Sunday, 18 May 2014

Le Mans Finish

One of the unusual and endearing features of the Hamble River Raid is the Le Mans start. The river isn't wide enough to race side by side, so the start is timed with the crew sitting in the boat and the cox next to a bell in front of the official timer's tent. When the bell rings, the cox sprints down the beach, leaps in the boat and off they go.
At the finish, one crew member, usually the bow man, has to jump out, sprint up the beach and ring the bell. It is very entertaining and even exciting when a bunch of boats arrives at the same time.
Another endearing feature of the race is the number of children racing enthusiastically and well - they rowed hard and long. The picture above shows a crew of Hamble Sea Scouts landing their Egret skiff.
A GRP pilot gig rigged with square rowlocks (very sensible choice I think) was named in a short ceremony before the race - here she is finishing. An excellent achievement for a crew that had barely set bum in boat before the race.
Bembridge, Langstone Cutters' newly restored and generally fabulous Solent galley finished in style with Paula hopping out of the bow with balletic grace.
I'm afraid to say Christine, Frances and I in Millie didn't realise we had to ring the bell because the Odds'n'Sods class is let off the Le Mans Start. Some of the odds'n'sods are boats of beauty with rudders that get damaged apparently. Also, I didn't get a picture of us finishing because I was in the boat facing the wrong way, obviously. But we did get a picture of our start, courtesy of the River Raid Facebook page - take a look, there are some really good images there.

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