The Barum Club also sent a contingent of rowers to take part in the Cornish Pilot Gig Association indoor rowing championships on Saturday at St Austell’s Brewery. This was attended by clubs from all over the South West, with almost 200 competitors and more than 20 separate competitions. Notable results for the Barum club were the first and second places won by Alan Pidner and Mickey Fry respectively in the Men’s 60 to 69 category 2000 metre race, and the third place won by the mixed relay 3000 metre race team (Megan Clarke, Jo Walter, Chris Walter and Andy Kearsey). Graeme Clarke also achieved joint tenth in the Men’s 50 to 59 group 2000 metre race.Graeme Clarke preparing for his race.
Dragon Boat Challenge – February 2019Barnstaple Pilot Gig Club finished one of their busiest weeks ever on Sunday with their third Dragon Boat Festival on the Taw in Barnstaple. Full advantage was taken of the Spring-like weather and high spring tides when the nine competing crews gathered at Castle Quay early on Sunday morning, and the first race got underway at 8.45am.The visiting Bude Pilot Gig Boat club kindly loaned their gig ‘Barrel Rock’ to race alongside Barum’s ‘Phillipa J’ and ‘Barum Bobby’ in a series of seven races from the swing bridge over the Yeo to the finish line opposite Tea on the Taw. The boats were adorned with Dragon Heads on the bow, and each had 12 paddlers for crew and a Barum helmsman. Crews came from Lyme Regis Gig Club, Bude Gig Club, Exe-Calibre Dragon Boat Club, Saunton Sands Surf Life Saving Club, Fremington Trailblazers (3 crews), Parker Hannifin in Barnstaple, and Barnstaple Pilot Gig Club.Each crew raced in one of the first three races against two other crews, and the third-placed crews from those races raced each other in race 4. The second-placed crews raced in race 5, and the first-placed crews raced in race 6 to determine the overall winner. Finally the second-placed crews from races 5 and 6 raced each other in race 7 to determine second and third places overall.The final placings were:1st Saunton Sands Surf Life Saving Club2nd Lyme Regis Gig Club3rd Exe-Calibre Dragon Boat ClubPhillipa J and Barum Bobby racing each other.
Nine Gig Boat clubs travelled to Appledore last Saturday to take part in the second round of the North Coast Gig League. Many of the clubs use this league to try out new crews and to introduce new rowers to gig boat racing, so it was well attended with no room left in the car park by 10.30 in the morning. The start line was beyond Yelland Quay in the river Taw, and the boats raced back to the finishing line at Appledore Quay.
The weather was fair and sea conditions good as the first race (Ladies B) set off for the start line, pulling against a strong incoming tide. This meant the crews were well warmed up before the race back, won by Bristol. Bristol went on to win the Men’s A and B races, and the Ladies and Men’s Veteran races, and the Men’s A was won by Appledore. Appledore also went on to win the Supervets races for both Ladies and Men.
Bristol Pilot Gig Club have presented strong crews at both NCGL meetings this year, indicating their determination to get good results in the World Championships in the Scilly Isles in May.
Barnstaple Pilot Gig Club CIO
Charity reg no. 1172955
The gig racing season got under way on Saturday 26th February, with ten boats from nine different clubs descending on the Churchfields car park at Appledore during the early hours of the morning. Many rowers travelled a long way for the first gig boat racing regatta in 2019 for the North Coast clubs. Sea conditions were calm with light winds initially, although wind speeds did pick up for the later races.
The Ladies B crews set off against a strong incoming tide on the kite shaped course, with Bristol laying down a marker with a comfortable win, setting a trend for the rest of the meeting. The Bristol club went on to win Men's B, Men's A, Ladies Vets and Men's Vets. Only Appledore were able to break Bristol's dominance with a first place in the Ladies A race and second places in the Men's A and Men's Vets races.
The Super Vet races in contrast were dominated by Appledore with first places in both Mens and Ladies, and Bristol had no Super Vet crews to enter.
Sport England grant brings Barnstaple Water Sports Centre nearer to realisation
Barnstaple Pilot Gig Club has now been promised a grant of £75,000 from Sport England towards the cost of purchasing a former warehouse on Rolle’s Quay for use as a Water Sports Centre and communal facility for the people of Barnstaple. This follows on from the earlier promise by the Fullabrook Community fund to provide £34,000 as well towards the project. Both promises are conditional on BPGC raising the balance of the £200,000 purchase price for the building, and, in the case of Sport England, for the estimated £50,000 needed to refurbish.
