Fourth double for Falmouth at Gig World Champs

As the 25th anniversary World Pilot Gig Championships ended on Sunday (4th May), it was Falmouth who were celebrating after the Cornish club won the men’s and women’s championships for a fourth consecutive year.

“It’s fantastic that all our hard work and training has paid off,” said Matt Pullen from Falmouth’s Black Rock Crew. He also paid tribute to the competitiveness of the other crews adding that they didn’t know if they had a chance until the final race.

For a 25th year the Isles of Scilly hosted the Championships, with crews venturing to the Islands from as far afield as the Netherlands for the event held from 2-4 May. This year a record number of 150 gigs took part – a far cry from the original line-up of 19 gigs a quarter of a century ago. 

Friday night saw the veteran races, for rowers aged 40 and over, lining up at St Agnes for the 1.6 nautical mile row to St Mary’s Quay.  

The women’s veteran crews set the pace early on, maintaining their distance from the rest of the pack, with Cormoran (Mounts Bay) finishing in the top spot, closely followed by Swift (Rock) and Spy (Newquay). With a hint of things to come, Falmouth won the Supervets, for rowers aged 50 and over, in Black Rock.

There was another quick start in the men’s veterans race with the top three breaking away fairly early on. The final finishing line-up was Amazon (Caradon) in first place, Vilt (Holland) second and Polvarth (Roseland) third while Pedn Billy (Helford) took gold for the Supervets.

Over the next two days clubs and crews took part in the seeding race, followed by heats with the finals taking place on Sunday afternoon under glorious blue skies. 

The atmosphere was electric as crews crossed the finishing line with Falmouth’s women’s crews powering home to defend their championship title, closely followed by home crew St Mary’s Ladies in Tregarthen’s and Roseland third in Polvarth. Falmouth men’s crew also took gold in Black Rock, followed by Looe in Talisman and Caradon in Amazon.

Rick Persich, Chairman of the Organising Committee, said: “The standard of the competition this year was high and feedback from crews is already pointing to it being the best year ever.”

For full results, visit

Report and photos by Barefoot Photographer – look out for more photos at