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Things to do on the Isles of Scilly

Gig Racing

See our 'World Pilot Gig Championships 2013 pages.

Gig racing is the main sport on the Isles of Scilly. Gigs are 32 foot traditional wooden working boats, some of which are over 100 years old, with six single-oar rowing positions and a cox. The islanders race against each other every week - Wednesday evening is the women, and Friday for the men - throughout the season.

You can watch the races and cheer the crews on from the passenger boats that follow each race, or see the end of the race from St Mary's quay (this applies for many, but not all, of the races in the schedule. Check the board outside the Tourist Information Centre for details of that day's race: 'Nut Rock', 'swap race' and 'triangle race' all finish at the quay).

There are separate gig clubs on each of the islands:

  • St Mary's gig club - no website, but all you need to know is on their Facebook page
  • Tresco and Bryher gig club - www.trescoandbryhergigclub.co.uk (this site is not working at present) or check out their Facebook page.

Since 1990, Scilly has hosted the World Pilot Gig Championships in May each year, where crews from Cornwall, Devon, other UK counties, Ireland, Holland, America and elsewhere compete for the title of World Champions! This colourful, energetic and very friendly event has become something of a legend, attracting more crews and supporters every year. It is always a high point in the Scillonian calendar.

Further information about the World Pilot Gig Championships can be found at www.worldgigs.co.uk, and more information about gig rowing generally is on the Cornish Pilot Gig Association website www.cpga.co.uk.

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ScillyOnLine is created by Susie Taylor.
All content © Susie Taylor 2012 (including all images, unless stated otherwise). Last updated 23-May-2013