Falmouth Pilot Gig Club honours its founder

The team from Pendennis Shipyard where Energy was repaired and refurbished. Left to right are: Cathie McWatt, Howard Chapman, Nick Voning, George Moore and David Wills. Not pictured is team member Allan Blakely

The team from Pendennis Shipyard where Energy was repaired and refurbished. Left to right are: Cathie McWatt, Howard Chapman, Nick Voning, George Moore and David Wills. Not pictured is team member Allan Blakely

First published in News

Falmouth Pilot Gig Club has honoured the late Ted Pentecost, its founding member, mentor and former president, by unveiling a memorial plaque to him in the gig shed.

Ted’s daughter Sue unveiled the plaque in a ceremony attended by his son, Andrew; new club president – former Falmouth pilot David Barnicoat; chairman, Greg Oldrieve; guests and club members.

Greg Oldrieve paid tribute to “Ted’s skill, determination and dedication to the club.” He told the invited guests that Ted was always on hand to give advice, coach new members and almost up until the time of his death last year would occasionally cox the gigs.

David Barnicoat said: “ I am proud to follow in Ted’s wake as president of this leading club. Ted Pentecost was one of the main architects in Cornwall, who laid down the foundation stone for the revival of pilot gig racing.

“It is a family sport enjoyed by thousands of people far and wide, from the United States to the Faroe Islands. We owe this modest man and his colleagues like Ralph Bird a huge debt of gratitude.”

It was a busy day for the club for as well as honouring Ted, the gig Energy was welcomed back into the fleet after repairs and refurbishment carried by craftsmen from the Pendennis Shipyard.

Energy was officially re-dedicated and blessed by the Rev Jon Robertshaw at the Watersports Centre, in Grove Place, before being launched.

Greg said: “Our heartfelt thanks go to the Pendennis Shipyard in returning Energy to us in such a superb condition. Full marks to their extremely talented workforce. The company is a credit to the community.”

David added: “Whether it is repairs to a pilot gig or a multi-million pound super yacht, one only has to look at Energy to see that the company turns out a quality product every time.”

Very shortly Energy will be shipped to the Isles of Scilly where she will again take her place on the start line of the Pilot Gig World Championships next month.

The club is without question the most successful club in the world of gig racing having won more than 50 world and county championships at junior, senior, veteran and super veteran men and women levels.

Students at Falmouth Marine College who were supervised by Ralph Bird built Energy. He went on to build a further 29 pilot gigs for clubs in Cornwall, Devon and Wales.

Ted started Falmouth Gig Club in 1985 so that Energy would be able to stay in Falmouth.

Energy was launched in 1985 and placed on loan to Truro Gig Club and subsequently loaned to Falmouth before she was purchased by Falmouth Gig Club in 1991.

In August 1989 members of the club, coxed by Ted Pentecost, rowed the Falmouth pilot Tony Berry out in the Energy to the Russian barque Sedov in Falmouth Bay.

The gig club also boarded pilot David Barnicoat to the replica sailing ship HM Endeavour during her inaugural call to Falmouth in 1997.

To the club’s knowledge this is the last time a commercial pilot was put on board a vessel at sea from a Cornish pilot gig.

Falmouth Gig Club is always open to anyone wanting to try rowing, from beginners to experienced veterans. The website falmouthgigclub.co.uk has more information about club activities and provides links to Twitter and Facebook.

Falmouth Packet:

Sue Pentecost, David Barnicoat, Andrew Pentecost and the Rev Jon Robertshaw

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