Challenging And Emotional Gig Weekend In Scilly

WPGC Womens Finals

The close finish in the Women’s Final

The Gig Weekend Chairman says it was the right decision to disqualify the St Mary’s women’s crew who crossed the line first in the finals of the World Pilot Gig Championships on Sunday.

But Rick Persich says it was also disappointing and the committee is looking into the use of technology to assist in future decisions.

This weekend’s event was one of the most challenging and emotional in recent years. And whilst swell and poor visibility made rowing tough at times, it was the events off the water that many people will remember.

Disqualification decisions have brought some calls for organisers to take the amateur status of the sport and the cost of attendance into account in the future.

Falmouth women rowers using the Governor were excluded after marshalls said they were over the start line on Saturday’s St Agnes race.

From Radio Scilly

WPGC Chairman Rick Persich on the Tregarthen’s Disqualification

Governor coxswain Nick Maxsted says experienced coxwains in neighbouring boats told him they weren’t over the line, but he says this didn’t seem to carry any weight with the officials.

And a Falmouth rower said it was “a bitter pill to swallow” after spending so much to come to Scilly.

St Mary’s rower Katie Graham agrees. She’s posted her view that disqualification in any heat is unacceptable because of the travel cost and she thinks there should be penalties rather than preclusion.

On Radio Scilly’s Facebook page, Irene Wilson says the decision to strip the St Mary’s A crew of their women’s world title was “the biggest cloud of the weekend.”

Videos of the final show they crossed the line just one inch in front of Newquay’s Spy. But an earlier clash in the choppy water sealed their fate.

The Tregarthen’s boat lifted the Spy’s rudder off its pintle.

Radio Scilly Commentator Steve Watt reported that Spy’s lost three quarters of a length because of it. But Tregarthen’s Cox Colin Jenkins disputes that, saying neither gig gained or lost ground.

And whilst Steve added the he was convinced it was an accident, Rick Persich says that changes nothing.

He says it’s “bad seamanship” if one boat is close enough to hit the rudder of another.

And while he admits conditions were “difficult” he says the rules are clear and don’t distinguish between deliberate or accidental collisions.

Colin Jenkins says he has coxed and rowed for over 30 years and he’s fished commercially for over 10 years. He also holds a yacht master qualification, so he knows what he’s doing.

We’ll hear Colin’s thoughts on behalf of the Tregarthen’s crew later this week.

Rick says he has received some abuse on social media for the disqualification decision, but says he’s not bothered because he’s satisfied the right decision was made.

And while he says he understands the “extreme disappointment” felt by the Scilly women, he says the Spy crew should feel proud of being the world champions.

Irrespective of the outcome, the St Mary’s A crew gave spectators one of the most exciting finals for years and islander Todd Stevens sums up many locals’ social media posts with his view that ”the Tregs girls made Scilly proud.”

In the future, more technology could be used to help officials make decisions. Rick says the committee are talking to British Rowing about the equivalent of goal-line technology to help race marshalls with their judgments. That could include GPS-type equipment.

The committee has also looked into a matrix digital scoreboard but feels that would cost too much.

Newquay’s Spy crew were crowned the Women’s World Champions with Mounts Bay taking silver in Kensa. Polvarth gained the bronze for Roseland.

The Men’s World Champions were once again Falmouth in Black Rock, second was Caradon’s Amazon with Looe rowers in Talisman taking third place.

St Mary’s men in Emma Louise were third in Group B, St Agnes’ Shah crew were third in Group C and the Islander crew gained a trophy for coming top in Group E.

The Bonnet men secured first place in Group G.

St Mary’s women rowing Islander were third place in group C.

Spy won the Friday Women’s Veterans row for Newquay while Morgan took the Supervets title.

The Men’s Vets winner was Polvarth and Governor was the top Supervet crew.

There was another happier outcome over the weekend.

On Saturday night, 69-year-old Irish rower Peter Kavanagh was medically evacuated to Treliske after he collapsed in the Arklow crew gig, Invermore.

