Exmouth Rowing Club complete Covid Compliant team challenge

PUBLISHED: 09:58 16 October 2020 | UPDATED: 09:59 16 October 2020

An Exmouth Rowing Club crew being oput through their paces off shore. Picture LES NORCLIFFE

An Exmouth Rowing Club crew being oput through their paces off shore. Picture LES NORCLIFFE

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Few local sporting outfits are higher profile in the heart of Exmouth than Exmouth Rowing Club, writes Richard Robinson.

Exmouth Rowing Club member Bob Board during the club's Covid Compliant team challenge. Picture: LES NORCLIFFEExmouth Rowing Club member Bob Board during the club's Covid Compliant team challenge. Picture: LES NORCLIFFE

Our distinctive, red-hulled quads and red tops are a regular sight on the beach-front near our club-house, the old Lifeboat station, especially on Sunday mornings.

Thanks to the support of British Rowing and the efforts of a conscientious club committee, we have maintained that positive image and our sporting ethos over the Summer months. SW regional racing events were cancelled for the 2020 season, but ERC has recently managed to run internal races to keep mental agility, spirits and fitness levels up.

On the final weekend of September, Exmouth Rowing Club captain Joe Stafford launched the first Covid-conscious challenge with his ‘Box to Box’ beach-sprints.

This required crews to sanitise their equipment, launch safely, row a sprint course to number 12 buoy opposite the Marina and back, then to de-rig and sanitise again, always maintaining social distancing by distributing individual roles.

The Exmouth Rowing Club crew that won the Covid Compliant Team Challenge. Picture LES NORCLIFFEThe Exmouth Rowing Club crew that won the Covid Compliant Team Challenge. Picture LES NORCLIFFE

The title and competition show-cased our awareness of the need for safety, controlled sanitation of equipment and the ability to compete nevertheless with a sense of friendly competition.

Mastermind of our off-shore social and leisure rowing events, Les Norcliffe followed this with a highly competitive COVID Compliant team challenge that took place on October 11.

Six crews battled it out to complete a demanding six-plus km course from our home beachfront around number 12 buoy to the back of Dawlish Warren and back, three times.

Safe-distancing has recently meant that the normal ‘quads’ (four plus one cox) have rowed with only three to maintain the required safe spacing. Teams of four needed to rotate the crew so that all rowed at least part of the six-leg challenge.

Exmouth Rowing Club in action under Covid-19 restrictions. Picture: LES NORCLIFFEExmouth Rowing Club in action under Covid-19 restrictions. Picture: LES NORCLIFFE

Combine this with a beach sprint to start and finish, the need to remove rudders on each beach landing, to avoid collisions with weekend boat traffic, a stiffening on-shore wind- what more could sea-faring folk ask for?

Not a blade broken, nor a single rib bruised (of both types!), no need for paramedics running on and only the occasional hound de-sanitising our trolley wheels… All good fun!

Ingenious taskmaster Les ensured that top prize was itself Covid-compliant!

The winning crew now sports a red Covid-compliant face-mask bearing our club emblem and colours.

Exmouth Rowing Club in action under Covid-19 restrictions. Picture: LES NORCLIFFEExmouth Rowing Club in action under Covid-19 restrictions. Picture: LES NORCLIFFE

Exmouth Rowing Club has welcomed several new faces in recent weeks. Novices of any age or gender designation are welcome to try three free rows, following an induction session in our Covid-compliant gym ashore before signing up to this all-inclusive sport.

Rowing is an easily approachable low impact activity. We offer social outings, often mid-week, as well as racing training to experienced crews, all supervised by coxes at various levels of training and expertise.

See our Facebook page for more details.


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