Following a week of typically unpredictable Cornish April weather, H4H Valiant the gig boat built and rowed by wounded ex-servicemen from Falmouth Maritime Museum, finally made its way into Sennen on Friday, the final stop – off of the mainland phase of the row.
While the inclement weather meant it could not make its way there from Penzance under oar, the gig was welcomed by a brave crowd who turned out in the mizzle to greet it and to help the Tribute Ale-sponsored boat and its crew celebrate in style at the Old Success Inn later in the evening.
Setting out from Falmouth on Sunday 2nd April, the gig had made its way over the week around the south west coast of the county, stopping off at Helford Passage, Coverack, Cadgwith, Mullion, Porthleven, Marazion, Penzance and finally Sennen on Friday 8th. Despite not being able to row every leg of the first phase, the heart and mind behind the project, Falmouth Maritime Museum’s Mike Selwood was delighted with the progress they had been able to make, commenting “ All of this has been a preparation for the big challenge ahead, namely getting the boat from Sennen over to the Scillies, so while it has been a shame that we couldn’t get the team into the water every day, what they have been able to row, including some very choppy waters around the Lizard, will have helped to prepare them mentally and physically for the final leg.”
Now the gig has been safely stored away in Penzance, the Epic Row support crew will be looking for a break in the weather to plan the final, most arduous stage from Sennen over to the Scillies with an event lined up on Portmellon Beach on St Mary’s on April 29th when the gig will be officially handed over to the Help for Heroes gig team who will be racing Valiant in the Veterans’ Race at the world Gig Rowing Championships on the same evening.
Buoyant despite the mixed weather so far, Mike Selwood added, “While we haven’t got out on the water as much as we’d have liked, the row itself has been a huge success and we have to thank St Austell Brewery for its stalwart support of the whole event. The evening celebrations at the pubs has raised well in excess of £2000 and still counting. All of this will be divided amongst services charities and in terms of support from people across Cornwall in helping to raise awareness of the plight of wounded ex-servicemen, we couldn’t have asked for more.”