WPGC 2012 :: The preview

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Preview ::

Latest forecast : http://xcweather.co.uk/forecast/st_marys

So, we’re nearly there, the long wait for the 2012 World Pilot Gig Championships will soon be over. All those hours of dark, cold winter training are coming to a head. The pre-event talk can stop and we can all strap ourselves into the rollercoaster that is the race weekend. Whether this is your first World Championships or you’re a seasoned veteran, here is our special preview of the event.

Now in its 23rd year, this unique championships holds a very special place in the heart of every gig rower. With conditions, atmosphere, hospitality and the beautiful island location all contributing to its magical feel. On the opening mass start seeding races on Saturday, over 870 eager competitors will line up on the start line off St. Agnes with the jagged western rocks as their backdrop.

( This amazing image from the International Space Station shows the extent of complex interference these rocks have on the Atlantic swells that punish the islands. http://eoimages.gsfc.nasa.gov/images/imagerecords/7000/7593/ISS014-E-16597_lrg.jpg )

The racing is extremely close and hard fought all the way through the fleet. In very few sports can you line up in a mass start on equal terms with other competitors of all skill levels from novices to elite crews. Winning or even reaching the final “A” race of the championships is a major achievement, with top crews putting in up to 12 training sessions a week for the past 6 months.

For the “veteran” fleet (age 40 and above “veterans” and age 50 and above “super-vets“), there’s a single do-or-die race on the long course on Friday evening with no chance to recover from any mistakes.

As for the “open” fleet races (all age groups) over Saturday and Sunday, consistency and good race craft over the 4-race series are needed to progress to the final “A” race made up from the top 12 crews.


Rowing timetable.

Friday 4th May

4:30 pm :: registration and coxswain’s meeting.
6:30pm :: Ladies Veterans race.
8:00pm :: Men’s Veterans race.

Saturday 5th May

12:00 :: Coxswain’s meeting.
13:00 :: Ladies round 1 “seeding” race.
14:15 :: Men’s round 1 “seeding” race.
15:30 :: Ladies round 2 “sprint” races.
17:15 :: Men’s round 2 “sprint” races.

Sunday 6th May

10:00 :: Ladies round 3 “sprint” races.
11:45 :: Men’s round 3 “sprint” races.
13:30 :: Ladies final races.
15:30 :: Men’s final races.
17:00 :: Presentations and Trophies!

Clubs and crews to watch.

Of course, we know you’re there to support and cheer on all clubs and crews! However, there are a number of new boats and clubs to watch as well as crews looking to put themselves back at the top of the fleet. Let’s have a look at the top 5’s from last year.

Rules for the open (all ages) fleet remain unchanged for 2012.

However there are two different veterans race classes up for grabs this year so clubs have had to decide which they are going to target given the age mix of their veteran rowers. We’re looking forward to close racing in the veterans races but the new 50 year category will affect make ups of previously strong veteran crews.

New gigs on the circuit and debuting at WPGC2012 are “Amazon” of Caradon, “Grace” of Charlestown, “Tregarthens” of St.Mary’s and “Winspit” of Swanage.

2011 Ladies Veterans (52 crews)

1. IOS in Alfie Jenkins
2. Mounts Bay in Cormoran
3. Helford in Pedn Billy
4. Falmouth in Black Rock
5. Rock in Swift

LADIES VETERANS : IOS crews have dominated in 2011 and 2010 but Helford and Falmouth have both won in recent years as well. Mount’s Bay and Rock have been near to the action over the past years, and with Mount’s Bay men’s veterans training hard, a strong ladies performance may also be on the cards. Flushing & Mylor and Devoran ladies veterans crews going well in winter training.

2011 Mens Veterans (64 crews)

1. IOS in Emma Louise
2. Roseland in Polvarth
3. Flushing & Mylor in Warrior
4. Caradon in Essa
5. Falmouth in Black Rock

MENS VETERANS : Hugely impressive IOS crew in Emma Louise won 2011 veterans and placed 7th overall in the open fleet, will they be able to match this result in 2012? Flushing & Mylor took the veterans title at 2011 Mixed and Vets championships at Saltash later in the year, beating strong Roseland and Caradon crews. These three clubs have fairly similar crew line-ups going into 2012. Expect Mount’s Bay, Falmouth, Newquay, Helford and Zennor to all feature strongly.

2011 Ladies Open (123 crews)

1. Falmouth in Black Rock
2. SRO in Vliegende Hollander
3. Charlestown in Defender
4. IOS in Emma Louise
5. Roseland in Polvarth

2012 LADIES : Falmouth looking to maintain their dominance in the race-proven Black Rock. Dutch crews may also have access to the previously dominant gig “Irene Too”. Charlestown and Caradon have new gigs this year. New IOS gig due for championships. Roseland crew rumoured to have defected to Par Bay. Caradon, Newquay, Truro and Mounts Bay all going well through winter training and 3 Rivers race. All to play for.

2011 Mens Open (124 crews)

1. Falmouth in Black Rock
2. Caradon in Essa
3. Mounts Bay in Cormoran
4. Par Bay in Warrior
5. Roseland in Polvarth

2012 MENS : Again, Falmouth will be looking to defend their 2011 title with an unchanged crew – are they looking to clean up in the coming seasons with a winning training and technique formula? Caradon crews strong at their home event of 3 Rivers but Falmouth were clear ahead, a new Caradon gig for this WPGC may tip the balance as it was very close in 2011. Mounts Bay have had their noses to the grindstone and their 2008 WPGC win seems a long time ago now. Similar for Par Bay, not to be under estimated and thrive in close quarters racing. Roseland an unknown quantity. Fowey, Helford and Looe can’t be written off either.


Race courses and lengths.

St Agnes “long” course – 1.59 nautical miles.
Nut Rock “short” course – 1.16 nautical miles.


Races and formats.

Ladies Veterans (long)
Mens Veterans (long)
Ladies Open seeding round (long)
Mens Open seeding round (long)
Ladies Open round 2 (short)
Mens Open round 2 (short)
Ladies Open round 3 (short)
Mens Open round 3 (short)
Ladies Open final (short)
Mens Open final (short)
Sailing races


GigRower League points.

Points for the final results at WPGC2012 will be available to the GigRower League (http://gigrower.co.uk/rowing-league/) . Once the results are in we’ll start to collate and process your points.

You can join the league after the event and we’ll keep adding any results for up to 4 weeks after the event to give you plenty of time to register and get your result recorded.

See the latest standings at : http://gigrower.co.uk/rowing-league-standings/

With the large number of crews attending there will be a chance to score lots of points on the league. Also, as a high-attendance event, scoring for your place carries a bonus.



On land –

* Garrison and shore.
* Harbour wall.

On water –

* Official tripper boats.
* Private boats.
* Wash interfering with racing crews :: Do note that racing crews are heavily disadvantaged by any sort of boat wash interfering with their race. Please try to keep wash to a minimum if following the racing from your own boat.



WPGC organisers.
Radio Scilly.



NOTE : Big spring tides are forecast for the weekend. This is likely to make “normal” areas of the beach unusable at high tide.

FRIDAY May 4th

Low 09:35 / 0.6m
High 15:16 / 5.0m


Low 10:28 / 0.4m
High 16:07 / 5.2m

SUNDAY May 6th

Low 11:18 / 0.2m
High 16:57 / 5.3m


And finally!

Can’t wait to get to the islands. Regular Twitter feed coverage from @_gigrower and of course the excellent Radio Scilly news, reports and views.

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