The 5th Great Tyne Row kicked off in glorious sunshine at Newburn home of Tyne Amateur and Tyne United Rowing Clubs. The event had a record entry of 40 boats of which all took part and safely completed the course.
The colourful 25km row which starts at Newburn to the east of Newcastle/Gateshead and finishes at Tynemouth Rowing Club enjoyed one of the best day's racing so far. The event welcomed for the first time new boat types including Whitby Coastal 4’s from Scarborough ARC, a double fixed seat skiff from the Lake District and an ocean-going boat rowed by the Thrift Energy Atlantic Challenge. Not to mention the plethora of St Ayles Skiffs and stable quads and fours.
The event trialled GPS tracking to monitor boat positions and for timers to be able to prepare for boats coming up the course. This proved really successful and something the event will be looking to develop in future years.
In the four main racing categories Scarborough ARC took the honours for both the Fastest Overall Women’s and Fastest Overall Fixed Seat boats claiming the “Henry Frederick Swan” and the “Grace Darling” Shields. Tyne United RC claimed the Fastest Overall Women’s prize, the “Catherine Cookson Foundation” Shield, thanks to a kind donation by Newcastle University. Devil’s Elbow Rowing Club retained the “William Fawcus” Shield, for the fastest overall boat for the 2nd time completing the 25km in 1 hour 43 minutes and 33 seconds.
The row isn’t just about the fastest times it’s about enjoying the row and having the most fun possible. Which is why the event has awards for Best Decorated Boat and Best Dressed Crew. This year the award for Best Dressed Crew went to first time entrants Whitburn Coastal Rowing Club, for their amazing fancy dress as coastal fisherman complete with long grey beards (see pic on home page). The award for Best Decorated Boat went to Devil’s Elbow Rowing Club who had created a most fantastic Swan's Head to place on the bow of the boat.
The last award to be given out is named after the Tyne’s most famous rower, Harry Clasper; the award for which the committee feels a crew or person has done something special. This year it went to St Andrews Coastal Rowing Club, who after having their rudder break off in the opening stretch still completed the row with the coxswain using a paddle to help steer the boat.
We are looking forward to the 2016 event where we hope more people will come and enjoy the row on the Tyne. The date is provisonally set for August 28th 2016, but is not yet confirmed.