Sunday 13 May 2012

Hamble River Raid

The Hamble River Raid is always great fun and this year it happened on the first sunny day after the wettest April since records began, so everyone was in a genial mood.
The race is unusual in that it starts off the beach at Hamble-le-Rice, crews sprinting to their boats and getting off every 30 seconds. Then it's over the river, round a buoy and up to the Jolly Sailor and back. The distance is around 4.5 miles and the faster boats did it in about 45 minutes including Ian Maclennan and me in Millie (that's Ian with his back to me next to Millie and Lottie, Langstone Cutters' Teifi skiffs). We came third on time, which was not bad as the winner was Maggie May, a four-oared gig that is about a mile longer than us.
Maggie May and Zaranna were bought by a group of Hamble rowers from a club in Teignmouth for a sum estimated at 'not much money' by one of the new owners. They have six rowing positions but the bow and stern seats are so narrow as to be almost useless except for maneuvering so they are being rowed four up.
But the star of the show was Toby, aged 10, who rowed the course in his single skiff, a tremendous achievement. He got a huge round of applause and a special trophy consisting of several plastic containers filled with sweets. Hooray for Toby!

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