Rowers make home advantage count with several victories over the weekend
THE forecast thunder and lightning storms held off this weekend as Ilfracombe held its pilot gig regatta.
Up to 13 boats competed across the races, including Appledore and Torridge, as well as those from further afield such as Weymouth and Clevedon.
But it was home advantage which ultimately told, with Ilfracombe’s crews performing fantastically throughout to comfortably claim the overall regatta win.
The home club made a winning start in the ladies A race, with the crew holding off tough competition from Appledore in the early stages to power clear and win by several boat lengths.
The course was then shortened for the rest of the day’s races – a popular decision – and the men’s A crew picked up right where the ladies had left off.
They outclassed their opposition on their way to a clear win, a feat matched by the men’s B crew and almost achieved by the ladies B, who were pipped into second.
Then came the junior race, where the Ilfracombe junior squad ‘wave riders’ were up against tough competition from Brixham, Clevedon, and Bridport.
As soon as the starting flag went down the juniors gave their all with a fantastic stroke rate by Luke Halls, and good power from the rest of the boat.
With a burst of power and energy, Ilfracombe’s ‘Rapparee’ boat zipped into the lead and took the win by several boat lengths over their nearest rivals, Brixham.
It was the juniors’ first win, a fine result for a crew who haven’t been rowing for long but have been training hard.
Ilfracombe’s ladies’ veterans are back on form and with some good turns and a great turn of pace they took first place from Weymouth.
The men’s veterans also put on an impressive display to come first by a considerable distance.
Super veterans races for over 50s were also held at the weekend, with the ladies super vets coming second and the men’s super vets finishing fifth.
The mixed race completed the day’s racing, with three boats emerging as challengers after the first turn.
The long stretch started to split the crews, with Ilfracombe and Weymouth fighting right to the line for the win.
Weymouth came in ahead of the hosts, but the celebrations had already begun as Ilfracombe claimed the regatta win.
The trophies were presented by Ilfracombe’s mayor, George Squires, and Tony Reeves, Ilfracombe Yacht Club president, in the Yacht Club.