Gig clubs start 2016 season in style – Caradon Three Rivers race

North Devon was well represented at the annual Caradon Three Rivers Race on Saturday 5th March, including boats and crews from Appledore, Barnstaple, Ilfracombe and Torridge amongst the 64 boats that took part.

The ladies raced first on the five and a quarter mile figure-of-eight course, starting upriver from the Brunel railway bridge rowing on choppy waters into a strong headwind and heading north to the first three bow-side turns. They returned to the bridge and continued past it towards the estuary for the next two stroke-side turns before returning to the finishing line adjacent to the Union Inn. The race was against the clock since it was run in four heats of 18 boats, with a two or three minute interval between each heat. Nevertheless there were many exciting tussles as groups of boats raced each other for the finishing line. The men’s race followed the same course after the ladies race was completed.
Barnstaple Pilot Gig Club entered two ladies crews and two men’s crews in the boats Nipper and Lady Freda, and the winter training programme on the Taw clearly bore fruit. The crews coped well with the extended rowing at race pace and the cox’ns executed some excellent buoy turns allowing the Barum boats to pass a number of other boats on the buoys. The ladies and men’s crews times were added together to give final club placings; Nipper’s time was 50th overall and Lady Freda 51st, compared with the 2015 placing for Nipper (only one boat entered) of 56th.

North Devon Clubs at Rock Rowing club Gig Boat Regatta

Barnstaple, Torridge, Appledore and Clovelly Pilot Gig clubs all attended Rock Rowing Clubs Gig Boat regatta on Sunday at Daymer Beach, on the Camel estuary near Rock.  28 gig boats were assembled on the beach by 9.00am, but at that time the river was blanketed in fog.  This slowly cleared in time for the Ladies Veterans race to start at about 10.00am; unfortunately the fog rolled back in again shortly after the start so that all the racing boats were lost in the mist to the spectators on the shore.  Fortunately the cox’ns were still able to see the buoys marking out the course and no one got lost.  Some 25 minutes later the leading boats in this race emerged from the fog to cross the finishing line as they approached the beach.
The fog finally cleared altogether for all of the remaining races, and it turned into a glorious summer’s day providing fine entertainment for the large crowd of visitors, locals and rowers now assembled on the beach. The Ladies Vets were followed by the Men’s Vets, Ladies B crews, Men’s B crews, Juniors U14 and U16 crews, Ladies A, Men’s A and a Novelty Mixed crew race right at the end.
Because of the large number of entries, some of the races were run as two heats, leading to a complicated scoring system which left a few competitors scratching their heads trying to puzzle it out.  The Barnstaple crews generally came about middle of the pack, except for the Ladies Vets who were well placed in the leading group of boats to cross the line.