Sidmouth Gig Club impress at Helford Head of the River Race

Sidmouth Gig Club B Crew at Helford

Sidmouth Gig Club B Crew at Helford - Credit: Archant

For the first time, Sidmouth Gig club took two crews and two boats to the Helford Head of the River Race held on the first Saturday of October, writes Jeremy Cloke.

Sidmouth Gig Club B Crew at Helford

Sidmouth Gig Club B Crew at Helford - Credit: Archant

Sixteen club members stayed the weekend in a delightful whitewashed ‘cottage’ in Helford village, just opposite Tim Rice’s imposing residence, and a short stroll from the Shipwrights Arms.

The race itself is a 40-50-minute processional race timed at the start and finish, with a handicap system enabling less experienced crews to start first.

After arriving at the juniors start line by mistake, our crews paddled strongly out to the adult line which was just visible on the horizon! Having tactically delayed the start slightly, the course was challenging against a fierce head wind to start, passing all the moored craft in the Helford Passage and on eventually to the finish at Gweek.

Both our crews were mixed (male and female), and the B team stayed the course well, only being overtaken by the A crew in the last ten minutes of the race.


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The B team – Julie Turner/Dave Timms/Greg McQueen/Heather Bewick/ Ruby Cole and Jacqui Blackmore , coxed by Jeremy Cloke, had several rowers in their first competition, so gained useful experience, coming 21st overall.

The A team - Barry Morton/Colin Bartlett/James Tarr/Alan Rodgers/Megan Rodgers/Linda Wheate, ably coxed by Pete Blackmore, had an excellent race achieving 11th place overall, out of 21 entrants, racing against men’s crews as well as mixed.

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After the celebratory meal on Saturday night, the club drove to Falmouth on Sunday morning for a coaching session on the water by Falmouth Gig Club (Scillies World Champions).

The club welcomes all members, old and new, to its annual AGM this Friday, October 13, with a 6.30pm start at the Sailing Club with the meeting followed by a social meal.

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