Appledore’s famous History Race took place on Saturday 27th May. The evening race was supported by six local clubs, with eleven crews taking part. It is a challenging distance of around 6 miles from Appledore Quay down the Torridge to the Middle Ridge marker buoy and back.
With the full width of the Estuary and Skern to manouevre, the line taken by the boats often plays a crucial part. Coxes try to use the fast currents and flat water areas to their advantage. This year was made even more exciting with the incoming tide and swell creating waves, which a skilful cox can use to surf their boat home.
Gig boats lined up across the estuary as a sailing race was about to take place, creating a colourful spectacle at the start. As the boats headed out to sea, it was the Torridge men who took the lead. They kept their position right up until the final 250m, unable to shake off a chasing Appledore crew who turned on the power and crossed the finish line first. Both rowers and spectators enjoyed the thrill of the close finish, unusual for a race lasting the best part of an hour.
The event originated in the 1930’s when there were still six working pilot gigs on the Torridge. Rival gigs Siren and Endeavour challenged each other to a race for a £1 wager. In 2008 Appledore Pilot Gig Club took ownership of a training boat and named her Siren to maintain the historical connection; the race is now an annual event, a £1 coin the focal point of the winner’s trophy.
Participating Clubs: Appledore, Barnstaple, Boscastle & Crackington Haven, Bude, Clovelly, Torridge
1st Appledore (Verbena)
1st Bude (Barrel Rock)
Photo above: History Race Winners, Appledore (photo H. Waters)
Guy Cooke, Rob Ovenell, Chris Byrom, Leigh Marquardt, Steve Price, Tim Tennant, Cox – Andy Waters
Trophy presentation by Caitlin Haughton on behalf of Len White the Club President (Caitlin is a Junior rower and Len’s granddaughter)
Photo below: Ladies Winners, Bude (photo H. Waters)