Our club decided that the boathouse was looking shabby, the gear was not well cared for and we were frankly embarrassed to greet visitors.

Time for action – our training group decided to run a working bee every Wednesday from 5.30 – 6.30 pm until all the jobs we wanted doing were complete.working bee poster, rowing club clean up

Running a Working Group

We started with the desired end state:

  1. Nice boats and oars to row with
  2. An orderly boat shed – a place for everything and everything in its place

We planned the jobs so that there were technical jobs which only experienced people could do and then more general jobs which anyone could do. 

There was one really big job which was to refurbish a four/quad and so this became the centre piece of activity each week – we started by removing the riggers, all seats, runners and foot stretchers and storing them in a crate.  Any missing parts (end stops for the slides, worn gates, new rudder wires) we made a list and sent off for the spares from our local boat builder.  

Meanwhile we had groups working on checking the oars for wear – checking the lengths / inboards were all the same, labelling the oars and spare riggers.  We also organised a skip for old gear which we knew would never be used again – old riggers, single oars which got broken (we stripped them for spare parts).

The skilled technical leaders

These people led two big areas

  1. checking rigging
  2. repairing dings in the boat hulls 

The rigging team were paired an experienced person with a newbie and worked down each boat checking spread / span, pitch, footstretcher angle and getting the height of the oarlocks consistent.  We chose to add in red removable washers on each gate so it was easy to change the heights on the water.

The boat hull team had a gel coat repair kit and started methodically working over each boat.  One week we added the repair coat and the next week we sanded it down and the third week we painted.

The result?

By week 4 we had done nearly everything on the job list.  We had planned a reorganisation of our oar racking (handy to know Space Saver Oar Racks!) and also considered how to enable the juniors to store school bags when they visit for sport day.

What would you do in your club with a working bee?