The recent bank holiday weekend saw forty-six members of Portishead’s Pilot Gig Club travelled to the beautiful Isles of Scilly to take part in the club’s 5th annual World Pilot Gig Championships.

Crews from all over the country descended upon the area of outstanding natural beauty to prove they were the best at rowing their pilot gig, a large six-oar rowing boat traditionally made of wood.

In idyllic conditions, Friday saw the Ladies Super Vets (50+) producing some amazing performances - the A crew coming in 22nd out of 48 and the B crew finishing 43rd.

This was followed by Mens Vets (40+) who achieved 28th out of 32. Next was the Mens Super Vets who rowed their hearts out in round one to earn a place in Group A for round two.

They battled hard, but a nail-biting photo finish showed they were just pipped at the post and did not qualify for the finals.

They still managed to achieve an incredible 13th out of 42. Saturday was the turn of the Open crews.

The wind had picked up and the resulting swell and chop made rowing conditions more challenging. Despite this, Ladies A put in a fantastic performance to come in 77th out of 132.

Ladies B put up an incredible fight and were ecstatic to win their round 3 group, finishing in 95th position overall.

The grit and determination of Men’s Open A saw them gradually move up the rankings to finally place 44th out of 129 while Men’s B provided extraordinary entertainment.

Many of this crew were complete novices, some could count the number of times they’d rowed at sea on one hand.

The first race was gruelling and saw them finish in last position.

Undeterred, they rallied themselves and went on to win the next round moving them up a group.

The stiffer competition saw them relegated again in round 3, but digging deep, they then went on to win their final round.

Although 121st overall, winning their group made them podium medal winners - PPGCs first at the World Champs!

Rkia Sayar, rowing for Ladies Super Vets B said: “I have only been rowing for about a year, I never thought that I would be able to compete in a World Championship.

“I love how inclusive it is and I want to thank everyone that helped me do this, it’s amazing!

Sarah Morris, PPGC Committee member, said: “Almost half of our members competing in Scillies were first-timers and 12 of them have only been rowing for a year or less.

“It is incredible to see how much they have developed in such a short time - I think they have now definitely got the bug.

“We now hope to enjoy the summer regatta season before training starts again for Scilly 2025”.