Friday 13 October 2023

Gig racing Swanage

Cornish gig racing was taking place off the beach in Swanage, so maybe that should be Dorset gig racing, then again we were taking to a guy from the Barnstable gig team (Devon), but all racing in Cornish Pilot Gigs.

Whatever the title it was a lively event attracting teams from all around to compete in the settled waters of Swanage bay

The weekend weather was kind with low winds and a goodly amount of sun braking through making it warm enough to bring out lots of spectators and hopefully not too hot for the race teams.

Wikipedia describes The Cornish pilot gig as a six-oar rowing boat, clinker-built of Cornish narrow-leaf elm,  32 feet (9.8 m) long with a beam of 4 feet 10 inches (1.47m). Originally used to take pilots out to incoming ships, whereby the fastest gig would get the pilot duty and fees.

There are also tales (unsubstantiated) of pilot gigs being able to outrun the revenue cutters by rowing up wind, which would have been very handy for smugglers of the day and which is why the gigs sere limited to 6 oars the revenue had boats with 8.


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