Barnstaple Pilot Gig Club ran their third Dragon Boat Festival on the Taw on Sunday, with local crews competing against crews from Bude, Exeter and Saunton for some spectacular racing on the Taw.
The course ran from where the River Yeo emerges into the Taw, to adjacent to Queen Anne’s statue on The Strand, and the boats and crews launched from and returned to Castle Quay slipway. The event was kindly hosted by Queen Anne’s cafe, so Race Control was situated on the lawn on the river side of the cafe. Three boats were in action (Barum Bobby and Phillipa J from the Barum club, and Giggles borrowed from Torridge Gig club), and in the first two races all three took part. The third race was between the two third-placed crews from the first two races, the fourth race was between the second-placed crews, and the fifth race was between the the first placed crews. The sixth and final race was between the three best-performing crews to determine the overall champions.
The final race was between Exe-calibre (from Exeter), Pearce Construction and Saunton Sands Surf Lifesaving club, all determined to win the trophy. Saunton Sands and Pearce Construction fought a tight race, neck-and-neck for the first half until the discipline of the surf-lifesavers paid off as the Pearce Construction crew lost their timing slightly and slipped back half a boat length to allow Saunton Sands to take the trophy.
Other crew taking part were : BPGC, Bude Pilot Gig Club and the Eastleigh crew. The ‘Over and Above’ charity provided the PA system and music for the event, and Safety Boat cover was provided by Barnstaple Sea Cadets crew.