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Buenos Aires Rowing Club was founded in 1873 by English citizens living in our country. On December 12 of that year, the first formal regatta was held on the Luján River. The event was witnessed by the President of Argentina, Don Domingo F. Sarmiento who, before leaving, delivered this memorable speech.

I am delighted with today's celebration, perhaps more than you can believe. I have come pleased as an Honorary Member of this Club to witness the inauguration of a new genre of amusement in this country. Your intrepid forefathers owed much of their greatness to skill and boldness at the sea, and the sturdy Britons of the present day have preserved the fine physique of the race by these amusements worthy of a virile, free and energetic nation. To me, involved in the grave cares of office, it is comforting to come here and take part in these manly sports which realize the aphorism of the ancients, "Mens sana in corpore sano." I wish that the Argentine could imitate this example to introduce on our nature a love for the glorious element which has turned our country into what it is and which is the father of commerce, wealth and prosperity. For me, this is a day that will truly be marked with white stone. In the meantime, I thank you cordially for the pleasure you have given me: I toast to the success of the Tigre Boat Club.

A group of rowers participate in a regatta on the Luján River, 1899.

Three days later, on December 16, 1873, a group of 80 mostly British gentlemen gathered at the Café “Gymnasium”, located on Florida Street, between Corrientes and Cuyo (today Sarmiento). Those sportsmen of the Tigre regatta, now dressed with elegant formality and gathered in the heart of the Capital city, acted promptly and efficiently. Willing to organize the rowers who had gathered in camaraderie and fraternity on the Luján River, they founded, following the model of their native country, a Club with all the traits of a true rowing institution: the Buenos Aires Rowing Club.

Dean of rowing clubs, it was born as a small British enclave in our country. It was given an English name, the first President of the Honorable Board of Directors was the British Minister Lionel Sackville West and the British Consul, its first vice-president, Ronald Bridgett.

Its origin is closely linked to Great Britain

Its first premises was an old ship called “Sunny South” until, shortly after, Don Leonardo Pereyra lent the club a piece of land he owned on the banks of the Riachuelo, then a clear watercourse. There, a wooden house with a tin roof and a wide entrance was built, which had the appearance of a traditional Creole ranch house.

In 1876, the first expansion took place and the club established its headquarters in Tigre. Then, in 1885 -with a remarkable vision of the future- a 1600 meters lot was acquired in the same town where, in 1887, the project presented by Carlos A. Altgelt was approved and the construction of the building began.

In 1895, the premises of the Riachuelo moved to a barge ceded by the National Government: the “General Alvear”, which was anchored in the South Dock of Puerto Madero. The Club remained there until 1902, when it moved to a warehouse -on the opposite bank- assigned by the Municipality of Buenos Aires, which had belonged to the Mataderos.

In 1906, the Buenos Aires Rowing Club requested the construction of the new Club building in Tigre to the Architect Roberto H. Lomax, with the advice of Carlos Agote, Ernesto D’Anvers and Carlos Maschwitz. They began by demolishing the main house, which had been in use for almost 18 years, paying a small tribute to the architect Carlos Altgelt, honorary member since 1899. The building was completed in 1912.

Subsequently, in 1923 and under the project and direction of Architect Miguel Madero, who later became President of the Club, the Tigre Headquarters was completely remodeled and enlarged. This modification of the main façade had the appearance of a large Victorian mansion that we can see today.

In 1930, the boathouse and dormitories for rowers were built. These necessary works responded to the constant development and growth of rowing, the main sport and essence of our club. Later, three tennis courts and a modern swimming pool were built.

Old building, remodeled by architect Roberto H. Lomax between 1906 and 1912.

During the administration of Don Rufino Cosme de Elizalde y Leal as President of the club, the island on the Sarmiento River was purchased in 1938, which today bears his name. Years later, the club acquired in 1969 the Centenario Island, also located on the Sarmiento River, sold in 2020.

In 1946 we highlight the triumph obtained by the double pair boat formed by our rowers Rafael Panelo and Ergasto Chaufen in the Henley regatta, England. Beating the University of Cambridge finalist boat by two lengths, they won the Henley Royal Regatta Double Sculls. For the first time, an Argentine representation won in European waters. On that occasion, the trophy was presented to the winners by Princess Elizabeth (who would later become Elizabeth II, Queen of Great Britain) and Margaret Rose Windsor.

The sporting achievements continued with Argentine and international championships. One hundred years after the founding of the club, rowing continued to grow steadily, which is why in 1973 the gymnasium and the new rowing training pool were inaugurated. The dormitories, previously only for rowers, were recycled for the comfort of members and visitors. The games room, with pool, ping pong and foosball tables, and the complete gymnasium with equipment were installed upstairs.

The passion for rowing remains intact

In 2020, the BARC Assembly approved an agreement with the leading fitness center chain SportClub, a company that opened a modern facility open to the community, an indoor swimming pool, a multipurpose court and complete locker rooms in a portion of the Social Headquarters’ land granted as a temporary concession. Members can enjoy the facilities of the SportClub Buenos Aires Rowing headquarters with exclusive access from inside the head office. New BARC members enjoy an important bonus if they wish to belong to SportClub in any of its gyms.

This is the history of the dean Club of our rowing at a glance, which is about to celebrate its 150 years of life. Argentineans pride.

All of these will be reflected in the anniversary book being edited at the moment.