Exmouth Gig Club make debut appearance in Sidmouth Regatta

PUBLISHED: 10:14 17 July 2014 | UPDATED: 10:14 17 July 2014

Sidmouth gig racing club held an invitation regatta on Sunday. Photo by Terry Ife. Ref shsp 2877-29-14TI To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24

Sidmouth gig racing club held an invitation regatta on Sunday. Photo by Terry Ife. Ref shsp 2877-29-14TI To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24

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Twelve months ago it was a dream in the minds of Ben Atkinson and Carrie Farquharson (the founding members of Exmouth Gig Club), but that initial dream reached fruition last weekend, writes Steve Opie

Sidmouth gig racing club held an invitation regatta on Sunday. Photo by Terry Ife. Ref shsp 2875-29-14TI To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24 Sidmouth gig racing club held an invitation regatta on Sunday. Photo by Terry Ife. Ref shsp 2875-29-14TI To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24

Exmouth Gig Club entered their first Gig race at Sidmouth Regatta and, whilst they did not win, they accredited themselves very well. The support shown to Exmouth on their first appearance showed how welcoming the gig community is. The overall winners at the event were the very accomplished crews of Weymouth who were strong throughout all divisions, further backing their success as one of the best Jurassic coast clubs.

Exmouth Gig Club chairman Ben Atkinson was brimming with pride as the day came to a close.

He said: “Seeing our crews taking part in racing after only launching the club in March represents a massive achievement for the club and everyone has got so much out of today, giving us all the motivation to enter more regattas as the season continues.”

For the uninitiated gig rowing is fixed seat rowing in a boat that is based on a design dating back to 1838! Whilst it is a growing sport in Devon it is very well established in Cornwall and on the Isles of Scilly where they hold the World Championships every May, and attract entrants from as far afield as the USA and Australia.

Gig boats are designed for the sea and were used to race out to large ships coming into harbour and the first to the ship would offload it’s Pilot to enable the ship to enter the port and, therefore, get paid! For more information see www.cpga.co.uk.

Exmouth’s Gig club only opened in late March 2014 and most of its members are new to the sport with as little as two month’s rowing experience and, with ages ranging from 16 to 65 plus, it truly is an inclusive sport with a heavy emphasis on the social interaction. This was highly evident yesterday at the Sidmouth Regatta when members from all of the clubs were to hand to help carry the boats, weighing in at up to 400kg, across the pebbles!

As mentioned the club is the brainchild of Ben Atkinson and Carrie Farquharson, ably assisted by Mark Champion whose dedication and hard work resulted in sufficient funding to pay for a boat, trailer, oars and other equipment.

The club now boasts close to 30 members, but they continue to look to recruit additional people with whom to share the experience with as well as bring in much needed income to help cover the ongoing costs.

The club hold rowing sessions on Thursday evenings, Saturdays and have recently introduced a session every other Tuesday to cater for the increasing demand. Anyone from the age of 14 is welcome to get along and see if the sport is for them and it really does not matter if the person ahs any form of rowing experience.

The club are holding a social event at the Beach pub on Exmouth seafront on July 25 at 8pm.

Last, but certainly not least, the club are keen to attract local businesses to get involved with sponsorship.

For more on all things the new gig club visit www.exmouthgigclub.com

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