised they could see us sitting in our familiar drysuits and BAs but couldn’t actually see our kayaks!

Lunch over and the tide turned, we made our way back, more used to the messy water where the wash bounced off the walls and came back again. Remembering to give the Houses of Parliament a wide berth (restricted area),  it didn’t seem much effort or much time to be back at Putney. Garmin again suggested some tidal assistance. 

We had such a great day that we plan to do it again on Sunday 19 June. It’s about a 17 miles round trip (feels like 12 miles with tidal assistance) so you need to be paddling fit.  If you are interested, contact me.

Rick Covell


Video Analysis of Paddling Technique

I will be bringing the club video camera to training on Saturdays from 9am and will be able to take video footage of paddlers who would like their technique to be analysed either during or after training.  

The video will be made available as unlisted on YouTube so can only be seen by anyone who has the link I will send.  If you go into settings when playing back on YouTube, you can reduce the playback speed to 25% normal to make analysis easier.  It should also be possible to view the footage on my computer afterwards using Windows Media Player which enables analyse frame by frame.

Along with the video link, I will sends a self-critique proforma which you can use to make your own analysis.  It has notes to explain what you should be looking for under each heading.


David Howie
Race Captain

Technique in a Canoe


Much of the advice about technique in a kayak applies to a canoe using a single blade.  This evaluation form for use with canoes which those of you who use a single bladed paddle should find useful

There is a lot of advice on YouTube about technique in a canoe using single blade paddles but not all of it is appropriate.  I have come across the two videos below which offer some useful advice on the use of body rotation in a canoe and how far forward to place the blade at the Catch

The first video is useful as the first “golden rule“ is to use body rotation and the 3rd is to keep both hands in your field of view – which is also linked to rotation 3 Golden Rules of Canoeing Technique |

The second video is a bit wordy but focusses on the Catch and how far forward the Catch should be to be effective John Puakea Teaches Canoe Paddling Technique: The Catch - Part 1 - YouTube

David Howie
Race Captain

The Importance of Good Technique for All Paddlers

For racing or recreational paddlers, learning how to paddle a kayak with good technique has many benefits, including:

  • Preventing common paddling-related injuries, such as shoulder dislocation and tendonitis
  • Getting more leverage and power with each stroke
  • Helping you navigate and control your kayak more efficiently, especially when kayaking against the current
  • Reducing arm fatigue
  • Allowing you to travel faster and further by transferring the energy of each stroke more efficiently
  • Putting less strain on the body, especially your back, shoulders, and wrists
  • Making the kayak track straight – with or without a rudder or skeg– easier

Using the Paddle as an Efficient Lever

The paddle is used to lever you and your kayak past the paddle blade, which is locked in the water to create a resistance.  It helps to understand a lever.  It consists of:

  • a rigid structure (the paddle)
  • a force or effort acting upon it (the arms)
  • a fulcrum which is a fixed point on the shaft
  • a load or resistance that is placed on the rigid structure (the resistance is located at the blade in the water and the load to be moved is the kayak and the paddler which is linked to the paddle via the hand/arms)

There are three types of lever.

  • First class lever.  The fulcrum (bottom hand on the shaft) is located between the effort (the upper pushing hand) and the resistance (the blade).  Video analysis of many club paddlers reflect this “push/pull” technique with the top hand pushing forward after the blade has been placed in the water
  • Second class lever.  The load is located between the fulcrum and the effort.  An example would be a wheelbarrow.  This type of lever does not apply to paddling.
  • Third class lever.  The effort (bottom “pulling” hand) is located between the fulcrum (top hand) and the resistance (the blade).  This technique is illustrated by most of the top paddlers as any viewing of the marathon or sprint world championships will indicate.  It is this sort of lever that club paddlers need to develop in order to maximise their ability given their fitness and the amount of time they can commit to training

Mechanical advantages of levers

When a lever's effort arm (ie the distance between the fulcrum and the effort) is longer than its load arm (ie the distance between the fulcrum and the load), it is said to have high mechanical advantage.  Levers with high mechanical advantage can move large loads with a relatively small amount of effort. 

