London Cornish Pilot Gig Club hold first regatta

Gig rowers competed at London Cornish Pilot Gig Club’s first ever regatta at the Royal Albert Dock in East London


Gig racing on the River Thames

London Cornish Pilot Gig Club put the ‘aarrr’ into ‘regatta’ when they hosted their first sprint event on Sunday, 27 May at the capital’s Royal Albert Dock which saw the Newquay women’s crew and London Cornish men’s A emerging as overall champions.

The special occasion attracted gig rowers from long-standing clubs based in the West Country, as well as recently formed clubs from the east of England. Rowers from nearby club Lea also came along to see what the fuss was about. They had never rowed in a pilot gig before but jumped in, keen to have a go!

“It’s exciting to be part of something new,” said Pete Chalkley, chairman of London Cornish. “The Royal Albert Dock really lends itself to a sprint event and it’s great to see so many gigs here in London.”

As the day unfolded, the sun shone and spectators and competitors enjoyed the racing, plus the pasties and cider on offer. There was a roaring trade in cream teas and cakes in between the heats.

The club is London’s first and only pilot gig club and reflects the growth of gig rowing eastwards from its roots in Cornwall. Founded in January 2016, London Cornish received funding and development support from British Rowing and also benefited from the Cornish Pilot Gig Association’s ‘club in a box’ programme.

Since then the club has run learn-to-row courses and members have taken on challenges, including rowing across Scotland, as well as competing in the World Pilot Gig Championships on the Isles of Scilly.

With more than 100 members, the future looks bright for London’s first gig club.

If you’d like to try gig rowing then you can find out more here or you can contact London Cornish Pilot Gig Club here

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