The weekend of the 19th and 20th September was the turn of Bridport’s gig clubs men’s crews to take to the waters in Newquay, for the County Championship gig rowing event. Bridport put forward an A and a B crew, who were drawn in different heats for the first race on the Saturday morning. Sea conditions were good and the visibility was clear, making for fast racing around the two buoy turn course. Crews race in unknown boats, drawn from a hat shortly before the event begins; giving the added pressure of rowing in a boat the crew is unfamiliar with.
The A crew had a brilliant race and finished in very close third place in their first heat, but with a very good time and still with a chance of going through to the next round. The B crew also had a strong race, however did not proceed into the next round. They did very well considering two of the crew have only been rowing for a few months, and were thrown straight into racing with the squad. They had a very close battle with local rivals on the last leg of the course and managed to pull away, finally overcoming them on the line.
The A crew then raced again to secure themselves a place racing on the second day of the championships. After a restful night, the crew put in another strong performance in the quarter finals and were eight seconds from qualifying for the semi-final, and therefore finishing 14th overall.
This resulted in the A crew becoming the highest placed Bridport boat ever and most successful Jurassic team at the event this year. This crew were only put together this season, and have been training hard on and off the water to achieve brilliant results. Four of the crew had not raced before this season. Kevin Batchelor, the men’s captain, said “it is particularly pleasing as these rowers came up through last summer’s development squad”.
They will now begin winter training, working on technique, fitness and strength in preparation for the World Championships next spring. Kevin also had large amounts of praise for the men’s squad; “this brings to an end a very successful season for the men’s squad, which has grown in strength and size as the season has progressed. With success winning at Bridport and Sidmouth regattas and coming joint 7th with Falmouth in the Tribute league, where points are awarded for each race entered at regattas throughout the season”. Falmouth are consistently the winning teams at many regattas, with both men’s and women’s A crews having been world champions on multiple occasions, and often dominating the top spots.
The men end the season on a high and will still be seen rowing out of West Bay harbour at weekends and some weekdays, along with the ladies and general rowers. Bridport Gig Club are having a fundraising event on Sunday 4th October in the Salthouse, West Bay. A Big Breakfast will be served from 9am – 1pm, tea, coffee, toast and a full English breakfast. Adults £6 and primary school children £3. Anyone is welcome to come and join us. If you would like to know any more about rowing with BGRC, please contact the secretary on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website – www.bridportgigclub.org.