Gig Revival

WWII has just ended and you’re living in Newquay.

Spirits could do with a lift and they’re about to get one thanks to a remarkable man by the name of Dickie Gills. 

Now Dickie loves to row like a bird loves to fly, but sadly, the rowing club folded before the war.

Undeterred, he ropes you in and you raid the old sheds by the harbour.

His eyes light up as you throw back the tarps and find three old pilot gigs, the Newquay, the Dove and the Treffry, each of them over 100 years young. 

Back in the mid 1800’s they doubled as lifeboats and saved many a seaman, but Dickie knew what they were born to do – race.

Before the week’s out, you’re tearing through the ocean in six-man crews and the club is back on its feet. 

The word gets out to the Scillies and you unearth 3 more old queens of the sea – Golden Eagle, the Slippen and Bonnet (named after a Scillonian witch). 

You stump up £2000 doing all manner of ridiculous things and restore the boats to their absolute glory. 

The Scilly Islanders fall back in love with their born-again boats, buy them back off Dickie and start racing every Friday night that summer, and a dead and buried sport is brought back to life - it’s all very Hawaii 5-0. 

Master craftsman Ralph Bird steps in and 28 orders rack up, as clubs form all over Cornwall and beyond, to the USA. 

Fast-forward to 2012 and you’re in the Scillies to see your granddaughter row with 7000 others at the Cornish Pilot Gig World Championships. 

As the gun goes, you raise a glass to Dickie.