The quick response of Sally Pentecost, an off-duty West Cornwall Hospital Theatre Nurse is being credited for helping to save Peter’s life.

Sally’s been told she’ll be welcomed as a hero in Peter’s home town, 70km south of Dublin.



13 Responses to Challenging And Emotional Gig Weekend In Scilly

  1. Bob May 7, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    Can anyone tell me the due process for the election of both the committee and chairman of the WPGC. Are the names published anywhere?

  2. Steamboat Willy May 7, 2015 at 9:25 am

    There appears to be some very inconsistent marshalling, one boat made a dangerous manoeuvre at the bouy on the Agnes race trying to squeeze into a non existent inside line endangering the leading boat and breaking two of the leading boat oars and all in front of the safety boat. Incident reported as dangerous, the safety boat did not report it outcome from the race committee “take the offending club to the small claims court” who is
    Running this event, they are quick to totally disqualify a boat who jumps the start line but do nothing but make immature suggestions when an actual dangerous incident occurs. Incompetent or what?

  3. Cassie May 7, 2015 at 9:14 am

    The important outcome of the weekend is that the Irish rower is making progress in his recovery but people are taking to social media to abuse the Newquay women?? Some people should be ashamed of themselves. Anonymous insults are cowardly and uncalled for. It’s a rowing race for goodness sake. Grow up.

  4. Tom May 7, 2015 at 8:10 am

    The race officials are nothing short of courtyard jesters, who clearly have no idea how to make a fair and effective decision based on the race rules. The Newquay gig deliberately moved to cut the Tregarthens gig off. The officials have failed the sport, failed the Championship, failed the community, and failed themselves. Time for some new blood.

  5. Ginnick May 6, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    Map there’s a report on Iron Maid here on this link so you cant moan that it doesnt get mentioned in reports about island gigs
    http://www.scillytoday.com/2015/04/23/st-martins-pulling-out-the-stops-for-gig-weekend/

  6. A local May 6, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    Newquay knew they won unfairly. They knew they were weaving,

    They should do the decent thing and had back the award in favour of Tregarthen.

    If there was a vote amongst the locals, we would have a new chairman by now.

    Bad publicity for Scilly once again.

  7. Unhappy local May 6, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    Time for a New Chairman of WPGC I think.These decisions have to be made fairly, and this clearly was not.!!!! To give them the Title and then take it away without discussing it with all party’s is disgusting.

  8. SANT ELLI May 6, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    Bonjour de Bretagne. Here in Brittany we (the crew) have 1hour to write our reclamation + 60E of caution. The empires have 1hour to say the décision.
    **We used the international sea code and the zizaging is forbitten. you must go straigt the arrival line.
    ** for GOVERNOR, be out for :” out the start line in sant Agnes race ” is “MAUVAISE FOI” ” DIRTY TRICK” look at all the pictures about this start all along the W.P.G.C . It’s always many gigs out of the géométric line. but it’s no problème for the final A.
    See you later on I.o.Scilly . Serge SANT ELLI de PLOUGASTEL “sergesantelli@free.fr”

  9. Mainland visitor May 6, 2015 at 1:25 pm

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

    Well, he got that right, even if he got other things wrong.

    I do not think I shall be coming again for this event if fair play is not going to be observed.

  10. Honestly May 6, 2015 at 6:04 am

    Why was it the right decision Rick? Would you like to qualify that in any way? The rules say that it MAY be a disqualification. Nick George was weaving and the rules say that IS a disqualification. Mainland crews came to you to inform you that Spy had cut in front of Tregs and were weaving. You didn t want to listen. You have made a mockery of your chairmanship and the WPGC. No crew will feel secure in your hands as you clearly Don t understand your own rules. What is the process of appeal ? You don t have one!

  11. MAP May 5, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    How did Iron Maid do, I thought she was an St Martin’s gig.

    • Adam Morton, St.Martins May 6, 2015 at 10:42 am

      31st I think.group C

      • MAP May 6, 2015 at 3:17 pm

        Why is it that Iron Maid is never mentioned in any reports about island gigs. Isn’t she owned by St Martins ?