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High standards at Dartmouth gig races

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: April 01, 2014


Gig race action as Smudger passes Dartmouth Castle Picture: Kevin Pyne

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One of the most beautiful ports in the Westcountry celebrated its Royal links when it hosted a hotly contested gig race.

Dartmouth was the scene for the race which attracted a number of clubs from around the region.

Kevin Pyne, vice-chairman of Dartmouth Gig Club, said it was a real community event.

“We couldn't do it with out the help of every one in the harbour,” he said.

“The yacht clubs pitch in, the harbour authority pitch in, as do the boat owners, marinas and the local rowing club that provide umpire boat and safety cover, which is in fact the best in the west.”

He said the standard of racing was uniformly high and the home team managed to be first across the line for one of the races.

“Caradon always do well and it was nice to see Ilfracombe do well, but we knew we could sneak a veterans victory and we did,” said Mr Pyne. The picturesque setting of the River Dart has been the scene of gig racing since the 1830s.

Indeed it was a gig race that entitled Dartmouth to be a regatta with royal patronage after queen Victoria and her husband Albert found themselves storm bound there once during racing.

On seeing the gigs racing the Royal couple promptly put up a purse of twenty sovereigns for the winner.

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