Gig rowers head to Scilly for world championships

Sonia Rai was first Punjabi female to compete in gig rowing

Excitement is building on the Isles of Scilly as the World Pilot Gig Championships (WPGC) get underway over the weekend.

Hundreds of gig rowers from Cornwall, as well as other parts of the UK and Europe are making the trip to the islands, 27 miles west of Land’s End.

This is the 33rd time the championships have been held on Scilly, and 441 crews have signed up to compete.

The event provided a big boost for the islands’ economy at the start of the tourism season.

The Men’s A crew from Looe in ‘Currah’s Pride’ will be looking to defend their title and the reigning women’s champions are the Helford A crew in ‘Morgawr’.

Tristan Hick, the chairman of the WPGC organising committee, is looking forward to a very busy weekend.
He said: “It’s a very unique sport.

“Gig rowing is a very addictive, physical sport but it’s also got amazing traditions and an amazing social side as well.”

Nine new gigs will race for the first time at this year’s event, including from one of the five inhabited Scilly islands, St Agnes.

St Agnes Gig Club will race its first new gig for more than a century – the ‘Cetewayo’ was built by Patrick Bird, who grew up on the island.

“I’m very proud to have built Cetewayo, a gig which will help cement the popularity of gig racing on St. Agnes and in Scilly for many years to come,” he said.

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