The club was initially founded in 2003 by a team of four people who all had a dream to bring pilot gigs back to Appledore. They worked hard to raise the vital funds to start building the clubs first gig and work started with an initial deposit of £3,500. Two years later and after much fundraising and knocking on doors, the final payment was made, the clubs first gig, Verbena, finally took to the water in 2005. The dream to see pilot gig racing return to the area of the “Two Rivers” was realised.
Setting up a gig club is not a task to be taken lightly and it took a lot of dedication; we are thankful to the initial team and all those that have supported us in our growth. Once lost, traditions are not easily resurrected and we continue to strive to keep the tradition alive.
We have two traditional wooden pilot gigs, Verbena and Whitford. Both were built by Brian Pomeroy of Dartmouth to specifications laid down by the Peters family when they built Treffry, the forefather of all modern gigs, in 1838. It is testament to the skill of design and quality of build that this gig remains in use by the Newquay rowing club to this day.
Verbena was christened on 4th April 2005 and marked a milestone for the club. Built from narrow-leaf Scottish elm, as Cornish elm is prohibitively expensive, she was our first gig and we are very proud of her.
Whitford was christened on 7th July 2007 and is built from the same batch of elm as Verbena. She shares regatta duties with Verbena.
Wooden gigs need a lot of care and each year after the racing season ends they are taken out of the water, dried, sanded down and fixes made to any knocks and scrapes born from the tussle of racing competition. They are then repainted. It’s a labour of love that takes a lot of dedication, time and cost.
We also have three fiberglass training boats – Siren, Margaret James and a four “seater” training gig Blanche which allow us to train throughout the winter without requiring as much upkeep and maintenance, and a safety RIB The Matt Cox for marshalling our own events.
History Race Win
Appledore's famous History Race took place on Wednesday 22nd July. Fantastically supported by all seven local clubs, with fifteen Mens', Ladies' and Mixed crews taking part. It is a challenging distance of 4.5 miles down the Torridge to the Outer Pulley marker buoy and back. Low water and an incoming tide meant that the rowers fought against strong estuary currents on the first leg, and jostling for position in the narrow deepwater channel added an extra competitive dimension! It was the Appledore Men's crew who returned to the Quay first having built up a significant lead. Second place was taken by Ilfracombe Ladies chased home by their Men!