August Bank holiday Monday saw the end of another wonderful ten days of both water-based and shore-based events that make up the Shaldon Regatta.
The previous Sunday afternoon had seen the traditional opening day Marathon row from Dawlish to Shaldon undertake a course change as the weather made the tide conditions somewhat difficult and so a new course from Watcombe was set. I battle-royale ensued for the Mens’ Pairs rowing for the Chirney Cup with local brothers James & Charlie Stoyle taking the honours, holding off Patrick Forster and Paul Carpenter. The women were racing for the Sarah Jane Cup and at the final reckoning Donna Bell and Yvonne Hudson, two stalwarts of the River Teign Rowing Club, took the line over Shaldon rivals Sue Astbury and Jane Stoyle, the latter the mother of the Mens’ winners.
The Grand Opening followed and so a week or more of fun had begun.
On Monday morning a strong wind and rising tide gave the sailors in the Otter dinghies a number of challenges with the Astbury family showing their experience of these conditions; Juliet Astbury taking the Ott-over-the-Top trophy for the first visitor under forty-five whilst Drew Astbury was first over the line in the helms over forty-five race to take the Wallace Mole Cup. This was followed by the ever-popular Beach Rounders for the Simons trophy with the Hornets proving victorious in front of a large crowd.
Tuesday morning saw another round of Otter Sailing races, this time with less challenging conditions, with the Hamlett family in the spotlight; Adam winning the helms race for 18 to 44 years, crewed by Max who himself then went on to take the honours in the Open race.
In the afternoon the Spirit of Rio was well and truly in place for the Beach Volleyball with some outstanding sportsmanship and athleticism running to the final which saw the Teignmouth Tourists return across the water holding the Mariners Weigh Shield.
On Wednesday morning the youngsters donned their swimming gear to undertake a series of Happy-go-Lucky water-sports run from the shoreline out into the river. The Jemima Cup for the first local girl home, 12 to 15 years was won by Bethany Partridge whilst the equivalent for the boys, the Benjamin Cup, was taken by Jonathan Radford.
Rowing races in the afternoon included the prestigious Alice Cup for the Ladies Single Sculls, won once again by Rachel Palmer, with previous winner Amanda Williams a close second. The Cyril Extence handicap cup for boys 12 to 15 was won by Charlie Bloor with William Annal second, with these two swapping positions for the Palmer Cup later in the day.
A lovely evening came with the first of the Seine boat races, this set being for the older crews! The Pheasant Pluckers, coxed by Lewis Bloor took both the Veteran’s Trophy for the over 45’s and the Old Codgers Cup for the over-55’s with a crew of Drew Astbury, Bob Deacon, Chris Deacon and Bob Holden.
By Thursday morning the weather had turned and a downpour of some magnitude ushered in a new event for the regatta, Netball, again proving that any sport taking place during the week is both competitive but sporting, with the Shaldon Hornets making sure that the inaugural win stayed on the ‘right’ side of the river.
The weather was still somewhat inclement as the swimmers returned for a second series of Happy-go-Lucky water sports with various names reaching the podium time-after-time including Freddy Harbert, winner of the Kelland Cup for local boys under 15, and Abby Foster, who took the Oyster Cup for girls in the same category.
By the afternoon the sun was finding its way through for a set of rowing races including the Blue Riband event of the regatta, the Cotgrave Cup for Mens’ Single Sculls. This proved a fascinating tussle as the two men who had rowed together on Sunday to take the honours in the Marathon row found themselves neck-and-neck to the line with James Stoyle beating his brother Charlie into second place.
Friday is always reserved for the fun races on the water with most participants knowing that a wet dunking is bound to happen at some point, and so it proved. After a morning of kayak races, the afternoon brought out an odd assortment of outboard motors for the Row-and-Motor events. Great weather help keep the spirits up and there were both the usual names on the winners list as well as a few new ones. Rob Deacon kept up the family tradition in the Seagull outboard race to win the Jack Matthews Trophy, with Amy Deacon coming in second. Most locals have given up trying to recall the last time a Deacon didn’t take this trophy, believing that somewhere up-country is a training ground dedicated to these small, ancient outboards.
By the evening most participants had taken an hour or two to get dry before taking part in the Treasure Hunt by boat, a fiendishly difficult event with clues set both on-shore and on the water. As winners the Indecisives proved anything-but, pushing other local teams the Stoyles + 5 into second and the Taits into third.
Another glorious day dawned on Saturday as youngsters and adults alike took their places for the Sandcastle competition. The usual high standard of building was in evidence with many of the younger architects having obviously put a lot of thought into their castles.
