Sponsored Row and Gig Race in aid of the RNLI


in aid of the RNLI

An annual event held at the Hythe Quay Maldon

This event returns on Sunday13th January 2024 starting around 12.30pm

Rowing as a sport has seen a huge revival since our success in the Olympics and with the recent upsurge of coastal rowing clubs, with their four man coxed Harker gigs built at Brightlingsea, we hope that this event will attract a record number of entries in addition to the traditional rowers.

This sponsored row has long been a highlight over the Maldon Christmas holiday period when up to 100 rowers, many in colourful fancy dress, make a mad three mile dash through the icy waters of the river Blackwater.

The sport of coastal rowing has grown enormously over the last few years due to encouragement from lottery grants and the traditional building of the gigs at the Pioneer trust in Brightlingsea. All this has led to rowing clubs springing up along the East Coast and in particular the Blackwater estuary and Maldon now has its own rowing club with over forty members and the new gig Record Reign.

The idea of a separate gig race came about because there were increasing numbers of gig entries for the Sponsored Row and competition between them was thwarted by the congestion and safety aspects of the traditional course held in Maldon's upper harbour. The Gigs will now have a separate start and head two miles downstream to the Hilly Pool buoy before returning to the finish at the Hythe Quay. This means they will be able to field their best crews who can now have a full on competitive race for the Gig Challenge cup without compromising the safety of the smaller boats. However as this is a sponsored event gig crews are expected to raise money and there will also be a cup for the Highest Sponsored Gig.

The row always takes place at High Water so the Maldon waterfront will look at its best. Cannons are fired from a start boat anchored opposite the barges and the rowers will head off down river to a turning mark opposite the end of the prom. They then go back up river to another turning mark near Fullbridge and finally return downriver back to the start boat. The fastest boats take under 30 minutes but for the majority it is up to an hour.

All types of craft are involved from rubber dinghies, canoes, kayaks, rowing dinghies through to whalers, gigs and skiffs. The event is an amazing spectacle for all the family and the brisk walk along the Prom to follow the event is a good way of getting a breath of fresh air over the Christmas holiday.

If anyone wishes to participate in the row or help with the event details can be found on the MLSC website www.mlsc.org.uk.

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