The Sark to Jersey rowing race was originally the idea of four friends from the Bonne Nuit Boat Owners Association. After Sunday lunch at Les Fontaines Tavern on the north coast of Jersey, they looked across the sea to the small neighbouring island. If Chay Blyth and John Ridgeway could row the Atlantic, they thought, it must be possible to row between Jersey and Sark.

In 1967 a variety of boats and rowers proved that it was, with the first crew finishing in just under five hours (fastest boats now finish in under 2hrs). Today it is still one of the great sporting challenges in the Channel Islands and a hotly contested but friendly inter-insular.

The course takes competitors from the start in Dixcart Bay across open water to the Paternosers reef where they turn and follow Jersey’s north coast towards Bonne Nuit Bay. Crews must row round the Cheval Rock before crossing the finish line. By the time they hit dry land they will have rowed about 26.7 Kms with cross tides and the infamous choppy outfalls off Sark, not to mention any other conditions the weather throws at them (it feels a lot longer).

The Exmouth crew of Pete Johns, Jon Houghton, Nathan Sorrensen, Rob Mew coxed by Les Norcliffe launched into the event on 12/7/14. Although the weather throughout the weekend was beautiful, a strong wind capable of jeopardising the event blew up the night before, but the launch went ahead. All agree that the most horrendous part of the event was crossing over to Sark in ribs towing the rowing boat. During the crossing the strength of tidal flow and sea state became evident, the crew were soaked before the start.

The race launched into a rising 10.5 meter spring tide that switched direction at the Paternosters Reef. The crew were happy to have received sound navigational advice, the cross current made it necessary to steer a full fifteen compass points off course in order to arrive at the reef. The crossing was challenging to say the least with a heavy swell constantly breaching the boat on the starboard side. It was quickly realised that the hand pump was not working, thank god for the hand bailer. Having made the turn at the reef it was a following tide to the finish. Considering this was something of a scratch crew in a loan boat the time of 2hrs 13min was well received. All worked well together to enjoy the full rewards of this experience. The rewards continued throughout the evening with a wonderful social affair. The Exmouth crew thank all at Jersey Rowing Club for the warm welcome and support especially club captain Clive Russell who made it all possible. He is rightfully a proud man as the event proved very successful for the club with a resounding win over neighbouring Guernsey and the taking of a number of new records.