No Wish To Hold Gig Championships Says Weymouth Club

gig oarsWeymouth Gig Club say they have “never expressed any wish” to hold a rival to the Gig Championships.

They’ve written to some gig rowing officials including Scilly’s World Pilot Gig Championships to tackle the issue-head on.

Ease and cost of travel and accommodation has fuelled speculation that the Dorset town might provide an alternative championship. That followed a 2012 vote within the Cornish Pilot Gig Association reportedly backing a switch to Weymouth.

Helen Gardner, Chairman of Weymouth Rowing Club has written to clarify her club’s position.

She believes that the vote was “somewhat tongue-in-cheek” and was being used to encourage Scilly to provide lower prices to rowers, but it has heightened speculation.

From Radio Scilly

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She says people have confused the talk of Weymouth as a venue and have assumed it’s connected with the Club.

But the Chairman of the Cornish Pilot Gig Association Jason Nicholas disagrees. He said the CPGA has never backed moving the event from Scilly to Weymouth and believes it’s “a small discussion blown out of proportion.”

The World Pilot Gig Championship Chairman Rick Persich says he has never been concerned that Scilly would loose the event, because so many rowers feel the islands’ atmosphere makes the event.

Attendees can relax without fear of damage or vandalism to unattended boats, says Rick, adding “as long as the islands want it, it will stay here.”

Helen agrees, claiming that Weymouth’s rowers love coming to Scilly and to say that they would host an alternative is “ludicrous.” She says Weymouth organise an annual regatta, but it will never rival the size of the World Championships.

It has been suggested that the Olympic rowing facilities in the town could be used, but Helen says that’s not the case. She says there are no legacy facilities on Weymouth beach – these are at the sailing academy in neighbouring Portland.

Rick says 147 gigs will be on the water over the first bank holiday weekend in May and he feels the event can grow even further.

But Jason feels Scilly’s Gig Weekend has now reached its capacity. He wants more work to be done on transport arrangements, claiming clubs are unhappy at having to ship over their boats so far in advance and not getting them back for weeks.

He’s also concerned that some rowers won’t fly over until the Saturday morning because of scarcity of flights and that, he says, could prove problematic if there’s fog or flight delays.



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