Aylings Addendum

Eton’s Princess Elizabeth (PE) Cup crew at Henley 1988 using an Aylings boat and Aylings carbon fibre oars.

1 December 2022

By Tim Koch

My recent piece on Aylings, oar and scull makers for 123-years and carbon fibre boat makers for seventeen, attracted some positive comments, some corrections and some additional information. 

There was this from Alastair Adam:

Richard Ayling also experimented with making carbon fibre oars. I thought you might like to see this photo from our PE crew in ’88. You might recognise the 5 seat, rowing on bow side as he did back then.

Apart from being a wonderful man, Richard was also a solid marketer, as you can tell by the (at the time) unusually large, prominent decals he applied to the oars.

Interestingly, the following year, we did switch them out for Dreissigackers, which I vaguely recall was because we found the latter to be stiffer. 

New Rowing magazine in its pre-Aylings phase.

Frequent HTBS commentator, Lionel Bailey, wrote:

Rowing magazine was first published by P.G. Rowley in December 1949 with Major E.A.E. Howell as Editor. Richard Ayling rescued it from oblivion some years later, making it required reading for all enthusiasts of the sport.

Seemingly little has changed at the Barn Elms rowing tank since this newsreel was filmed showing the newly opened facility in 1968.

Bailey also noted:

As one who learned to row at Barn Elms Boathouse in the early sixties, I can vouch that it was founded by the London County Council in 1959, with Ted Chitty as Head Boatman. The Tank where, I believe, the Ayling oars are displayed wasn’t built until 1968.


  1. As an addendum to my addendum, I mixed up the Ayling clan. It was Peter Ayling , Richard’s father, who rescued Rowing Magazine in January of1964 , to be precise, with Peter as Proprietor and General Manager, Desmond Hill as Advisory Editor and F.C. Barstow as Production Editor. These gentlemen transformed the magazine into the the must read tome it became.

  2. Surely it was Peter Ayling who revived Rowing magazine, not his son Richard, though Richard managed to keep it going when Peter retired to Bognor and Regatta magazine took off. .

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