Gig Championships 2009
2009 is another record year for the World Pilot Gig Championships on the Isles of Scilly. Over 100 gigs are competing this year making it the busiest championships to date. The event is thought to be the biggest gathering of pilot gigs in the world.
New this year is a ladies' gig crew from HMS Raleigh in Torpoint who will make their debut on 2 May 2009. The crew of five sailors and one civilian was formed in 2008 and have trained under the guidance of the men’s team who have been racing for a number of seasons.
The Raleigh men's and ladies' crew
David King, the Raleigh Pilot Gig Captain, is coxing the ladies' crew. He says: "The ladies took part in their first race last year, the Great River Race, 22 miles along the River Thames from Richmond to the Isle of dogs.
2009 is the 20th year of the Championships on the Isles of Scilly. 2008 Ladies' champions Falmouth is one of the favourites to scoop the silverware this year, although they face stiff competition from Roseland, Mountsbay, Caradon and Charlestown.
2008 Men's champions Mount's Bay will be hoping to hang onto their title but will face a renewed challenge from twelve times champions Caradon. The men's crews from Roseland, Par Bay and Falmouth will also by vying for the title.
2008 Mens' Champions Mountsbay
In the Veteran's race both the Falmouth ladies' crew and the Caradon men's crew will be hoping to retain their 2008 title. Flushing and Mylor Pilot Gig Club will again be entering a Super Vets crew into the men's race. In 2008 the average age of the crew was just over 67 years old. The crew included Angus Nicholson, who at 80 was the oldest member.
The event attracts thousands of people to the islands every year, making it one of the busiest weekends of the season. As well as the gig rowing, there is also the Pilot Widows Sailing Race where the gigs are sailed rather than rowed. This year the competition will take place on May 4 2009.
Keep checking the BBC Cornwall website for updates from the Championships this weekend.
last updated: 28/04/2009 at 10:58