Torrential rain at the Plymouth Rowing Challenge

Torrential rain was not enough to dampen the spirits of the twelve novice Gig rowing crews participating in third Plymouth Rowing Challenge.

On Thursday 26th July, after a day of nonstop driving rain, the clouds finally lifted just in time to launch, bail out and set up four Cornish Pilot Gigs ready for the evening’s racing. By 6 o’clock all twelve crews were raring to go and contenders for the first race took to the water. The crews came from local organisations and included architects, engineers, council workers, activity instructors and solicitors. Each crew was given a cox from a local clubs and up to three pre-event training sessions, as the racing began the competitive, yet friendly, atmosphere was tangible between both crews and coxes.

While the first crews battled it out on the water the land based challenge began with some blistering team rows, fraught with changeover chaos and over enthusiastic rowers falling off their seats. The willingness of the crews to throw themselves wholeheartedly into the challenge created a fantastic buzz, and none seemed deterred even as black cloud loomed overhead.

After six races the field was narrowed down to the final four crews raring to go head to head for the winner’s trophy. The competition was close and the light was fading fast but finally we had our winners, a crew from Toshiba dressed as Pirates!

The race course was a simple straight line along the Cattewater in full view of race HQ at the Mount Batten Centre where spectators and crews, most happy with a beer in hand, watched as second place was snatched by architects from Stride Treglown. 2007 winners Babcock Marine put up a good fight for third with Hellermann Tyton finishing fouth.

Back on dry land the finale of the ergo challenge was yet to be played out, once again between Toshiba and Stride Treglown, amazingly the Pirates came through to snatch the ergo challenge trophy for a double win!

The Plymouth Rowing Challenge is an annual fundraising event organised by the Plymouth Rowing Forum. In 2005 a group of representatives from local rowing clubs got together to established the Plymouth Rowing Forum (PRF). Their aim was to attract funding for new rowing boats, a safety boat and safety equipment to help establish a junior learn to row programme in the city. The PRF worked with Plymstock School Sport Partnership, hosts of the city’s community rowing coach Kevin Sellar, and the first learn to row courses took place in spring 2007. From the beginning it was clear that an annual fundraising and promotional event would be essential to keep the programme accessible to all. The PRF came up with the idea of the Plymouth Rowing Challenge as a way of financing the storage, maintenance and insurance of the new boats and equipment, three events down the line and the event is going from strength to strength.

Each of the competing crews donates a minimum of £150 to participate in the challenge, and many strive to collect additional sponsorship. The total raised this year was an amazing £2048.70 and the PRF would like to extend their gratitude to all of the local organisations that took part which included those above mentioned alongside The Mount Batten Centre, ADPS, Pell Frischmann, Wolferstans Solicitors, Plymouth City Council and EDF.

Thanks is also extended to all of the volunteers that made the event possible and Cattewater and Caradon Pilot Gig Clubs for lending their traditional wooden Gigs and Jupiter Point, HMS Raleigh for lending their two plastic boats.

For more information on the event contact Stephanie Green on 01752 88512 / 404567 or email Stephanie.green@plymouth.ac.uk