Pubs & Clubs Regatta - Sunday 26th August 2012
Following the disappointing cancellation of the West of England Rowing Championships at Torbay Royal Regatta, we were finally able to see some rowing in the form or our first Pubs & Clubs Regatta.

The Pubs & Clubs Regatta aims to give Non-Rowers a chance to see what all the fuss is about. Each crew are given a maximum of five training sessions to learn enough to compete in 500 metre races on regatta day.

Taking up the challenge this year were crews from Dartmouth Rugby Club, Sandford Landscapes and GorjusClean, Paul Robbins Decorators and the Grosvenor Hotel.

The Grosvenor were accompanied by a film crew from Channel 4, who were back in the Bay filming another series of the fly-on-the-wall TV documentary 'The Hotel'.

Unfortunately the wind and rain forecast for Saturday decided to return on Monday giving the competitors some challenging conditions to contend with. However, unlike Saturday's Championships we were able to go ahead with racing in our coastal boats which are designed for rougher water.

The first semi-final was the battle of the mixed crews with the crew from local companies Sandford Landscapes and GorjusClean the first to hit the water. The crew nicknamed 'On The Rocks' and their coach Charlotte Smith had high hopes of victory after several promising outings earlier in the week. Then out came 'The Hotel' dressed as sailors, a lifeguard and led by Captain Mark Jenkins complete with Union Jack strapped to the bows of their boat. Stand in cox Ian Wilson was on hand to keep them focused as their coach Russ Bammens had sensibly decided to head off on holiday to calmer shores.

After some trouble getting to the start and with the safety boat having to rescue Captain Mark's hat from the water, the first race was off with both crews getting away well. A crowd of around a hundred people had gathered to support and cheer them on as they raced toward the finish at Haldon Pier. Misfortune for 'On The Rocks' saw one of their rowers slip off their seat allowing 'The Hotel' to take control. Despite a strong push from 'On The Rocks' to get back in contention 'The Hotel' managed to hold on to win by a boat length and take their place in the final.

The second semi-final between 'Dartmouth Rugby Club' and 'Paul Robbins Decorators' was ready to start a little quicker than the first race following a slick changeover. Both crews fancied their chances. 'Paul Robbins Decorators' coached by Mike Cresser got off to a good start but the Dartmouth crew coached by Tieneka Drew stayed with them. Both crews battled neck and neck for most of the distance but Dartmouth were able to find a bit more speed at the finish to win by half a boat length.

The rain had been coming down during both races but the winning crews although tired and wet were keen to line up for one final battle on the Bay. The boys from Dartmouth continued to impress by taking control from the start and continued to row well together to win convincingly by three boat lengths.

Then back to the Royal Torbay Yacht Club for the presentations. Regatta organiser and Torquay Rowing Club Captain Richard Cudmore introduced current Miss Torbay Katie Cudmore and her Ladies-in-Waiting who presented the winners from Dartmouth Rugby Club with their gold medals and all of our competitors with their silver medals.

A big thank you to the coaches and volunteers of Torquay Rowing Club, Torbay Royal Regatta Committee, Torbay Harbour Master, Royal Torbay Yacht Club, four enthusiastic crews and everyone who came along to cheer them on for what has been a great, if a little wet afternoon of rowing.

Next year is the 200th Torbay Royal Regatta and we will be holding the Pubs & Clubs rowing again. If you are a Pub, Club or Business interested in taking part please get in touch by emailing and we'll contact you nearer the time.

Or if you have been inspired by Team GB's Olympic success and fancy having a go at rowing, email and we'll help you get on the water.
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