Ilfracombe edge out hosts by a single point after day of tightly-contested racing
THERE was huge excitement in Appledore this weekend as the gig rowing club hosted one of the most enthralling regattas in their history.
Large numbers of spectators lined the quay on a beautiful sunny day to watch and cheer the competing clubs from Appledore, Barnstaple, Bideford, Boscastle, Bude, Clevedon, Clovelly, Ilfracombe & Torridge.
A start line close to the Appledore to Instow ferry crossing was a spectators’ dream as the boats jostled for position waiting for the flag to drop and the shout to start on the coxes’ radios.
The gathered crowds were able to follow the race down the river past the iconic anchor and out into the estuary around two buoy turns and back to a finish opposite the Seagate Hotel.
After a number of exciting battles, it was Ilfracombe who came out on top overall, beating host club Appledore by a single point.
Ilfracombe picked up two wins, with their men’s and ladies’ A crews reaching the line first ahead of Appledore on both occasions.
Appledore picked up the most wins of any of the clubs, taking first in the men’s B, men’s C, ladies’ C, men’s supervets and mixed races.
There were also three wins for Torridge, coming from their ladies’ vets, ladies’ supervets and J16 crews – the last of which saw a race right to the line with all of the gigs finishing within five lengths.
There were the inevitable clashes of oars and several exchanges resembling fairground bumper cars as coxes and crews maximised their efforts to cut the sharpest turn and head for the home straight.
Several races were incredibly closely contested right up to the end that a virtual photo finish was required.
The event closed with a raffle and prize-giving on the slipway with Ilfracombe taking the overall trophy just one point ahead of host club Appledore.
Each year the gap between the top clubs has narrowed and Appledore have high hopes of finally collecting the winners’ trophy next year.