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, this year being the 200th anniversary since the first Regatta run in 1817. And what a week it was, the weather and the events making it in most people’s opinion the finest in living memory, with record sunshine and record entries, combined with some wonderful extra events to mark the milestone.
It all kicked off on Sunday afternoon, the 20th of August, with the Grand Opening of the bi-centenary Shaldon Regatta following the traditional first day Marathon row from Dawlish to Shaldon which had to undertake a course change as the weather made the tide conditions somewhat difficult. A new course was set along the opposite coastline with the start from Watcombe allowing for shelter from the cliffs and respite from the choppy swell. A battle ensued for the Men’s Pairs rowing for the Chirney Cup with Patrick Forster and Simon Putt holding off last year’s winners, local brothers James & Charlie Stoyle. The women were racing for the Sarah Jane Cup and at the final reckoning Sandra McCard and Lucy Bufton managed to keep ahead of the previous winners, Donna Bell and Yvonne Hudson, although this latter pairing did have the consolation of taking home the Duchess Cup for ladies over-45.
On Monday morning the sun shone brightly in time for the ever-popular Beach Rounders for the Simons trophy, with the Non-Runners proving victorious in a well-fought final.
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 fast-running tide in the King Canute competition with a record breaking number of budding builders in evidence. A wonderful calm and balmy hour saw the Non-Runners continue their winning efforts from earlier by taking the prize for any five persons in a team, whilst the event that had to have three under thirteen years of age was won by the James Powles led She is Going to Blow team and that which had to have all participants under thirteen was won by The Mermaid’s Crew captained by Alannah Williams.
On Tuesday morning a gentle breeze gave the sailors in the first of the weeks Otter dinghy races an excellent chance to get in some enjoyable sailing in the two-man craft, with races for both youngsters and visitors, allowing some less-experienced helms to take advantage of their more accomplished crew. There was some excellent sailing with a few well-known names taking the honours including Olly Goldby winning the Engagement Trophy for visitors ably crewed by Sarah Stoyle.
In the afternoon the always competitive Beach Volleyball took place with some outstanding sportsmanship and athleticism running throughout the tournament. The final saw the Teignmouth Tourists once again prove victorious and return across the harbour having retained the Mariners Weigh Shield in front of a large, noisy and colourful crowd, proving that the beaches of Rio are no match for the golden sands of Shaldon.
An early Wednesday morning start for a relatively new event for the Regatta, Beach Netball for the Shaldon Marine Trophy saw the Seagulls, resplendent in their turquoise kit show their prowess in winning and excellent final.
Rowing races in the afternoon included the prestigious Alice Cup for the Ladies Single Sculls, won by the previous year’s winner, Rachel Palmer, whilst the Cyril Extence handicap cup for boys 12 to 15 was won by last year’s runner-up William Annal, who was also victorious in the Palmer Cup later in the day. And it was good to see the Regatta chairman Mark Pile win the Generation Cup alongside his son Matt. It was fitting then that the John Pile Cup for Men’s Pair Oars was won by Will Burton alongside another Annal, William’s’ father Mark.
A lovely calm evening came with the first of the Seine boat races, this set being for the older crews! The Wrinkley Rollocks, coxed by Ben Smith took both the Veteran’s Trophy for the over 45’s with a crew of Dave Thornton, Chris Thornton, Matt Rawlinson and Bruce Dopson whilst the Old Codgers Cup for the over-55’s was one by last year’s winners, the Ring of Feathers, with a crew of Drew Astbury, Bob Deacon, Roger Bufton and Pete Holden. The Old Bat’s Trophy for those ladies over forty-five years old, was one by the James Stoyle coxed Ding Bats crewed by the evergreen Jane Ott, Carla Field, Suzie Ashleigh-Thomas and Angela Howell.
Thursday morning saw the first of the Happy-Go-Lucky water sports take place with a slight breeze greeting the swimmers with various names reaching the podium including Henry Beaulah, winner of the Frank Smith Memorial Cup for local boys under 12, and Ella Quartley, who took the Miriam McCarthy Cup for the first local woman over 15 years old to complete 100 yards.
Immediately following the swimming the Otter dinghy two-man sailing dinghies took to the harbour for another round of challenges with Trudie Fell, crewed by Sammy Fell, taking the Ott-over-the-Top trophy for the first visitor under forty-five whilst Simon Fell was first over the line in the helms over forty-five race to take the Wallace Mole Cup, this time with Trudie Fell as crew.
By the afternoon with the sun still shining high in the sky the Regatta dinghies took to the water 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 with last year’s winner James Stoyle once again proving his stamina. Chris Clarance, a stalwart of many Regatta’s past, showed he staill had what it takes by winning two trophies in one race; the Abrams Folley Trophy for the first man 65 years or older as well as the Frank Thomas Cup awarded to the first man across the line.
And so the great weather that had blessed the week continued on Friday morning as the youngsters donned their swimming gear to undertake another series of Happy-go-Lucky water-sports races run from the shoreline out into the river. The Roger Hook Cup for the first local boy home for boys not yet 12 years was won by Sammy Mayhew, whilst the Benjamin Cup for boys 12 to 15 years was won by his brother Archie Mayhew, his second swimming trophy of the week. The first local girl not yet 12 to cross the line was Lauren Brown, who took home the Suzanne Hook Cup to add to two others won the previous day.
