Our Coaches

Building the Best

Jo Burch


Joined Robs in 1989


Jo Burch started rowing when she was a student at Cambridge University in 1983. She joined the University Women’s Squad and for two years in the  Blue Boat for Cambridge. She then went on to become President of the University’s Boat Club and the Club’s Senior Treasurer. After training and working as a professional solicitor, Jo joined Robs in 1989 and learnt to scull.


She raced successfully as the Women’s Captain and won gold at the very first Women’s Henley Regatta. Jo has been Robs Junior Squad Coordinator and part of the Junior coaching team since 2015. “It’s hard work and long hours but incredibly rewarding bringing juniors into the squad as raw novices with no sense of their own potential and see them develop their self-belief and determination as fine athletes.”


Favourite coaching comment every made to Jo:


“You’re 6 inches too short and 20 lbs too light to make into the Blue Boat!”


Jo’s coaching soundbite:


“If you’re prepared to try, I’m prepared to coach you!”

Stefan Gräf 

Joined Robs in 2005

Head Coach Juniors

Stefan learned to scull at school (SRV Karl-Ziegler-Schule) in Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany at the age of 11. After an 18 month break from rowing he joined Düsseldorfer Ruderverein 1880 e.V. in 1992 and a few years later he joined Ruderclub Germania Düsseldorf 1904 e.V. where he’s still a member. 

After graduating in molecular biology and biophysics and pursuing a PhD in computational biology at Heinrich-Heine-University in Düsseldorf he moved to Cambridge in 2005 where he joined Rob Roy Boat Club attracted by its focus on sculling. 

For more than 38 years Stefan has competed in Regattas, Head races and Marathons in various boat classes winning plenty of trophies and medals. 

Stefan is Head Coach of Rob Roy Boat Club’s Juniors Squad since 2018. He has a passion for developing young athletes, and draws on his many years of competitve experience in his coaching.

Together with the coaching team and supporters he is committed to helping the young rowers reach their full potential and developing a safe and fun environment for them to thrive in. Most of the time he and Andy are coaching about 20 performance group athletes of the roughly 70 juniors strong squad out in Stretham where the river is less busy to do the necessary technical work and mileage.

Just to mention some of the most recent highlights, the team coached several young athletes to two gold, four silver and one bronze medal at British Rowing Junior Championships beyond having most other athletes qualifying as A or B finalists. In 2019 Stefan went together with Brett Taylor to the World Rowing Junior Championships in Tokyo to represent Chinese Taipei in the single scull.

Michael Knapp

Club Chairman / Junior’s Coach

Michael is a former member of the London Rowing Club Lightweight Squad, competing at top club and international regattas. Michael started his rowing career at the age of 12, joining Twickenham Rowing Club’s junior squad. At the age of 19 Michael stroked Twickenham’s first eight at Henley Royal Regatta and the following year competed in the regattas pairs event Silver Goblets & Nickalls’ Challenge Cup. Michael continued his successful rowing career racing for London Rowing Club up until he had to retire from racing due ongoing sports injuries.

As Michael was not able to continue racing, he moved back to Twickenham Rowing Club and became head coach of the men’s senior squad. For several years Michael grew and developed the squad giving them the ability to compete at Henley Royal Regatta and to win many senior events. He continued his role as coach for many years and also took on the role as Twickenham Club Captain.

In 2010 Michael moved to Cambridge. Eager to be involved with rowing once more, the Knapp family introduced their daughter Charlotte into the sport. Since Charlotte joined Rob Roy Boat Club in 2016, Michael has been part of the Junior Coaching Team and currently holds the position of Club Chairman.

Always look to achieve the impossible because everything is possible”

“Lets make history” 

Steve Taylor

Junior’s Coach
Steve Taylor began sculling and rowing in about 1982 at King’s School Worcester and Bewdley Rowing Club, with his most memorable races being a dead heat and immediate re-row that he lost by a bow ball in a single scull at Bewdley; guest appearances for Worcester Rowing Club in Amsterdam; winning Hereford Schools regatta in a record time in 1986; and being squarely beaten in the 1986 championship fours (rather than first fours) at National Schools. He went on to row at Reading University and then took an extended break to live in Taiwan from 1990.

Steve considers himself extremely lucky to have had coaches at King’s and Reading who knew how to teach people to not only love rowing, but train and row to the highest levels. Returning to the UK in 2006, it took a few years before he sent his son Brett on a Rob Roy summer course in 2012 and he was then persuaded to begin rowing again with X-Press Boat Club in Cambridge. It’s been fairly constant rowing since then and Steve started to get involved with taking photos, writing articles and coaching the Rob Roy juniors in 2015/16.