Gigs and the Cornish Coast

posted on May 29th, 2015 by Laura Ellis

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The rugged Cornish coastline presents a hazard today for many, but in the 17th Century (even before Poldark’s day!) it presented a particular hazard for any large ship looking to dock in Cornwall’s little harbours. The solution was found in a small, wooden rowing boat that could be swiftly and expertly navigated to the ship, along with the harbour pilot to safely guide the ship in.

Jobs went to the first pilot that arrived on board, so this craft needed to be lightweight, built for speed, manoeuvrability and with plenty of room for pilots or trade. Where other harbour pilots around the UK used sails, the Cornish used pure, hard-core manpower because this was proven to be the fastest way to head into prevailing winds off the South West coast.

Gigs | Photo: RoderickT © Creative Commons

With gig builders racing to build the best gigs, it was William Peters of St Mawes who gained a reputation for building the fastest and most seaworthy of crafts. In 1838, it was his gig, the ‘Treffry’, which became the standard specification by which all other gigs followed. In fact, the original ‘Treffry’ is still actively rowed today by the Newquay Rowing Club!

With the introduction of the motor boat, pilot gigs became disserved, but plenty of men continued to race them for fun. There are now over 100 gig and rowing clubs around the world that use Cornish Pilot Gigs, including as far afield as Australia and Canada, and many hold major events that attract hundreds and thousands of spectators. One such event is happening this Sunday in Devon. On Sunday 31st May, the Salcombe Estuary Rowing Club will be hosting the Salcombe Rowing and Gig Regatta. The club continues to use three Cornish Pilot Gigs: the ‘Bolt’, the ‘Cadmus’ and the ‘Wolf’. For details visit: http://www.salcomberowing.co.uk/

Why not pop into our Seasalt Salcombe shop while you’re in town and shop the rowing look? Oars at the ready everyone!

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world pilot gig championships 2013 – the results

posted on May 7th, 2013 by rosie

World Pilot Gig Championships 2013

Racing at the 2013 World Pilot Gig Champs.

Well it’s all over for another year but once again the World Pilot Gig Championships on the Isles of Scilly proved to be an extraordinary, uplifting, exhausting, entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable event.

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a rower’s view of the world champs

posted on May 7th, 2013 by rosie

Golden Eagle Gig Crew

The crew of the Golden Eagle at the 2013 World Pilot Gig Champs. Photo: Imogen Bone

Alasdair Moore, our friend from Tresco, gives us the inside scoop on what it’s actually like to take part in the World Pilot Gig Championships.

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the countdown is on…

posted on May 3rd, 2013 by rosie

World Pilot Gig Championships Start

Photo: Adam White

Our friend Alasdair Moore is lucky enough to live on the beautiful island of Tresco and will be taking part in the World Pilot Gig Championships this weekend. He is our man on the front line and will be keeping us up to date with events over the weekend as they unfold…

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world pilot gig championships

posted on May 1st, 2013 by rosie

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The 24th World Pilot Gig Championships will take place on the Isles of Scilly this weekend, racing the finest crews against each other in a heated battle – all very exciting stuff!

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goodbye olympics, hello cornish rowing challenge!

posted on September 4th, 2012 by rosie

Annie Team GB

Our Olympic Rower, Annie Vernon, tells us all about life after Team GB, how you can meet Olympic Rowers and maybe even get to race against them at the Cornish Rowing Challenge in September!

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cornwall’s golden girl

posted on August 30th, 2012 by rosie

Helen Glover Olympic Rower

Helen Glover (left) with her rowing partner Heather Stanning

One of Seasalt’s olympic rowers, Helen Glover, became a gold medallist at the London 2012 games. We caught up with her after her homecoming bus tour of her home town of Penzance and she told us how it felt to become an Olympic Champion…

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penzance welcomes home golden girl helen

posted on August 20th, 2012 by rosie

Helen Glover Homecoming

Thousands of people lined the streets of Penzance and Newlyn yesterday to welcome home Olympic gold medallist Helen Glover and of course Seasalt were there to cheer her on!

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regattas galore!

posted on August 13th, 2012 by sian

Helford River Regatta

It’s well and truly regatta season here in Cornwall. The Henry Lloyd Week is in full swing in Falmouth and even tiny little hamlets are hosting their own water based festivities.

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new olympic record for seasalt rower

posted on July 30th, 2012 by rosie

Helen Glover & Heather Stanning

Helen Glover (left) and her rowing partner Heather Stanning

Seasalt Olympic rower, Helen Glover, breezed through the opening heat with her partner Heather Stanning on the weekend.

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