WITH the Winter Series over, the Harkers Yard gigs are now enjoying a more varied season of events around the Essex coast.

First up was the Tony Adams Challenge Cup, featuring Maldon Gig Rowing Club members.

It started from Bateman's Tower, at Brightlingsea, and finished seven miles later at the Light Ship, in Colchester Hythe.

The challenge cup is in memory of a former commanding officer of the TS Colne Light, Tony Adams.

The mass start at Bateman's Tower had 11 gigs lined up in glorious sunshine and a temperature of 13C, with light south south-east winds of 6mph.

Just finishing under the hour was the men's team in Tyrant, from Rowhedge, followed in second place a minute later by the mixed team from Mersea, in Mehalah.

They were just seconds ahead of Maldon's Record Reign mixed team, in third place.

Maldon's second mixed team, in Ready, finished in a well-fought eighth place.

On finishing the race, all the gigs then rowed to Rowhedge for the presentation and celebrations, which also included a blessing and naming of two new gig boats, Red Herring and Egret.

With some gigs being towed back to Brightlingsea by engine power, some of the gigs showed their dedication to rowing, including Maldon's Record Reign and Ready, by rowing the course back again to the start at Brightlingsea.

With some gigs under oar power and others under engine power, it was a very social and more lighthearted trip back with all gigs waving to each other in the beautiful weather conditions, enjoying the local scenery and the delights of being on the river.

If you are interested in gig rowing and always wanted to have a try, Maldon will start their monthly novice days on April 30 at Maldon Hythe Quay, meeting at 2.45pm by the Queen's Head.

All are welcome.