Lyme Regis Gig Club enjoys ‘festival of rowing’ at annual regatta

LYME Regis Gig Club’s regatta has been called a “festival of rowing” by those who took part, after a successful day with 14 visiting teams and 17 boats taking part.

A gloriously sunny day on August 13 greeted the visitors as they arrived early morning to unload and get their boats into position on the pontoon or Victoria Beach, off the historic Cobb.

Old friendly rivalries were renewed with Lyme Regis and Bridport competing against each other; Bridport finishing ahead of Lyme as much as Lyme finishing ahead of Bridport during the day, particularly in the Women’s Super-Vets that Bridport won, with Lyme a close second.

Appledore Men and Lyme Regis like to measure their progress against each other; the Lyme Regis Super-Vets have been dominant all season and the won their race, leading all the way beating Langstone, from Hayling Island and Appledore into third.

In the under 16 race, Lyme Regis had two teams for the first time. Bruce Kahn, manager for the youth rowing at Lyme Regis Gig Club, said: “We had eight different teams in the U16 race which is the most I’ve seen at any regatta so far.

“I am really proud that Lyme managed to present two teams in this race with two of our youth, William Vernon and Lewis Morgan rowing in the full open class races with the adults.”

The day took on a real festival atmosphere as the tide dropped through the day, allowing plenty of changeovers to take place on the beach behind the harbour.

With the various stalls and the all-day barbecue keeping all the competitors, supporters and curious holiday makers refreshed and entertained.

The event was also supported by Otter Brewery, which donated barrels of beer to Lyme Regis as they raise money for a new Cornish Pilot Gig.

Heather Prior, organiser of the regatta, said: “This is our first full open regatta since 2018, the 2019 races were blown out and then Covid struck.

“We are so pleased that we could put on a good event and have been supported by clubs across the South West.”

“It has been an amazing day with so many different clubs able to win individual races, no one team has dominated today to show how close and strong we are across the South West.”

The course was a traditional kite-shape with three turns was about 2.1 km long. With so many boats on the water the pre-race briefing stressed the need to listen to umpires and give water when they called it to avoid collisions.

Thankfully all clubs heeded this and there were no major collisions or damage during the races. The youth course was shorter by about 500m and had only two turns.

Marcus Dixon, commentator on the day and chair of the club, said: “I’d like to thank everyone who took part in planning, managing, hospitality, safety boats, laying course, race control, commentary, drone filming, merchandising, delicious beer and so much more – all working so hard to make yesterday such a success. And on such a hot day!

“The gig club is very much part of the community down at the Cobb and the life of our remarkable town.”

Before the final race anyone of five teams looked possible to win the overall event, Langstone on 58 points, Appledore on 62, Bridport on 68, Brixham on 71 and Lyme on 73 – the winners being those with the lowest number of points.

Lyme won the final race, the Mixed Masters, finishing on 74 points but the final positioning of other clubs would determine who won overall.

The regatta was won by Appledore, who had the greatest consistency through the day and finished with the lowest amount of points.

The Lyme event was also one of the five scoring regattas for the overall Jurassic League, competed for by the clubs along the Jurassic Coast, from Exmouth to Langstone. Langstone won the overall league on the day with Bridport second.

Planning is already underway for next year’s regatta, which has yet to be confirmed, but will hopefully again be on the second weekend of Lyme’s Regatta & Carnival Week, Saturday, August 12.

The full list of those attending on the day:
Lyme Regis, Bridport, Sidmouth, Exmouth, Swanage, Poole, Portland, Langstone, Weymouth, Brixham, Bristol, Appledore, Ilfracombe, Boscastle, Portishead. Rowers from Helford, Teighmouth and others attended to fill in where needed and enjoy the day.

The full programme of races and winners are:

Women’s Vets (over 40s): Weymouth; Men’s Vets: Lyme Regis; Under 16: Brixham;
Women’s C: Swanage; Men’s C: Lyme Regis; Women’s B: Boscastle; Men’s B: Appledore;
Women’s A: Bristol; Men’s A: Bristol; Women’s Super-Vets (over 50s): Bridport (Lyme a close 2nd); Men’s Super-Vets: Lyme Regis; Mixed Super-Vets: Lyme Regis;
Masters (over 60s): Appledore; Mixed Masters: Lyme Regis.

Source: LymeOnline