After lunch the Gig & Punt crew emerged from the Teignmouth side to regale the crowd with a re-enactment of days of yore when the bigger gig, with the larger crew, would race the smaller, but faster, punt out to the waiting boats to pilot them into harbour and therefore get paid for their efforts.
Some serious sailing was taking place at this time with the Jolly Boat Challenge cup being fought over and won by one of the greats of Shaldon Regatta sailing, David Hill, at the same time as the under-18’s were battling for the Amory Cup which was won by Charlie Barrett sailing his Topaz Magno.
Having finished the sandcastles, many of the younger competitors took part in the Beach Sports with many old favourites on the starting sheet, including the Three-legged race, the Egg-and-Spoon race and the Obstacle race for 11-13 years in which Josh Bishop showed how international the Shaldon Regatta has become in this Olympic year by coming all the way from Los Angeles to take second place.
The Tug-of-War in the afternoon was as competitive as ever with the New Quay Originals crossing the Teign to pull themselves to victory for the Coronation Cup whilst the Seagulls took the Graeme Challenge Cup for the Ladies.
The holiday Sunday is another fun day in for the Regatta and the Great Duck Race, with over 1,500 of the well-trained yellow quackers taking part, soon had punters reaching for their betting slips. The winning trainer was Florence Miles who had obviously spent many hours fine-tuning her entry, Bradley Widgeon.
As leaden skies moved overhead the various teams assembled for the beach five-a-side competition that is proving more and more popular each year. An abundance of skills, not to mention shirt colours, brightened the proceedings but none of the local sides were able to stop the Royal Standard Cup going to eventual winners, the Midlands Massive.
By the evening the shore-line had become a mass of shovels, spades and buckets all used for digging and building frantically in trying to stem the flow of the tide in the King Kanute competition with many budding builders in evidence.
This was followed by a further set of Seine boat races in glorious evening sunshine, with the Eric Yeo Memorial Trophy once again going to the Little Busteds coxed by Andy Forte whilst the Dora March Trophy for the Ladies went to one of the finest teams seen on the river for some years, the Gatecrashers, having won the River Teign Rowing Club series as well as the Teignmouth Regatta race, coxed by Clive Luxton with a crew of Sarah Free, Helen O’Hora, Donna Bell and Sue Heath. The Stoyle boys, James and Charlie completed an excellent week of rowing events by joining James Crawford and Ben Smith, coxed by Sue Astbury, to win the Charlie Bloor Trophy.
Bank Holiday Monday saw the finish of the Regatta, with the Beach Kricket again in danger of upstaging the recent England Test matches with the Lockyer Trophyup for grabs. A thrilling final saw the Hornets take the honours with James Stoyle being handed the Reg Astbury award for Outstanding Kricketer, Jack Southwood the Bristol Taverners Trophy for the most promising Kricketer and Gaby Dopson the Gillespie Woods Trophy most outstanding lady Kricketer.
Two days of sailing in the handicap races saw Ben Flower, in his Laser, take the fast fleet event whilst David Hill completed the double by seeing off Gilbert Gill to skipper his Otter over the line into first place.
The world famous Pillow Fight on a pole taking centre stage in the afternoon. This is an event in which old scores are settled, new rivalries are planted and pantomime villains come to the fore. A previous winner Ben Smith threw off the exertions of the last evenings racing to once again power his way through the rounds to take the Mark Platt Memorial Trophy whilst in the Ladies event Gaby Dopson held-off all challengers to win the Sandra Surgenor Shield for the second year running having already excelled herself earlier.
It was then onto the prize giving with special guest local MP Anne-Marie Morris to be followed by the Grand Draw for the regatta dinghy, with the most important trophies being presented, those for the youngsters who, in the opinion of the committee, have bought up the best showing for the week. The Clarance Cup, for those under eighteen years old, was once again won by Ben Flower who had another extremely successful regatta; the Hulbert Trophy for those under sixteen years old was won jointly by Charlie Bloor and Maisy Harbert who had also had a tremendous week and the De Vey trophy for youngsters under twelve years old won by William Burton who is proving that a competitive spirit on the water runs in the family. The Spirit of Regatta Trophy, now in its’ third year, is awarded for effort, enthusiasm and sportsmanship to a junior who is not a winner but shows spirit and embraces the ethos of the regatta, and this summer it went to Alana Williams.
Anne-Marie Morris then drew out the winning draw ticket for either a regatta dinghy or £750 cash to end another successful regatta and which bodes well for next year when there will be much celebrating of the two-hundred years of being the country’s oldest water-based regatta.
By Leigh Extence