Last week I took (what I thought was) a well deserved week off, and spent three days walking along the South West Coast Path from Plymouth along to Looe. The first day was lovely weather, the second rained constantly, and I was glad as I got to Looe to see the sun come out and offer some lovely warm light on these gig boats stored on the harbour wall.
From Wikipedia “The Cornish pilot gig is a six-oared rowing boat, clinker-built of Cornish narrow-leaf elm, 32 feet (9.8 m) long with a beam of 4 feet 10 inches (1.47 m). It is recognised as one of the first shore-based lifeboats that went to vessels in distress, with recorded rescues going back as far as the late 17th century. The original purpose of the Cornish pilot gig was as a general work boat, and the craft is used as a pilot boat, taking pilots out to incoming vessels off the Atlantic Coast. At the time pilots would compete between each other for work; the fastest gig crew who got their pilot on board a vessel first would get the job, and hence the payment.” –
These boats, I have since discovered are fibreglass, whereas the original ones were all wood – I believe these ones would not meet the standard requirement for competitive racing, but are much cheaper than a traditionally-built wooden gig and allows a club to form and begin training and fundraising for a competitive boat.
Anywhichway, it was lovely to see these lined up in Looe Harbour.