The first gigs have been transported to the Isles of Scilly on board the Scillonian III and Gry Maritha, in preparation for the 24th World Pilot Gig Championships later this year.

The first two gigs, Newquay’s ‘Spy’ and Caradon’s ‘Ann Glanville’ were loaded onto the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company’s recently refurbished passenger ferry the Scillonian III today, to travel on what was her first sailing of the summer season.

Following soon after on board the company’s freight ship the Gry Maritha were gigs from the Falmouth and Helford gig rowing clubs, to make the 47-nautical mile journey from Penzance to St Mary’s.

More than 100 gigs will be transported by the Isles of Scilly Steamship company on board both ships over the coming months, before the Championships begin on Friday 3 May.

The Isles of Scilly Steamship Company has supported the World Pilot Gig Championships since its inception 24 years ago, and has transported more than 1,000 gigs to and from the islands over the years.

Jeff Marston, Chief Executive of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company said: “It is our pleasure to once again support the World Pilot Gig Championships by helping with travel arrangements for the gigs and the crews taking part. The competition just keeps going from strength to strength and provides a huge boost to tourism on the Isles of Scilly, and the Steamship Company is proud to have played its part in its success over the years.”

The World Pilot Gig Championships began in 1990 with just a handful of Cornish teams taking part, but the event has grown to become an internationally recognised highlight of the rowing calendar, with more than 100 teams competing each year.

This year’s championships, organised by a dedicated committee of volunteers, will take place on the Isles of Scilly from Friday 3 May – Monday 6 May.