Our Impressive World Records at Dittons Skiff and Punting Club
Aside from the normal racing, Club members were beginning to undertake other activities on the water achieving impressive records with the following results:
River Thames Crew Record
1988 Fastest time to row 186 miles of the River Thames from Lechlade to Southend Pier ~ 39 hrs 27minutes
This was by Three Men in a Boat (no dog) in a racing double skiff, the crew sculling in rotation, beating the previous record by over 24 hours.
24 hours non-stop rowing
1994 Longest distance rowed in 24 hrs ~ 141.26 miles.
This was in the Club IV sculler skiff ‘Sandy’, with a six-man crew who were on board at all times. They completed 17 trips from Hampton Court to Teddington and back. They beat the distance set by an Australian racing VIII by over 4 miles.
English Channel crew record
1996 Fastest time to row the 22 miles of the English Channel ~ 2 hrs 42 minutes 20 seconds.
This was in a Watermans’ Cutter rigged for six scullers with a cox. The crew beat the previous record by 53 minutes (the return crew also beat the previous record!)
London to Paris crew record
1999 Fastest time to row the 480 miles London to Paris ~ 106 hrs 14 minutes 54 seconds.
Once again, in a Cutter rigged for six scullers but with a squad of 15 rotating 3 hrs on 3hrs off. The elapsed time includes 12 hrs waiting in Dover for a storm to blow itself out. The crews then ‘raced’ up the non-tidal River Seine doing timed pieces after over 300 miles sculling.
River Thames crew record
2004 Fastest time to row 186 mile of the River Thames from Lechlade to Southend Pier ~ 30 hrs 57 minutes 33 seconds.
This was in the TTBS IV sculled Shallop ‘Sgian Dubh’ once again with a six man crew on board at all times ~ they were successful where 25 other crews had failed over the past 10 years. The crew took 5 hrs off the record time.
River Thames single handed record
2005 Fastest time to single scull 165 miles of the River Thames from Lechlade to Gravesend ~ 43 hrs 40 minutes
This was in a single racing skiff, supported by over 60 people, enabling the previous record to be beaten by 16 hours.
The club also holds the records for single handed punting from Lechlade to Teddington with it variously being held by Ian Bathgate, Graham Summer and Mike Hart.
Members of the Dittons often venture further afield in the skiffs and punts. On to the River Wey and further upstream on the Thames to complete a ‘Meander’, to row or punt the 125 mile non-tidal length of the Thames from Lechlade to Teddington over a few days.
Every year the club enters crews in the annual marathon of the Thames – the Great River Race winning numerous trophies over the years.
Other trips have gone to the Lake District and ventured on to European waterways on the River Marne in France and taken part in the Vogalonga in Venice, Italy.
Some club members have taken their skiffing to extremes and successfully completed a number of World Record breaking rows.
More recently, in 2019, member of Dittons were part of a squad drawn from other skiff and rowing clubs that completed a triple of records in a Spanish trainera. They set new records for rowing the length of Loch Ness, for rowing the English Channel and the fastest time in the Great River Race.
DSPC members have been active over the years in seeking to establish records for punting from Lechlade to the PLA stone at Teddington either in singles or doubles and 2 foots and best boats. This has included John Peters in a 2 foot single (date unknown) and Ian Bathgate in a Best and Best (1986). In June 1987 Graham Summer single punted a 2 foot and finished the course in 56 hours and 58 minutes ( including 8 hours of rest breaks). On 10-12th September 2010 Mike Hart and Dominic Harlow undertook the same journey as a double again in a 2 foot recording a time of 47 hours and 38 minutes. This was submitted as a Guinness World Record on the non-tidal Thames but was rejected as it had not been filmed throughout. The Club looks forward to more members seeking to undertake this gruelling journey in a punt.