American Rowers Arrive For Championships

american gig crew


It was an emotional arrival at St Mary’s airport yesterday for a group of American rowers who have travelled 3,000 miles over 24 hours to take part in the World Pilot Gig Championships.

The rowers from Gloucester, Massachusetts, only decided to take part in the event in March but despite their late entry, their organiser Michael Leviseur was offered a number of places where his crew could stay.

Michael says after their long journey, the views arriving by plane on the islands were “extraordinary.”

The rowers have been preparing for the weekend by watching DVDs of previous gig weekend rowing.

Michael says coming to Scilly is “the holy grail of gig rowing” and the whole team are completely behind it.

For some of the party, this is their first trip to the United Kingdom. Eddie Acosta, who has been rowing for a year, says it’s “all new” to him but he’s very excited to be here.

Bill Whiting didn’t even wait to get to the islands before sampling a Westcountry delicacy – he says he tried a pasty at Heathrow airport!

And just minutes after arriving on St Mary’s, Debe Holland had formed an opinion of Scilly. “It’s beautiful,” she enthused.

The American rowers are keen to see more participants from the US in future. They’ve met with their regional governing body to encourage more clubs to take part in next year’s championships.

And this year they intend making their presence known. They say they’ll rename their weekend base of Lemon Hall ‘The White House’ and the stars and stripes of the American flag will be flying outside.

So they feel really at home, Eddie says they’d love to recruit some cheerleaders!

The crew from the States will be out on the water on Friday for the Veterans race in the Slippen, loaned from St Mary’s Gig Club.

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