World Pilot Gig Championships 2018 - Isles of Scilly - Report

Tuesday 8th May 2018

The World Pilot Gig Championships 2018 last weekend in the Isles of Scilly saw Lyme Regis Gig Club competing hard against the sports leading crews and doing well.

The Isles of Scilly are  magical with golden beaches and clear azure blue seas, the weather this year was warm and sunny but colder and damp in the thick fog banks that rolled in on the Sunday morning, briefly cleared in the afternoon and then enveloped the island just as the racing finished. The sea state was calm with a lovely rolling Atlantic swell and light south westerly wind.      

Championships kicked off on Friday afternoon and evening with the Mens and Ladies veterans (>40) and SuperVets races (>50), which take place over the 1.6 mile course from St Agnes to St Mary’s Quay. The 35 crews in the Ladies SuperVets raced across the start line at 5pm and over the next twenty minutes fought hard and which saw Black Ven finish a good 13th and Rebel at 25th. At 5:30 the 44 Ladies Vets crews hit the start line, and which saw Tempest finish 26th.

As the evening drew on and after crew changes the 33 Mens SuperVets crews made their way out to St Agnes and the start line for a 7pm start. The Lyme SuperVets crews again performed excellently with the A Crew coming in 4th and the B Crew 21st. The 41 Vets crews crossed the start line half an hour later as the sun set and again Tempest did brilliantly well coming at 4th.  A remarkable achievement for the Lyme Mens crews and the results set the scene for the two days racing to come.

On the Saturday, the men and women race separately again from St Agnes to St Mary’s Quay and the finishing positions of this race determine the seedings for subsequent heats. Each gig is seeded based on the St Agnes race and the subsequent heats are split into groups of 12 for the next races from Nut Rock back to St Marys. Usually two heats are held, one on Saturday and one on Sunday, with the top two gigs being promoted and the bottom two relegated. The finals for the ladies and the men take place on Sunday afternoon, again racing the same Nut Rock course. Each group then has a winner, and the outcome of group A decides who is the overall champion. The winner of each group gets a podium place and a trophy.

At 1pm on Saturday the Ladies First Round started with 152 crews fighting out from St Agnes, followed by the Ladies Round Two race from kicking off from Nut Rock at 3:30. The morning fog meant the Nut Rock race was cancelled and the Championships were settled in the final race on Sunday afternoon. The Ladies A Crew in Tempest finished 67th, the B Crew in Black Ven finished 83rd, the C Crew in Rebel 117th and the D Crew in Isles of Scilly gig Lynonesse (known locally as the yellow submarine) gained a podium finish and trophy for finishing at the top of group M and 145th overall.

The Mens first Championship race saw 158 crews racing from St Agnes at 2;15 with the second Nut Rock Race at 5:15. When the fog cleared on Sunday the men raced at 3:30 with a wall of fog again closing in just as the triumphal final race was completed.

 The Lyme Regis Gig Club Men’s teams performed again remarkably well with the Tempest Crew finishing at 23rd in Group B, the Rebel Development’ Crew finishing a great 30th in Group C and The Black Ven crew a good 39th and the phenomenal D Crew a might 106th in Keith Owen, kindly on loan from Sidmouth Gig Club. Only the top clubs of Falmouth and Caradon also had mens crews finishing in the top four groups

Ladies Championships were won by Caradon who successfully defended the title after their win twelve months ago, ahead of Falmouth in Black Rock and Kensa from Mounts Bay who came third. The Men’s trophy went to Looe Rowing Club in Currens Pride who are champions for the first time, they finally got their hands on the gold after coming 2nd to Falmouth in five of the last six years. Caradon in Ann Glanville came second and Falmouth in Black Ven came in 3rd.

Lyme Regis Gig Club again acquitted ourselves well, despite mixed results and are Mens teams are certainly recognised as a force to be reckoned with at the Championships both this year and increasingly into the future.


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