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Boat on a mission to bring Cornish gig rowing to new county

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 08, 2012

  • The Porthminster racing at Newquay Harbour Picture: Mike Thomas

  • The Porthminster racing at Newquay Harbour Picture: Mike Thomas

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One of the gig rowing circuit's oldest competitors is being sent east to open up new territories to the sport.

The graceful lines of Porthminster – a classic Cornish pilot gig – bear the turquoise blue and yellow colours of St Ives Pilot Gig Club.

She has been a familiar sight at gig races around the Cornish coast since she was built by Peter Foard at Mevagissey in 1992. And she has even been crewed by St Ives in a row over to Scilly.

Now she has been sold to the Langstone Cutters Rowing Club in Hampshire, where she will spearhead the expansion of the traditionally Cornish sport in a new county.

Langstone has bought Porthminster to form a competitive gig rowing section to compete with clubs already established in Dorset.

Proceeds from the sale will go towards a faster, lighter gig to be built by Peter Williams at Fowey.

Francis McWilliams from St Ives PGC said: "Porthminster has been rowed all over the South West, including an epic row from St Ives to Scilly, and is a robust and steady boat in the taxing north coast conditions.

"Despite being a much-loved part of the club, when an offer was received, the club accepted, and this has enabled it to order a new gig."

The new gig is due to be delivered in time for the World Championships at Scilly in May.

Mr McWilliams said: "This presents the St Ives Club with some challenges. Most pressing is fundraising to pay for the boat, which will cost in excess of £20,000.

"St Ives Pilot Gig Club with its regular presence in the harbour and the bay through the year, has always been supported by the local community, and is confident that St Ives will 'chip in' to meet the costs.

"Ordering a new boat needs to be justified by intensive training by the five main adult and junior crews, and it hasn't proved easy to get on the water with some of the weekend weather recently experienced."

A new boat also needs a name, and St Ives PGC are inviting suggestions, traditional or modern, to underline its links with the port and the town.

Any ideas should be e-mailed to secstivescornishpilotgigclub@gmail.com

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