New rowing team make waves across the water

A new Island rowing team are celebrating victory after winning their class in a gruelling endurance event – their first-ever race.

Formed just four months ago, Yarmouth Gig Rowing Club ladies were the fastest crew in a Solent galley, in the Round Hayling Island Race, held recently.
Their historic boat, Rosemary, finished in 2hr 29min 5sec, crewed by Rosanne Martin (stroke), Clare Griffin, Sarah Forster and Claire Beasley and coxed by John Kerr.

They were the second fastest veterans (over 50) and the third ladies.

The crew are the first ladies to represent the fast-growing club, launched in 2015.

John Kerr said: “We started at full race sprint pace and within the first kilometre had overtaken the others. At the first major turn, we were well ahead of the other galleys.

“After the second turn, we were against a very strong headwind and tide, combined with large swell. The girls dug in and found the grit for 40 minutes of really gruelling work. As we rounded the final bend, I called for a final push. The girls dug deep and responded magnificently, to go absolutely flying across the finish to applause, whistles and cheers.”

Yarmouth ladies are now planning an attempt on the round-IW record.

Solent galleys are four-seater wooden boats. Rosemary was built in the 1950s and had a major restoration in 2017.

Club chairman Martin Scotcher said: “We are the only Island club specialising in traditional fixed-seat gig and galley rowing – the biggest growth area of rowing in the British Isles.

“The IW Sports Foundation has awarded the club a grant to help secure its future and we have a new partnership with West Wight Sports and Community Centre, to encourage more people of all ages to discover rowing.

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