Ilfracombe harbour was alive with activity on Saturday as Ilfracombe Pilot Gig Club held their annual regatta. Clubs joined us from all parts of the South West including Dorset and Cornwall to enjoy the weather and spectacular racing.
The event kicked off with the Ladies B race. The tide was high and with it was a rolling ground swell. Competition was fierce but it was Clevedon in their boat Blackbird that rode the waves the best, pushing to the front to reach the first turn ahead of the pack. They fended off a hard charging Appledore crew to take the win. Ilfracombe had two crews in the race, in Rapparee and Rogue, who placed 8th and 9th.
The Mens B race was next on the card. The Mens B trophy had never left Ilfracombe so the pressure was on to retain it for another year. The pressure had no effect though and the Ilfracombe Mens B in Rapparee flew away from the line to open a comfortable lead before the first turn. They maintained their lead over the course and finished first. Ilfracombe entered a second Mens B crew in Rogue who also had a strong race holding off Torridge to finish in 6th.
The Ladies A was a very close fought race, Ilfracombe in Rapparee being chased down by Appledore in Verbina. The pair took off at the start to open a sizable gap to the rest of the field turning the race for 1st into a duel. Appledore pushed hard never giving Ilfracombe any breathing space but some very neat turns and calm rowing meant Ilfracombe came out on top.
Next it was the turn of the Mens A. The race commenced and Ilfracombe had a very strong start and gained the lead. However, they began to be reeled in by Lyme Regis, Torridge, Boscastle, and Bristol so as the boats came past the pier the spectators were treated to a close sprint to the first buoy. Ilfracombe had the inside line made it to the buoy first forcing Lyme Regis to take a wider turn. This gap was seized by Appledore and several other boats. By the second buoy Ilfracombe had built a sizable lead which they held until the finish line though they were kept honest by Appledore. After the race it was judged that Appledore had acted illegally at the first turn and were docked a place meaning Lyme Regis finished second.
The veterans races were up next with the women going first. Ilfracombe women pulled out a very strong lead in Rapparee which they held to the end. The second Ilfracombe boat, Rogue, finished strongly in 9th. The Mens veterans race was another win for Ilfracombe, holding off a strong Lyme Regis boat after another first leg sprint.
The mixed race was lining up to be another close race with Ilfracombe, Bristol, Appledore, and Torridge all fighting to make the first turn in front. Ilfracombe took advantage of their inside line, managing to stay clear of a clash between Appledore and Bristol, taking the lead. However, a misjudged turn on the final buoy forced Ilfracombe wide allowing Torridge a gap which they exploited. The battle lasted right to the line where Torridge won by a matter of inches.
The Ilfracombe Waveriders junior team put in another very strong performance winning their race.
The Ilfracombe steamroller didn’t stop there, the ladies superveterans also won their race with Lyme Regis’s Women coming second. Lyme Regis’s men did one better in the mens supervets winning their race.
The overall scores for the clubs were Ilfracombe 1st, Lyme Regis 2nd, and Appledore 3rd.
All photos courtesy of and copyright of David Knightley www.facebook.com/pg/