Barnstaple Pilot Gig Club sent three crews (men’s, ladies and juniors) to the historic Docks in Bristol on Saturday 2nd April for the Bristol Club’s annual regatta, and two Supervet crews to Appledore for the annual Supervets championships. Both events used plastic training gig boats because most of the wooden racing gigs are en-route to the Scillies for the World Championships in early May, so crews were allocated boats to race in just prior to the actual race.
The Bristol event took place in the historic harbour area, with the start line to the west of Brunel’s SS Great Britain and the finish line adjacent to the sea lock entrance to the River Avon. It was a full-on sprint event past the SS Great Britain, the rowing club slipway and the popular public quayside to the finish line, approximately eight minutes hard rowing. The sun shone and the watching crowds were entertained with some thrilling racing; crews were set off two at a time for timed races, and the fastest six crews in each category went on to the semi-finals and finals to determine the winning race order. Unfortunately Barum just missed-out on qualifying for the semi-finals, but had better fortune at Appledore.
There were twenty-four Ladies crews and twenty-four Men’s crews at Appledore on Saturday, racing in elimination heats of six boats, starting at the Fish Dock and finishing at Churchfield car park breakwater. The first three crews in each race went on to compete in the semi-finals on Sunday. Barum’s Ladies crew were very unlucky not to qualify on Saturday, missing third place in their heat by less than two metres. The Barum men’s crew easily qualified on Saturday, beating the respected Appledore crew in their event, to go on and take second place in the Sunday semi-final and win a place in the final race. Unfortunately there was a lot of jostling prior to the start of the men’s final for the preferred inside channel, and as a result Barum’s crew clashed oars on both sides and were boxed-out by the other crews. They stayed in touch with the pack all the way to the finish line, with Teign A just getting ahead of Appledore to take the trophy. Final positions were:
4th Lyme Regis
6th Teign B
1st Teign A
3rd Lyme Regis A
5th Weymouth A