2009 Great River Race

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The annual London Great River Race took place on Saturday 5th September when nearly 300 traditional rowing boats from all over the country – and beyond – converged on the Isle of Dogs to row the 22 miles upstream to Ham. For the first time since the Race began in 1988 the course was reversed because tide times didn’t allow us to go with the flow. The flood tide helped, but Old Man River still kept rollin’ along in the usual direction, so it was hard work. And if you imagine the Thames doesn’t have much in the way of waves, you’re wrong: some stretches were distinctly choppy, resulting in several sinkings, mostly of dragon boats, and over a hundred crew had to be rescued.


But that didn’t trouble the gigs. There were twenty-two of them, some up just for the fun of it, some bent on serious racing. As winners of the CPG class in 2007 and 2008, the Boscastle & Crackington crew in Torrent had a reputation to keep – or to lose – and there was a definite feeling that some competitors thought twice was enough. The gigs were off just after midday and were quickly weaving their way through the slower craft ahead of them. Torrent made a flying start and was soon out of sight of the other gigs – and that’s the way it stayed. After two hours, twenty-eight minutes and thirty-nine seconds Boscastle crossed the finishing line at 2.35 and headed for the bar. But celebrations were dampened by the news that the second-placed gig Excalibur, powered by the Dutch ROETS club, might have recorded a faster time. With so many gigs, the start was staggered, and Excalibur had started after Torrent. For hours the result hung in the balance, and we had to wait until the official prize-giving at 8.00pm to hear the verdict: Boscastle had won – by fourteen seconds.

london river race

For more information on the Great River Race, a map of the course and full results, go to http://www.greatriverrace.co.uk.  If you’ve never been, come along next year. It’s a very special event and a great weekend.

[Thanks go to Charlie Cox @ http://www.boscastlegigclub.org.uk/ for this report – well done guys]

Herewith some photos of Boscastle’s winning crew. “The Bosgallon Men”  after The Great River Race.  You may wish to associate one with Charlie Cox’s article, Cornwall on Thames.

Bostcastle Pilot Gig Club

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