Graham Hurley |

The flying Vulcaneers

Exmouth rower Graham Hurley and crewmates have been rowing twice a week for 12 years. There have been plenty of moments to treasure, but one of his all-time favourites is how they first became the Vulcaneers

Picture the scene. We’re four oarsmen and a cox in search of an air show. It’s a while back, 2009, and the weather is forecast to be well within limits.

Our plan is to stock our trusty Safran with goodies to eat and drink, launch from Exmouth beach, and row three miles down the coast until we can sit comfortably off Dawlish and enjoy a huge variety of Boy’s Own treats from vintage biplanes to the Red Arrows and the rumoured appearance of the nation’s sole remaining Vulcan bomber. This, believe me, is a beast, a flying manta ray the colour of death. On a sunnyish August afternoon against a tumble of perky clouds? Irresistable.

THE VULCANEERS ENJOYING A COFFEE BREAK ON THE SANDBANK

Alas, the weather refuses to obey the script. As a regular crew we rotate the coxing, and it happens to be my turn. Out beyond the big offshore sandbank, it’s much rougher than we’ve expected and we quickly agree that bouncing around for the remains of the show will be no fun. Accordingly, I ride the wave train shorewards. Already, the beach and promenade at Dawlish are black with spectators.

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