COTEHELE Quay Gig Club are celebrating the start of the rowing season with some of their best results at this year’s World Pilot Gig Championships.

The World Pilot Gig Championships are held on the May Day bank holiday weekend each year and have been running since 1990. Only crews from Cornwall competed in the inaugural event but it has grown exponentially over the years and the amount of pilot gigs attending has rocketed, with entrants coming from across the West Country and even further afield.

Gig rowing has a long history off the Cornish coast and the craft were originally used in the late 17th century, both as work boats and to ferry pilots out to incoming vessels off the Atlantic. Back then, the gigs would race to get their pilot on board a vessel first in order to get the job and receive payment.

The championships, held on the Isles of Scilly, are the highlight in the calendar every year for all gig rowers. Cotehele Quay’s competitive members spent their winter and spring months training hard to get themselves fighting fit for the challenging races over the rowing weekend between Friday, May 3 and Sunday, May 5.

The champs started strong for the Cotehele Quay ladies’ super vets (LSV) and ladies’ vets (LV) with their long race, the St Agnes race, seeing them come back home in 11th and 18th places respectively. Sadly, the ladies’ vets were one of five crews that were disqualified due to a collision on the start line. The ladies’ super vets then raced again for the Nut Rock race and crossed the line in ninth, landing them in the A Heat for the final on Saturday. The final Nut Rock race saw them come in 12th, which was a proud position finish for the dedicated crew. 

The St Agnes race for the open crews saw LA come in 12th, LB 38th, MA 61st and MB 107th. The following three Nut Rock races saw some exciting conditions against intense competition. 

The final positions saw LA race in the A heat final, finishing 12th in the world and securing a second boat for the club in next year’s championships. LB came in 44th; MA 51st and MB 102nd.

Cotehele Quay Gig Club were immensely proud of everyone who competed and flew the flag for Cotehele – especially their three junior rowers who have graduated through to the men’s open crews for A and B - Kane Underwood, Jacob Long and Tom Walters. 

Sheila Snellgrove, the club chairman, said, ‘ We’ve had a wonderful Scillies, learnt a lot and are delighted with our results in an ever more competitive championships that get harder every year. We are already excited for next year!’