Events cancelled but rowers look forward to Torbay Royal Regatta

Torquay Rowing Club's 150th anniversary dinner

Torquay Rowing Club's 150th anniversary dinner - Credit: Archant

Rowing events have been dealt a blow by the pandemic., writes Hilary Bastone.

Paignton Ladies coxed four

Paignton Ladies coxed four - Credit: Archant

An edict from British Rowing will see all championship events cancelled until June 30. So far cancelled are the Head of the Dart, the Breakwater Bash (Coastal), Thatcher Rock 8K (Coastal) Plymouth Regatta, Parson & Clerk Gallop (Coastal), Totnes Regatta, Wimbleball Regatta and the Port of Bideford.

Now an unprecedented decision has been made by the West of England Amateur Rowing Association executive committee to cancel the WEARA Championships.for 2020. The South Coast Rowing Championships for this year have also been cancelled. The Championships due to be held in Southampton in September have been moved to 2021 with the following Championships due to be held in Paignton moved to 2022.

Paignton, Torbay and Dartmouth Regattas are all due to be held in August and if they do go – ahead they will be non-Championship events.

Rob Harris, WEARA chairman and Paignton ARC Captain along with Richard Cudmore, chairman of the WEARA Regatta Secretaries Committee and President of Torquay RC, have given their reaction and remain positive.

Hilary Bastone, Torbay Weekly rowing correspondent

Hilary Bastone, Torbay Weekly rowing correspondent - Credit: Archant

Rob said: 'Paignton Amateur Rowing Club has continued to grow over the past year with a number of new members trying out fine boat, gig and coastal rowing. The fine boat contingent were looking forward to building on last year's successes in the local regattas where they managed to win a championship and many of the crews, particularly the junior crews, improved in every race.

'The gig rowers had assembled a ladies crew to attend the World Championships in the Isles of Scilly this year for the first time in over three years. However, due to the COVID-19 outbreak they will have to wait another year. The South Coast Rowing Championships were due to take place in Paignton in 2021. This has been delayed to 2022 but all at Paignton are looking forward to hosting the prestigious event, now with a bit more time to plan the necessities.'

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Richard, of Torquay RC said: 'The club last year celebrated its sesquicentennial anniversary with a Gala dinner at the Royal Torbay Yacht Club to which the club is affiliated. Past members attended with one special member, who rowed as an under 18 over 47 years ago, donating a substantial cheque towards the club funds which was very gratefully received.'

He added: 'Looking forward to this year and hopefully a return to being on the water in the not too distant future, the club will be running its annual Torbay Royal Regatta Rowing on the August 22. Although now not a West of England Championship Regatta, we hope to run a similar full programme as in previous years. Later on in the year on September 26/27 we have scheduled the Coastal Rowing Pier to Pier Regatta. This year we are inviting clubs from Ireland, Wales, the Channel Islands France and Italy to join us alongside the local South West Coastal Rowing league clubs.'

Richard emphasised: 'Rowing is available for all to participate, you do not need to row for competition purposes.

'The club is at the moment (although not on the water) part of the Co-op local community funding scheme. So if any of you Co-op members have not selected a local cause to help then please go on their website and nominate us. If you think this is for you then email us at'

Other clubs across South Devon include Dartmouth Teign and Dart Totnes, and also the Gig Clubs of Salcombe, Dart, Brixham and Teign.

On the charity front Rob Harris revealed that in November last year Paignton completed a 24-hour 'row' at Tesco in Kingsteignton, in conjunction with the charity Rowing Together for Healthy Minds. Over £700 was raised.