Sunday, 3 July 2011

I took part in a Charity Gig Race in Newquay..

For those of you who may not know what a Gig is the picture above is from Google images and also happens to be one of the boats used by Newquay Rowing Club.
A colleague at work emailed asking if anyone would be filling to help fill a boat, along with experienced rowers, for a charity race to help raise money for South West Cornwall Hospice Care. Thought about it and after a chat with Hubby emailed back and said yes. I have had a bit of a go canoeing and I got quite good at the old Hawaii Five-O bit but I have never rowed in a Gig before. We were told not to worry about it, we would be shown how to row and have experienced club members with us.

We were given a quick run down on some do's and don't's what the wooden pins were for, and what to do if you catch a crab. I was yet to fully find out what that bit meant!


I am the one standing with the long sleeves. Being fair it does not take much for me to burn and I was not taking any chances. Getting the gig in the water was a careful operation which included some little two wheeled trailers.




It was such a hot day, about 26 degrees today, so going up to the knees in water was a nice relief.


You can clearly see the name of the gig here. They are made from solid wood, although there were two fibre glass ones. One of the Gigs was over 100 years old.




The chap here is called Steve and he has rowed many times and had been brought in as the muscles to help. You might be interested to know that he is blind and the strokes were called out for everyones benefit to help us all keep in time which really helped.


Getting in the boat was easy........getting that oar upright was not, it is bloody heavy!!! Needed help so as not to hit anyone with it. Look at the clear water. A lovely day for mucking about on the water.


A perfect day in Cornwall. Getting ready to move...........just got to get these ores in the right place using the wooden support pins on the side of the gig.


We started to head out t0 the sea getting instruction and guidance as to what to do. We went out a long way and it is really surprising just how quick they move.


We were going along quite well, picking up speed then all of a sudden the oar shot out of my hand, I kept hold of it, it then shot back my way as it caught the water and the end of the oar thumped into me next to my shoulder and pushed me off my seat onto the bottom of the gig.


That is what "catching a crab" is. It did seem more like a full size killer whale the force at which that ore came back at me.


I simply did not get the oar out of the water fast enough after completing the stroke. It was one of those times when you know what you have done as soon as it happens kind of thing.


I shall have a massive bruise on my chest and I already have a colourful bruise on my rear end!!! It is going to be all colours of the rainbow.



Then............I did it again!! Just as well the chap behind could not see as my descent was not pretty and trying to untangle myself was not easy especially as I got the back of my waistband caught on a hook as I was trying to get up and I was still trying to hang on the ore while everyone else is still rowing!! Managed it, to a "Good recovery there, keep going....." from the front of the Gig. Got back on my seat vowing that it was going to be the last time, crikey, the race had not even started yet.


We kept going to the start line and in all of the spare water there was in the sea there was this orange buoy, and we managed to hit it with our oars!!



Things were looking good eh? We did have a laugh about that though.


We tried to line up, which is not easy and the start was a bit quick but we made a good start. At one point we were in the lead but another gig got rather close and I had to stop rowing and I lost the rhythm a bit as I did not want to get my oar tangled up.



We went at full throttle. Hubby said that we were so far out that you would only see the ends of the oar flashing in the sunlight. It was hard going and keeping in time is definitely the hardest part as a beginner.


You certainly need stamina for this and keeping up the pace was tricky but because it is for charity just keeping going was the aim. If you miss timed just lift your ore out and then slot back in again. Over half way along my friend lost her oar to a "crab" but did not manage to get it out of the water in time. It slotted under the ore in front. It was ages before she got it back, how I do not know as I was too busy looking back at mine because I no longer had hers to keep in time with.


Then a big hooter sounded and we had reached the finish line.


It was good fun and I would give it another go but I would like some proper lessons as making my first go in a Gig during a race was a bit full on!


Best bit was......I stayed on my seat!!!


Get the Gigs back on shore meant having to get that ore up in the air again. I had nothing left in my arms so I had to slide it done the gig instead, narrowly missing two people.




A chap from the local paper asked to take a picture so we lined up in the boat. We shall have to try and track that down as we do not live the catchment area for that newspaper.


Next, we needed to put the Gig away. Looked fairly easy until we got to a stone tunnel with a 30-40 degree angle. Pushing it up to the top was not easy. One of the trailer wheels ran over my foot as the person next to me did not move fast enough but luckily the tyres are quite soft so no damage done.



We were all thanked for our efforts as it takes a bit of nerve to get in a Gig and race with experts and try and keep up. The charity rowers were of all ages and I am pretty pleased that at the age of 41 I kept up and did not disgrace myself. I might have even earned a little bit of street cred on Sunday.


It has to be the biggest thing I have done outside of my comfort zone, but every now and then I like to try and buck my own trends.


I just hope that I can get up and go into work without too much trouble.


Happy Sunday


xx

6 comments:

Toffeeapple said...

Well done you, not only for getting outside your comfort zone but pitching in with everyone else when you'd never tried it before. I imagine I'd be totally useless and a weakling. What marvellous weather you had for it too.

Julie said...

wow! What an achievement! Well done you, I wouldn't even have given it a thought let alone got in the boat :-)

Carol said...

Wow, well done that lady. You did fantastically for a first go. What an amazing experience. I had no idea what gig racing was all about until a holiday on Scilly a few years ago, not that I would be brave/strong enough to ever have a go.
Hope you have got some arnica for those bruises.
Carol xx

wonderwoman said...

o wow, that was amazing, what a fantastic thing to try - i hope your bruises are not giving you too much trouble!

xx

Barbara said...

That was an absolutely fantastic thing for you to have done!! Woo Hoo!! Congrats! What a wonderful day for it though. Hope your bruises heal up quickly and that you could still move to go to work. I bet the people you work with are in awe of those bruises (if you could show any of them) :)


Hugs XX
Barbara

Tatkis said...

What a great idea! And big fun I think :)
Hope that you feel better now!

Hugs,
Tatyana

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