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Last chance for waterman to win world’s oldest rowing race

PUBLISHED: 18:30 07 July 2010 | UPDATED: 11:48 23 August 2010

A WATERMAN is preparing for a final attempt to win a rowing race believed to be the oldest in the world. Dean Pettipher, of Canal Road, Gravesend, comes from a long line of watermen and lighterman who have worked the Thames for generations, but none has w

A WATERMAN is preparing for a final attempt to win a rowing race believed to be the oldest in the world.

Dean Pettipher, of Canal Road, Gravesend, comes from a long line of watermen and lighterman who have worked the Thames for generations, but none has won the famous Doggett's Coat and Badge race.

Dating from 1715, the competition is open to newly trained watermen, who are entitled to enter three times.

Mr Pettipher, 23, has finished third and second and is now hoping to go one better.

He said: "This year I am hoping it will be gold. The day after the race last year I was in my boat preparing for this. I have thrown everything I have at it so whatever happens I can have no regrets."

A member of Gravesend Rowing Club, Mr Pettipher has picked up four victories out of four and goes in confident of winning the prestigious Doggett's Coat, a traditional waterman's red coat with a silver badge.

To be held next Thursday, the race is named after Thomas Doggett, who created the event and prize to reward watermen.

It is now organised through the Fishmongers Company, which provides the coat with insignia each year.

Racers compete in single sculls over four miles and seven furlongs between London Bridge and Cadogan Pier in Chelsea. While Mr Pettipher, who operates a Thames Clipper service between Woolwich and Waterloo, is concentrating solely on the race for now, he has an eye on pushing on to the Olympics.

He added: "My greatest achievement would be making the Olympics. To get to be an elite sculler will take a lot of work and I need to win nine more races at my level before I can move up, but it would be fantastic.


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