CQGC hosted their Winter League Regatta on Saturday with clubs from Yealm, RM Tamar, Royal Marines Association, Rame, Tamar and Tavy and Caradon taking part.

The day proved successful with clubs competing in LA, LB, MA, MB, Vets and Junior races. Competitors were blessed with great rowing conditions on the River Tamar and the day remained reasonably dry for spectators and rowers alike.

The winning club, on points, from the day were the hosts Cotehele in their boat Danescombe, followed closely by Tamar and Tavy in Birlanda and Caradon in Amelia Lee.

One of the highlights of the day was before racing even commenced, with the Very Rev Dr Christopher Hardwick blessing CQGC’s new boat, Govenek, a Cornish word meaning Hope.

Chair Sheila Snellgrove said: ‘The name was chosen by club members and seems particularly fitting and appropriate given the experience of the last two years.’

The boat was built by Patrick Bird — the Bird family has a deep history in boatbuilding going back many generations to the early 1700s in Devoran and around the River Fal. Patrick’s father, Ralph Bird, will always be remembered for his key role in the revival of Cornish pilot gig racing. Taught by his grandad, he built his first boat (a 15’ Cornish racing skiff named ‘Miss Ann’) when he was just 16 years old.  

Ralph Bird went on to form the Cornish Pilot Gig Association and single-handedly build 27 six-oared gigs and two four-oared gigs before his death in 2009.  

Patrick worked with his father throughout his childhood and has a lifetime of craft and experience through his father and his apprenticeship with him.  

Gig captain Mark Waterfield said: ‘The purchase of a new boat is ambitious and forward thinking. It is a lighter boat, an investment for the future and our ambitions to be in the top 12 at IOS World Championships in the next three years. We need to keep investing in new kit and encouraging new rowers to join us. This is a key driver in the club’s five year development plan.’