April 11th & 12th
240 Over 50s take part in North Devon’s alternative ‘Boat Race’
While many were watching the young rowers of Oxford and Cambridge battle it out on the Thames, a larger but equally competitive group of rowers were gathered in North Devon. Nineteen different clubs were represented from all over the South West, taking part in a weekend of gig racing. The Supervets event started by Appledore Pilot Gig Club last year, is only for men and women aged 50 or over. It proved to be massively popular, with 240 rowers along with their coxes and supporters, reflecting the interest in this fast-growing sport. Two days of sunshine and excellent river conditions in the Torridge estuary gave a chance for locals and visitors to marvel at the skill and sportsmanship of the teams powering their way along the quayside. No amount of effort was spared in the boats and every one of Saturday’s heats was closely fought, with sharp eyes needed to pick out the teams going through to the Sunday finals.
Falmouth has long been one of the clubs producing the strongest rowers across all age groups, having consistently proved their prowess at the World Championships in the Scilly Isles. It was no surprise then that their Supervet crew were winners of the Ladies event in Churngold, with Ilfracombe in Siren coming a close second and Weymouth in Bristol Blue taking third. The Men’s event trophy went to Teign in Churngold, with Bristol in Siren in second place, and the Falmouth men had to be content with third position after coming in contact with a sandbank. A Barbarians race, where both ladies and men from different clubs are mixed in each boat, was extremely popular with those who hadn’t made it through to the final. Although still highly competitive, it reflected the camaraderie that exists between the clubs.
Sponsorship from local Solicitors Brewer Harding & Rowe, and from Councillor Eastman’s community fund helped Appledore, the host club, to put on a quality event which was highly praised by those taking part.
Appledore, Barnstaple, Bideford, Boscastle, Bristol, Bude, Clevedon, Falmouth, Helford, Ilfracombe, Lyme Regis, Paignton, Rame, Sidmouth, Swanage, Tamar & Tavy, Torridge, Teign, Weymouth.
Pictures below: Ladies Winners Falmouth, Men’s Winners Teign, Barbarians Winners