This is one of the biggest regattas of the summer season, attracting around 23 clubs, and with some top class competition. Because of the high number of clubs attending most races comprised two heats, one starting a couple of minutes after the other, with boats for each heat drawn from a hat and the races timed so that overall places could be determined.
The weather was mixed, with some sunny spells but also some huge downpours, and it was during one of these that the ladies’ A crew raced, returning to the beach soaking wet, having rowed in rain so hard they could barely keep their eyes open, and that was the first race of the day! they finished seventh overall.
Salcombe competed in all of the races, men’s and ladies’ A, B and C, U16s, men’s and ladies’ vets and the mixed race.
The exception was the U14s race, where three Salcombe rowers mixed in with three members of Caradon club to make up a crew. The junior races were hotly contested, and the standard of junior rowing has risen quicker than that of adults in recent years. Their races are tough and on this occasion, in difficult seas. It is, therefore, a testament to the abilities of the Salcombe juniors that not only did they finish third in the U16s race, but some of them went on to row in the ladies’ C race as well as their own category.
The quickest performance of the day was in the men’s A race. With two of the top three clubs in gig rowing in attendance it was always going to be a fast race and a lesson in quality rowing, so it was no surprise that Caradon and Looe filled the first two spots, as they were the silver and bronze medallists in the 2017 world championships.
What was heartening was that the Salcombe crew came in third place behind those two and 15 seconds ahead of Bristol.
Bristol have been one of Salcombe’s closest rivals in men’s rowing in the past year, but they were dispatched by the first mark, and finished four lengths behind. This goes a long way in cementing Salcombe’s position as the best men’s crew outside of Cornwall, and could see them as finalists at the end-of-season county championships in Newquay.
All the other races were equally well subscribed, with at least 20 crews competing, so third in the ladies’ veterans race was a great result. And in the ladies’ B race, expert coxing by Jonny Holmes meant that when six lead boats started heading for the wrong mark in foul weather, steering a correct course gained his crew six places and sixth place overall.
The final race of the day was the mixed race, a crew of three men and three women.
Salcombe always put out a powerful crew here and often win, but with such good company achieved second, behind Looe but clear winners over Caradon. Thanks go to Rame Gig Club for organising such a great day. Salcombe’s next challenge will be a regatta at Brixham next week.