Oxbridge Boat Race 2019

The Oxford-Cambridge boat race is one of Britain’s oldest varsity competitions. On Sunday the 7th of April London Cornish Rowers had the opportunity to be a part of this competition’s illustrious history , rowing the boat race course in a replica Oxbridge gig from the 1800’s against a team of ‘Cornish All-stars’ in an equivalent boat. The race was one of several organised by the TTRA (Thames Traditional Rowing Association) as a warm up to the main boat race happening that afternoon.

The day started bright and early at the University College London boathouse where we set eyes upon our boat, and rival crew, for the first time. Cam, our replica Cambridge boat was similar in form to a Cornish Gig but with two extra seats and most notably, square and incredibly heavy wooden oars which took some getting used to.

We hopped in our boat and joined the procession downstream to Putney Bridge and the start line for the boat race. The oars took some getting used to but we could all feel the potential power this boat had with the two extra rowers making a real difference. Upon arrival at Putney, we had a brief lunch stop before returning to the boat and taking our place on the start line for our showdown with Isis, the Oxford gig being rowed by our Cornish rivals.

The flag dropped, and we were off. Briefly holding off Isis with a strong start from ourselves, our competitors quickly built up a sizeable lead. Undeterred, we quickly settled into a rhythm and produced a strong consistent row, trying to enjoy the privilege of rowing on this famous course despite the archaic oars and lack of padded seats. After a strong finish we crossed the finish line and paddled back to the UCL boat club, battered and bruised but proud of our efforts on what was a long, hard row against very strong competition.

After disembarking, there was just about time to dash up to Hammersmith Bridge and catch the finish of all 4 ‘proper’ boat races. Thankfully, it appeared our honorary performance for Cambridge had not jinxed the actual side as they went on secure victory in all races. After the culmination of the Men’s A race, it was off to the pub to cap off a truly great day.

A big thank you to Naomi for her excellent coxing, Ariane for some top draw stroking, Will for his exquisite blazer/lycra combo, Phil for stepping up last minute, Pants for his impression of a woman in labour during the final few strokes, Steve for inspiring us all with his ingenuous ‘jumper wrapped in parcel tape’ make-shift seat and Fallon and Leanne for their super rowing in the bow seats.

A great day and one I would definitely recommend taking part in.

Words by Tom Kennett
L-R Ariane, Naomi, Leanne, Tom, Pants, Fallon, Will and Phil behind the camera

London Cornish Men’s Crew win at Dart

Photo: (L-R) Tom Stoyle, Charlie Stoyle, Max Harris, Ed Rawlings, Rob Oakley, David Callaghan with Patrick Bird (Cox) kneeling.

Our London Cornish Men’s A Crew attended Dart Regatta in Dartmouth, Devon at the weekend and walked away with First in the Men’s race.

Hosted by Dart Gig Club, it was an eventful race that saw London Cornish take the prize after some healthy competition from Salcombe and Cattewater in the turns.

This was the first time the club have competed at the regatta and enjoyed the atmosphere and competition of the event.

Next stop, Scilly and the World Championships…

Gig for Hire at Great River Race

Lead your team to glory in London’s River Marathon….

Enjoy a challenge? Like to throw yourself headlong into adventure? Well then, you’re in the right place!

The Great River Race, London’s ‘River Marathon’ celebrates it’s 30th Anniversary this year.

Cornish Pilot Gigs have been associated with the event since its inception, and to celebrate this, we’ve made one of our very own gigs available for an intrepid team.  You’ll need a crew of 7 (six rowers and one passenger).

Never Rowed a day in your life?  Don’t worry, whether you’re an experienced rower or a complete novice, we’ll provide expert coaching beforehand and coxing on the day, along with entry to one of the best afterparties on the Thames for your and your family and friends.

The Great River Race brings over 300 crews from all over the world to London, and attracts everyone from competitive athletes, to novices and crews vying for the coveted fancy dress prize.  The course is 21.6 miles with the tide. Whether you’re aiming for a fast time, or a good time – we’ve got everything you’ll need to succeed.

Our fee will cover all coaching and coxing, boat hire, towing and registration.  Not only will you be joining an extraordinary cohort of rowers, you will also be supporting London’s only Pilot Gig Rowing Club, helping us to welcome new members .


“The Great River Race is definitely one for the bucket list…. Rowing through Central London is one of the most wonderful experiences.  The atmosphere is electric and the sense of achievement at the finish line is unparalleled, not to mention the afterparty!”

“……. The coaching and coxing London Cornish Pilot Gig Club provide is excellent, I came to them a novice, and left a rower” Naomi

For more information, prices and further details, please contact: lcpgclub@gmail.com