The annual World Pilot Gig Championships will take place this weekend, from the 4th – 6th May. The event, which is in its 29th year, is held on the Isles of Scilly and 2018 looks set to be the biggest one yet with around 150 gigs registered to race.

This figure has been steadily rising since it first started in 1990 and it now attracts over 2000 rowers. It’s a true reflection of the sport’s growing popularity, which began on the Scilly Isles involving only Cornish clubs. Gig clubs then started popping up in Devon and spreading throughout the UK. It’s even enjoyed at an international level, with clubs in Holland, Australia and the United States.

Falmouth Watersports Centre

Truthfal reporter, Hannah Corfield went to the Falmouth Pilot Gig Club to find out more about the sport. She spoke to captain of the Falmouth men’s gig rowing squad, Jamie Maxsted, and asked him about the championships.

He said: “We’re trying to defend our title this year, we’ve won it for the last seven years, so we’re going for eight. There’s a gig club from Caredon who’ve also won it for seven years on the trot a while back, so if we can get one more then we’ll hold the record but it’s going to be pretty tough this year.

“We’ve lost a couple of our strongest rowers but we’ve got a great strength and depth in our squad, so we’ll definitely be right up there. A lot of people will have their money on Looe and Caraden who are looking really strong. Caraden beat us at the three rivers race a few weeks ago and Looe came in just behind us, so I think it’s going to be a really close race up at the top between those three crews.”

A view of Falmouth from on the gig

To watch all of the action as it happens this weekend, and to find out if the Falmouth men’s crew manages to secure an eighth consecutive setting the record, then make sure to follow live footage of the event.

A Cornish pilot gig boat