Barnstaple new gig launch

Joseph Bulmer

BARNSTAPLE Pilot Gig Club is celebrating its first year with the launch of a new racing gig.

After a year of fundraising, grant applications and donations, the club will officially launch their new race gig on Saturday.

Club president Keith Abrahams, founder of the Keith Noel Abrahams Charitable Trust, which purchased the boat on behalf of the club, will name the new gig at 10.30am at the Castle Quay slipway in Barnstaple. The new gig will then be blessed by Father Ken Moss of Barnstaple Parish Church, before being launched into the Taw River in front of clubs members, supporters and civic dignitaries.

The club will not be using champagne for the naming, but locally brewed Barum Ale.

Following the ceremony there will be be an opportunity for the public to inspect the club’s two gigs and discuss its plans at the Old Bus Station Pub and Restaurant on The Strand.

The club, which already rows from various sites around North Devon in its first training boat Odessa, now has a membership of more than 60.

The new race gig will enable the club to take part in regattas throughout the South West, with its first main competition this year at the World Pilot Gig Championships on the Isles of Scilly from April 30-May 1.

The club has also ordered a glass reinforced plastic training gig with a grant made available by Sport England to allow more members out on the water rowing both socially and competitively.

Plans are afoot later this year to found a junior section, when more coxes and rowing coaches have been trained.

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