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September 5, 2005
Rowing challenge issued to Burnham-On-Sea sailing enthusiasts

Burnham-On-Sea sailing enthusiasts are being offered the chance to take part in a round-Britain rowing event which is raising funds for the RNLI.

Victory Challenge gig 'Unity'The Victory Challenge 2005 began last month when a Cornish gig set off on Saturday 21st August bound for London.

The event involves rowing by gig from Port Isaac on Cornwall’s north coast to London via the Bristol Channel and inland water ways.

However, adverse weather conditions meant that the legs between Ilfracombe and Avonmouth had to be covered by road - and this means that during the month of September, there is a unique opportunity for a limited number of local boat enthusiasts to row one of these traditionally built 32 ft pilot gigs over the three un-rowed legs (i.e. Ilfracombe-Minehead-Weston-Avonmouth). Gigs normally take a crew of six, plus Cox’n.

Thus, the challenge will be completed. Interested parties should register by emailing beckerleg2@hotmail.com, or victorychallenge@hotmail.com, and crews will be chosen from those applicants.

Each applicant will need to raise a minimum of £50 sponsorship, but further details will be available from the organisers. Alternatively write to PO Box 458, Newquay, TR7 2WY.

The RNLI is one of three charities benefiting from the event, which involves rowing by gig from Port Isaac on Cornwall’s north coast, to London via the Bristol Channel and inland water ways.

The journey by road meant that Trevor Beare, Chairman of Victory Challenge 2005, was able to visit Burnham-On-Sea RNLI station on his way to Weston-super-Mare where station volunteers were able to examine and talk about “Unity,” the Gig taking part in the challenge.

The photo above shows “Unity” with Burnham-On-Sea RNLI volunteers; (Left to right) Howard Ramm (Training Divisional Inspector), Tim Walters, Jon Hughes, Ian Jefferies, Ricky Holmes, and Lifeboat Operations Manager Martin Cox. Sat on the Coxn’s thwart is Trevor Beare, Chairman of the Victory Challenge 2005.

Trevor Beare, Chairman of the Victory Challenge 2005, said at the start of the challenge: "The original idea for this event came from a keen member of the Port Isaac Gig Club, Rob Gerrish, who sadly died in 1999."

"He was always coming up with innovative ideas and would have been delighted to see this one come to fruition. We are dedicating the row to his memory as we know he would have got this challenge off the ground well before now had he survived."

"The volunteer rowers taking part have chosen from six sea going legs and nine canal legs. Each will cover up to twenty to twenty five miles as the gigs progress along the route."

"The gigs will then take part in the Nelson Flotilla on 16 September, which will represent all those vessels that took to the water in 1806 to honour their national hero, Admiral Lord Nelson on the day of his funeral. It’s a great honour to be invited to take part and a fitting way to end such an enormous challenge."

RELATED LINKS:

Cornish Pilot Gig Associaton

Burnham-On-Sea RNLI Home Page

 


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