History of seine boat racing and Seine boats.
These started decades ago between fishermen who used the boats for salmon seine netting and collecting mussels. The boats would have been rowed using longer oars than seen today. Also they would have been fitted with sails for getting to the mussel beds. Up to 20 boats used to operate on the Teign catching 100s of salmon per year. Nowadays only 2 boats are in operation catching maybe 20-30 salmon in a very short season.
Modern day Seine boat racing was started by Shaldon Regatta in the 1970s as part of the Dawlish to Shaldon rowing race. Wooden seine boats were borrowed from local fishermen, often for the cost of a bottle of something strong, and temporarily modified to be rowed by four people with a cox to steer.
In the early 1990s a somewhat bleary discussion in The Ferryboat Inn between several of the Shaldon Regatta committee, a boatman from Teignmouth, and a boat builder came up with the idea to build some boats in glass fibre......low and behold they remembered the conversation! And the first 3 boats were built. 2 for Shaldon Regatta and 1 for the boatman.
The first modern day races were started the next summer and proved a great success being separate from the Dawlish row.
Further discussions took place following this success and a group of people from the Teignmouth side of the river formed the nucleus of the River Teign Rowing Club which started in 1994 with about 30 members and six boats in competition and has grown to over 500 members and regularly has 20+ boats rowing in a fortnightly series all summer.
In all around 50 Seine boats have been built many being used for leisure rowing.
Two of the Regatta Seine boats have been replaced since the originals were purchased to keep them up to date. The old boats have gone on to a useful life with rowers on the dart and Exe. Our 3 boats have regular maintenance every winter when they are lovingly varnished and any repairs are carried out.
The Shaldon Regatta race is a combination of the RTRC series race and the original Shaldon Regatta races, where points count towards the series AND cups are awarded by Shaldon Regatta for First places in Juniors/ladies and men’s races. These will be awarded at Monday night’s prize giving at 5.30.
Seine boat bookings:
Our 3 Seine boats are in use all the year round. They are booked out on an hourly basis for Summer and winter periods, by local teams of race and leisure rowers. They are also used for our Junior Rowing Experiences on Monday nights during the summer. For bookings and confirmation of charges, contact Chris 01626873807. Lists of current bookings and rules are displayed on our notice board by the Ferry Shelter.
Shaldon Regatta Dinghies
All through history, competitors used their own boats or borrowed friends boats to take part in the Regatta rowing races. Therefore if you were not one of these select few you could not take part. This was seen as detrimental to the "open to all philosophy" that the then committee wanted to promote. So in the early '70's they decided to produce and make available a standard "Shaldon Regatta Dinghy." Thanks to Roger Stoyle and James Hulbert of Mariners Weigh, the Shaldon boat suppliers and chandlers, who led the project, and the committee who raised money through sponsored events, 6 boats and oars were manufactured. These were made available on a "first come" basis for races, to locals and visitors who may not have even been in a boat before so that they could take part in all the fun on the water.
These boats then became the standard river Teign rowing boat and many hundreds were built and sold through Mariners Weigh. Also along the way several alternative moulds were made but still complied with the design and measurements of the original.
As this design had found such great favour it was decided in the '80's that only glass fibre Shaldon Regatta Dinghies should be eligible for the races, thus disallowing all other boats.
In the early 2000's the six dinghies which had done such an excellent job of opening up rowing to so many were now seen to be a bit to heavy to be competitive against the more modern dinghies so, Ray Edworthy, Alan Jones and Keith Stoyle took up the challenge to sell them off to local bidders and replace them with eight modern dinghies and "spoon blade " oars. This they achieved by obtaining a Lottery Grant. They have been used to great success in the following years and have increased the number of rowers taking part in all the races. It is especially gratifying to see how many youngsters use them, especially on Junior Rowing nights in the summer.
Shaldon Regatta otter Sailing Dinghies
Sailing has always been an important part of Shaldon Regatta, but as competitors had to have their own boat to take part it was seen that this did not follow the Regatta philosophy of" everyone being able to take part."
In the late '80's Chris Clarance, came up with the idea of a one class race with few rules which could be sailed in the harbour. He had knowledge of the perfect boat and had the contacts. The fleet was gradually built up to a fleet of six "Otter Sailing Dinghies" which proved relatively easy to sail even for newcomers to sailing, which was perfect. These boats are made available to all, on a" first come" basis for races.
With the minimum of rules it was simple for landlubbers to grasp what was needed to get around a short course in the harbour. The races have proved so popular that they are now run over two days and involve several categories and heats.