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.


4 Responses to Talk Of Gig Championship In Weymouth Dismissed

  1. locky March 16, 2012 at 11:54 am

    If Weymouth club were to organise a British Champs then who is to stop them. I love the Scillies and would attend both. It just gives the people who cant afford Scillies ( check Hotel prices) to row in a mega event. Go for it Weymouth. Lets start the British Champs. Perhaps Scillies could see and experience the logistics us mainlanders have to put up with .

  2. Lindsey Child March 8, 2012 at 10:48 am

    I agree in the 6 years I have attended, despite the rowing, view’s & competition being excellent, the cost, value for money and reception by quite a lot of islanders can be like Steve Sims above, like all holiday destinations taking the money is great, but putting up with an influx of pumped up adrenaline junkies, must be awful.
    Healthy competition to host regatta’s is positive for the growth of the sport, it is important that it moves forward, change will go ahead no matter what, move with the times or get left behind. Its the recession people need value for money and expect a certain level of hospitality.
    I for one support the plans for the future Weymouth way but the Scillies will always remain special.

  3. Steve Sims March 7, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    I’ve always been puzzled why so many people come over here upon what is inarguably the worst weekend of the year. I don’t really care where they do it, as long as it’s not here. Though if I had to pick a place Elephant Island in the Southern Ocean would be ideal, especially over the same weekend.

  4. Toby Budd March 7, 2012 at 11:05 am

    I just wanted to add a note to say that both myself and the gigrower team all love scilly and the WPGC, it is for us one of the best, well run and fairest races in the calender with it’s straight line format and heats and for us there is no doubt that it will forever feature as the highlight of the gig racing calender. That said there is no doubt that cost is increasingly becoming a factor for some rowers as we now all have to look at the pennies we spend. I for one am going this year to photo and cover the event for gigrower and am looking forward to the weekend.

    Weymoth certainly have the infrastructure to host a big event and it would be great to see, but it will take quite some time to develop an event the size and profile of Scilly, and even if it does Scilly will still offer that very ‘special’ traditional, quirky and cornish element that so many rowers love. I think the discussion is not about a replacement for Scilly but more about the rising demand for a big straight line based event on the mainland later in the season.