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Gig racers head to Isles of Scilly for biggest championships to date
1:35pm Friday 2nd May 2014 in News
The 25th World Pilot Gig Championships is getting underway on the Isles of Scilly, with a record number of boats taking to the water in the hope of being crowned winners.
Falmouth Gig Club rowers won both the mens' and ladies' titles in the 24th World Pilot Gig Championships on the Isles of Scilly last year.
The mens' team romped home in under ten minutes, finishing just ahead of second placed Looe, with Roseland coming home third.
Meanwhile the ladies' team beat Mounts Bay, who finished second, followed by Caradon's 'A' team in third. Both Falmouth teams rowed in their gig, Black Rock.
The unique event in Cornwall's sporting calendar attracts thousands of spectators, and this year is set to be the biggest and best yet with 150 boats set to take part.
The event has grown considerably since the first championships in 1989 when 19 boats competed.
The competition attracts teams from across the world, with rowers from Europe also arriving to compete.
The veterans race of 1.6 nautical miles from St Agnes to St Mary’s will kick off the championships today, with the stunning sight of the men's and women's gigs lined up at lunchtime tomorrow.
Gig rowing dates back to the 1700s when pilot gig boats around the coast of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly were rowed out help vessels navigate their way through difficult waters.
A Cornish pilot is a six-oared rowing boat, 32 feet (9.8m) in length, made of elm.
Hundreds of crews will be racing in the championships, with teams battling in a range of heats, including men's, women's and mixed classes, as well as the famous veterans' clash.
The event is a major boost to the Isles of Scilly's economy, with hotels booked up well in advance and resturants expeceted to be packed throughout the three day event.
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