FOR the fifth year in a row Falmouth retained the men's title at the World Pilot Gig Championships on the Isles of Scilly.

There was an exciting finish to the grand final of the 26th edition of the competition held over the Bank Holiday weekend as crews from Caradon and Looe both gave the defending champions a run for their money.

Falmouth's A crew on onboard Black Rock found themselves behind at the halfway point of the final, but managed to find enough strength to push ahead in the last part of the race and claim top spot again.

Their B crew on Governor claim fourth spot having won the first race of the weekend which saw over 140 teams line up to tackle the waves between St Agnes and the main base of the competition on St Mary's.

Team member Adam Anderson said they were delighted to retain the title and see their other men's crew perform brilliantly.

Anderson said: "There's a mixture of delight and relief going through us because halfway through that final we were behind, which is not what we're used to.

"But we had the belief and confidence in ourselves and our fitness to peg it back, which is what we did.

"Our B crew did really well too and although there hasn't been too many selection issues, but with 12 rowers performing at the top of their game, it gives us more to pick from."

He went onto say the club are already looking ahead to next year's championship.

"Every year, everyone else is trying to knock us off our pedestal," Anderson said.

"I'm sure they are not going to try and stop that, so we will have to keep upping our game.

"The difference is that we train hard, probably harder than anyone else, and that's what we'll keep doing."

It was not the same for Falmouth's female crew who failed to defend their world title with Newquay being award the victory after St Mary's were disqualified for lifting the yoke on their boat in the final.

A good atmosphere surrounded the weekend with more than a thousand rowers coming to the islands for the highly anticipated competition with clubs from the USA, Ireland and the Netherlands joining crews from Cornwall and the South West.

This was all despite the weather being wet and windy for the majority of the three days of racing, with an ironic cheer being heard from competitors when the sun finally appeared on Sunday morning.

It was not spoiled either by the sudden collapse of a male rower from Irish-based team Arklow, with news coming through he had survived a heart attack thanks to the brilliant work of paramedics on the island before being sent to the mainland to be treated at hospital.

The first races of the weekend on Friday were the veterans' with Falmouth winning the men's ahead of Helford while the women's event saw a remarkable finish.

Teign River won the race but were disqualified before being reinstated as super vets champions the following morning by officials, with Newquay being given the women's vets title.

Then over the next two days it was the turn of the men's and women's crews as they took part in four heats, one long race and three short.

Falmouth's men were consistent over the weekend with both their main boats staying in the top four throughout.

Also making the A final were crews from Flushing & Mylor, Coverack and Caradon.

Good results were picked up as well by Coverack's B crew onboard Lark as they won Group D while Nankersey's men's crew came close to defending their I title, but after being in front for much of the race were beaten by half a boat length by Bude.

Flushing & Mylor also saw their top female crew reach the grand final of their section of the tournament, finishing fifth overall, while Devoran came second in Group B.

Penryn won the Group G crown in the women's racing and Falmouth topped H onboard Black Rock.