It may have looked partly like a Viking invasion but the victors, in this case, were entirely home-grown.
This was South Shields Marine School’s recent sixth annual row, when seven teams battled it out over eight nautical miles of the River Tyne, between Newcastle Quay and the Marine Offshore Safety Training Centre at South Shields.
For the first time, this year saw Fleetwood Nautical Campus have to withdraw at the last minute due to unforeseen circumstances.
In the event, South Tyneside College’s general engineering team, sponsored by Wood Group, led the race throughout, resulting in the reigning champions – South Shields Marine School –losing their title and cup.
Bernhard Schulte Shipping were placed second, followed closely by South Shields Marine School, the American Bureau of Shipping, NE P&I Club, South Tyneside College Ladies and finally City of Glasgow College.
For the first time, the winners and runners-up medals were sponsored by South Shields ferry, under the aegis of Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive/Nexus.
In another first, Svitzer Towage, the largest towing company in the UK, and responsible for towage on the Tyne, sponsored the South Shields Marine School’s rowing kit.
Former tugmaster and college lecturer Tommy Procter, who conceived the event, said: “General engineering have tried for three years to beat the Marine School and this year they haven’t only done it, but they did it in style.
“They blew all the opposition away and won by about one nautical mile, an amazing effort”.
The winners were presented with their medals by Gary Hindmarch, Principal of South Shields Marine School, and Tommy presented the winners’ cup.