Pilot gig club joins forces with Lyme Regis
Bermuda’s connection with Lyme Regis in Britain has got a boost after the island’s pilot gig club joined forces with its English counterparts to promote the sport.
Now the two clubs, as well as enthusiasts from London, will take part in a fundraising regatta in Bermuda this weekend.
The news came after the Bermuda Pilot Gig Club and the Lyme Regis Gig Club twinned and it is hoped the collaboration will give rowers from both organisations more opportunities to train and compete in international competitions.
Paula Wight, chairwoman of the BPGC, said: “We were looking for opportunities overseas for our rowers to row and Lyme Regis was having a regatta and a masters class in August, which appealed to our over-60 members.
“We sent a team over, and as we were doing that, we started thinking that with the connection between St George’s and Lyme Regis, it would be a natural fit.
“The twinning took place over there during the regatta on August 11. They had a great party, including Black Seal, and we are really excited about it.”
She said: “It’s an opportunity for us to work with a club who can give us training schedules, lend us equipment when we go overseas to compete and things like that.
“Meanwhile, it gives them a great place to come and row.”
Lyme Regis, in Dorset, was the home of Sir George Somers, whose wreck of the Sea Venture in Bermuda in 1609 sparked the British settlement of the island.
The town and St George were twinned in 1998 in recognition of the historic link.
Marcus Dixon, chairman of Lyme Regis Gig Club, said it was a dream of his to forge links with Bermuda since the club was set up in 2007 and he looked forward to building friendships between members during future visits.
Ms Wight said the Lyme Regis club had a strong youth programme, which the Bermuda Pilot Gig Club hoped to learn from as they developed their own.
She said rowers from Lyme Regis — along with the London Cornish Pilot Gig Club — would be involved in Saturday’s fundraiser at the Boaz Island clubhouse.
Ms Wight said: “It is not going to be your typical speed racing. There will be challenges like picking up a scavenger from the shore and rowing backwards.”
The BPGC is set to host its third international regatta, which will feature teams from the UK, US and the Netherlands competing against Bermuda’s best, next October.
Ms Wight said: “It is expected to attract between 90 and 100 overseas rowers, along with local rowers.
“The racing will take place at various venues around the island, highlighting Bermuda’s beautiful, yet challenging, waters.”
She said Bermuda had a rich history of pilot gigging, but the Bermuda Pilot Gig Club only formed in 2015 in an attempt to return the sport to the island.
Ms Wight added: “We are now up to nine gigs, four locations and 200 members. It really has grown leaps and bounds.
“One thing that people say is that it’s not as hard as they thought, that they don’t have to be as strong as they thought, and it’s a great way to get exercise out on the water.”
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