Lively conditions set the scene for Exmouth Regatta

Anna Childs and Morag van Niekerk

Anna Childs and Morag van Niekerk - Credit: Graham Hurley

Nine clubs gathered for last Saturday’s Exmouth Rowing Club regatta, a day-long festival of bladesmanship scripted for nerveless single sculls, determined doubles, a flotilla of quads, and a lively SW wind that tested crews to the limit. 

First blood went to Jurassica Coastal Rowing, the brainchild of Morag Van Niekerk and Rob Parsons, with ERC’s Women’s ‘A’ crew tussling with second-placed Teign Scullers over the 6K course. ERC Chair, Richard Robinson, coxed Exmouth ‘A’ to third place and had nothing but praise for his crew.  

Two ERC crews battled through a stiffening wind in the men’s race. Don Burley was rowing in the ‘B’ crew and said: “We got a decent start and we were settling down nicely when we shipped two big waves, water slopping around with the cox pumping like mad. All that extra weight doesn’t do anything for your speed through the water but it was a great race.” 

Exmouth single sculler Will Loftus, who took 6th in last year’s Coastal World Championships in Portugal, wiped out the competition in the first of the afternoon’s races, crossing the finish line nearly three minutes ahead of Barbarians’ Richard Neal.   

The final launch of the afternoon saw no less than eight quads jockeying for position on the start line, and Exmouth crews took fifth and sixth place, with Richard Robinson runner-up in the 60+ single sculls.  

In the words of one of the volunteers providing all-important safety cover, conditions throughout the day were ‘lively’.  Three singles capsized in the buoyed channel but all three rowers were rescued intact, one of them with assistance from a safety boat from the Exe Sailing Club. ‘Weather like this is always a challenge’, said organiser Les Norcliffe.    

Last word goes to Morag Van Niekerk, an ex-ERC Club Captain. “Exmouth is always an exceptional regatta,” she said. “If you’re looking for real coastal rowing then here it is. Add the general vibe – the boathouse, the catering, the craic amongst the crews – and it becomes a really special day. People walking past can share that excitement, see what coastal rowing really means. A totally fabulous event. And a credit to everyone who made it happen.”

Champion Exmouth sculler Will Loftus celebrates another victory

Champion Exmouth sculler Will Loftus celebrates another victory - Credit: Graham Hurley

ERC quad prepares to do battle

ERC quad prepares to do battle - Credit: Graham Hurley

ERC Chair Richard Robinson and Dan Burley

ERC Chair Richard Robinson and Dan Burley - Credit: Graham Hurley