Full report on 2018 Seagull Race

Wednesday 9th January 2019

Report on the 2018 Lerryn Seagull Race

Dawn broke reluctantly on the day of the 30th Seagull Race to reveal much activity on the foreshore in Lerryn as intrepid mariners worked on last minute preparations to their boats, engines and costumes. The tide had dictated an early start for the race, 10.00am.  The race is open to all, the only requirement being that the boats must  be powered solely by a traditional seagull outboard motor(s).

 At 9.00 am 26 skippers, fortified by mulled wine and mince pies, queued up in the old drill hall to pay their entrance fees and receive their race instructions and entry numbers.  The theme this year was “Strictly Come Boating” and many of the competitors and boats, regardless of the conditions, were in appropriate fancy dress.

Ten minutes before the start the nervous participants were summoned, by fog horn, to the final briefing, by the commodore, then sent to board their craft.  An eerie silence blanketed the river, until on the stroke of ten, the horn sounded once again, the starting flag went down and anxious skippers  pulled their  starting cords. Most engines roared into life and the boats were off. Inevitably some engines were reluctant starters and one a non-starter. Eventually all boats were off apart from one, whose transom split in two, as the engine kicked into life.  

Competition was both frenzied and fierce as two laps of the taxing course from Lerryn to St Winnow Point and back were negotiated. All was quiet as the boats disappeared round the first bend of the course.. As the minutes went by,  all eyes peered into the distance  to see which boat was in the lead. First to round the seagull/duck turning mark, was Chris Parkes in a canoe, followed closely by Andy Giles in his pristine dinghy powered by two engines.  

Leading at the end of the second lap was Chris in his canoe. As the bow of his craft grounded on the beach, he leapt ashore and sprinted for the finishing bell, cheered by the crowd, and rang its discordant note proudly. Of Andy Reid, there was no sign, despite hours of preparation on his engines, he had broken down on the second lap and rowed back, a very disappointed seafarer.

First in the 12 feet and over class, was Richard Philp, despite having trouble with one of the two engines on his boat. The winner of the under 12 feet class was Josh Stephens having selected the best engine from his considerable collection of seagull outboards.  His team also won the team prize. The winner of the RLYS trophy was Richard Philp as he was the winner of the class with most entries.

There was a good crowd of spectators, some of who were also in fancy dress. Amongst them was Ernie Mellow who was visiting from Bermuda where they also run a Seagull Outboard Motor race. He was presented with some RLYS badges to take back with him. He said that there was an open invitation to anyone who wanted to enter their race in July.

Thanks to all the members of the RLYS who once again, put on such a quirky, entertaining event and local businesses in the area who supplied the prizes.

The RLYS would like to give particular thanks to the Devon and Cornwall Police who supplied an officer and a fast response boat to assist in safety cover.

The results were-       

1st in canoe class                     Chris Parkes

1st in boats 12 feet and over    Richard Philp

1st in boat under 12 feet          Josh Stephens

Team Prize                              Tregays

Fast Lady                                Susan Moore

Concours d’elegance               Chris Parks

Mystery Place                         Simon Ducket

Best Endeavour                       Hilary & Howard Blakeborough

Spirit of contest                      Toby Smith

Last place                                Rob Grant

The sum of  £321 was raised for the RNLI and £100 for local charities.

This year’s Seagull Race will be on Saturday 21st December.


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