Caradon Gig Club

The Cornish pilot gig is a six-oared rowing boat, built of Cornish narrow leaf elm, 32 feet (9.8 m) long with a beam of four feet ten inches. The original purpose of the Cornish pilot gig was as a general work boat, and the craft was used for taking pilots out to incoming vessels off the Atlantic. In those days the race would be the first gig to get their pilot on board a vessel (often those about to run aground on rocks) got the job, and hence the payment.


Today, pilot gigs are used primarily for sport, with around 100 clubs across the globe. The main concentration is within Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, however clubs exist in Devon, Dorset, Wales and London. Internationally there are pilot gig clubs in France, the Netherlands, the Faroe Islands, Australia and the USA.


CARADON PILOT GIG CLUB based at Saltash Sailing Club, is one of the most successful clubs on the gig racing circuit. The club regularly competes in CPGA events throughout Cornwall and Devon during the summer months, including the World Championships held on the Isles of Scilly every May and the County Championships held at Newquay every September.


The Club’s Men’s crew dominated the sport throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s notching up a record total of 12 World and County Championship titles. With the sport becoming more and more competitive, members have to train up to 6 times a week for approximately 10 months of they year, to be able to compete against the other top crews on the circuit.


At the end of the 2010 season are Mens A crew once again took the County Championship title, which they will be hoping to successfully defend this year. A huge achievement at the 2010 County Championships was our Mens B taking 2nd place behind our Mens A crew, something that has only ever been done once before in the sports history – back in 2000, by our own Club!


The Ladies section has also had creditable results. The Ladies A crew have finished in the top 6 in both the World and County Championships every year since 2005, claiming 3 bronze medals at the world championships and two 2nd places at the county championships, along the way.

The Club currently has 4 pilot gigs:


Ann Glanville is the Club’s original gig build by the late Ralph Bird in 1990 and named after a famous Saltash woman who plied the trade ‘waterman’ in the 19th century. She rose to fame during her rowing career, competing in races with an all female crew. They took on a male crew in a regatta at Le Harve and won.


Ann Glanville is now the Club’s main training gig.


Mary Newman was built by D & J Currah of Looe in 1996. She is named after Sir Francis Drake’s first wife who once lived in Saltash. Her cottage near the river is run by the Tamar Protection Society and is open to the public.


Mary Newman is one of the Club’s racing gigs.


Millers Daughter was build by Dave Currah of Looe in 2003 and launched in 2004. She is named after an old Saltash Gig owned by the Gould family in the 19th century and would have been well known to the famous Ann Glanville who raced against her.


Millers Daughter is one of the Club’s racing gigs.


Essa is the newest gig to join the fleet, built in 2010 by M & L Hunkin of Fowey. She is named after the Cornish word for Saltash and is the Club’s primary racing gig.


If you are interested in having a go at gig rowing, we run Novice sessions throughout the summer on a Wednesday evening from the Saltash Sailing Club.


For more information, please email:


Leanne Kent

Vice Chair

Caradon Gig Club