The crew (L to R: James Knight, George Matthews, Billy Baxter, Manuel Marques, and Exmouth RC coxswain Björn Foch)
A dauntless crew of Spitfire members travelled to sunny Devon a couple of weekends ago to take part in Exmouth Regatta, organised by Exmouth Rowing Club. This regatta is held on the estuary of the river Exe, with a buoyed course of 6 kilometres (for coxed quads – smaller boats raced a shorter version of it).
Exmouth RC very kindly lent us their boat Ruby (built locally by Exmouth RC member Mike Drew), and gave us a crash course on offshore rowing the day before the event. This served as an amazing opportunity to see the sights around Exmouth, a gloriously beautiful part of the world.
Our crew, comprising captain Manny, vice-captain George, James K and Billy, valiantly battled other local coastal clubs and Exmouth’s own crews, holding their second place for most of the race This was partly helped by the amazing steering carried out by our Exmouth coxswain, Björn Foch, under pretty dicey conditions (as confirmed by plenty of those racing on the day). The crew’s position slipped into fourth on the home stretch, with the other crews making better use of the surf. This race was definitely challenging, but equally fun – flat water rowers like ourselves are certainly not used to the choppy stuff!
The day after the event, we were able to go out on a social row with more sight-seeing on offer. Recent LTR graduate Amy stepped in for James K, and the crew, coxed by Exmouth captain Jon Houghton, was able to really take in the spectacular views; dramatic cliffs, smugglers’ coves, and the deep blue sea, under flat conditions that stood in stark contrast to the day before! The “social” row ended up being nearly 17 kilometres – exceeding Amy’s previous longest water session by nearly 10 km!
One additional member who travelled to Exmouth over the weekend made a surprise appearance for the land-based side of things. Mortified Rex, a fixture at Maidstone parkrun, graced Exmouth’s own parkrun with his presence, accompanied by captain Manny who really fancied a warm-up before the Saturday regatta. Mort and Manny finished the parkrun in a respectable 24:47, even more impressive when considering the heavy winds that were building up (and roughening the sea for later).
Overall, we had a fantastic time, and we can’t really thank our Exmouth RC hosts more for their hospitality, and the opportunity provided here. We will definitely be back next year!!
Some photos of the weekend: