The University of Bristol has been represented on the water by its Boat Club since the University's own inception in 1909, and its former oarsmen & women organised as an Alumni group since the 1980's.

“Nonesuch” was the name of UBBC’s first boat, which was itself named after the “Flower of Bristol”; the Nonesuch flower. The UBBC Alumni’s members first raced as Nonesuch Boat Club in 2011, after which Nonesuch has been used more widely as the name to describe our group of alumni, supporters, friends and family.

The UBBC Alumni has long been regarded as the flagship alumni association of all sports clubs and societies at the University of Bristol, having embarked on some significant fundraising projects in support of the UBBC, most notably in fundraising for the new Saltford Boathouses which were opened in 2014.

The UBBC Alumni is organised and governed by its own members and maintains very close links with the UBBC student committee and its coaching staff.

Membership is open to anyone who wants to maintain their link to UBBC and its wider network of supporters.

Our Mission

To promote and support the education and development of students of the University of Bristol by encouraging and facilitating the sport of rowing. The UBBC Alumni aims to:

  1. Encourage former crewmates, coaches and supporters to maintain their connection with UBBC and each other.

  2. Promote the development of members of UBBC through the provision of advice, guidance and financial support.

  3. Support UBBC in achieving their long-term performance vision.


The UBBC Alumni’s mission is to promote and support the development of students at the University of Bristol by encouraging and facilitating the sport of rowing. We hope to achieve this through the purchase of equipment and resources for UBBC, and by offering a Student Support Grant scheme to assist students who would otherwise be unable to participate in rowing due to their financial circumstances.

We engage in our own fundraising activities, including the collection of regular donations from our members, as well as running larger fundraising campaigns for the collection of single one-off donations for specific purchases.

Three new boats bought for UBBC by the UBBC Alumni in 2018

Networking, Mentoring & Support to Students

Nonesuch is a broad network of people who want to support and maintain their connection with UBBC. Our members collectively work in a broad variety of industries and professions all over the UK and the rest of the world.

We take advantage of the benefits of this wide network, offering career advice and mentoring to students, recent graduates and other alumni. Students who sign up as members are given the opportunity to share their career ambitions with us, which are used to connect them with alumni members in that industry or profession if they wish.

We also have a large and growing LinkedIn group which we would encourage our members to join: Search for “Nonesuch BC - University of Bristol Boat Club Alumni”


We maintain our connections with UBBC and each other through several events throughout the year, including an annual dinner in London, a student networking event to coincide with the Quintin Head Race, drinks events at Henley Women’s and Henley Royal Regattas, and we always join UBBC for their Varsity/Spring and UBBC Head Race Balls. In the past we have also run fundraising dinners. There are many other informal meet-ups to fill the gaps between our events.

Read more about our past and upcoming events →


Nonesuch Boat Club is a registered British Rowing club, allowing our members to race throughout the year.

Nonesuch BC has had success at Henley Royal Regatta, qualifying five crews for the regatta between 2013 and 2016 and notably reaching the Friday of the Thames Challenge Cup in 2013.

Nonesuch BC regularly races at the UBBC Head Race and the Bristol v UWE Varsity Boat Races and in the past has also raced in the Red Bull X-Row in Switzerland, the Red Bull OutRow (a race against the Severn Bore), the Fours Head of the River Race, the Veteran’s Head of the River Race, Reading Amateur Regatta, Metropolitan Regatta and Marlow Regatta.

We have also recently held ‘social’ water outings in both London and Bristol.

Read more about Nonesuch Boat Club →

The UBBC Alumni Committee

The UBBC Alumni is organised and governed by its own members and maintains very close links with the UBBC student committee and its coaching staff.

Appointment to the operational group of the committee is by election. Position holders will remain in post for a minimum of one year and a maximum of two years. On resignation from a position, or after two years (whichever is sooner) the post will be re-elected, with the same person eligible to run for re-election if they wish. If more than one nominee runs for a position, an election should be held in a format that allows the greatest and most representative portion of the UBBC Alumni's membership to vote. 

Members of the UBBC Alumni's Advisory Group will provide experience and support to the operational group of the committee. Membership will remain permanent until voluntary resignation. New members of the Advisory Group will be nominated and agreed by a majority of the operational group of the committee.

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Chris Hartley

Founder and Chairman of the UBBC Alumni

Following graduation from the University of Bristol, Chris founded the University of Bristol Boat Club Alumni, to help ensure a continuity of support and contact for and from past UBBC oarsomes.

Chris captained the club in 1982 and 1983 winning a BUSA medal and leading a Ladies Challenge Plate entry to Henley Royal Regatta for the first time in almost thirty years. He was awarded the first Bristol "Red" for rowing - the equivalent of an Oxbridge Blue. In 2012 the University awarded him an Honorary Red for services to the Boat Club - the first double Red for Bristol, and in 2015 he was awarded an Honorary degree in recognition of his contribution to the university, both as a student athlete and as the founder of the UBBC Alumni. 

Chris now lives and works in Australia, and last raced at Henley Royal Regatta in 2005, in the bows of the first Tasmanian VIII to race at the Regatta, once more in the Ladies Plate.