Rowing has been a sporting option at Inst since the 1950’s and Inst remains one of only 4 schools in Northern Ireland to offer the facilities which allow boys to participate in such an activity. Training takes place at the purpose-built Boat House in Stranmillis, South Belfast. The Inst Rowing Club offers a great opportunity to participate in this fun, energetic, outdoor team sport. The Club competes at events all over Ireland and the UK, including attending the prestigious Henley Royal Regatta.

RBAI Rowing Club “At Home” Regatta

Last Saturday, 28th June, saw the annual RBAI Rowing Club “At Home” Regatta take place on the banks of the River Lagan. Being hosted at Lagan Scullers’ Club, the day featured a number of races and prizes, as well as an opportunity for the boys, coaches and parents to enjoy a burger in the lovely surroundings and make the most of some glorious weather.

The racing on the day was mainly focussed on the Inter-House races, which offered the rowers the opportunity to represent their House, as well as settle some in-house rivalries about who was the fastest in each year group. The races were very close and all the boys showed the improvements in boat-handling skills and speed-work that they have developed over the course of the year. In the end it was strength in numbers that won out as Pirrie took the spoils on the day, with 4 wins out of their 6 competitors. They were followed, in order, by Jones, Larmor, Dill, Stevenson and Kelvin.

The other racing to take place was aimed more at being a fun element, but that was definitely not the case when the parent-son coxed pairs took to the water. The Harley family were aiming to make it 3 wins in a row, so all the other crews knew who they had to beat. Run as a time-trial, with 2 crew side-by-side, the racing was again very close, with only a few seconds separating first and last.

In the end the Harleys once again proved to be an unstoppable force, by the smallest of margins from the Welch family, closely followed by the Lowrys, Bowmans, Lloyd-Humphreys, Donnellys and Hammersleys, with less than 1 second covering crews from 5th to 7th.

Whilst the parent-son racing was going on a couple of guest crews decided to take to the water. The first one featured the Inst pairing of Mr Peak (Head of PE) and Mr Menown (VP). The other one featured the Instonian combination of Chris Beck (QUB medical student and current Rowing Ireland Lightweight International) and Gareth McKillen (QUB civil engineering student and former Rowing Ireland Junior International). This was going to be a formidable pairing to beat…and the ex-Inst rowers did their best, just beating the teachers pair by the slimmest of margins!!

The final stage of the day was the boat-naming and prize-giving. The boat-naming was for the Principal to officially launch the new Hudson coxed 4, recently purchased for the Club by the School, as part of the Rowing Club’s long-term boat replacement strategy. The new black and yellow boat was named “Talos” after the machine, from Greek Mythology, which patrolled the seas around Crete, keeping the island safe from invaders.

Once the Principal had christened the new boat it was time to hand out the prizes for most improved rower for each year group. These awards indicate a real step forward for someone during the year and often open much debate amongst the coaches. This year’s winners were:

Year 11 – Mark Austin

Year 12 – Alexis Gowdy

Year 13 – Tim Lyons

Year 14 – Angus Harley

The final award was for a special contribution made to the Club over the individual’s time. The award this year went to Peter Bowman (year 14) for his dedication to the Club and training, general positive attitude and his tireless efforts in relation to his role as Club Secretary.

I must say a big thank you to everyone involved in the organising and running of the event. The STERN parents do a fantastic job of making the day fun and lively and their current lead-organiser, Gillian Hetherington, will be greatly missed in that role in the future after a number of years dedicated service, with her expert BBQ-chef, Robin, at her side. I would also like to thank everyone involved over the year in making the Rowing Club such a safe and enjoyable environment for the boys to train and compete in; from the efforts of the coaching team of Mr M Warnock, Miss R Davidson, Mr J Hoy, Mrs A Honan, Mr R Ballantine, Mr M Gaston and Mr D Roy, to the towing assistance of Mr R Caruth and Mr G Keatley. Everyone who contributes makes a big difference to the boys time within the Club and it should not be over-looked.

Finally, I would just like to wish everyone a relaxing summer and remind you, that if you are looking for more RBAI Rowing action, Henley Royal Regatta is taking place from 28th June to 2nd July, with Lucas Prodohl (Inst Rower 2010 – 2015) competing for Trinity College Dublin in the University 8’s (Temple Challenge Cup) event, and current RBAI rower Tim Lyons will be competing in the Junior 18 single and Club single at the Irish National Rowing Championships on 14th – 16th July, in Cork.  Good luck to Lucas and Tim.

Yours in Rowing,

Steven Archibald,

Master-In-Charge, RBAI Rowing Club

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Rowing Results - Portadown Regatta 2017

Saturday 29th April saw the first regatta of the summer where the RBAI J16 and Club rowers had the opportunity to display their capabilities, with an unprecedented number of crews entered in this annual event. This regatta is also an excellent opportunity for the beginners to experience side-by-side racing, proving even more testing in the windy conditions which faced all of us on Saturday.

Notable performances included the J16 8+ of Callum Harley (cox), Ben Hoy, Justin Pornasdoro, William Skelton, Ben Hammersley, Zac Lloyd-Humphreys, William McMullan, Freddie Johnston and Mark Austin, who won their final against Coleraine Grammar School. In addition, Angus Harley won his first heat in the Club 1X categoty, with Portadown’s bendy course putting steering to the test for both rower and coxswain. The Club quad of Callum Harley, PJ Bowman, Alexis Gowdy, Angus Harley and Morgan Lavery won their first heat and managed a respectable 2nd place out of 4 crews.

