Fantastic Regatta for Lyme!
It was the turn of Lyme Regis Gig Club to play host to the next round on the gig racing calendar. In a complete contrast to last year, this year's event was held under a blue sky with very little wind.
An almost calm sea afforded some great racing conditions, although after the Ladies & Mens Supervets race had taken place, the increasing air temperatures together with little or no wind on the water, made the course considerably more demanding than usual. From a safety perspective, a decision was made following this race to shorten the course.
Preceding this race was the Junior event, which was appropriately held over a shorter course. A field of 10 boats entered this race. The Lyme crew in 'Tempest' started well, settling in to the leading pack eventually finishing second behind another 'partial' Lyme crew who helped Bridport's 'Dagger' cross the line in 1st position. A good result for both clubs.
The afore mentioned Ladies & Men's Supervets race earned Lyme a very respectable 4th position in each of their respective races.
In the Ladies 'A' category, all boats left the start line heading for the first marker , all of them appearing to want to turn all at once. But it was Lyme's boat 'Rebel' with a composite crew from the Newquay club, topped up with rowers from other clubs, who took the lead with Ilfracombe in 'Rogue' and Swanage in 'Winspit' in hot pursuit who 'wriggled' free from the exiting pack to make headway over the remaining boats, eventually finishing in this order ahead of Weymouth. The Lyme crew finished in 11th position, ahead of 'Spirit of Langstone' . The crew, of which, travelled down from Hayling Island in Hampshire.
Following this would be the Men's 'A' event. Shortly after being called to order on the start line, the shout went out and they were away in a very tight bunch, making the first turn a very interesting prospect. That said, this appeared to separate the field a little, allowing them to settle in and find their positions. Lyme's 'Rebel' eventually broke free. Again, this boat was crewed by a strong Newquay contingent together with other club members who were available. In their wake would be the Weymouth crew in 'Tristan' followed by Lyme Regis in 'Tempest' and this is how they would cross the finishing line.
The Ladies 'B' were next off the blocks. Again with rowers from Newquay, declared as a composite crew, 'Rebel' was quickly away from the line and pulling out an early lead. Staying within reach of them for most of the course were Brixham in 'Pegasus' and Weymouth in 'Tristan'. The Lyme crew in 'Tempest finished ahead of Sidmouth's 'Keith Owen' and Bristol's 'Young Bristol' in 10th position.
Approaching the halfway point in the race order and any of the teams could be potential overall contenders. A very close call.
Perhaps the Ladies 'C' race could shake the scoreboard up a little. Lyme's crew in this event looked likely contenders to execute this as they exited the start line. The pack of leaders included Lyme in 'Tempest', Weymouth in 'Tristan', Brixham in 'Pegasus' and Ilfracombe in 'Rogue. It was the Brixham crew who crossed the line to take 1st position with Lyme finishing in an impressive 4th.
The Men's 'B' crews were next on the start line, all now attempting to increase their chances of contributing to their respective overall positions. This race also took in a composite crew, racing in Lyme's Rebel. Over the first half of the course, all looked very evenly placed with the leading pack consisting of Brixham, Teign, Weymouth, Lyme Regis and the composite crew. Rounding the second mark effectively put the crews in their eventual finishing positions. At the finish mark, Brixham crossed first ahead of Weymouth, then Lyme in 3rd.
The possible overall standings were becoming a little clearer as the Men's 'C' crews took to the line.
Once again, much white water was exchanged coming off the start line as the crews fought to gain an early lead. The Teign crew in 'Morgan' were among the front runners which included Lyme's 'Tempest', Bristol's 'Young Bristol' and Ilfracombe in 'Rogue'. Rounding the second marker, it was this pack who headed towards the finishing line, crossing it first were the Ilfracombe crew, followed by Bristol, then Lyme crossing in 3rd position. Testament to the fact that rowing is good for 'all ages' was borne by the Sidmouth club, as their boat 'Keith Owen' had a rower in this race of 87 years old. Not to be out-done, after leaving the start line last, they caught and passed 3 boats before finishing in 10th position from 14 boats.
With only 3 races to go, the top 5 crews were starting to emerge as serious contenders. These being Weymouth, Lyme, Brixham, Ilfracombe and Bridport.
The next race would be the Ladies Vets. Once again, a very tight bunch left the start line which made for a very interesting first turn. However, it would be Weymouth in 'Tristan', Torridge in 'Kerens' who would head the leading pack around the course and finishing in this order followed by Bridport's 'Dagger'.
The penultimate race was the Mens Vets. Even at this late stage in the programme, the top 5 overall contenders would still change. However, it would be Ilfracombe, Lyme Regis and Brixham who would break away from the pack to take the finishing line in this order ahead of Weymouth, Portland and Bridport.
The last race was the decider. The Mixed crews event. This result of this race would arrange the teams into their final overall standings. This race would include a composite crew from Newquay and others and they very much set the pace for this event. But hunting them down with every stoke would be Swanage, Ilfracombe, Bristol and Weymouth. But it would be Swanage who took the lead over the composite crew, finishing 1st with Ilfracombe, Brixham and Weymouth crossing in this order.
The culmination of the day's event meant the top 3 in the overall team standings were Weymouth 1st – Ilfracombe 2nd – Lyme Regis 3rd.
The Lyme Regis Gig Club would like to thank all of our sponsors for their support and all the harbour users; the fishermen, sailors, powerboaters, etc, for being so supportive throughout the day . Thanks also to Grahame Foreshaw (Harbourmaster) and all his team for all their help.