Line honours gained, but Sark to Jersey team trophy stays with Sarnians
JERSEY boat Close Finance, probably the pre-race favourite, was the first boat to cross the ‘line’ at Bonne Nuit to claim victory in the 53rd edition of the classic Rawlinson and Hunter Sark to Jersey rowing race.
But it was uncomfortably close for the still delighted crew of Andy Bowman, Steven Reed, Michael Rive and Will Le Quélènec (coxed by Megan Barrett), as two Guernsey pairs, taking a more inshore route from the Paternosters, were in hot pursuit as they approached Cheval Rock, just outside of Bonne Nuit harbour.
As it was the Jersey crew kept a winning margin of 50 metres or so, from the hard-working Tim Nicolle and James Travers, who had the consolation of winning the men’s pairs from fellow Sarnians Joe Paul and Simon Johns.
The Jersey crew finished in 2hr 1 min 13 sec, just 27 seconds faster than Nicolle and Travers. Paul and Johns were just a further six seconds adrift.
So, first home, but Jersey did not have the best of it generally, with the overall team honour, the Le Poidevin Trophy, being retained by a fairly small Sarnian entry.
The beach at Bonne Nuit soon got crowded as the fleet of over 40 boats, who had departed Dixcart Bay in Sark at 11.15am, pulled up onto the sand. Few neglected to say it had been a tough old two to three hours of rowing.
But it was the sea conditions, rather than the blazing sun that caused most of the problems, with the waters churning up rather more than expected from the dog-leg course’s turn.
Michael Rive, of the winning boat, said: 'Really pleased to have won, but would have liked a bigger distance [of victory]. There was far more chop than forecast, so that didn’t help boats going for a good time.
‘This is the first time we’ve raced the Sark as a four although we’ve a lot of experience [between us] in the crew. We have been training for shorter distance races, but we wanted to win this – it’s the blue riband of local rowing.’
It certainly was tight at the finish, with Close Finance approaching Bonne Nuit from quite far out to sea (they had taken that course to avoid the choppier conditions caused by shoreline rocks) and two chasing Guernsey pairs, stayed further out to sea to avoid the chop.
Guernsey’s Martine Middleton, Ilze Briggs, Kristine Vavere and Liz Beausire were the first ladies’ crew to finish, but were left unsatisfied after clocking 2hr 9min 35sec to miss their target by nearly four minutes.
Therapy was the first mixed pair to finish, earning Ian Blandin and Sue Clinton the Blandin and Van Katwyck Shield.
Five minutes or so later the first women’s pairs made it home, with Jersey’s Ladies Who Launch, Laima Pacekajute and Kirsten West, well deserving of the McClure Salver and Snip Guille Trophy.
Frenchman Nicolas Leriche tackled the race solo to land the Peter Pearce Trophy and De Hoop Cup for first singles, with Jersey’s Paul Le Gros second, claiming the Colin Quérée Trophy.
The only singles woman to cross was Sweet Pea, rowed by Jersey’s Natacha Searson.
The Jersey Youth Academy claimed the first mixed quad prize, the Sanne Group Trophy, taking 2hr 42 min 38 sec to cross.
The Jamie Dervin Memorial (for U21 youth clubs) went to the JRC Youth Academy’s Charlotte Perchard and Oliver Cook.
The oldest competitor was Gavin Suggett and youngest, Katie Doyle, with the veterans’ prize, the Phil Davis Trophy went to Jersey boat Barbara, crewed by Paul Bradbury, Bob Salkeld (who can probably row the race in his sleep), Alan Butel, Carl Clinton and coxed by Anne Thomson.
The Channel TV Trophy for the first fixed-seat crew to finish went to the Dutch crew from Utrecht, Wendet Rontgen, Marcel Stroo, Sacco Visser, Hansde Bekker and Albert Brouwers.
The Challenge Business Trophy, a special merit award, was given to Rogue, a UK fours entry, at the awards presentation, held at Jersey Rugby Club on Saturday evening.
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