The River Fowey Gig Club was established in 1988. Within the town there became an interest to start a Cornish Rowing Association (CRA) Club, but due to the increased popularity within the County for Gig racing, establishing a Gig Club was thought to be the best way to go, and that is what happened.
A meeting was set up at the Fowey Hotel which was advertised locally on posters etc and from my memories the turn out was quite good, around forty to fifty people! From this meeting a committee was formed and training commenced using an old four oared boat from one of the local boat builders. Each evening the training boat would be taken from its moorings up the river and towed down to Albert Quay where individuals would turn up to train. The Club started to race at events using borrowed Gigs until money was raised to build our own Gig. The Gigs loaned to us were the “Rhos” from Roseland Gig Club and the “Active” from Newquay. Maurice Hunkin, on a race day, would drive to Newquay to get the Active, tow it to an event, race and then tow it back to Newquay afterwards. Quite a long day!
In 1989 we had our first Gig Built. This Gig was named Rival after a sailing vessel that brought provisions to Fowey from Plymouth. Rival was built by Ralph Bird. The enthusiasm for the Gig Club in Fowey, both socially and competitively, was quite strong and so needless to say, Fowey saw success around the racing circuit from the beginning and has maintained its position ever since. Fowey has consistently turned out competitive crews, both the Mens and Ladies, to the extent that the ladies in the past, spent nine years in the top three at the County Championships at Newquay as well as winning the Scillies World Championships, and the Men remaining unbeaten for a significant amount of time in the early nineties. To date, with the with the sport taking great leaps forward with regard to rowing technique, fitness and coaching, the Club continues to hold its position in the top eight within the county “sealed” by winning third place in the Tribute Challenge Trophy last year, which is a “Club” competed trophy over three events. In the “Scillies World Championships 2008” our Mens A finished 5th, Mens B 16th and Mens C finished 64th all out of 110 crews. Ladies A finished 21st and Ladies B finished 80th out of 106 crews.
In 1996, an anonymous donation allowed the club to build its second racing Gig, “Gallant”. This Gig once more saw a great deal of success, and once more forced Fowey into the limelight. Gallant was built in 1996 by Dave Currah. Following many years of success with Gallant, the club decided to commission Maurice Hunkin to build another Gig. This Gig was launched in 2003 and was named “Lantic”. Lantic is currently the Clubs main racing Gig with training sessions being completed using Gallant and a fibre glass gig. With Gallant being twelve years old now and a thirst for success, the club will probably now race Lantic more frequently rather than use Gallant with a view to place an order for a new Gig for launching in spring 2010. We’ll have to wait and see!!!!