RIVER Teign Rowing Club has launched not one, but two brand new gigs.
The two new boats, one a traditionally built wooden Cornish pilot gig, the other a fibreglass training gig, were blessed in a Sunday ceremony on Teignmouth’s back beach attended by rowers from Brixham, Paignton, Dartmouth, Exmouth and Sidmouth.
The club which has 100 gig rowers and almost 500 rowing members is one of the largest rowing clubs in Europe – uniquely rowing both fixed seat and sliding seat boats, with gigs, Seine boats, sea skiffs and coastal boats.
Andy Forte, who has been overseeing the five-month build of the new wooden boat Templer, said: “It was a big day for the club.”
Andy, who is in charge of coaching and selection, has travelled to Fowey four times during the build, said:
“I think she’s got some beautiful lines about her. She’s going to be the most competitive boat we’ve had.”
Templer has been built from elm wood in Fowey by boatbuilder Lewis Hunkin, whose family have been making traitional Cornish gigs since 1912.
She will join the club’s other two wooden racing gigs, Teign Spirit and Morgan.
The other new boat is Nessie, made from fibreglass. She was built in St Austell and will be used purely for training.
The Nessie and Templer were blessed by Rev Sue Astbury, who is a rower and member of the River Teign Rowing Club.
Rupert Holliday, chairman of the club’s gig section, successfully applied with his wife Anne for a £10,000 Sport England grant towards the £21,000 cost of the Templer.
He said: “The grant helped, but also we have a very enthusiastic fundraising team who have organised a wide range of different events. Also the sponsored row across the channel to Alderney last year raised £4,000 for the club.
“The grant was specifically to help the club improve the participation of young girls in rowing.”
This year the club is taking three men’s and four ladies’ crews to the Scillies for the World Pilot Gig Championships.
The club also races throughout the summer in the Cornish Pilot Gig Association series and the first race of the year will be the Three Rivers on the Tamar on March 14.