For love of a boat – in Devon, England

We went down to the beach this evening to watch the Teign Rowing Club racing in the Shaldon Regatta.

The boats they race are copied on the original seine boats that used to fish the river Teign, mainly for salmon.

The Club website describes them thus:

“There have been fiercely contested rowing races on the Teign for about 200 years . . . Most of the racing prior to the formation of the club was in the one- or two-man Shaldon Regatta dinghy, with a “work boat race” held once a year as part of the regatta.
The boats used for this event were the original seine boats. Crews would arrange the loan of the working fishing boats for the day and modify them for the race. Extra seats had to be put in to accommodate four rowers. Blocks of wood would have holes drilled into them and then be clamped to the gunwales to hold rowlocks in place. The cox would sit either on the transom or on a beach chair fitted precariously to the stern.”

Thanks to AA and her clip of a Greek fishing boat being turned to woodchip, I have become much more attuned to how working boats are evolving to be meaningful to future generations.

Well, the seine boat has turned from a wooden fishing boat to a sponsored racing boat, built in grp – and very successfully too.

Here are 28 women, with seven men coxing, less than half the fleet, rowing their hearts out at the end of an hour’s racing which started at sea, rounded two marks before entering the Teign, going with the tide to a mark upstream and then returning against  a strong current to round this, the last mark.

In the Olympics , they rowed a straight course – their own lanes, no tide, no marks. Different sport? – Different tone.

This is the winning boat – by several lengths, approaching the last mark against the tide.

Salute the crew. You won’t catch them.

It’s a case of resorting to  one or two of the sponsors in consolation.

For the origin of this series – here

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