GUERNSEY reclaimed bragging rights in the Channel Islands’ flagship rowing race from Sark to Jersey, as the quad crew of Tom de Kooker, Simon Johns, Joseph Paul, James Coquelin and cox Lloyd Le Page took their TPA boat across the finish line in first place.
However, Jersey could claim an equally convincing victory, as the ladies’ quad in the Gary Burgess boat stormed home to become the first women’s team across the line.
Jersey also retained the Le Poidevin Trophy, the inter-insular competition, for winning the majority of the classes.
The winning Guernsey crew were assembled earlier this year with the Sark-to-Jersey event in mind, after Jersey quads had won the last two editions of the race. And they won comfortably, finishing four-and-a-half minutes ahead of the Jersey crew of Andy Bowman, Tom McLoughlin, Stephen Reed, Luke Cassin and cox Ellie Dargie in the Jaws boat, recording a time of 1hr 54mins 36secs and taking home the coveted Rose Bowl.
Despite the beautifully warm sunshine over the strip of sea covering the 16-and-a-bit miles between Dixcart Bay and Bonne Nuit, conditions were tough for all the competitors, who faced choppy waters and an unusual amount of floating seaweed.
But that did not stop the Gary Burgess team of Laima Pacekayute, Haley Cook, Taye Le Monnier, Rosie Adamson and cox Tracey Mourant from maintaining an unassailable lead after passing through the Paternosters.
‘Being the first ladies’ crew across the line was fantastic for Jersey,’ said Mourant. ‘We had an amazing row and we didn’t let up.
‘It was my 15th time doing Sark to Jersey but it was my first time as a cox and it felt really special. It was amazing. We just have so much fun when we’re in the boat together.’
The ladies completed the race in 2hrs 12mins 3secs, a full four minutes ahead of the Guernsey crew in Le Mont Saint Ladies.
‘We had a bit of a tough run along the coast, but we managed to hold our own,’ added Le Monnier.
The Gary Burgess boat was donated to the team by the Jersey Community Foundation and named after the late journalist, who died earlier this year after battling cancer.
Meanwhile, de Kooker from the victorious TPA team said he was ‘chuffed’ to have won the race for Guernsey.
‘It was great. We came together for this and it’s always good to beat Jersey,’ he said.
Le Page added: ‘The whole point of this project was to form this team with the sole intention of coming here, winning, and bringing the title back to Guernsey, which we’ve been successful in doing so. And we can get better yet.’
Unsurprisingly, with the conditions as they were, no records were close to being broken. Great Britain beach sprints rower Des Nevitt teamed up with brother Simon and ensured a Jersey boat came across the line first in the men’s pairs in a time of 2hrs 7mins 12secs, over a minute and a half ahead of Jersey’s Le Lere brothers Josh and Adam, with 24 crews competing in the race overall.