Looe and Caradon crowned world champions at the 29th World Pilot Gig Championships
Around 2,000 rowers competed in the pinnacle of the gig racing year on the Isles of Scilly over the May Bank Holiday weekend
The Isles of Scilly hosted the 29th annual World Pilot Gig Championships on 4-6 May with crews coming from as far away as the Netherlands and USA to compete in the highlight of the gig racing season. Amidst a festival atmosphere, crews were treated to perfect racing conditions as Mediterranean sunshine bathed the Scillies for most of the weekend, interrupted only when fog rolled in on the Sunday.
A hundred and forty-eight crews entered the men’s open championship, with Looe finally ending Falmouth’s dominance to win the title in spectacular style from Caradon in second and Falmouth in third.
The club said on Twitter: “There aren’t enough words to express our gratitude to the people in Looe who supported this rowing club for so long, in reaching our goal. To be World Champions. Thank you so much!”
Caradon won the women’s open championship, outperforming Falmouth and Mounts Bay who finished second and third respectively, in a field that had the biggest entry of all with 152 crews competing.
Anne Curnow Care, Secretary to the Cornish Pilot Gig Association, reflected on the weekend’s racing, saying: “In some of the best racing conditions for years the crews rose to the occasion.
There aren’t enough words to express our gratitude to the people in Looe who supported this rowing club for so long, in reaching our goal. To be World Champions
“The weather gods certainly played their part. We had glorious sunshine for the veterans and super veterans championship on the Friday and the Saturday of the open championships before the fog rolled in on Sunday.
“Friday night was veterans night – the super vets were first off for the women, won by Mounts Bay in their gig, Kensa, with 35 crews competing. The women’s veterans was won by Charlestown in Grace, in a 44-crew entry.
“The men’s super vets attracted 33 crews with Falmouth winning in Black Rock. The men’s veterans was won by Caradon in Ann Glanville, and had a fleet of 41 competing.
“The mass participation and seeding races on the Saturday were a spectacle for those involved and for everyone watching.”
On Sunday the fog caused poor visibility on the water off St Mary’s, resulting in the cancellation of round 3. Luckily, the finals were run in a weather window as the fog rolled out for the start of the women’s heats and then literally rolled in behind the men’s final heat.
“Caradon women’s A in Ann Glanville did the clean sweep and won the seeding and all heats, including the final. They have now made this a hat trick of wins, while Looe finally took the title after many years in the second place spot,” said Curnow Care.
Thanking all the many volunteers behind the scenes, she added, “The fantastic atmosphere is testimony to the hard work done by many in organising the championship both on the Islands and from the mainland, with the Isles of Scilly World Pilot Gig Championship committee working with the Cornish Pilot Gig Association.”
Next year will be the 30th anniversary of the Championships and the last time that entries will be open to all. From 2020 onwards, entries will be capped with details decided over the coming year and notified to all before the 2019 championships.
You can check the full results here.