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The CPGA AGM was held on Sunday at Kingsley Village, Fraddon.

Most gig clubs attended the meeting. The Chairman, Jason Nicholas, opened the event and spoke about the highlights of the year including Scillies, the Junior events and Newquay County Championships. He reported that the Tribute change of format had not been a success however. Poor turnout meaning that a rethink is now necessary for the coming summer. As yet, details to be decided. Shane Sullivan, the Development Officer, gave some statistics about the sport that he has compiled and highlighted the questions that the CPGA are now facing in terms of maintaining the status quo or developing the association and sport. Issues which are now putting a lot of pressure upon their shoulders as volunteers.

The overall sense from the CPGA is that they are struggling to cope with managing what is an ever-growing association.  More gig clubs, more gigs, more admin, more welfare issues they’re called to arbitrate on, lack of feedback from clubs, grant funding getting stretched, limited sponsorship or funding available for the CPGA to call on to help them. They all looked like they needed a bit of a hug.

So, should we as rowers, be doing more to support them? Or should we expect our representatives to be  enthusiastic and motivated to make the necessary changes to take the association forward as it is? Under conditions that seem unsustainable? Is it an impossible task with the current voluntary setup? Should those benefiting from the economic injection that rowing brings to the region, contribute to help sustaining the sport? All questions for those involved in gig racing today.


The accounts were presented showing a healthy balance in the bank but the CPGA say that they have intentionally built up this buffer in case of contingencies. The most spending over the past year was on affiliation fees to the Amateur Rowing Association and for new trophies for the Tribute event. The outstanding creditor is British Rowing. Banking admin issues have meant the affiliation fees have not yet been paid for last year. The difference between the ‘measuring fees’ income vs the ‘expenses’ was questioned.




Jason said that a good relationship with British Rowing has been developed over the past year and that he believes the CPGA are now the largest fixed seat rowing assocation in the country. Anne Curnow Care has been awarded an Outstanding Achievement Award by British Rowing for her work as secretary of the association.

GigRowing Statistics from Shane Sullivan (Development Officer).

65 clubs in current CPGA membership, with an estimated 5000 rowers.

177 wooden gigs.
More than 110 GRP Training Gigs

At least 6 boatbuilders currently building wooden gigs.

With an average build time of 5 months.

Average of 6 wooden gigs and 10 GRP gigs built per year.

Funding achieved by clubs to date

A conservative  estimate of £394,000 has been invested in the sport to date, from the following funding sources that are known about:

British Rowing Capital Funds  £171k (4 clubs)

Explore Rowing  £25k

Sportivate   £17k

Inspired Facilities  £150k

Sport England Small Grants £31k

Annual input to South West Economy from Gig Rowing – total estimated at £4 Million

World Championships £3m

New builds £233k

Trailers £180k

Oars £180k

Clothing/kit etc £50k

Insurance £160k

Boat/trailer refurbs £20k

CPGA priority issues

  1. Retention of 16-18 year olds
  2. Boats out of action due to World Championships
  3. Grant funding getting stretched. Saturated in some areas
  4. Boat houses and storage facilities being very expensive
  5. Limited sponsorship funding to help run the sport (the CPGA can’t apply for funding for itself)
  6. Future governance of the sport
  7. Increasing welfare issues

Shane said that there are plans to look at

  1. Online registration for members
  2. Sourcing materials for future builds
  3. A development plan
  4. Repeat of the recruitment day as per last May to get more rowers into rowing
  5. The impact of new rules on having trailers MOT’d (coming in a couple of years)

Re-election of officers and Awards

The current committee were re-elected, apart from the Treasurer, Ted Gundry, who has now passed this role to the newly elected Claire White. Jason thanked Ted for all his hard work.

The Chairman’s Cup was presented to the Cornwall Rowing Association for the Blind for their achievements and the Lizzie Pyne Trophy to Padstow for the superb care of their gigs.  New clubs in Exmouth, Poole, Portreath and RM Tamar were voted in as members.

Shipping to IOS

Anne Curnow Care then explained that the shipping of gigs to the Isles of Scillies will have to run to a tighter schedule than ever this year due to necessary work on the quay at St. Mary’s. She said that the Steamship Company are being as helpful as they can but gig clubs will need to be prepared to change their shipping dates at the last minute if necessary. Gigs will begin to be shipped over from March 9th. All clubs in attendance at the AGM were given their shipping date details.

Summary from the GigRower point of view

As always there is a big season of racing and organising ahead. For the CPGA and all the individual clubs. The aim, of course, is to get out on the water and enjoy our rowing. The administration of any sport is obviously not the exciting bit!  But gig rowing contributes in a positive way  to the lives of rowers and non-rowers throughout the region and beyond. And the CPGA AGM has again thrown up questions about how we can all sustain and improve things for the future. There appears to be some nervousness about things at the moment.  Lots more discussion and solutions obviously need to be found.  We’re positive that the gigrowing community have the will to do it. So let’s find a way!

Have Your Say

If you have any views on the future of the sport and what you see as priorities for the CPGA, please give us your feedback below.


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2 Comments on "CPGA AGM 2015"

  1. Dylan

    Lots of good points raised at the AGM. Perhaps it is time to devolve the powers of the CPGA into regions (Either North/South/East/West or by county) to support the growth of gig rowing. One of the major positive facts of gig rowing is the fact it enables anybody to get onto the water – something fine boats limit – and it would be a shame to limit this because of organisational and communication problems.

    The most concerning aspect of Gig Rowing for me at the moment is the standard of rowing. I think more needs to be done by the CPGA to spread the knowledge of how to move a boat as this is currently limited to a few clubs (Caradon/Falmouth/Mounts Bay etc.) and with increasing membership and people participating, not only will the obvious risk of injury increase, but the reputation our sport holds in the rowing world will decrease. Within this comes the knowledge of how to train and how to look after yourself whilst training. More needs to be done to address the physical nature of the sport and the effects it has on people so that the standard can continually be pushed upwards. As a potential solution a conference of some sort with a number of presentations in each field e.g. “High Performance Rowing” “Designing a training programme” “Back to Basic” etc etc would be beneficial, I’m sure, to all involved with our sport.

    Watching from afar, for me, the sport of gig rowing is in limbo. The potential it has is quite exciting, but at the moment it is only potential. Difficult decisions need to be made to either keep the sport as it is, with traditional roots and some high level racing, or evolve it into something that is far more serious and much more in line with what is happening in the fine boat world.

  2. Pat Morris

    Great comments Dylan.. There is so much that can be done in the world of gig rowing. I have just returned from the BR conference where fixed seat rowing had a high profile. As part of the presentation for fixed seat rowing I joined a panel to engage in open questions related to Cornish Pilot Gig rowing. Following this I was able to spend time in discussion with a number of people who showed a genuine interest in our gigs. There is much to be achieved in training and development for our sport, BR has done a lot in the last few years to bring together many workshops and the introduction of courses to support this. Having followed through all of the training workshops and qualifications and last November achieved the Level 3 Rowing Coach qualification I can see more that could be and should be developed. It is important for our growing gig community to support the training and qualifications that are on offer, which in turn would bring so much more to our sport. It would be great to plan a conference using the experts in our field, drawing in those who are supportive of the training and development needs of our wonderful sport of Cornish Pilot Gig rowing. Perhaps a starting point would be to invite a group of enthused people to come together to discuss how to move forward and try to get things going. The time in now.
    Thanks Pat

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