Second class levers always have high mechanical advantage – but this type of lever does not apply to the paddle stroke. 

First class levers can have high mechanical advantage if the fulcrum is close to the load.  In paddling, this is illustrated by the long distance between the top “pushing” hand and the fulcrum (at the bottom “pulling” hand) compared with the distance between the bottom hand and the top of the blade.  The weakness of this form of lever for efficient paddling is that most of the force is being applied at the bottom “pulling” hand and only 10% is applied at the top “pushing” hand.  This means that 90% of the force being applied to the lever is being applied in the same place as the fulcrum thus making it a very inefficient lever which requires brute strength to work.

Third class levers are most efficient for the paddling technique – they make racing more effective and recreational paddling more fun.  The fulcrum is located at the top hand which must be fixed in relation to the body from the point where the blade locks in the water at the completion of the Catch (ie where the blade is fully covered) until the start of the Exit of the blade from the water.  This means that the fulcrum must not move forward (ie increase the distance from the body) during the drive phase.  However, although fixed in relation to its distance from the body, the fulcrum is not fixed in space as it will move across from in front of one shoulder to in front of the other shoulder in response to the rotation of the torso during the Drive phase of the stroke.

Currently, no paddlers at the Club in my experience are using a 3rd class lever.  In my recent videos of club paddlers some have shown a first class lever from the Catch to the point where the shaft is vertical and from that point to the Exit they use a 3rd class lever.  Unfortunately, by then the drive phase of the stroke is over half completed.  The trick is to develop a 3rd class lever from the Catch to the Exit

The principle of the 3rd class lever also applies to single bladed paddles. 

If anyone (racing paddler or recreational paddler) needs help with developing a 3rd class lever in their paddle stroke, I am willing to help with video and coaching

Davie Howie
Race Captain


BC Explore Course - Class of '22


The first of this year's Explore courses took place on the 23 & 24 April. While everyone else was spring cleaning the barn and kitchen, six intrepid explorers were learning new paddling skills such as close quarters manoeuvring and edging.  After a break for lunch, it was back on the water for an afternoon of towing and rescue techniques.  The morning of Day 2 was spent preparing and planning for a trip, and then it was off in convoy to Church Crookham to put their new skills into practice on a return trip to the Barley Mow.

Everyone had a really great weekend and thanks to the excellent coaching skills of Fiona and Pina, the course was successfully completed by Kelly, David, Nick, Jane, Neil, and John. Before the ink was dry on the certificates, Rick had made a request for the group of use their new skills to plan some trips, so watch this space!

BCCC Courses for 2022


Courses are selling like hot cakes. Fiona and Pina's Explore course was fully booked by mid March and all of the adult Discover courses, both kayak and canoe, are now full!. Junior courses still have places, as do the sea trips and the Thames BC Explore camping trip.

If demand continues, and coaches are will to help, I may add another adult Discover course so, if you hold a current BC coaching award, please consider this as your personal invitation to volunteer either as an assistant or lead coach and help the club.

Brian Biffin

The Surrey Heath Show 2022


The Surrey Heath Show is on Saturday 14 May. The Basingstoke Canal Society has asked if we could have some presence on the water in the area of Frimley Park Lodge as there will also be a number of Canal Boats on display. If you are on the water between 12-4pm it would be appreciated if you could head towards Frimley Lodge Park to show our support.

Stuart Skelton
Club Secretary

And finally ………

We have introduced a Thursday evening social paddle up and down the canal.  Just like Tuesday and Sunday mornings, it's an opportunity to meet up with friends, make new ones and enjoy a couple of hours on the water.  We meet at the barn at 6pm and aim to finish around 8pm.  If there is an interest, we can introduce skills sessions, fun and games, trips away or just put the world to rights.

Rick Covell

If you would like to share your BCCC stories, please email B3C Matters at

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