Cap'n Sandy still at home on the open seas
Age is just a state of mind, according to Sandy Towers, an enthusiastic gig rower with a level of fitness a man 60 years his junior would envy.
The 87-year-old is a stalwart of Rock Rowing Club in North Cornwall, and at least once a week can be found, oar in hand, battling the waves around Daymer Bay.
But when the races and, of course, the post-rowing drink are finished, there's still no rest for the retired Royal Navy captain, who jumps on his bike and tackles the steep hill back up to his home.
Any spare energy he might have afterwards is dedicated to the upkeep of his immaculate garden.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Wednesday, May 22 2013
It's a regime Captain Towers would recommend to everyone.
"I enjoy the gig rowing and I feel better for it," he said. "If I just sat around I would feel turgid. I much prefer to be out and getting some exercise."
After retiring to Rock following 35 years in the Navy, Captain Towers supported the formation of Rock Gig Club, but didn't really start getting involved as a crew member until after the death of his wife, Betty, in 2002.
"I got inveigled in to the odd race and it just started from there," he said.
At the tender age of 81, he made the podium at the World Gig Championships on the Isles of Scilly when his crew won their group.
He is the most senior member of the club by 20 years, but, said Chrissie Muir, of Rock Club, you would never know it.
"He expects no special treatment whatsoever and because of this, it is often only afterwards that others in the club stop and take stock of the extraordinary things he achieves," she said. "He has rowed out to Lundy Island and back from Clovelly three times between 2008 and 2010, a mere 14 miles each way across open sea."
Captain Towers can boast that he was rowing before many of his club colleagues were even born. After joining the Navy in 1944, he first raced in cutters, the heavy 12-oared boats used by the service. As a member of the flagship of the battleship training squadron, he rowed in the wardroom crew which held their own against the ratings and became the crew to beat.
His first contact with gigs was in 1945 when he rowed and sailed in them while at the former Royal Naval Engineering College in Plymouth.
Captain Towers regards himself as lucky: "Thinking back to when I was very young, I remember a lot of people didn't even make it to the retirement age of 65!"