Islands Ready For 26th World Pilot Gig Championships

gigs on strand 2015The 26th World Pilot Gig Championships start this evening with the Veterans races.

And the event will be even bigger than previously thought. There are now 152 gigs registered according to Chairman Rick Persich.

But because some boats will only enter men’s or women’s races, Rick estimates that the maximum number in the lineout from St Agnes tomorrow will be in the mid 140’s.

The weather is causing concern for rowers this year with some forecasts predicting poor rowing conditions.

Rick feels the situation isn’t clear yet, with different weather websites giving conflicting information. He says he can’t see how one site can predict fog, while another is saying there’ll be a force 8 gale.

If it is rough but rowable, it’s up to the crew to decide. A good cox should be able to make that decision, says Rick, especially with a novice crew.

Very strong winds would be most likely to cause problems and halt the rowing. Rick says the final decision will be made at the last minute after consulting the Starter, Race Marshall and the Harbourmaster.

Rick says they’ll wait and see what happens because predictions can be incorrect but if the weather causes problems, they do have a ‘plan B.’

During a previous championships where there was thick fog, they just ran one, single long race from St Agnes with no heats.

Rick says he’s grateful to Kier construction who have donated a tug being used in the quay extension to act as a starter boat.

Three mainland officers are supporting St Mary’s police over the championships. There is very rarely any trouble but more police are required because around 3,000 extra visitors are expected.

And that small number of police will be covering nearly every hour of the day. The venue with the latest closing time this weekend will be The Mermaid, which landlord Nick George is operating until 4am.