Appledore and Instow event gets off to a fine start on Sunday.

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THE clock was turned back 30 years at Appledore and Instow Regatta on Sunday as former ‘old favourite’ events were brought back to life and the quayside was lined with the biggest crowd for decades.

Thirty rowing races were contested on the river by half-a-dozen West of England Rowing Clubs, with each of the clubs winning at least two trophies.

Plymouth won the day with 12 victories, followed by Bideford Reds with eight, Bideford Blues and Paignton three each, Torquay and Castledore two each.

Local events saw the revival of sculling over the stern, a gig and punt chase, water jousting and boat tug-o-war as well as the always favourite greasy pole.

Secretary Peter Reveley said: “It rained in the morning, but then the sun came out to light up a super day. The main regatta was a fantastic day, with plenty of people on the quay and on the water 30 races went off without a hitch.

“The other events on the day also proved popular, particularly the greasy pole, which attracted hundreds of youngsters. During the afternoon there were more than 1,000 people along the quayside. We have not seen anything like it for 30 years.”

Water jousting winners were Charlie Pavitt’s team, who defeated the Craners’ team.

Veteran Martin Ford took the honours for the skill of sculling over the skern, with young colleague Charlie Daniels as runner-up.

Torridge Gig Club won the boat tug-o-war and greasy pole hgonours wenbt to Asha BB in the men’s event and Liah Brent in the women’s.

The Instow bank of the River Torridge was the venue for the sailing events, based at the North Devon Yacht Club.

Sam Heaton won two of the four main events, the Billy Mills and Jimmy Johnson cups for Dart 15s and fast handicap catamarans respectively.

The Dymond Challenge Cup for the open event went to Hugh Kingdon and the Regatta Shield for cadets to Lisa Thomas.

The gig and punt chase was won by the Appledore Pilot Gig Club.

Regatta week continues at Appledore on Wednesday with the village’s World Crabbing Championship.

Special contestants this year will be television personalities Rory McGrath and Will Mellor.

The pair will be filming for a new Channel Five series ‘Rory and Will, Champions of the World’ and taking part in opposing teams for the competition, which starts at 5pm.

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