On Saturday 8th July “The Lower Thames RC” visited Benfleet Sailing Club for the 7th Round Canvey Race. The Ladies Crew in “Victory” consisted of;- “Sally Jackson-Robins, Diana Herve, Laura Dunmow, Vanessa Bradford, Linda Gaze and Jo Murray.”
The Men’s Crew in “Dauntless” consisted of;- “Michael Cotgrove, Paul Baker, Simon Roberts, Sid Viner and John Riddle.”
So LTRC could make the safety briefing “Dave Large” kindly towed “Victory” to Benfleet YC with their crew, while “Dauntless” rowed up later from Two Tree.
It was a timed race, point to point clockwise around Canvey Island a distance of approx. 14 miles Out of the fleet of competitors “Dauntless” was the 12th boat released and “Victory” a couple of minutes after in 13th.
With the boats being released individually the coxswains’ didn’t have the issue of finding the best start point /clashing oars with other boats. We only had to find a good place to pass any slower boats ahead of us. So both crews got away well.
As the tide was still coming in against us the channel wasn’t completely flooded. So we had to contend with a few shallow spots where we rowed the mud and tight squeezes around yachts until we got to the wider channel past Two Tree Island slipway.
Here “Dauntless” passed the Harkers of “Willow” (Burnham) and “Vanduara” (Brightlingsea), with “Victory” following.
Off Canvey point, we all had to pass on the outside of a safety boat. Here “Dauntless” started pulling away from the Harkers and it was clearly a race between the two Lower Thames boats as “Victory” swept through them a little while later.
The sea state was perfect for our boats and we quickly made it to Hole Haven Creek where “Dauntless” raced to get ahead of Stour Sailing Club’s “LT. Washington” before turning under the barrier so we weren’t held up by them in East Haven Creek.
By the A130 road bridge Dauntless was closing on one of the first boats released; Langstone Cutters’ “Barge Gladys. “Which “Dauntless” passed about 300meters before Benfleet Station.
“Dauntless” crew were changing every 15 minutes but before the Canvey Road Bridge, Sid and John quickly swapped positions so Sid “(who was rested)” could smash in a powerful short stint in Stroke for the last 100 meters to the end. We were trying to hold off a six man outrigger as we didn’t want anyone to pass us, no matter what class.
“Dauntless finished 1st in the Fixed Seat Category”“ in a time of” “2 hours, 11 minutes and 21 seconds”.
“Dauntless” crew moored as quickly as we could (“not just to get to the bar)” but to cheer on the Ladies in “Victory” who were soon to come through.
On the first stretch of the race “Victory” was held up by a slider who refused to yield water, but they eventually ploughed through. “Laura” and “Vanessa” rowed the entire course with “Sally” and “Diana” swapping between Passenger and Bow, and “Linda” and “Jo” swapping at Cox and Stroke. “Victory came through as top Ladies Crew 2nd overall in the Fixed Seat Category in a time of” “2 hours 16 minutes and 5 seconds”.
Even though we all rowed our socks off, I think Rowers of the Day were “Diana Herve “and” Michael CotGrove.”
It was “Diana’s” first race and the longest she has rowed. And as for “Michael” not only was it his first race but only his 4th “ever” row with us. “(His first proper row as an LTRC member).” He hasn’t even had time to get an Orange Shirt! “Well done ALL for a superb effort!”