Biggest Ever Gig Weekend But Scilly Crew Won’t Win, Predicts Chairman

Gig Championships Chairman, Rick Persich

Gig Championships Chairman, Rick Persich

This year’s gig weekend will feature the largest line up of boats in the event’s history.

More late entrants have been confirmed for the 26th World Pilot Gig Championships, being held over the first May Bank Holiday.

Committee Chairman Rick Persich says 151 gigs have now registered to take part – 141 for the men’s races and 140 for the women’s.

There’ll be 70 entrants in the men’s veterans and 20 in the supervets, while 69 women’s veteran crews will enter along with 22 supervets.

Rick says there may be a cap on numbers of gigs in the future but they can cope with current demand because the starting line can be as wide as needed.

And he says it would be difficult to decide which crews could take part. There would be problems running heats on the mainland or restricting clubs to just a single gig.

He believes it’s really the availability of accommodation for the rowers and their supporters that will limit the numbers.

Scilly’s mens rowers came first in 1994 and the womens crew gained gold in 2003, but Rick doesn’t think any islands’ crew will come in the top five overall in this year’s championships.

He says the top mainland clubs now take the event “extremely seriously” with high levels of sponsorship and the use personal trainers and dieticians, something the local crews just don’t have.

But Rick says there can be upsets, giving the example of Caradon who won the event for many years but were “knocked off their perch” by Falmouth.

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