The 27th World Pilot Gig Championships took place on the Isles of Scilly between the 29th of April – 1st May with Brixham Gig Club taking part for the 3rd time.
The event sees clubs from across the world descend on the small group of islands 23 miles off of Lands End more than doubling the population of the islands with the usual crews from across the South West joined by an ever growing Dutch contingent and crews from Wales, Ireland, The USA and new to the competition this year Bermuda.
The event starts on the Friday evening with Veterans and Supervets races for the over 40s and over 50s respectively. The Ladies Vets and Supervets are first to race on the Friday with Brixham putting out 2 crews, the crew of Beverly Worthington, Jo Hayden, Sarah Tingle, Justine Pilkington, Karen Marshall, Jodie Ellis and cox Lance Worthington rowed Pegasus to 40th place, whilst the Henry Smardon crew of Katharyn Ashworth, Eve Buckley, Jodie Brown, Sarah David, Julie Yardley (on loan from Fowey) ,Tracy Stoneman and cox Kevin Thomas came in 3 places higher in 37th place.
In the Ladies Supervets category Steven Marshall coxed the crew from Gloucester, Massachusetts to a 21st place finish making 5 places up in the last half of the course.
This was followed by the Mens Veterans unfortunately due to Brixham not having enough rowers in attendance who meet the age criteria for a vets crew Lance Worthington and Kevin Thomas rowed with Lea Humphreys, Scott Hannaford-Hill, Mat Pink and Noel Hughes from Dartmouth coxed by Steven Marshall rowing Pegasus to a 19th place finish.
Dave Morralley rowed for Dartmouth in the Supervets race finishing 19th in that category.
The Saturday saw the open races start with the mass start seeding event with a record high of 158 competing boats. First off were the ladies crews with no change to the vets line up the Pegasus crew of Beverly Worthington, Jo Hayden, Sarah Tingle, Justine Pilkington, Karen Marshall, Jodie Ellis and cox Lance Worthington crossing the line in 78th place to put them in Group G. They were joined in Group G by the Henry Smardon crew of Emma Trayhorn, Eve Buckley, Fiona Slater, Kate Everill, Katharyn Ashworth, Sarah David and cox Dave Morralley finishing 75th.
The mens seeding race followed with both Brixham crews putting in a good performance the Henry Smardon crew of Craig Thomas, Ben Trayhorn, Karl Oakley, Chris Mason, Kevin Thomas, Steven Marshall and cox Lynne Reynolds (on loan from Weymouth) finished in 51st place putting them in group E whilst in the same race the Pegasus crew of Lance Worthington, Ash Turner, Matt Scoble, James Agates, Mark Harvey and Simon Mitchell coxed by Dave Morralley finished 47th placing them in group D for the grouip races.
The Group races on the Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning where not the best for Brixham with the ladies Pegasus crew being relegated to group H on the Saturday afternoon whilst on Sunday morning the Ladies Henry Smardon crew were also relegated joining the Pegasus crew in Group H for the final. Also on Sunday morning the Pegasus crew and Henry Smardon crew in the mens groups were relegated to group E and F respectively both in contentious circumstances which included an official protest by the Smardon crew being turned down by officials.
After this disappointment all 4 crews picked themselves up to get back and challenge the finals of their groups with the ladies crews going off first both crews being in group H saw the Henry Smardon crew leading the group until the very last when they were pipped to the win by Morlader of Penryn seeing them finish 2nd in the group for a final placing of 74th overall. The Pegasus crew where not far behind in a tight group edging out local rivals Dartmouth in Smudger to 7th in the group for a finish of 79th place.
Also rowing in the ladies event was Deb Hudson who was on loan to the Penlee Point crew of Rame who finished 4th in group K for an overall placing of 125th
The overall champions in the ladies even where the Amazon crew from Caradon based at Saltash.
The mens finals rounded off the day with the Henry Smardon crew racing first in group E had a close race with the Galatea crew from St. Martins and Young Bristol crew from Bristol who just edged the Brixham boat into 2nd place in the group on the line for an overall finish of 62nd. The last Brixham crew of the weekend was the Pegasus crew rowing in Group E finishing 3rd in the group just losing out to Cream of Cornwall from Cothele Quay and Blackbird from Clevedon for an overall position of 51st place.
The eventual mens champions where the Black Rock crew from Falmouth for the 6th consecutive year.
Following the racing it was party time on the islands and time to say goodbye to some of the rowing friends that we only meet once a year on the islands. Thank you to all involved in the championships and everybody involved in the club that allow us to compete at these high levels.Follow