Appledore Rowers place fifth in season opener

North Devon Gazette

In an exciting return to a full gig rowing events calendar, Appledore Men’s A Crew finished 5th in a field of 71 boats. Â

The ‘3 Rivers’ event in Saltash, Cornwall is hosted by Caradon Gig Club and consists of a single gruelling six-mile race. Taking place on the Tamar, the route normally incorporates the mouths of the Tavy and Lynher Rivers, hence the 3 rivers title. Â

This year, however, conditions were so tough that the bottom part of the course was cut short to avoid crews having to row directly into the 40 to 50 mph gusts on the south-west facing leg.Â

It was a joy to see so many gigs gathered in one place again, the number at one event is only surpassed by the World Championships held on the Isles of Scilly at the beginning of May. The crews congregated on the river directly below the Tamar Bridge before setting off in heats at two-minute intervals. The heats are timed, giving each crew an overall finishing position.Â

This was the first chance for crews to compete at this level in 2 years, an opportunity to gauge their fitness against the opposition in the build up to the World Championships. The Appledore men completed the course in just over 38 minutes, 90 seconds behind the winners - Coverack, testament to their hard training regime which included virtual ergo and circuits sessions during lockdown.Â

Ilfracombe Men’s A came a respectable 17th, Appledore Men’s Over 50s crew were 28th, Barnstaple 50th, Ilfracombe B 56th and Torridge 65th. Â

In the Women’s race, Fowey were victorious, the North Devon clubs placing as follows: Ilfracombe A 28th, Torridge 41st, Appledore 47th and Ilfracombe B 70th.Â

The local gig community is mourning the passing of Martyn Hocking, cox and coach of Ilfracombe Pilot Gig Club. A statement from the Ilfracombe club said: “He will be greatly missed by the local community on and off the water, especially all those associated with Ilfracombe Pilot Gig Club. Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time.” Rest in peace Martyn. Â