Sidmouth’s Faulkner the oldest gig rower on duty
- Credit: Archant
Sidmouth gig club entered Lyme Regis regatta on Saturday, in their gig Keith Owen.
It was a fiercely competitive event for all the ladies teams because it was the last outing before the ladies end of season championships at Newquay in a few weeks time.
Fifteen clubs were present. Racing was held in a slightly different format to the usual kite shape course.
Instead, there was a short row out to the start line located at the end of the Cobb and then a 1200 metre sprint in a westerly direction along the coast. Heats were held with eight gigs in each and two heats consecutively, with the losing four from each heat racing back and then the winning fours racing back.
The fastest four from each pair of heats were thus selected for going through to the final. A, B and C teams had all been put into a draw for places in each heat, thus some C teams found themselves racing against A teams.
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Sea conditions were extremely choppy and along with a fairly brisk westerly wind, made the first leg of racing extremely difficult. Rowing the return leg however, was thus much easier and surfing the waves home with a following wind made racing much easier. Lining up on the start line proved tricky as the wind kept blowing boats off their start positions. It became apparent the race would be won or lost on the first few, but vitally important, starting strokes.
The men’s A were first out and rowed really well, managing to hold off Kerens, the Torridge gig, on the line and got into the qualifying heat for the return sprint home.
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Unfortunately they didn’t finish in the top four in that heat but came seventh, beating one of the Lyme Regis teams so they were very pleased with their performance.
The men’s B team were next out but didn’t have the best of starts and despite a gallant effort to try and make up ground, didn’t qualify into the next round.
The ladies A rowed at a furious pace and narrowly missed out on a qualifying place for the next round, but came in third out of seven in the fastest losers race.
The ladies B had a slightly controversial start on the line up fighting for water with Winspit, from Swanage. It was a fast heat with three of the boats eventually going through to the end of day final, so although seventh out of eight, then fourth out of fifth in the losers race, it was a good effort against some stiff A team competition.
All the clubs were entered into one big field for the veterans races so fifteen gigs were racing against each other.
The men’s veterans race was first. Sidmouth, sporting the oldest rower in the regatta, 85-year-old Tony Faulkner, did extremely well and came in seventh in the middle of the pack in a very close run finish. The ladies veterans got off to a good start in their race, held on to the pack and came in a very close run twelfth, holding off Isambard from Bristol right on the line, and achieved their best performance of the year.