The Great Portishead Pilot Gig Fundraising Challenge

The Great Portishead Pilot Gig Fundraising Challenge

Portishead Pilot Gig Club has set itself a challenge to raise the funds needed to commission a traditional wooden racing gig – the first for the club and the North Somerset town.

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Cornish Pilot Gig Racing is the fastest growing water sports in the UK, with over 70 clubs around the country, and now even further a field in the Netherlands and even as far as the Caribbean.  The wooden gigs were historically used for taking pilots out to ships to navigate them safely into port, these gigs would often race each other to win the pilot the business. Gigs were also used as lifeboats, but today they are just used for racing, a sport governed by the Cornish Pilot Gig Association (CPGA) and British Rowing.

The CPGA requires racing gigs to be built to a very particular specification in order for them to take part in official CPGA events. The purchase of these traditional Cornish Pilot Racing Gigs can cost anything up to £35,000.

Since Portishead Pilot Gig Club was first established in late 2017, the club has grown from 5 to 58 members in the last 9 months, an incredible feat. The Club currently owns two training gigs, Odessa and Phoenix. Neither gig is built to the correct specification to row in CPGA races. Given the overwhelming enthusiasm and support from local people and the influx of new members, the club now needs a racing gig of its very own to enable club members to represent Portishead against other clubs in other counties and even other countries.

Given the cost of these highly prized racing gigs, the club has a lot of fundraising to do. Club fundraising and social events such as quiz nights, rowing machine challenges and even taking part in local community events such as the Portishead Town Carnival, have all helped raise vital funds.

In order to achieve our target,  over the next 6 months the club will be running exciting events and opportunities for local people to get involved and help fundraise for this great cause. Pilot Gig Rowing has been found to deliver real health and well-being benefits to the local community, can aid isolation, build confidence and bring the community together.

The club has set up a Just Giving page to enable club members, friends, family, the local community and businesses to help the fundraising get started.


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