Sidmouth Gig crews impress at the World Championships
PUBLISHED: 12:12 10 May 2018 | UPDATED: 12:12 10 May 2018
The bank holiday weekend saw Sidmouth Gig Club send its largest ever contingent of rowers, coxes and supporters to the Scilly Isles for the annual World Championships, writes Jeremy Cloke.
Crews came from as far afield as the USA and the Netherlands to take part, as well as hundreds from the South West.
With accommodation at a premium for the event, some of the Sidmouth contingent camped at St Agnes, some invested in the Star Castle Hotel and one or two even arrived by yacht!
This year, for the first time at the championships, Sidmouth Gig Club had two wooden racing gigs, brought over on the Scillonian ferry.
There was considerable interest on the beach in the latest Sidmouth gig Little Picket, as it is the 200th Cornish pilot gig built, resulting in an interview on ITV Westcountry and also a rowing experience for their presenter!
The racing started with vets (40+) and supervets (50+) racing from St Agnes to St Marys on Friday evening. This was arguably the best set of results the Sidmouth crews served up over the weekend with the ladies’ supervets finishing 22nd out of 34 crews and the men’s vets crossing the finish line as the 26th of the 41 boats. What made the effort all the more impressive was the fact that five of the crew were supervets!
With nearly 150 boats for the men’s and ladies’ events, crews are placed in league groups based on their Saturday race result.
Unfortunately, the morning’s racing on the third and final day of the World Pilot Gig Championships had to be cancelled due to poor weather.
Heavy sea mist in the morning first led to a delay in the start time, but organisers took the decision to cancel all racing until lunchtime. It meant a complete cancellation of round three of the heats. Instead, rowers jumped straight into the afternoon finals, which began at their previously scheduled start times.
Despite inconsistent winter rows at Sidmouth due to frequent stormy weather cancellations, the two ladies’ crews and men’s crew performed really well, with some racing in the Scillies for the first time – the ladies’ A crew achieving a creditable 103rd place out of 151 clubs, the ladies’ B crew achieving 149th and the men’s A crew gaining 126th place out of 141 teams.
There is a tradition of rafting up and lifting oars to honour the finalists racing home for the position of World Champions. Fancy dress is the norm and Sidmouth excelled in this area with a Hawaiian theme emerging from Barry Morton’s holdall.
This was a great club weekend and members are already asking about next year.