Three crews from FMPGC braved a long journey, some delightful summer weather and the amusement arcades of Paignton to race in the penultimate Tribute Event of this season.
It was an early start for everyone but that meant a great spot on the beach for the new club gazebo! As the morning went on the wind rose, squalls rolled across the bay and as the tide dropped away the sea began to pick up.
The first race of the day saw a B crew of Tommy, Mike, Justin D, Timbo, Vince and Justin S rowing in the A race with Bridget coxing. There are no easy draws in A races and despite being drawn in the second heat the crew were up against a tough line up. With a howling tail wind it looked like it was going to be a quick first leg but a slog back into the line.
The start was even more shambolic than usual with wind and tide pushing all the gigs onto the line and the starter failing to start at the time he was counting down to. When the start finally came it caught everyone by surprise and the first three strokes leaved a lot to be desired! The crew finally settled and had a great run up to the mark, level with the pack and only a length down off the lead boat. The start line was huge a meant that all the boats converged on the first mark, which was an extremely tight turn, at the same time.
Pinnacle took a wide line but had to stop the boat to avoid snapping Mevagissey’s rudder. The delay forced her out even wider for the second mark which the other crews took advantage of, running up the inside.
However, the B crew weren’t to be out done and finally found the length they’d been looking for on the final leg. Each stroke was bringing them closer and closer to the pack. Spurred on by Bridget, the weight picked up and the boat began to flow edging up on an strong Devoran crew. FMPGC drew level and with a big 20 surged passed Devoran and then set their sights on Appledore. With less than 30 strokes to go the tanks were well and truly emptied as Pinnacle took Verbena on the line. Despite not having the greatest of races, the FMPGC boys rowed through two crews on the line and were over the moon.
The time put FMPGC 18th out of 25 overall in the A race and had the crew been racing in the B race it would’ve meant a 6th place finish.
Next up were the Ladies A of Natalie, Hilary, Kim, Polly, Bridget and Ella with Tommy coxing. There were more fun and games off the start but FMPGC flew off the line and after two minutes had already edged ahead of Fowey and were level pegging with Helford who they would fight with all the way round the course.
Looe bean to establish a good lead with Padstow close behind them. FMPGC and Helford were half a length off the two lead boats going into the first mark.
Pinnacle established the overlap on Pedn Billy going into the mark and had a smooth rounding. Helford then tried to duck inside on the run to the second mark but a strong spurt from FMPGC kept them at bay. Pinnacle rounded the second mark ahead of Pedn Billy but the boats were bow to stern.
The final leg and the roaring head wind were approaching. As Pinnacle turned into the wind, Helford nudged her stern and then tucked to the outside (impeding Pinnacle’s stroke side!) and taking themselves out of the wind. Their strong restart off the mark then drew them level.
It was then a drag race to the line. Pinnacle fought tooth and nail with the hugely experienced Helford crew but the bow of Pedn Billy crossed the line two seconds before Pinnacle’s. The gutsy row from the Ladies A gave them a time which left them 12th overall. A fine result for a crew that had only rowed together once before.
Last up were the Ladies B who had never rowed together before and it was Susannah’s first Tribute race. Their heat line up was daunting to say the least with all the top crews present and correct. The crew of Sian, Jodie, Sue, Sally, Susannah and Frances, with Tommy coxing, took their place on the start line.
A smooth and clear start saw FMPGC level pegging with all the fleet apart from Falmouth who were already pulling out in front. With the strong tail still there they flew into the first mark, but so did everyone else. Falmouth turned first with Caradon just behind. Then there was a line of five boats with Pinnacle on the outside.
As the boats began to turn Charlestown changed their line a clashed with Pinnacle’s bow side. The tangle forced Pinnacle wide and the sprint was on to the second mark. It was a smoother rounding but Roseland had begun to creep up on the inside and had the water going to the last mark.
As with the Ladies A, it was going to be a dog fight back into the finish with Roseland just ahead of Pinnacle and Helford and Charlestown half a length ahead of them.
The relatively inexperienced Ladies B were giving it all they had pushing hard with every stroke and drew level with Roseland, who were one of the most experienced crews on the water. There was a huge push for the line, everyone fighting back the pain and it looked from the water like Pinnacle and pipped Polvarth to the post.
However, the times came out and Roseland had pinched it by three seconds leaving the Ladies B 7th which was still a brilliant result.
It was great racing from all three crews which did the club proud.