APPLEDORE will next week pay tribute to the history of pilot gigs with a special rowing race. The Appledore Pilot Gig Club will kick off its 2009 season with The History Race on the River Torridge on Saturday, March 7. Crews from the Appledore, Boscastle, Bude,

APPLEDORE will next week pay tribute to the history of pilot gigs with a special rowing race.The Appledore Pilot Gig Club will kick off its 2009 season with "The History Race" on the River Torridge on Saturday, March 7..Crews from the Appledore, Boscastle, Bude, Clovelly, Ilfracombe and Torridge clubs will compete in a gruelling 4.2 mile race from the Torridge Bridge to the Outer Pulleys Buoy near the estuary bar and back to Appledore Quay.The growing sport of racing pilot gigs competitively is not a recent trend. Pilot gigs are so-called because of their original use. In the 19th century they were a means of taking experienced local 'pilots' out to steer visiting vessels safely into unfamiliar harbours. The role of the gig crew was to row their pilot out to the incoming ship before others. Gigs would compete for the contract of guiding ships in, the first crew to arrive being hired. So local pilots enlisted the help of the best rowers in order to win the race to get the job.For more information call Len White on 07800880467.