Penryn Ammend Good Friday Race, separating wooden & plastic gigs

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Penryn Rowing Club’s event, planned for Good Friday, had already had a change of format this year, with racing planned to take place up the Truro River rather than starting at Mylor, as in previous years. This was to avoid having to cancel if the weather proved unfavourable in the open estuary.

However, the club have also just issued another update to say that Wooden and GRP gigs will now need to start at separate times and to race around different marks. This is apparently a safety decision but it coincidentally comes at a time when new CPGA rules published here have put a ban on racing wooden and GRP gigs together. Penryn said that in the light of not running a straight line race this year, they decided to do a new risk assessment and that this has led to separating the different types of gig.  They are putting out advice to clubs as to what will now occur during the Good Friday race and their full email can be read HERE.

In her email to club secretaries, Lindsay Bryning from Penryn Rowing Club says “You may be aware that the CPGA Rules 2015 which came out last week prohibit CPGA clubs from racing GRP gigs against wooden gigs in inter-club competitions.” She goes on to say that “Penryn RC would very much like to see that the event should continue on this all-inclusive basis.” But also suggests that clubs “should check the position with their own insurers” if they have concerns about taking part.

On clarifying things with Penryn, GigRower has been told that they have not been advised on this matter specifically by the CPGA and were also not aware of the new rules until reading them last week.

In the light of the publishing of the 2015 Rules by the CPGA we emailed them the day after, on March 10th, to ask for clarification on this particular question. We are wondering what has led them to insist that CPGA events won’t allow the racing of wooden and plastic gigs together. We do not know if this is an insurance issue which has been raised or something else. We are still waiting for an answer from the CPGA and will let you know when we hear back from them.

Will your club have to think twice about racing your plastic gigs in future? Do you organise events and have to now consider a change in the format? Or as Penryn have done, will you have to race wooden and GRP gigs apart?

As GigRower reader Nick Holmes pointed out, we have already seen events this year, such as at Helford Gig Club, where plastic and wooden gigs were raced along side each other (though in a straightline course and this was not a CPGA event).

With the number of gigs going to Scilly and some clubs having just GRP gigs left to race during the important spring training period, we feel it’s important to know where we stand on this and the reasons behind the rule changes which have been brought in without any clear explanation to clubs and rowers.

Tell us what you think. Post a comment below.

Image above showing wooden & plastic gigs alongside each other at Flushing & Mylor Regatta last year.


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2 Comments on "Penryn Ammend Good Friday Race, separating wooden & plastic gigs"

  1. Matt P

    The reason is obvious, the same as it’s always been, to protect the livelihoods of wooden boat builders.
    Clearly it’s arguable that this is a good thing, to safeguard traditional skills. But is this REALLY the concern of a sporting association ?
    A new wooden boat is a truly massive investment these days, so should those running gig racing be effectively restricting access to the sport by trying to limit the use of the far more cost effective plastic boats ?
    Debatable point at the very least.

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