Inaugural SuperVets Championships held in Appledore

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Sunday 23rd February 2014

Torridge Estuary

Pilot gig rowers from all over the South West of Britain waited anxiously to find out if Sunday’s inaugural SuperVets Pilot Gig Championships would go ahead on the Torridge Estuary.

 Defying the odds, the strong South Westerly winds were blowing in a favourable direction for the event to take place, and rowers trapped on shore for the previous storm-lashed weeks were thrilled to get out on the water for some serious competition. Black threatening skies, gale force squalls and white water on the river provided exciting conditions for the rowers who were all aged 50 plus. Power and tenacity were required to row up river to the start line against the wind and tide, while skilful timing and strong team work brought the crews on a fast run back to the finish by Appledore’s iconic anchor on the quay.

 15 crews from Appledore, Barnstaple, Boscastle, Bristol, Bude, Clevedon, Dartmouth, Ilfracombe, Langstone, Lyme Regis, Newquay, Sidmouth, Swanage, Torridge and Truro, some of whom were first time visitors to Appledore, were impressed by all the village had to offer and the organisation of the Appledore Pilot Gig Club who were putting on the first event of this kind specifically for the older rower. As the sport of Pilot Gig Rowing has expanded rapidly over the last few years, the SuperVets over-50 age group has increased in numbers with many looking forward to competitive rowing.

Races for Mens, Ladies and Mixed crews took the form of heats for 8 boats followed by a final with 6 crews in each category. Change-over of crews, oars, seats and even oar-pins presented a colourful and often frantic spectacle in the narrow confines of the slipway, with many on-lookers in awe of the skill and teamwork involved.

Mens Crew Final 1st Ilfracombe, 2nd  Swanage, 3rd  Bude

Ladies Crew Final  1st Swanage, 2nd Lyme Regis, 3rd Appledore Barbarians (Appledore/Boscastle/Clevedon mix)

Mixed Crew Final 1st Clevedon, 2nd Ilfracombe, 3rd Bude


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7 Comments on "Inaugural SuperVets Championships held in Appledore"

  1. septicpeg

    Why has this event commanded any time on Gigrower website?
    Apparently they’re all GRP training boats, true traditional Cornish Pilot Gig people will not organise a race for Training boats let alone call it a championship that’s already included in the Mixed & Vets at Caradon, Pendeen excluded as there are exceptional circumstances. Shame on you Appledore.
    Also a reminder that there is a spec for a Cornish Pilot Gig that includes materials (obviously) to call these Pilot Gigs could be challenged, they are training boats & only fit into the ‘Gig’ category.

  2. Locky

    Dear Septic Peg

    No shame here at Appledore

    It was a bunch of over 50s having a great day.

    Inaugural means it was the first.

    We will be using wooden boats in next years weekend regatta.

    Plastic boats were used as it was an early season row and we guessed it was going to be rough weather.

    We wanted to see how the day faired.

    None of the clubs that attended minded rowing in plastic boats rather than endangering their own wooden boats in treacherous water and weather.

    As it was heard……. It’s just bloody great to be on the water and not a rowing machine.

    It was probably mentioned on gig rower by way of the fact that 200 rowers, who all row wooden boats, and are Members of the CPGA had an enjoyable time and by way of our age didn’t have to stop alcohol intake or sleeping with the missus for three months. There are rowers that actually row for fun.

    Sorry if we upset you but it was just over 50s having some fun on their own.

    Rather than being added on to a race.

    I love rowing.

    Not bothered with the politics.

    Good luck septicpeg.

    Thank you for your comments they have been taken on board.

  3. TJ Raby

    It was a great day and well done Appledore taking the initiative to host such a successful event with so many counties represented. The rules were set by the club and not under usual CPGA rules. I spectated this year and look forward to participating next year, if picked, in an increasingly growing competitive event.

  4. Devon Boy

    I agree with Locky totally. Some clubs whose boats have been wintered and prepared for the upcoming champs in the Scillies might not have wanted to risk them and jeopardise the chance of not getting to the Scillies. Shades of Newquay last year. Great idea to use plastic boats. Brains septicpeg. Brains.

  5. Not the best thought out post from septic peg. There are a number of reasons for staging a Supervets ‘championship’ and no shame in how Appledore went about it. It looked very well run and attended and I know of several clubs who would have gone if there was more space. A lot of Supervets were rowing in gigs when they were normal members of society and some are still quite handy now – it would be a shame to exclude them from more events as there is only the Friday evening race on Scilly and a couple of race at Saltash where they can compete with their peers.

  6. no Joker

    Appledore need applauding for setting up, what was, a fantastic fun event. There is no shame in being creative, especially outside the racing season. I wish this event every success for next year and beyond. Gig rower covers many aspects of rowing, including indoor rowing competitions, and Ergos, when i last looked, were not Cornish pilot gig’s either. If everyone took the “high and mighty” view there would be nothing on gig rower for most of the year. Everyone who rows Pilot gigs respects their tradition, and they don’t need the “Cornish pilot gig police” on their backs should they dare use or mention plastic boats. As an aside the sport is generally referred to as “gig racing or gig rowing” and by your own definition septicpeg, plastic boats are gigs…….

  7. Allotmentandy

    Speaking as someone who occasionally rowed in gigs on Scilly in the late 1960’s, and who took part in the Appledore event, I would like to say that I think Septicpeg is completely wide of the mark. Locky and the other contributors have got it right. It was a great, well organised event in difficult weather conditions, I thoroughly enjoyed it and hope to be able to compete again next time. Thankyou Appledore.

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