Norfolk rowers take on the Cornish in their own game at world gig championships
PUBLISHED: 10:19 17 May 2019 | UPDATED: 10:19 17 May 2019
Cornish pilot gig boats are naturally well-known in England’s south west, but the class also has a budding following in the east.
And now members of the North Norfolk Cornish Gig Club have taken on the best in the world by travelling to the Isles of Scilly for the 30th Cornish Pilot Gig World Championship.
The group, who train at Morston, competed against around 160 teams from across the south west as well as the Netherlands in the contest.
It was the first time the Norfolk club had competed in the event - raising a few eyebrows from the regular attendees from the gig clubs of Cornwall and Devon.
Chris and Bryan Williams, who co-founded the club, said they were thrilled to be a part of the event.
Chris said: "It was a very special event to be part of - beautiful islands, fantastic weather and everyone was so friendly and up for having a good time.
"We were amazed at how seriously the Cornish, Devonian and Dutch crews approached the event but we can hold our heads high as we were competitive and left a few craft in our wake.
"The competition train up to four days a week, every week whilst we work with the tides and pub opening hours which restricts our training schedule."
The club's men's team - which competed in the Super Vets and Open races - was made up of cox Jimmy Lewis, David Merrick, Alex Hunter, Andrew Bell, Tom Williams, Chris Williams and Bryan Williams at stroke.
The ladies' team - which raced in the Ladies Open - included Sue Williams and Hattie Bell as rowers, along with four friends from Devon and Cornwall and Tom Williams as cox.
In order to sustain their energy levels the team took a barrel of Norfolk's Wherry Ale along with them, donated by Woodforde's Brewery in Woodbastwick.
A gig is a long, narrow, wooden Cornish pilot boat, rowed by six oarsmen and a cox. Historically they were used for pilotage, harbour work and as lifeboats but now provide competition for many gig clubs.
The Cornish Pilot Gig World Championships are the biggest weekend in the Scilly Isle's calendar and this year attracted more than 3,000 rowers, spectators and supporters.
Competitors lined up along a one and a half mile start line, with the longest races between the largest Scilly Isles of St Agnes and St Mary's taking place whatever the weather.