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Gig race in Cup Match holiday colours

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Three new wooden gigs were christened at the East End Mini Yacht Club yesterday evening. (Photo by Akil Simmons)

The newly formed Bermuda Pilot Gig Club’s inaugural race will have a distinctly Cup Match flavour when crews take to the water on the first day of the holiday.

Two gigs bearing the Blue and Blue of St George’s and Red and Blue of Somerset will set off along Ferry Reach at 8am next Thursday.

The teams will race the three-quarter mile long course along the sea stretch for the coveted Cedar Thole Pin Trophy. A total of three 32-foot racing gigs were brought into Bermuda last month from England and launched at the East End Mini Yacht Club

The new fibreglass boats are similar to the old gigs that pilots used in the 1800s to row out to see and meet ocean going vessels as the arrived in Bermuda and bring them safely into port.

The gigs have been painted in the colours of St David’s: blue and gold; Somerset: red and blue; and St George’s: blue and light blue.

They were christened on June 23 after pilots Harry Fox, John (Jack) Simmons and Jemmy Darrell.

A club spokesman said: “The gig club hopes to make this an annual event and encourages any early birds and enthusiasts to line the shores of Ferry Reach with whistles and colours to cheer there team boat on.

“The gig club is open to new members. Teams can be made up of men and women, young and old but young at heart, individuals, corporations, clubs, associations or organisations.

“The aim of the club is to encourage people to come out to learn the art of rowing the pilot gig and to row for heath and heritage with a view that one day soon they can compete in overseas gig rowing regattas in particular the World Championships on the Isles of Scilly in May 2016.”

For further information on the Bermuda Gig Rowing Club and the race email gigrowingbermuda@gmail.com

Testing the water: Pilot Harry Fox returns to East End Mini Yacht Club after its first voyage in St George’s harbour