Talk Of Gig Championship In Weymouth Dismissed

Suggestions on online gig rowing forums that Weymouth would be a better venue for the biggest rowing championship are being dismissed by one of our islands’ authorities on the sport.

John Bird says there’s been talk of developing the June Regatta races in the Dorset resort since it began, but it’s really been a “damp squib.”

John says no other venues could offer the experience supporters get from a tripper boat or the straight line rowing.

And he says the World Championships will always remain here in Scilly.

Some proponents of Weymouth suggest facilities built for the Olympic sailing events could be used. They say Town Beach is crowded, whereas mainland beaches could accommodate more boats allowing clubs to bring multiple gigs.

Toby Budd, of believes that many clubs are under pressure to take more boats to Scilly as they are on the water at the same time.

John dismisses this view, pointing out that 2012’s World Championships will see the largest number of entrant boats to date.

Some rowers feel it would be easier and cheaper to travel to a mainland venue.

One poster believes better access would help heighten the sport’s profile but John Bird says the isolation of the islands is what makes the event special. People socialise together after the races instead of driving home.

Nevertheless, the tight economic situation has led Boscastle and Crackington Haven to call off their visit this year.

Jim Webster, their Chairman, says he’s disappointed but the travel costs are too much for his younger members and they won’t be taking part.

Rachel Holder, the Secretary of  Cadgwith Gig Club, told us they will be bringing a single boat this year, citing cost of travel and accommodation as a factor in their decision.

One commentator has even suggested abandoning Scilly for a year so the islands would realize what they are missing.

Toby Budd says some people are having to be ‘ruthless’ about coming to Scilly and while everybody agrees it is the pinnacle of the racing calendar and a special event, attendance costs an average of £500 per person.

That’s a good quality package holiday abroad and given the tough choices this year, Toby feels that more than a few rowers are choosing a holiday in Greece rather than the weekend in Scilly.


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