Championship of the Bay

Honours were shared in the Championship of the Bay with Torquay taking the Men’s trophy and Paignton the Ladies trophy.

And in an evening of some excellent performances Paignton’s Juniors also picked up medals.


A strengthening west south westerly wind whipped the sea into choppy conditions with one Torquay crew having to go ashore to empty out before the race started.

The entry of eleven boats of a variety of craft was the largest for more than a decade with the race rowed over the Paignton Regatta course but with the start off Hollicombe Beach and finishing at Paignton Pier.

The mass start were away quickly and early leaders were Torquay’s Men’s Veteran coxed four and Torquay’s FISA sea boat double scull followed by Torquay’s double scull and Paignton’s pilot gig ‘Top Catch’.

Torquay’s Men’s Veteran coxed four of Rus Bammens, Ian Wilson, Gary Letori, Mike Cresser and cox, George Lowe, steadily increased their lead as the race progressed and crossed finish line for a five lengths win.

A close race to the finish for second place ensued between Torquay’s double sculls crew of Maurice Dunn and son Ryan and the Torquay FISA sea boat double scull of Gary Spencer and Paul Dallyn but it was the father and son combination who slipped over the line a length ahead of their rivals.

Paignton’s Men’s pilot gig ‘Top Catch’ crewed by Simon Pedley, Mark Pope, Jeff Wills, Ade Jones, Shaun Pedley, Tony Bateman and cox, Sandra Pedley, finished fourth with Paignton’s Junior coxed quadruple sculls crew of Poppy Disney, Lewis Bailey, Lewis Lyden, Jack Wills and cox, Ella Collins, fifth.

Paignton Ladies coxed four of Sarah Tingle, Helen French, Alyson Whitehead, Tracey Western and cox, Jackie Ekers, were sixth to take the Ladies trophy and Torquay’s Ladies coxed four of Ali Bennett, Sarah Vosper, Charlotte Smith, Izzy Shaw and cox, Katie Cudmore, were seventh.

Eighth was the Paignton Mixed Coastal coxed four ‘Horsa’ crewed by Zara Haggerty, Rob Harris, Mike Lister, James Madley and cox, Jane Perry; Paignton’s pilot gig ‘Storm’ with a mixed crew of Shaz McCarthy, Karen Gidley, Robin Barr, Wendy Tooley, Dean Farrell, Queenie Martin and cox, Jess Martin, were ninth; Paignton’s Junior Ladies FISA coxed quadruple sculls crew of Libby Hogan, Louise Manning, Holly Hulme, Ashley Harper and cox, Joan Whittle, were tenth; and eleventh was the Paignton Ladies double scull of Laura Tucker and Beth Hogan.

Refreshments followed at the Paignton Rowing Club with Torquay’s Men and Paignton’s Ladies receiving their trophies. Medals were also presented to Paignton’s Junior coxed quadruple sculls crew for their excellent performance in finishing fourth to be first Junior crew home.
Paignton Rowing Club are to become the first in the region to offer four disciplines of rowing – skiff, gig, coastal boat and sea boat.

The christening of a new sea boat four will take place on Paignton beach near Paignton Club at 10.30am this Sunday. This will be followed by a coxswain’s meeting at 11am and fun races for men, women, mixed and juniors.

Club coach Joan Whittle said: “This is a learning curve for us at the moment, but we hope to run a coastal boat regatta proper next year. The boat is to be named ‘Wave Dancer’ which was suggested by one of our junior rowers. Clubs attending will be Exmouth, Teignmouth, Torquay and Mayflower.”

“Pete Atkinson, President of the West of England ARA and British and World Masters Champion, has agreed to christen it for us. We’re delighted he could, as he was once the Captain of Paignton Rowing Club.”

“We’re using this christening to promote our club and hopefully increase our membership. We’re working with Alan Meeghan of British Rowing in trying to get funding to refurbish the boathouse and changing facilities. Anyone wishing to try can have three free ‘taster’ lessons, before deciding to join us.

“We’re looking for extra coaches, or veteran and ex-rowers to come and help with our rowing programme. We’d also like to welcome back any ‘old’ rowers to have a go in any of our boats. Contact Club Captain Karen Gidley 01803-558551 or Club Secretary Joan Whittle 01803-408017.”

Article from the the Herald Express.