Lyme Regis supervets end campaign in glorious winning style

The Lyme Regis super vets crew after their success at Appeldore.

The Lyme Regis super vets crew after their success at Appeldore. - Credit: Archant

With the 2017 gig racing season drawing to a close, the final event of the year for the Lyme Regis club would see their ladies’ and men’s supervet crews travel to North Devon to race in the home waters of hosts Appledore Gig Club, writes Chris Bailey.

This was an event held over a weekend with teams initially being entered into one of three heats.

In groups of up to six boats at a time, qualifying for a place in the semi-final would mean having to finish fourth or higher. All of the club’s crews were successfully through. The Ladies’ B, a crew who have never raced together before, launched their boat off the start line, very quickly settling into the front of the pack, giving them an advantage on the first turn. They then made ground on the leading boat, pushing them all the way, in doing so finishing an impressive second place, earning them a place in the semi-final.

For the B team, the semi-final was to be a tough race among some serious competition. However, they managed to stay with the pack, encountering a battle with the fifth placed boat, to finish ahead of them on the line.

The first round for the Ladies’ A team was to be a platform from which they would display their skill and determination. An impressive start from the crew saw them very quickly move to the leading pack, having to deal with a very challenging tidal change in the estuary. Maintaining their momentum, they managed to hold position to finish second. Thus, automatically going through to Sunday morning’s semi-final.

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In this race they applied the same strategy and finesse, once again battling with the tide, to position themselves in the leading pack. On the final turn they broke away to chase the leading boat, maintaining second place all the way to the finish line, in doing so elevating themselves to the afternoon’s final.

This race would see them pitched against the best supervet crews on the gig racing circuit.

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As in the previous races, the Lyme ladies rowed hard to the first mark, rounding it in third place. However, drawing on all of their strength, they hauled their boat to second mark and entered the final leg in second position behind the favourites, Salcombe. And this is where they finished, narrowly missing out on the silverware - truly a great performance.

As for Lyme men’s crew, they entered this competition looking to set a record for the only Lyme Regis crew ever to complete a season unbeaten.

For their first heat they were drawn in a boat that, until their race, had only finished in last position.

From the start, they were not in a position that would see them through to the next round.

However, a well-executed turn on the first mark, coxed by Kerry Maguire, meant they were now in contention and had to hold position to go through to the semi-final, as they did, finishing in third place.

For the semi-final, the crew were drawn in a more suitable craft, but against stronger competition.

That said, they rowed with discipline and strength. So much so, the final leg saw them stretch out a very commanding lead of over 10 boat lengths all the way to the finishing line, putting them through to the final.

Going into this race, they would be up against the finest crews on the circuit, including Appledore’s A crew. At the drop of the starter’s flag, all boats were away and looking to gain an advantage at the first turn. Half way through the first leg, the Lyme crew were joint first, holding their own against favourites Appledore, who were drawn in one of their own boats.

Approaching the first turn, Lyme had the advantage maintaining the inside line and turning first.

From this point, the Lyme crew gradually broke away from the Appledore and the rest of the pack and rowed gracefully all the way to the finish line among much vocal encouragement from the waterside, to take the title and enter themselves into the club’s history books.

Lyme Regis would like to extend their thanks to the Appledore club for their hospitality.

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