On our usual walk from Looe to Hannafore we saw the ladies gig crew practicing. There are 3 gigs based in Looe and we often see them heading out to sea or if the river is full heading up-river.
‘There are over 29 Gig Racing Clubs around Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. The Isles of Scilly alone has 13 gigs.
The history of the Pilot Gig Clubs is from the days when vessels around the coast of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly needed a pilot to help them navigate their way through difficult waters to find safe harbour or negotiate a safe passage. The gig, a rowing boat for six oarsmen/women, would carry the pilot to the vessel. The pilot with his knowledge of the local sea conditions would then board and assist the vessel in its endeavours. The practice is believed to date from the 1700s.
Individual areas of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly would need more or less gigs depending upon the hazardousness of their part of the coastline. The Isles of Scilly, is especially notable for its involvement with gigs because of its geographical situation with numerous small islands and rocks clustered close to each other.’