Saturday saw the Help for Heroes gig rowers end on a high after a spectacular come back from a not so great first showing in race one of the day.
The team started the day on a high with the standings of Friday night’s veterans race showing they placed 47 of 50 in their category (a further 20 made up the supervets category). Coming into the Championships just finishing a race for these lads is an achievement to them so placing anything other than last is almost as good as a win.
The main spectacle of the weekend kicked off Saturday’s events with a 150-boat line up for the seeding race. Conditions again were tough. The team had a good start getting off the line quickly but were soon beaten back by the choppy sea as were others. They stayed with the pack for the most part but lost momentum towards the end and crossed the finish line surrounded by hundreds of supporters aboard day tripper boats a few lengths behind those ahead.
An unplanned substitution had to be made for the second race of the day; the first heat categorised by performance level; after one of the team suffered a hand injury while rowing.
Positions were announced with Help for Heroes in Nornour, named after one of the smaller islands making up Scilly’s Eastern Isles, in berth nine. Starters orders were called and the crew had a great start off the line in the thick of it with the leaders. Rodney Bey pulled away, eventually going on to win, which left a battle for second, third and fourth place for the duration of the 15 minute race between Nornour, Rival and Fly with those further back unable to catch them.
For some time Nornour kept up second place with Rival almost alongside until their aptly named opponent pulled ahead. Fly, in fourth for the most part, decided to dig deeper towards the end to challenge the H4H crew but that was all they needed to bring their A game and just pip the opposition to the line to take third place.
Jubilant but sore, the guys headed in to put their gig to bed followed by themselves ready to do it all again on Sunday.
Team member Lee Adams said: “The conditions made for a very difficult and disappointing first race but to be involved in a proper race in the second one was exhilarating. To finish within touching distance of the first place team gave us a real boost. We’ve got a lot of hope and ambition for Sunday.”
Proud coxswain Sam Austin, from Caradon Pilot Gig Club, commented: “They did fantastically. They had a bit of a tricky start in the first race with the chop coming from two different directions but they more than made up for it later in the afternoon regardless of a last minute crew substitution. We’re hopeful for a good performance on Sunday. It’s all to play for. As long as the lads try their best which they will do I’ll be happy.”
The team will be bidding for a podium place in their group on Sunday with two races left in the Championships.