Exmouth crews row well in final meeting of the Southwest Coastal League season

Exmouth rowing club about to take one of the boats out. Ref exsp 16-17TI 1128. Picture: Terry Ife

Exmouth rowing club about to take one of the boats out. Ref exsp 16-17TI 1128. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

The last Saturday of October coincided with the final regatta of the Southwest Coastal League season which descended on Plymouth, writes Craig Chaulk.

The ‘Muddy Rubble’ regatta, hosted by Mayflower Offshore Rowing Club is considered by some participants as the highlight of the regatta season and long awaited after two previous weather postponements.

The ladies and men’s 8km course rounding various buoys and markers starts opposite Mayflower Marina, proceeding to a buoy located off Mutton Cove, then to the Muddy Rubble buoy, passing back opposite Mayflower Marina with the rowers proceeding to the bridge buoy markers located off Mount Edgecombe Park, rounding Drakes Islands to then pass Devils Point with the finish line opposite Mayflower Marina.

The participants included the hosts Mayflower Offshore Rowing Club (MORC) of Plymouth, Exmouth Rowing Club (ERC), Teignmouth’s Teign Scullers (TS), Torquay Rowing Club (TQ), as well as numerous independent rowers; special guests were the Welsh Sea Rowing Association (WSRA) who recently competed at the World Coastal Rowing championships in Canada.

The ladies 8km with five coxed quad entries started the day. With the outgoing tide and a strong wind, the start of the race was always going to be tough.

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At the start, TS(A) pushed ahead taking a line closer to the seawall; MORC(A) and ERC(A) fought out side-by-side to the first buoy and second buoys.

As the race progressed, the TS(A) boat managed to pull ahead to secure first place in a time of 42; the ERC(A) boat managed to pull ahead of the MORC(A) boat which claimed third – a respectable position with only two of the regular A crew rowers. MORC(B) finished fourth in a time of 53:39.

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The men’s 8km, with six entries, took to the water. At the sound of the klaxon, the battle commenced towards the first buoy. ERC(A) and MORC(A) both off to flying starts closely followed by TQ(A), WSRA and TS(A); rounding the first buoy, the racing though still close started to open up with TS(A) and MORC(A) battling out just a boat length ahead of WRSA and ERC(A).

As the boats passed the halfway mark on the water between Mayflower Marina and Mount Edgecombe Park, the spectators could see just how close the battles between first and second; third and fourth positions were being fought.

The fight for third position saw WSRA slightly ahead by half a boat length; ERC(A) with every stroke progressing in close proximity looked favourable to overtake them; however, the ERC(A) cox positioned the boat a bit too close resulting in the oars to clash with the WSRA stroke; the avoidance application of the rudder caused the ERC(A) to drop back but still in a position of contention.

Meanwhile, the fight for first between TS(A) and MORC(A) was not as dramatic as that for third but still close in close contention, the buoy turns proving critical. TS(A) managed to push ahead to claim first in a time of 37:5; MORC(A) claimed second 31 seconds later with guests WSRA putting in a valiant effort to finish just eight seconds behind for third closely followed by ERC(A) 20 seconds later. MORC(B) battling with TQ(A) had a fight towards the finish claiming fifth place by only two seconds.

The 4km masters, which omitted the rounding of Drakes Island, saw 12 entries consisting of four coxed quads, two double sculls (2x) and six single scull (x1) boats. At the sound of the klaxon, the racing commenced. ERC(A) and MORC(A) off to good starts, followed by the ERC(2x).

ERC(A) managing to pull ahead and with the conditions now very windy causing choppy water saw a cluster for the first buoy turn, the ERC(2x) purposely going wide to take advantage of the conditions saw the MORC(A) boat cut inside closely followed by TS(A), the latter took a wider turn that saw them collide with the ERC(2x).

MORC(A) and TS(A) now fighting for position saw the TS(A) boat push slightly ahead. ERC(A) the victors in 20:45, TS(A) in second with MORC(A) third in 21:42.

The 2x win was claimed by TS(2x) in a time of 21:11 secs; the 1x win was claimed by B Cottell in 22:37.

The final race of the day and season was the mixed 4km race. Seven entrants took to the water. MORC(A), TS(A), ERC(A) all off to a flying start and all the way till the last buoy turn; with the three leading boats in close proximity and with MORC(A) closing the gap on the leading TS(A), the ERC(A) cox took a line that then resulted in contact with the MORC(A) boat - temporarily slowing both boats, the resulting contact caused the ERC(A) to fall behind, the MORC(A) boat temporarily slowed gave the TS(A) crew an advantage to increase the lead once again.

The victors TS(A) in 19:8, followed by MORC(A) in 19:26, with ERC(A) in third in a time of 19:33.

Teign Scullers again displayed an impressive performance being claimed the overall victors of the day.

The overall winners trophies were presented at the West of England Amateur Rowing Association President’s Dinner in Exmouth last Saturday, at which the Southwest Coastal Rowing League awards were handed out and Teign Scullers made a clean sweep in all categories including the 2018 champions awarded the Gill Mannings Cox Trophy.

If you would like to try coastal rowing as a 2019 fitness resolution, please visit www.exmouthrowingclub.co.uk

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