5th and 6th July 2011, Saltash, Cornwall.
FMPGC storm to victory in Men’s Veterans class at the 2011 CPGA Ginsters Mixed and Veterans Championships. Very closely fought, FMPGC won first heat and semi-finals then held off strong crews from Caradon (2nd) and Roseland (3rd) to take the Men’s Veterans title.
Crews are randomly assigned boats and start lanes in the races on the Tamar River. Racing upstream from near the Tamar Bridge then around three turning marks before a dash to the finish line off Brunel Green.
Opening heat race saw the guys take to the water in Petroc in lane 4 (lane 1 was on Cornish side, towards the middle of the river). A good push for the first minute and the lead was secured. This also meant the crew could move over into the stronger upstream tidal flow.
The semi final drew Millers Daughter in lane 5 with close rivals Caradon in Petroc in lane 3. This race would be a tougher test as the tide conditions still favoured the lower numbered berths. A fast paced first leg saw FMPGC establish a clear lead from Caradon just before the umpire position at the first buoy and in a position to defend round the turns and into the leg home. Caradon crew buoy rounding was better than FMPGC and they were able to close up and overlap for the leg home but the FMPGC crew held them at bay. First 3 crews from each semi progressed to the finals…
With Roseland winning both of their opening rounds it was becoming clear that the final was going to be close run between the Roseland, Caradon and FMPGC crews. Zennor, Mounts Bay and Lyme Regis made up the other half of the final line-up of :: (Berth 1) FMPGC – in gig Waterwitch, (2) Lyme Regis – Penlee Point, (3) Zennor – Millers Daughter, (4) Caradon – Petroc, (5) Mounts Bay – Samphire, (6) Roseland – Lantic.
FMPGC race plan was simple – as big a start as possible to pull ahead of berth 2 Lyme Regis crew and move across out of the now ebbing tidal stream and over to cover Caradon as best as possible. A couple of minutes into the race and FMPGC, Caradon and Roseland were all neck and neck. Roseland with the least amount of head-tide but also fighting a strong Mounts Bay crew. A nice burn from FMPGC saw them take a half-length overlapped lead, then nearly clear water ahead of the dangerous Caradon crew who were looking to try to get to the inside of the turn and establish an overlap by the umpire boat and into turn 1. With a little friendly nudge from Caradon, FMPGC turned into buoy 1 ahead.
It’s then a short 50 metre or so sprint to turn 2 and FMPGC pushed hard to establish a couple of metres of clear water to the chasing crews. Again, Caradon rounded turn 2 tighter and for a moment it looked like the lead had disappeared for the next short dash to turn 3. This time FMPGC went into the turn hard, clipping the buoy. At the same time Roseland, on the outside of the FMPGC/Caradon train, cleverly started to swing wide in clear water and made a break for the fastest running favourable tide in the channel that runs close to the moored boats on the Cornish side.
Coxing skills to place the crews in the most favourable tide streams are vital on the Tamar and FMPGC had to now defend a meagre lead from two hard charging crews. As the benefits of the correct line started to play out, Caradon had little choice to tuck in tight behind FMPGC, their bow just inches from the FMPGC rudder stock. Caradon’s path to faster flowing water was blocked by the moored boats and a couple of attempts by them to push for an overtake resulted in them running out of the tide or having to respond to a surge from FMPGC who were now able to control the race.
Over the line, the sound signal blasts, and FMPGC win!
Mens Veterans final placings :
1. FMPGC – Darren (c), Jeremy, Neil, Andy, Paddy, Alastair, David
4. Mounts Bay
6. Lyme Regis
Photo: (L-R) Hilary, Ali, Sue, Darren (Cox), Celia, Ella, Bridget
Ladies Vets Report (from Celia)
The Ladies Vets crew were in second place for most of their first race, with the Helford B crew on our tail the whole way around and Weymouth out in the lead. Unfortunately we were overtaken in the home straight by the more powerful Helford crew and we finished in 3rd place, meaning we were out of the main competition. A ‘Plate’ series is then run for those knocked out and we won our semi-final, leading the other three boats the whole way around. In the final it was us, rowing in the Fowey boat Lantic, and despite a terrible start, we soon broke away from the other two boats and were leading by a long way for the rest of the race. It helped that the other two collided at the final mark, but we’d already established a comfortable lead by then! Thanks very much to Darren for coxing us.
Photo: (L-R) Lynn (cox) Justin, Polly, Kim, Tommy, Natalie (Bauke also raced but had to leave!)
Mixed Crew Report (from Justin)
We had a difficult first race but qualified from our heat, finishing 3rd, taking us through to the quarter finals. We rowed well in the quarter final race, but the competition was too strong, with Falmouth, Mounts Bay, Caradon and Cattewater as our opponents, we officially came 4th, but only by a boat length; only the top 2 progressed to the semi-final, and both boats that went through our heat were finalists.