Cancel 1000 people's plans, or, have a backup?

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As the weather forecast takes its toll on another major gig racing event surely there’s an argument, with some 1000 rowers and supporters having planned their various logistics and arrangements, that a contingency is in place to always have alternative back-up locations available.

1000 people? Well, with around 36 crews each of Men’s A, Men’s B, Ladies A and Ladies B crews making 850+ rowers (because they’re all dedicated crews, no “composite crews”, right?). And, that’s before we think about U16s, veterans and supporters, so the total number will be nearer 1000 people involved.

Yes, of course, the decision to cancel is never taken lightly but where a location is not an all-weather, all-wind location, and where a major turnout is being planned for then it seems totally mad to not have a backup. It’s one thing to cancel a 5 or 10 boat “club” event, but this is the 2nd of the sponsored headline series for the gig racing world that’s been dropped. A rescheduled date is all very well but, it’s the 7th of July that’s been in the calendar for some time and simply rescheduling isn’t much use for those who have planned for this weekend.

Bottom line is Pentewan Sands doesn’t work with an Easterly wind or sea. However, Marazion would probably be fine. As would Saltash, and even Sennen Cove. Another alternative is to relocate to one of the inland lake location.

Our suggestion? Every “Tribute” event should have 1 or 2 backup locations, well discussed, publicised and planned for in advance. Give each location ample advance warning of the potential event dates. When you tot up 1000 racers and spectators bringing £20 or £30 for the day you can see the monetary effect that cancelling can have (not taking into account those camping or using other accommodation).

The race fleet is more than prepared to travel, the competitors want to race, and the sponsors want to see the events take place. Let’s make it happen!

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  1. Matthew Pinney

    Very good points indeed about the cancelled meva race. This rowing season is really looking like last year, races cancelled and having to be put back later in the summer. If we are not careful the races will run into september and have a knock on the county champs down at Newquay for the ladies/juniours and the men’s.

  2. Not convinced by the fiscal argument (I can’t recall a burger and a bit of cake costing ‘£20 or £30’ at past events 😉 but the idea of having backup locations is a winner, if workable.

    I’d like to hope that lake options *wouldn’t* be included, though… thin end of the wedge, there, I reckon. With current obsessions regarding litigation and health & safety, start down that road and next thing you know we’ll never be rowing at sea again :-O

    • Musto

      Yes, valid points. Thinking about the money, maybe it’s just my crew 😉 – car parking, burger, cake, raffle, couple of coffees and a few pints after. Soon adds up – especially if you bring/drag family along too!

      Agree about the lake venues as well.

  3. Roy

    Good idea, in principle. But unworkable. True, Meva will miss out on income after today’s cancellation. But to have 1 or 2 other clubs also organise a Regatta big enough to accommodate 30-odd Gigs, just on the off-chance! Nobody would do it. To hire Marquees and PA, sort parking for trailers, and all the other stuff; buy in 700 burgers, bake cakes, supply a raffle. Too much like hard work, especially if it’s just going to rain all day.

    • Musto

      Then, how about a different way of thinking rather than a major event having to be a glorified catering workshop, with the host club turning into a sub-section of the British Army catering corps.

      Could the CPGA not maintain marquees, PA, comms, all race equipment and everything you need to run an event, loaded into a box trailer ready to deploy to any suitable location. Locations that have been surveyed and audited, with dates prepared well in advance, and thorough event plans in place (as host clubs at places like Mevagissey, Falmouth, Mounts Bay, Rame, Weymouth, Caradon and Paignton have already done).

      Forget the cakes, burgers and raffles, charge a proper race entry fee so that host clubs don’t feel that they’ve got to desperately try to recoup something from the day, and encourage the key CPGA event sponsors, local businesses and mobile hospitality to engage with the gig racing “mainland tour” and tempt competitors with their various wares.

      Still unworkable?

  4. nev

    The best racing conditions for weeks at Pentewan today, better than at Falmouth sprints
    and Weymouth with 24mph winds last week.
    tis a bit wet and grey though not really very nice for a fun day
    Perhaps serious ,competent,sports men and women need another league.
    OR if the final word was given this morning a smaller event could of taken place this afternoon and the actual Tribute races could have been run.
    Something needs to be sorted, sad to say the climate is what it is we need to adapt.
    two years now Meva have had to cancel and how many of us would have put money on this happening again,

  5. Given Nev’s report re: today’s conditions perhaps it’s just better local weather forecasting we need prior to events. Maybe the Met Office needs to up its game! 🙂

    • Martin Walton

      There was no one more sorry than me that we had to cancel the event.I had taken two days holiday to make sure that the event ON the water went well and was liaising with various organisations to re-confirm the arrangements with Pentewan Sailing Club (safety boat), Pentewan Camp Site (Health & Safety issues, launching & recovery, power and water provisions etc). We were taking regular weather forecasts from a variety of organisations as well as talking to local fishermen and the outlook on Friday morning was very poor. An added complication was that the car parking field was saturated and with more rain forecast overnight it would have made parking impossible. (We have to provide for over 300 vehicles)(Imagine cars sliding into each other causing damage to persons and property – no doubt Meva’s fault?) A decision had to be taken early to avoid rowers making a wasted journey and the two factors combined led us to making the unfortunatwe decision. You are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Sorry from all the rowers at Mevagissey Gig Club

      • I don’t blame Meva at all, you have to work with the information and conditions you have got. Its unfortunate, but if you look across the summer sports there has been cancellation everywhere.Just a very bad year, we have only had one regatta!

  6. Rabbi

    Why don’t we just change the season round to suit the weather? Newquay champs becomes the beginning of the season and Scilly’s the end? Meanwhile during the wet summer we can all go somewhere nice and hot for our holidays!

    • Musto

      Or how about the whole gig fleet jumps on a Brittany Ferries sponsored Plymouth-Santander ferry and has a long weekend of sunshine racing near Santander?

      I’ll get the suncream…

  7. si

    i think everybody’s missing the real problem; that is there’s too many clubs! There should be a league table that starts with the results from scillies (or something similiar) at the start of the season to work out a league for a and b crews. Maybe a division between cornish, devon, dorset etc clubs??? no club should spend more than 90 minutes travelling for a 15 minute race. I also feel the Rame event is held because its a half way house between all the different clubs.

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