Sidmouth Gig Club rows to Lyme Regis

Sidmouth Gig Club members putting on of the club gigs through its paces.

Sidmouth Gig Club members putting on of the club gigs through its paces. - Credit: Archant

During the winter months Sidmouth Gig Racing Club stores one of its gig boats at Lyme Regis, where the harbour makes launching a lot simpler than on Sidmouth Beach, writes Nick Thompson.

A tradition has grown that we row the boat back to Sidmouth at the end of winter. However, this year the boat had already been towed back on its road trailer.

Not to be outdone, the members agreed that they would row not one, but two boats to Lyme Regis, just for the fun.

The penultimate Sunday of March saw members gathered at the boat house to launch Keith Owen, one of our racing gigs and Alma our GRP training gig.

The plan was to have two intermediate stops, at Branscombe and Seaton, to change crew members. The total distance is around 15 miles, and each stage was around a third of the way. For once the weather was kind; sunshine, a light breeze and calm waters. What a difference from the previous Sunday, when Sidmouth was blanketed in snow!

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Keith Owen and Alma headed east at 10:00 and arrived at Branscombe on schedule at 11:15, each with six rowers and a cox. As things turned out, only three of the rowers left the boats there, the other nine were up for a further hour’s row to Seaton.

This time six of the rowers left the boats and six more joined for the final leg to Lyme, the longest stretch taking an hour and a half.

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Finally Lyme Regis was reached, both boats were loaded on their trailers to return to Sidmouth. The crews retired to a local pub for well-earned food and drink. Everything had gone like clockwork and a good time was had by all. Special thanks were given to Megan Rodgers, who organised the whole event, delivering a seamless operation!

The next big event for the club will be the World Championship, to be held as usual in the Scilly Isles at the end of April. Keith Owen is already on its way there (by road and ship) and our newest boat, Little Picket, will follow shortly.

Sidmouth Gig Club rows on Wednesday and Friday evenings, and Saturday and Sunday mornings throughout the summer months. We welcome new members for both social and competitive rowing, no previous experience is necessary. Please contact the secretary Stephen Gray at or search ‘Sidmouth Gig Club’ if you would to find out more or try a taster row.

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