Debs Barnes, from the new Clifton Pilot Gig Club has sent in this report ahead of their first World Championships.
2016 and a first Scillies for Clifton Gig Club. For some rowers this will be their first regatta but there are a few old hands on board. Having commissioned a gig in October 2015 with Brian Nobbs and with less than 2 weeks to go to the Championships even the old hands are getting a little nervous. Brian has done a truly beautiful job of ‘AVONA’. Having got to know him and his wife Ginette over the last 6 months we realise that AVONA will always be Brian’s boat, on loan to us, for future generations to enjoy but we feel privileged to be rowing her on her maiden voyage and in her first races.
Scilly will be the first experience in a traditional gig for Clifton rowers who started training in November 2015 with the help of Clevedon and Bristol gig clubs who kindly offered use of a GRP until the World Championships. Winter training is not necessarily appealing but the level of commitment has been amazing, learning to row on cold winter nights is not easy and only slightly better if you can blast through to keep warm. Trust me when I say we had rain or sleet on EVERY session but it was not enough to dampen the spirit or enthusiasm for our sport. We hope that the good old British summer will not let us down, we have promised that the warm summer days spent in stunningly beautiful coastal locations will only help to enhance the experience of gig rowing.
The Reverend Canon Perran Gay, Chaplain to the Isles will bless AVONA on Town Beach, St Mary’s on Friday 29th April at 15:00, the invitation is open for everyone to join us before the weekend racing gets underway.