During the last twelve months the club has raised £26,000 through it’s ‘Off the R’owd’ appeal, with fund-raising events at least once every month. In addition the club is very grateful for the grants from NDC Councillors Community fund that allowed professional surveys of the building, so that plans can be made for the necessary remedial works. The Peregrine Mears Architectural practise has kindly prepared design drawings and technical drawings for the building to be used as a boatshed and communal facility, and Clear Asbestos Solutions Ltd, Slee Blackwell solicitors and Underwood Wright Chartered Surveyors have all provided professional services at little or no cost.
There is still a balance of £65,000 needed to achieve the purchase price, and the club is continuing with its fund-raising efforts every month. Also the outcomes of two further grant applications are awaited.
The proposed Water Sports centre has already aroused interest from North Devon Scouts, the WI, the University of the Third Age, PETROC, local Surf Life Saving clubs, Bideford Canoe Club, a Morris Dancing Group in Braunton, and West Buckland school. When complete it will have a secure boatshed and workshop on the ground floor and a substantial secure compound outside for storing trailers, boats and ancillary equipment. The first floor will be principally a large meeting area big enough to seat at least 60 people, a small kitchenette and toilets. Modifications to the building will allow disabled access.
Club chairman Kevin Ward said “We are very grateful for all the support given to this project by local business and the general public in the Barnstaple area that has allowed us to achieve so much in such a short time. We are hoping to achieve the purchase price during early 2019 so that refurbishment works may commence and the Water Sports Centre become fully operational by late summer 2019. It is the club’s aspiration that the facility will welcome other water sports users, and encourage creation and growth of other clubs, and individual users to create a vibrant water sports culture in Barnstaple. To help us turn this dream into reality we have a just giving page (https://www.justgiving.com/barnstaplepilotgigclub), so please dig deep – every donation, large or small will help create a water sports and community facility that can benefit us all. Thank you to all who have already supported our aims. Our fund-raising team continue to organise fund-raising events and I ask for everyone to support those events in order that Barnstaple will benefit from this project.”
Barnstaple Pilot Gig Club held their second Dragon Boat Racing Festival last Saturday, with four gig boats decorated as Dragon Boats and eight crews of 12 paddlers competing for the BPGC Dragon Boat Trophy (kindly donated by Kevin Ward).The 96 competitors gathered on Castle Quay slipway from 8.00am to register and prepare the boats, and the first race started at 9.30am. The boats had splendid Dragon’s heads on the bows of the red and black Phillipa J and Barum Bobby (both BPGC boats), the white gig Siren (on loan from Appledore gig club) and the blue boat Giggles (on loan from Torridge gig club), and all were coxed by BPGC coxswains.The first race was between crews from Parker Hannifin and Ilfracombe Gig Club, and both had a tough time getting to the starting line (entrance to the River Yeo) against the racing incoming tide. However, once they turned and lined-up together for the starter to set them off, they speeded towards the finish line (Queen Anne’s statue) for a convincing win by Parker Hannifin. The tide eased off for the subsequent races between a BPGC crew and Trailblazer Daredevils, St Georges Dragons and the Windsor Arms, and Exe-Calibre and Fremington Trailblazers.Semi-final races followed for the winners of the first four races; Parker Hannifin took on Trailblazer Daredevils for a win by Parker’s, and the Windsor Arms had a good start and an early lead in their semi-final against Exe-Calibre, only to be overtaken before the finish line.The final race was closely fought between Parker Hannifin and Exe-Calibre, for Exe-Calibre to finally take the lead and the trophyThere was still sufficient water after the final race to allow two consolation races between Ilfracombe and BPGC, and Fremington Trailblazers and St George’s Dragons. These were won by Ilfracombe and Fremington Trailblazers respectively.Exe-Calibre were a visiting crew from Exeter where they practise Dragon Boat racing on the river Exe and Exeter canal. They will be invited back for the next Barnstaple Dragon Boat Racing Festival next Spring.
