Bermuda Invite Westcountry clubs to regatta

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Jane Fish, from Torridge Pilot Gig Club has sent in a report about a regatta organised at the end of October by the up and coming gig club on the island of Bermuda.

Lyme Regis, Swanage, Weymouth, Rame, Appledore, Bude, Clevedon and Torridge all had rowers attending. Between them they made up largely composite crews for the races. In addition there was a full Dutch ladies crew, whilst Americans from Belfast Maine & South Gloucester also took part.

Here’s Jane’s report:

Torridge had 10 members go across 7 ladies and 3 men. The ladies did the first regatta at Mangrove bay as a complete crew coming first in their heat and 3rd in the final. 3rd place was a disappointment given how hard the crew worked but things became clearer at the finish when the coxswain tried to take the rudder out, it was damaged & jammed solid. Crews allocated that boat during the day hadn’t fared well  and complaints had been made about the rudder, at least it explained why,  the Bermudians were able to fix it for the next regatta. The 1 remaining Torridge lady and the 3 Torridge men made up composite crews with Clevedon, Bude and Appledore club who each had 2 or 4 rowers on the Island they were rewarded with a  4th & 5th places.

The 2nd regatta was held at Spanish point and Torridge ladies joined Clevedon & Bude ladies to make up 2 fairly equal composite crews which resulted in a 3rd and 4th place in the same heat. The 3rd placed crew  went through to the final, finishing 3rd and the 4th placed crew competed in the Plate race which they won.

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St Georges was the setting for the final regatta and Torridge ladies were in the competitive mood qualifying in their heat in 2nd place and then in a very close and hard fought final finished in 2nd place just 4 strokes behind the winning Bermudian crew, the Dutch crew were 3rd. It was an exciting finish where we almost had them a couple of times. Funnily enough  our coxswain Jon Bowler checked the rudder at the start which was just as well as the pin had come off & the rudder was just hanging. The start was delayed and a hasty repair attempted using duct tape and a bolt, the pin was then spotted in the water about 20 foot offshore  a local with the aid of goggles managed to retrieve it and a proper repair was made.

The scoreboard tally of the week Torridge came a respectable 4th overall.

The Bermudians ran ” Privateer” races during each regatta which enabled more of their home members to race and it was a fun way to meet and mix.

Torridge members thoroughly enjoyed the hospitality shown to the visiting clubs and had a wonderful time exploring & sightseeing on the Island.

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Pic above shows the early stages of the final at St Georges with 1st Bermuda, 2nd Torridge, 3rd Dutch and 4th Jurassic coast composite crew.

Pic below is of the oldest gig on the island, of which they know little to nothing about and is in the Dockland museum.

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Would you be interested in visiting one day?

Jane said that the Bermudans laid on a wonderful event and were so generous with their hospitality and assistance. They even met everyone at the airport, bussed everyone around and gave them a starter food pack. They also organised free entry for them to the Dockland museum.

We understand that the Bermuda club is hoping that more rowers will visit them in the future to take part in more regattas like this. Jane estimates that most rowers paid about £1100 for flights and accommodation. Other expenses were on top of that. Bermuda is quite an expensive place but self-catering proved to be a good choice.

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