The pilot gig has a long history in Falmouth and the South West. It refers to a 32' by 4'6" clinker-built rowing boat with six rowers and a cox. Originally gigs were used to take pilots out to sailing ships and competition for work dictated that the first pilot aboard the ship got the job. With function dictating form, gigs evolved into very fast seagoing rowing boats, used for piloting, lifesaving and at times smuggling.
It was a natural progression to start racing such craft and in the late-19th and early-20th centuries such sport was as popular and hard fought as it is today. Sadly the introduction of reliable marine engines and accurate charts brought about the demise of the pilot gig as a working boat. If it had not been for the dedication and enthusiasm of a few individuals and clubs, both the pilot gig and the sport we know and love today might not have survived. Today we play our part in keeping the tradition alive for future generations to enjoy.
Today gig rowing with BATS need not be a strenuous activity; it can be fun, friendly and exhilarating! Why not give it a try?
BATS gig rowing takes place in the picturesque, tranquil setting of Mylor Harbour – on alternate Monday evenings, starting in May. During the winter months it takes place Saturday mornings as weather permits.
No experience is necessary, and under the guidance of excellent coxes from Nankersey gig club BATS members can experience the joy of gig rowing.
For more information contact: Hermione Morrison 01326 574720