So, now Scillies is all over and done for another year, it’s time to reflect…
A shakey start to 2014, as the fog rolled in upon the islands, all flights were cancelled. Rob and Phil (the Pring brothers!) were stranded on the mainland for the forseeable future, along with many other rowers. Most of our contingent had travelled on either Thursday or Friday on the Scillonian, and were safely on the islands. Thankfully, flights started to run, and our guys had all arrived by 4.30pm. During the afternoon, the Ladies Vets, Men’s Vets, and Mens A crew had all taken Arveth out for a quick blast, getting used to her for the upcoming races. Ladies Vets racing started at 6.30pm, followed by the men.
2014’s Ladies Vets race marked the first time our new gig ‘Arveth’ has ever been raced in anger. Not only was it the first race for Arveth, but it was infact the first time Hayle has ever fielded a Ladies Veterans crew at the World Championships. The ladies pulled impressively, and battled it out to finish 29th out of 72 crews. The ladies have trained hard this winter and deserved that top 30 place!
The Men’s Vets race was next in the lineup on Friday night. 67 veterans and super-veterans (40+ and 50+ respectively) sat on the start line, waiting for the last few boats to muster up. With nearly half the club on the support boats, they were cheered on by one of the biggest club contingents on the water. The countdown to the start began, soon the 60 seconds was up and the flag was dropped. Not complacent with our first ever Ladies Vets crew, these gents made up our first ever Men’s Vets crew, and proved just as competitive. A long slog later, approx 15 mins over the 1.7 mile course from St Agnes to St Mary’s Harbour, and the boys were sat comfortably in 31st, with boats all around them pushing them until the end. Our crew battled past the best from Truro, Pendeen, Cape Cornwall, and Penryn to name a few.
John Haskins, of our Mens C crew, also joined in a Supervets crew with Zennor, in ‘Melusine’, finishing 19th in the Supervets category and resulting in 59th over the line.
A glorious morning marked the offical start of the 25th World Pilot Gig Championship. Racing began at 1pm for the Ladies, the longer St Agnes races being first with the famous mile-wide start line being as amazing a sight as ever, with 141 gigs taking part in the ladies race. In a flash they were off, and our Ladies A crew kindly coxed by Grahame, along with the Ladies B coxed by Gareth, set about battling for positions right from the word go.
After a while, the first few gigs started to approach the finish line. Arveth was the first Hayle boat to come in, with boats all around it looked like a tight finish! The crew of Hels, Kim, Vicky, Emma, Cazza and Paula rowed strongly, placing them in Group F for their 2nd race. The ladies B, consisting of Lucy, Maria, Vicky, Karen, Zoe and Susan (Many of whom were tackling Scillies for the first time!) came in well in Azook, with plenty of boats behind them. The ladies section, heavily hit by injury and misfortune over winter, came out strong!
Over to the men, our 3 crews again putting in valiant efforts. Over the finish line in 20th position was quite possibly the most anticipated Hayle crew of all time, the 2014 Mens A, in Arveth. The boys had enjoyed a solid row, getting to grips with the new vessel and cutting their teeth at the top of the pack. Next up was the Mens B in Azook, coming in at 100th over the line in a cluster of boats. The guys didn’t feel like they had their best row, but assured there was much more to come… They weren’t wrong!
Our Mens C crew, rowing ‘Melusine’ from Zennor, with 3 other men from Zennor, came over strongly for a C crew, but didn’t feel they rowed their best. For John Dunlop, Jon Haskins and Stu Farrell, it was their first Scillies… one not to forget!
With the seeding races now over for both the women and the men, it was time for the heats to race in the ‘Nut Rock’ races (1 on saturday, and 2 more on the Sunday)
The women raced well in their heats, maintaining positions. Our Ladies B crew were happier with their race, maintaining form until the end and gaining confidence each race. For the men, firstly the Mens C raced in heat K, rowing better than in the first race and finishing further up the back. The Mens B were seeded into heat I, a position they were keen to improve upon. So much so, the guys blasted through and won their heat convincingly! One of the proudest moments of the weekend…This brought them up to group H for the race the next day. Finally the Mens A raced and came in at 16th (up from 20th), beating Mounts Bay’s crew to the line (just) and battling to the end with the likes of Helford, Charlestown, Flushing & Mylor, and a Scillies crew in Emma Louise.
So, a competitive start to the weekend! Look out for Scillies – WPGC 2014 Part 2…