The Great River Race on the Thames in London took place last Saturday, attended by almost every Pilot Gig Boat club in North Devon. The race is almost 22 miles long, from Millwall slip in the East of London to Ham House next to Richmond on Thames, and it is a handicap race for all types of traditional rowing boats. 320 boats took part this year, including 49 Cornish Pilot Gig Boats, the majority of which were from Devon and Cornwall.Because of the handicap system the Pilot gig Boats started almost an hour after the slower rowing boats, but even so Will-to-Win from the Torridge Gig Boat Club in Appledore was rowed with skill and power through the throng of boats on the river to gain first place in the race in a time of 2 hours, 22 minutes and 32 seconds. It was such a quick time that the gunner who was responsible for firing the finish cannon was not ready and he missed the first boat arriving!Finishing places and times by local clubs are shown below:Summary showing finishing positions for North Devon Pilot Gig Boats:Position Boat Club Time1 Will to Win Torridge 02.21.3228 Bedehaven Bude 02.35.4842 Torrent Boscastle / CH 02.40.2274 Margaret James Appledore 02.47.1084 Barum Bobby Barnstaple 02.47.51105 Kerens Torridge 02.50.42171 Phillipa J Barnstaple 03.00.28186 Lantern Ilfracombe 03.04.00209 Headon Home Clovelly 03.09.20226 Morvoren Private entry 03.10.01There were 49 Cornish Pilot Gig Boats in this race, so more than 20% were from North Devon.Although the competition was strong the event was enjoyed by all, particularly the experience of rowing through central London and seeing the different types of rowing boats, ranging from 2-man rowing skiffs for picnics, to 20-man dragon Boats.Pictures:1 Phillipa J heading for Tower Bridge2 Barum Bobby waiting for the startPhotographs by David Dixon, Vice Chairman Barnstaple Pilot Gig Club CIO
Barnstaple Pilot Gig Club (BPGC) took their boat Lady Freda and 15 rowers on Saturday 25th to the Gig Boat regatta at Lyme Regis. All 12 gig clubs at the regatta enjoyed a sunny late-summer’s day with fairly calm seas and light winds, competing a kite-shaped course in full view of the crowds assembled on the famous Cobb breakwater.
There was a full programme of thirteen races for the day, but the Barum club could only compete in six of these races because of limited availability of club members on a Public Holiday weekend. Every club member there competed in at least two races, most in three races, enjoying the friendly rivalry and the sunny weather.
This regatta completed perhaps the busiest month yet for BPGC. On Sunday 6th August the club held a Duck Race and Car Boot Sale at Barnstaple and Pilton Cricket Club, raising more than £1050 towards their ‘Off the R’owd’ appeal for a Watersports Centre at Rolle Quay. This was followed by the annual Estuary Race between north coast clubs at Appledore on Wednesday 8th August, then Paignton Gig Boat regatta on Sunday 12th, competing with clubs from as far afield as Essex as well as clubs from Devon and Cornwall. The next Gig Boat regatta attended was Porthleven, on Saturday 18th, where the Barum club competed against 20 other mainly Cornish clubs, winning 14th position overall. Many club members stayed for the whole weekend to enjoy the area and the entertainment provided on Friday and Saturday evenings, and the RNLI Lifeboat festival on the Sunday.
As well as attending these four competitions, normal training sessions continued on weekday evenings and weekends throughout the month, also sessions every Monday and Thursday evening at Ilfracombe. The racing boats Lady Freda and Nipper were towed to Ilfracombe harbour for sea-rowing practise and the Barum club is indebted to Ilfracombe Pilot Gig Club for the assistance and advice freely offered on those occasions.
The club is now looking forward to the County Championships at Newquay, 2nd September for the Ladies crews, and 15th September for the men.
The Cricket Ground at Lower Raleigh played host to a Duck Race and Car Boot sale on Sunday, organised by Barnstaple Pilot Gig Club as part of their fund-raising effort to establish a Watersports centre on Rolle’s Quay. It was a gloriously sunny day and, since no cricket was being played the event took place on the outfield around the cricket pitch. This was a particularly suitable venue since both the cricket club and the Pilot Gig Club have received considerable assistance from the Keith Noel Abrahams charitable trust in the past.
The Duck Race was along a stretch of the River Yeo that skirts the boundary of the cricket fields. It began just after 12 noon when the barrel containing the ducks was upended into the river by two duck ‘herders’ wearing waders, who followed the flock of plastic ducks down the river to the finishing line. They intended to free any ducks tangled in the undergrowth, but were caught by surprise when some started to drift upstream, much to the amusement of the watching crowd. The recalcitrant ducks were herded in the right direction and followed down to the finishing line some thirty minutes later. This section had some deep pools which caught the ‘herders’ by surprise, but fortunately no one fell in. The winning ducks were greeted by cheers and loud applause as they were swept into the net by the increasing current.