Sidmouth gig crews graft hard at Bridport

Heavy mist and gloom gave way to hot humid conditions for rowing at Bridport regatta held at West Bay on Sunday.

The regatta was rescheduled at short notice because of previous poor weather and consequently not all Sidmouth rowers were available for selection. Four teams comprising of men’s B, men’s veterans, ladies’ veterans and a mixed team were chosen to represent the club in only their third competition in their gig Keith Owen.

The course start line was just outside the harbour mouth with a sprint to a kite shaped course out at sea and a long sprint back, about two miles in total. Fortunately, sea conditions were perfect but the heat of the mid day sun, combined with a large swell on the outgoing tide made interesting rowing . The men’s B was the first team out and found themselves against much younger opposition which became more apparent in the closing stages and although last, it was an heroic effort. The men’s veterans set off determined to do Sidmouth proud. They were rewarded by coming a close fourth out of seven, after a furious battle for placings at the first buoy where oars were clashing in a flurry of water to hold position. A hard sprint for home to loud cheering from the Sidmouth fans saw them cross the line in a tight finish.

The ladies’ veterans, spurred on by the men’s achievements were determined to put up a good race and, with a cracking start, were racing well within the pack holding a close third. But after oar clashing and boat bashing with Bristol, they lost stroke and consequently position. They made a valiant effort to hold off Lyme Regis, who slowly made ground, overtook and left the ladies a very weary and disappointed last.

The mixed team’s tactics and position on the start line kept them in a battle for third all through the race They kept their water and were roared home by the crowds into eventual fourth, a highly commendable position as two of the veteran ladies who made up the crew rowed immediately after their race with no chance to recover .

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There are lots of lessons to take on to the next regatta at Swanage in September.

?Meanwhile, weather permitting, the club will be holding its own mini regatta on Monday August 27, when teams from within the club will be racing against each other in Keith Owen and their training gig Alma. Refreshments will be on sale from 11am until mid afternoon outside the Port Royal Sailing Club.

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