Cornwall

Racers gather for Isles of Scilly gig championship

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Media captionHeats have been taking place in the championship

The 24th World Pilot Gig Championship is under way on the Isles of Scilly.

Teams from as far afield as Holland have gathered on St Mary's for the racing events culminating with the Men's and Ladies finals on Sunday.

The bad weather over the winter made training difficult for many of the Cornish gig clubs with some crews switching to indoor rowing sessions.

The event has grown considerably since the first championship in 1989 when 19 boats competed.

More than 130 teams will take part in events across the weekend, racing in six-oared wooden boats.

Last night the veteran rowers took part in their event, leading to success for the Caradon men's team rowing in Amazon.

The Scilly ladies team won their veterans race in the Emma-Louise.

The events saw rowers racing from the island of St Agnes to St Mary's Quay, a distance of 1.59 nautical miles.

The practice of gig rowing is believed to date back to the 1700s, when vessels around the coast of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly needed a pilot to help them navigate their way through difficult waters.

A Cornish pilot is a six-oared rowing boat, 32 feet (9.8m) in length, made of elm.

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