Overall it was a long day’s racing with some enduring several races, and a great effort was put in from everyone throughout the day, positively representing our club.

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Thank you to Mr Archibald, Mr Warnock and Mr J Hoy for their continued support, as well as Mr Ricky Caruth for assisting with transporting our trailer, without whom away events would prove very difficult.

Outlined below are the full results from the regatta:

Crew/Event Opponent Result
J16 8+ CGS Won final
Club 1X,   Harley UCD Won heat
Club 4X+ Newry Won heat
Club 8+ Portadown Lost final
Club 2X Portadown Lost heat
Novice 1X,   Gowdy City of Derry Lost final
Novice 4X+ Newry Lost final
J16 4X+ ‘A’ Portadown Lost heat
J16 4X+ ‘B’ Bann Lost heat

Peter Bowman, RBAI Rowing Club Secretary

Lough Rynn Regatta

Following on from the Junior 16 and Club squads competing at Portadown it was then the opportunity for the Junior 18 squad to showcase their abilities at the Lough Rynn Regatta, near Carrick-on-Shannon. This is a very new 2,000metre 8-lane course in the middle of the Leitrim hills, which provided stunning views for the crews as they raced.

After some last minute crew changes were needed the boys took to the water against the best School, University and Open Clubs in Ireland to test themselves. Tim Lyons competed in the Junior 18 1x and put in a strong display in his heat, but with only 2 boats to qualify from 7 starters he didn’t make it through, giving way to the eventual winner and runner-up in the toughest draw.

The Junior 18 2x of Harry Hetherington and James Emery were the next boat up. In a heat of 5, with 2 to qualify for the final they needed to be on the pace from the gun. In increasingly testing conditions the boys were not only on the pace, but setting the pace. They stormed down the course finishing comfortably ahead of all other crews. In fact they finished so far ahead of their opposition that they finish judge missed them and did not classify them. This was rectified for the final, but the administrative error meant the boys had to race from a less favoured outside lane. They performed well to finish 6th but were disappointed after such a strong showing in their heat.

The last event for the squad was the Junior 18 4x-. This is a massively competitive event and featured 2 heats with the top 4 qualifying from each heat for the final. With Harry Hetherington and James Emery having to jump straight out of their boat after the 2x final and get into the 4x, with Daniel Lowry and Tim, made for less than ideal preparation, but the boys did what they needed to do and no more to finish 4th and conserve energy for the final. With the crew having to turn around and paddle straight back up to the start for the final, due to the timetable slipping over the day, they put in a strong performance but were just outpaced by their rival clubs from Dublin and Cork.

Well done to the boys for their efforts over a long day. And a big thank you to Mr Warnock and Miss R Davison for their help during the day and to Mr John Armstrong for towing the boats down.

The next event for the whole Club will be this Saturday 27th May at Belfast Sprints Regatta, on the Boat House straight, Stranmillis. The racing will commence at 9-30am and go on until approximately 6pm. If you are in the area feel free to pop down and cheer on the Inst boys during this side-by-side sprint event, over a 500metre course. It promises to be a lively day, with lots of racing.


For more details, or a specific race schedule please visit:

Steven Archibald, Master-in-Charge, RBAI Rowing Club

Rowing - Festive Head of the River

On Saturday 17th December, RBAI BC took to the water to compete in The Festive Head, the first competitive Head of the River event of the year, with clubs from across Ulster descending to the Lagan to enjoy a more light-hearted and fun atmosphere with crews dressing up in festive attire.

With around 80 crews entered in total, RBAI performed very well, enjoying a number of strong performances across the sculls, pair doubles, quads and an eight.

Notable results included the RBAI/CGS composite J18 2x of Tim Lyons and Hugh Moore, J18 2x of James Emery and Morgan Lavery, alongside Daniel Lowry as the club’s fastest J18 sculler (1x).

It was also great to see some familiar faces at the boathouse with a number of old boys returning to the club to compete - the Men’s Senior 8+ finished in an impressive position.

Very well done to all of the crews who were entered and competed in this first event of the season.

A big thank you must go to Mr Archibald, Mr Warnock and all of the coaches for their continued support, as well as the ‘STERN’ parents who kindly provided much needed festive refreshments after the racing.

P J Bowman

RBAI Rowing Club Secretary






Rowing Ireland Trials – Results

Well done to Tim Lyons and Harry Hetherington for their participation in the Rowing Ireland Trials at Inniscarra, Cork over the weekend.  They were the only Junior male athletes from Ulster in attendance and showed themselves well in often difficult water.

Well done also to Rebecca Davison (RBAI classroom assistant) who performed well in her pair and four combinations and Instonian Chris Beck, who made the A final of the men’s single.

We look forward to seeing if any of our athletes receive an invitation to the next stage of the process.

Inst Rowers head to Cork for Rowing Ireland Trials

Harry Hetherington (yr 14) and Tim Lyons (yr 13) set off this morning for Inniscarra, Cork, to attend the 1st in this year’s Rowing Ireland series of trials.  This is the first time in 3 seasons that any Inst boys have reached this level and to have 2 going together is an indication of the hard work the boys and their coaches have been putting in over the past few years.

The competition will involve a series of races in singles and a double.  The boys have taken full advantage of one of the recent pair/double purchases by the School to test the “Vidar” against the best in Ireland and we look forward to seeing how they get on.

Updates and results should be available throughout the weekend on

A mention must also go to recently appointed rowing coach Rebecca Davison who is also attending the trials, representing Belfast Boat Club.

The RBAI Rowing Club wishes all three luck for the weekend.