VIDEO: County gig competition postponed after "freak" collision sets back race times
THE MEN’S county gig rowing championships in Newquay have been postponed following a collision that dumped one team into the water yesterday.
The incident delayed subsequent heats, and with a poor weather forecast for today organisers decided to cancel racing until Saturday, September 28.
A total of 90 crews were due to take part in the event, considered as the highlight of the gig-rowing calendar.
Julie Arthur, secretary of Newquay Rowing Club, said the decision to postpone had not been made due to any concerns over the cause of the collision, which she described as a “freak accident”.
Please note this video contains swearing:
She said: “People are calling it a ‘capsize’ but it didn’t actually capsize with the crew in it. What happened was at the first mark two gigs clipped each other and the Atlantic, with the Cadgwith B crew, listed to one side and was swamped with water. As it listed the crew fell out of the gig, which righted itself, but then ended up overturned again.
“It was nothing to do with the wind conditions or the sea conditions. It was just a freak accident and I doubt you could recreate it if you tried. What we don’t want is for people to think we allowed racing in unsafe conditions.”
She praised the swift actions of the safety boat crews, who scooped the six stricken rowers and cox out of the sea within minutes, and the RNLI, which recovered the slightly damaged gig shortly afterwards.
Julie said: “Everyone was delighted that the crew was safe and sound and everyone responded very quickly. It was a very speedy recovery of the crew and the then the gig.
“Fowey Gig Club which owns the Atlantic have been very supportive and understanding. Unfortunately this is one of the risks that clubs take.”
With gale force winds forecast for this afternoon, she said there was not a big enough window to complete the competition so it would be better to postpone.
Even though the sea appears relatively calm, the high winds would make turning very difficult and could lead to boats being damaged, she said.
Heats 7 and 8 of the second round have yet to be raced, along with the quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final.
Julie said: “It’s a difficult decision but we have to do everything for the safety of the crews and the safety of the vessels. The decision has been made with the best of intentions. Some people might grumble but the support from clubs has been absolutely fantastic.”