The website www.GigRower.co.uk, which is run by the Cornish Pilot Gig Association, has just announced it will be providing live drone coverage, streamed on its Facebook page, during the 2018 racing season.
Pilot Gig racing has grown rapidly over the last 20 years, and there are now over 200 wooden Cornish pilot gigs being rowed and raced by over 5,000 rowers. This announcement will see the fastest growing sport in the South West reach a whole new audience after its governing body, the CPGA, did a deal last week to cover ten of its most popular and iconic racing events and regattas with live drone coverage.
The deal is possible thanks to the support of St Austell Brewery, whose Tribute Ale is the main sponsor for this traditional sport. Roger Ryman, Brewing Director at St Austell Brewery and keen oarsman said: “This is a really exciting development for the sport. Gig rowing has played an instrumental role in developing and strengthening communities on a local and regional level, so broadcasting it to one of the world’s largest online communities seems like a perfect next step.”
Local company, South West Sky Visions, will be providing the drones and pilots for the live coverage. The drone, which will follow the racing from above, is well suited to this sport. Spectators often struggle to follow the racing as boats can race up to a mile offshore, but now they will be able to follow their favorite crew on a smartphone, tablet, at home on their computer or on a large screen at the race venue itself.
Toby Budd, who runs GigRower and heads up communications for the CPGA said: ”This is a really, really exciting development. Gig racing is such a fantastic sport to watch. Rowers are often racing in breaking waves and as they fight for space around tight buoy turns – and all this in wooden boats that are based on the lines on the Treffry, a pilot gig built in 1838, over 160 years ago. It’s a sport with strong traditions where rowers are now training at an almost semi-professional level to win the championship events. It’s always been a problem that spectators can’t really see what’s going on, but this drone coverage will be a game changer for the sport, and we expect thousands to follow the racing live this year, or watch the recording afterward.”
The GigRower team are asking any clubs that would like their event covered by live drone footage, to contact [email protected]. They must be able to provide a dedicated boat for the drone pilot and work with the GigRower team to get the necessary permissions.
The first race to be covered live will be the Three Rivers’ Race on the Tamar in March. Go to GigRower.co.uk for more information.