Friday afternoon 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, in which Rachel Palmer showed that it wasn’t just dinghies she was proficient in by winning the Ness Gift Shop ladies race, the afternoon brought out an odd assortment of outboard motors for the Row-and-Motor events. The continuing 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. Chris Deacon kept up the family tradition in the Seagull outboard race to win the Jack Matthews Trophy, with husband, and last year’s winner, Rob coming in second, with the Deacon family’s prowess in this event becoming almost as traditional as the Regatta itself. Mark and William Annal continuing their impressive week by taking the John Player Trophy with one participant rowing a leg and the other taking over with the outboard engine. The Nags Race was once again won by husband and wife team James and Charlotte Stoyle, with the blindfolded rower James showing he knows his place.
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. Previous runners-up, The Nomads made up of the Stoyle family ended up worthy winners.
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. For the 200-year celebration a second gig joined the fun, the crew made up of a number of previous members from years gone by and who gave an excellent account of themselves.
Prior to this, some serious sailing had taken place with the Jolly Boat Challenge cup, won by Ben Flower, being fought over at the same time as the under-18’s were battling for the Amory Cup, with Bruno Brett taking the line honours in his RS Feva.
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 races.
The Tug-of-War in the afternoon was as competitive as ever with the New Quay Originals crossing the Teign to once again pull themselves to victory for the Coronation Cup, defeating the Gig and Punt crew who were still getting over their exertions of earlier, whilst the Seagulls also returned a the previous year’s winners to take the Graeme Challenge Cup for the Ladies.
The holiday Sunday was set aside for a number of special bi-centenary events, and is another fun day for the Regatta. To start the day’s proceedings various teams assembled for the beach five-a-side knock-out competition that is proving more and more popular each year. An abundance of skills, not to mention shirt colours, brightened the proceedings with the Royal Standard Cup going to eventual winners, a regular Regatta entrants, the Dagmar Street Devils. By mid-morning Shaldon beach was packed, with many remarking that they hadn’t seen so many people congregate for the Regatta, all in place to watch a further set of Seine boat races in glorious evening sunshine, with the Eric Yeo Memorial Trophy going to the Beach Crew coxed by Catherine Lovell whilst the Dora March Trophy for the Ladies went, once again to that fine team of lady rowers, and one of the rivers most successful, the Gatecrashers, coxed by Clive Luxton with a crew of Lucy Barczok, Helen O’Hora, Kelly Laness and Sue Heath.
Some excellent children’s entertainment was taking place on the beach, all waiting for the evening’s festivities to begin, starting with the annual Shaldon Regatta’s Great Duck Race, with over 1,500 of the well-trained yellow friends taking part, soon had punters reaching for their betting slips. The winning trainer was Jill King.
And on to one of the highlights of the 200-year celebration, the Nautical Pageant and Flotilla of bedecked boats parading around the harbour in all their glory, with some rather special and historical vessels taking part, including the Morgan-Giles built Louly that powered past its original birth place on the Teignmouth back-beach with much pride. It was hoped that two-hundred craft, of all shapes and sizes, would take part, with the final number being two-hundred-and-one. Dancing to a live band on the beach was followed by one of the most wonderful firework displayed seen outside of London on a New Year’s eve, drawing gasps and applause from the huge crowd, on both sides of the river, enjoying a special evening.
Bank Holiday Monday saw the finish of the Regatta, with the morning taken up with the excellent Beach Kricket tournament in which the Lockyer Cup was awarded to the winning team, the Derek’ Demons along with the Bristol Taverner’s Trophy to the most promising young cricketer going to Sam Stone and the Gillespie Woods Trophy for Best Lady Kricketer going to Kate Quartermain and the Reg Astbury Trophy for the overall most outstanding player awarded to Todd Powell.
The world famous Pillow Fight on a pole took centre stage in the afternoon, an event in which old scores are settled, new rivalries are planted and pantomime villains come to the fore. The Mark Platt Memorial Trophy for Men 16 and over was won by Mike Sutton whilst in the Ladies event Marta Lewin held-off all challengers to win the Sandra Surgenor Shield for ladies 16 and over.
It was then onto the prize giving with retiring chairman Mark Pile doing the honours after thirty-five years in the hot-seat, 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. There was no real surprise when the Clarance Cup, for those under eighteen years old, was jointly awarded to the very worthwhile participants, Will Annal and Archie Mayhew; with the Hulbert Trophy for those under sixteen years old won jointly by last year’s recipient Maisy Harbert and Ella Quartley both of whom also had a tremendous week and the De Vey trophy for youngsters under twelve years old won once again by William Burton. The Spirit of Regatta Trophy, now in its’ fourth 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 Mackenzie Podstatzky.
Mark then drew out the winning draw ticket for either a Regatta dinghy or £750 cash to end a most splendid celebratory and successful Regatta with the winner being Lucy Pitts. And it is to Lucy that we turn to sum up the whole week having posted on the Regatta website: Well done Shaldon Regatta for another fantastic week. The perfect mix of fun and fierce competition with an absolutely fantastic highlight of the fireworks on Sunday. I’m proud to have won the 200th anniversary dinghy. Rest assured she’ll be put to good use!
Written by Leigh Extence