Welcome toThe Penzance and Newlyn Pilot Gig Club, a small but vibrant club nestled in the stunning surroundings of South-West Cornwall. As we embark on our epic journey, this website will serve as a window into our progress as both a club and community.
With great enthusiasm, we have acquired our first wooden Gig! along with all the necessary equipment to indulge in what we love most – rowing. We are thrilled at the prospect of having you join us on this exciting venture, especially since we took on our second club Gig!
Safety and safeguarding are paramount to us, which is why we have implemented stringent policies to ensure your well-being while participating in our activities. Our club constitution outlines the rules of engagement, while an event calendar for the upcoming year promises thrilling adventures ahead.
We consider ourselves fortunate to have garnered sponsorships that support our endeavors. As we eagerly anticipate the launch of our beautiful boat, there couldn't be a more exciting time for us!
As a private club, we offer enticing opportunities for competition in regattas and other events. While racing is undoubtedly exhilarating, winning isn't everything; prioritizing crew enjoyment on every row remains at the core of our philosophy. Our primary aim is to support one another and foster empowerment regardless of individual goals – ensuring each row is nothing short of brilliant.
If you're seeking camaraderie among friendly crewmates within a growing community, look no further! We encourage you to get in touch with us if you'd like to become part of this fantastic group. We'll soon establish crews for competition alongside various sessions catering to different abilities.
Beyond rowing adventures, expect an impressive lineup of fundraising events and social gatherings throughout the year. Optional fitness training opportunities await both online and amidst invigorating fresh air settings.
Excitement fills the air as everyone involved eagerly anticipates what lies ahead! JoinThe Penzance and Newlyn Pilot Gig Clubto be part of an exhilarating journey filled with friendship, fun, and unforgettable experiences.
- Your Crewmates
Pilot gigs, with their distinctive eight seats (thwarts), have a rich heritage deeply rooted in the maritime history of Cornwall. Traditionally constructed using Cornish Narrow Leaf Elm, these magnificent vessels measure 32 feet (9.8 m) in length and have a beam of four feet ten inches (1.47 m).
Originally serving as shore-based lifeboats during distress situations, pilot gigs were renowned for their capabilities in navigating treacherous waters off the Atlantic coast. The pilots from the Isles of Scilly gained a formidable reputation for being the first to board incoming vessels, securing themselves prestigious roles guiding ships into various ports across Northern Europe.
The design of pilot gigs evolved to maximize speed so that crews from different islands could reach visiting vessels swiftly – often those perilously close to running aground on rocky shores. Their agility ensured that Scilly's pilots secured lucrative opportunities by safely steering ships towards their intended destinations.
However, with advancements in modern shipping, pilot gigs gradually fell out of favor and nearly faded into obscurity. It wasn't until 1921 when a group of rowers from Newquay decided to revive the sport by racing the remaining gigs after returning from World War One.
During World War Two, gig rowing took a backseat except for training cadets; however, it regained momentum after the war ended in 1945 when Newquay resumed its gig races. In 1986, due to increasing popularity and participation across multiple clubs, the CPGA (Cornwall Pilot Gig Association) was established as the governing body for gig racing. This marked an important milestone as standardized blueprints were created based on Ralph Bird's measurements taken from Treffry - an iconic gig built in 1838 by William Peters still owned and raced by Newquay Rowing Club.
While most modern racing gigs adhere closely to Treffry's specifications, non-racing gigs have also been constructed with minor variations. These non-conforming gigs are not eligible for competitive races but continue to serve their purpose in preserving the heritage of this storied watercraft.
Today, pilot gig rowing is primarily a sport that has experienced a remarkable resurgence. With approximately 100 clubs worldwide, its stronghold remains in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. However, the sport has spread eastward across the United Kingdom and internationally to countries such as France, Netherlands, Ireland, Middle East, Faroe Islands, Australia, Bermuda,and the United States of America.
The pinnacle event of each gig season is undoubtedly the World Championships held over the May Bank Holiday weekend on the Isles of Scilly. This thrilling spectacle brings all participating gigs together for an exhilarating race where tactics and skill determine victory. Throughout warmer months, individual clubs host their own regattas leading up to significant competitions like Men's and Ladies County or National Championships held annually at Newquay in September.
With over 200 registered gigs under CPGA (excluding those from Isles of Scilly), pilot gig rowing continues to thrive as a testament to both its historical significance and enduring appeal as a vibrant sport enjoyed by enthusiasts around the world.
OVerall, Gig Rowing is fantastic, it is fun, it forges friendships in the heat of competition, and brings local communities together, whist creating an international network of Associations, Clubs, Rowers, and Spectators.