It was billed as a big deal for Swanage in Dorset and the day did not disappoint as hundreds arrived to compete in the first national supervets gig rowing championships.
The event on Saturday 30th September 2023, organised by the Swanage Sea Rowing Club (SSRC), took over much of the seafront with the entire length of Shore Road closed to traffic to allow the boats to be towed onto the beach.
Swanage had to apply to host the first ever supervets championship and the club was delighted when it was awarded to the town
Plenty of visitors boosted the local economy staying in B and Bs and hotels as well as eating out in the evening
66 crews, 33 gig boats and 400 competitors
The beach between The Mowlem and Banjo quay thronged with 66 crews, 33 gig boats and 400 competitors, plus all the friends and families who had taken the opportunity to enjoy a day out in Swanage.
The catering tent with sandwiches and cakes did a roaring trade raising a welcome amount of money for the SSRC funds.
While everyone seemed to be making the most of the warm September weather and relaxing on the beach, there was plenty of competition going on in the bay.
The supervets competition for those aged 50 and over, has taken place in Swanage before but this was the first time that it had been given championship status, which meant points that count towards the end of the season tally were up for grabs.
The Swanage crews
- 1st – Caradon
- 2nd – Appledore
- 3rd – Brixham
- Shield winner – Dart
- Plate winner – Portland
- 1st – Dart
- 2nd – Teign
- 3rd – Caradon
- Shield winner – Salcombe
- Plate winner – Roseland
The trophy table
Plenty of visiting crews including Boscastle and Crackington in Cornwall…
… and Barnstable in Devon
Menwhile Salcombe set up camp on Swanage beach
Road closure and temporary ramp
The closure of Shore Road, while in place for the rowing championships, gave everyone a taste of what the seafront would be like if Shore Road was closed permanently.
Without a vehicle in sight, the beach was a lot quieter and pedestrians took advantage of walking down the middle of the road, although they did have to dodge a few cyclists who ignored the closure signs.
A temporary ramp to allow the gigs to get onto the beach easily also proved popular especially with pedestrians and those pushing prams.
The beach end of Victoria Avenue and Shore Road were closed to allow 33 gigs safe access to the beach
A wide temporary slipway was built to wheel the boats onto the beach but prams took advantage of the easy access too!
“Thrilled at all the positive feedback “
Secretary of the Swanage Sea Rowing Club Debbie Witney said:
“Crews from across the south west arrived in the town to a classic Swanage day with very good weather.
“It was a fantastic event and we’re so thrilled at all the positive feedback – there’s even been good suggestions for how to improve things for next year which shows how eager everyone seems to do it all again!
“It really helped that Shore Road was closed as it meant everyone could easily get their gigs down to the seafront which isn’t always the case in all the seaside towns that we visit for competitions.
“So a big thank you to Swanage Town Council and Culvin Milmer for helping to organise such a successful day.”
The club set up a refreshment tent with members making sandwiches and baking cakes
Plenty of visiting crews queued at lunchtime
- Anyone interested in joining the Swanage Sea Rowing Club can get in contact via its Facebook group
Racing from one side of the bay…
…to the other side of Swanage Bay
Enjoying Swanage’s sandy beach in the September sunshine!