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.