The 29th World Pilot Gig Championships took place at Hugh Town St Mary’s in the Isles of Scilly over the Bank Holiday Weekend, the 4th – 6th of May. Twenty four of our members represented us, rowing in Ladies and Men’s A’s, Ladies and Men’s B’s, Ladies and Men’s Veterans and Ladies Super Veterans races. The races consisted of ‘long’ races (1.83 miles) from St Agnes to St Mary’s Quay and ‘short’ races (1.34 miles) from Nut Rock (near Tresco) to St Mary’s Quay. The weather was good and the sea state the best that members had experienced during the seven years Portland has been attending the event.
With the first race not starting until 5pm on Friday, members decided to take advantage of the sunshine and flat sea and rowed both gigs to the neighbouring island of Tresco, spending an hour or so on its deserted golden beaches.
Tresco Beach (Bryher in background)
On Friday evening the Vets and Supervets raced the ‘long’ course giving it their all while enjoying the experience and finishing; Ladies Supervets 19th of 35, Ladies Vets 20th of 44 and Men’s Vets 14th of 41.
Saturday started with the Ladies and Men’s A and B crews in the ‘long’ grading races. First the ladies race with 152 gigs then the men’s with 148 gigs. The results of these setting the crews into the ‘short’ heats of 12 crews of similar ability with the aim of improving their placing during the three further races that each crew would row. One heat that afternoon and a heat followed by the final on Sunday.
Saturday Men’s ‘Long’ Race
Ladies B in one of their ‘Short’ Races
Unfortunately although the wind was light and the sea calm, Sunday morning races had to be cancelled due to thick fog. Thankfully the fog started to lift just in time for the organisers to give the go ahead to hold the finals.
Our teams produced our best Championships results to date with final placings of: Ladies A – 47th and Ladies B – 108th of the 152 crews. Men’s A – 41st and Men’s B – 76th of the 148 crews. Well done everybody.
Our crews were supported and encouraged throughout the weekend by family and friends watching from ashore and from the spectator boats. Thank you.
As usual the weekend of racing and socialising was enjoyed by all our competitors and supporters with the good weather being an added bonus this year.
A big thank you to all the event organising committee and helpers for another excellent and enjoyable Championships. We are looking forward to returning to St Mary’s for the 30th annual event on the 3rd to the 5th of May 2019.