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…

Fury in the Clubhouse

It’s that time of year where the boats are out of action, and in our new clubhouse for their annual spruce up before heading to the World Championship on the Isles of Scilly in May.

This year is particularly special for a few different reasons:

  • It’s the first time we’ve had our own clubhouse to undertake maintenance in after moving into Arch Two, Richmond Bridge in December last year.
  • This is the last time that so many of our boats will be going out to the Isles of Scilly for the World Championships. Last year the organisers announced that in 2020, clubs will only be able to enter one crew per category unless they have achieved a top 12 place the year before.
  • This is going to be the largest event to date in Isles of Scilly with over 180 boats taking part in the racing.

It’s always great to see the boats when they are cleaned up and ready for the World Championships. We’d like to thank our members who have volunteered so much time to get the boats ready.

We’ve gained Charity (CIO) Status

At the start of the year, we committed to a New Years Resolution of seeking Charity Status by the Charity Commission.

This involved a large amount of work, including the drafting and passing of new Constitution, having to find two independent trustees and submitting evidence to the Charity Commission on our aims, objectives and management.

‘We’re trilled that that Charity Commission have granted London Cornish Pilot Gig Club Charitable Status.’ say David Callaghan, Vice-Chairman.

David continues: ‘This has been months of work by a small working group who have had to come together and ensured that the transition was going to be as smooth as possible. ‘

‘Now that we have Charitable Status we’ll be spending time in this initial transition period doing the final few moves required and setting up processes to benefit from our new legal status.’

‘We’d like to thank our working group, members, governing body and fellow gig rowing clubs who have helps and supported us on this move.’

For more information on the move, please contract info@lcpgclub.com

London’s gig rowing club launches appeal for first club house

Just two years after it launched its first gig, the Fury, the London Cornish Pilot Gig Club is launching an appeal to help secure its first club house.  The club is looking for donations to help it refit and fund the facility on the Thames in Richmond.

The 50 foot brick arch is located just next to the workshops of Cornish boat builders Patrick Brid and Mark Edwards. The club is looking to install racks for equipment, bathroom facilities, rowing machines, a kitchen and seating.

Pete Chalkley, the London Cornish Pilot Gig Club (LCPGC) chair, said:

“We’re still a new club and getting a club house is a great step forward giving us a place to keep our equipment and a proper home. We’re very grateful for the help we’ve received in bringing Cornish Pilot Gig rowing to London. The spirit of the gig rowing community really is something else.”

The club now has more than 100 members (a mix of those with Cornish connections and those who just wanted to try out gig rowing) and is open to new joiners. Rowing sessions take place in both Richmond in west London and at the Royal Albert Dock in east London. There will be an official opening of the new club house later in the year

Donations of items or cash can be made by contacting lcpgclub@gmail.com or via the Facebook page: http://facebook.com/londoncornishpilotgigclub.

The club is in the process of establishing itself with charitable status.



Notes to editors

For interviews and further information, please contact club chairman Pete Chalkley on 07989 537287, pjchalkley@hotmail.com.

The London Cornish Pilot Gig Club can be found online at www.londoncornishpilotgigclub.org.uk.

Our New Years Resolution

2018 has got of to a great start with another successful AGM and committee members sworn in. The big focus of our AGM was our desire to seek legal status as a club. There were a few different options on the table, CASC, CIO, Limited Company etc. but we have decided with a vote from out members, to seek CIO ()Charitable Incorporated Organisation). We hope that this will bring many benefits to us as a club and its members.

We’ll keep you updated with information, but we now need to start a process with the Charity Commission to seek this status.

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 

Gig Rowing Training and Team Bonding for AIG

The London Cornish Pilot Gig Club have recently helped the London branch of AIG, a global insurance organisation, with their most recent of challenges – rowing a gig form Ramsgate to Belgium.

The first gig rowing club in London were approached by AIG to help with their latest self-assigned mission to row across the channel from Ramsgate to Nieuwpoort. A team of 16 were brought together from AIG employees, client supporters and wounded veterans to row the 54 nautical miles for the charity Row2Recovery.

“Rowing the English Channel from Ramsgate to Belgium was a fantastic experience and certainly one I’ll never forget.”, said Bruce McCoy, Managing Director & General Counsel, AIG Asset Management (Europe) Limited.

Bruce continues: “From the training sessions (both indoor and on the water) through to the big day itself, it was a great bonding experience for the team.

Some of us had never rowed before (and none of us had ever rowed in a gig), and the training we received from the London Cornish Pilot Gig Club helped us develop correct technique and also got us rowing together as a team.

On the day of the crossing, we were lucky with the weather, but it was still a long haul, especially the last few hours.

The ability to pull together and row as one unit helped us to get through and even to beat our target time by several hours.”

The team were aiming for a time of 16 hours to complete the challenge and smashed all targets by reaching Belgium in 13 hours. They raised over £22,000 for Row2Recovery.

“We were only too happy to help AIG in their mission and offer our skills, experience and advice.”, said Pete Chalkley, Chairman of the London Cornish Pilot Gig Club.

Pete continues: “We are a growing and relatively new gig rowing club and we were honoured to offer our services and support to AIG in their challenge.”

“We are always on the lookout for companies and groups who would like to try rowing or have set themselves a challenge like AIG.”



AIG (American International Group) is a leading global insurance organisation. Founded in 1919, today AIG member companies provide a wide range of property casualty insurance, life insurance, retirement products, and other financial services to customers in more than 80 countries and jurisdictions. You can find out more here: https://www.aig.co.uk

Row2Recovery supports Adaptive Rowing for the British Military Wounded, Injured and Sick in partnership with British Rowing and Help for Heroes. You can find out more here: http://www.endeavourfund.co.uk/past-endeavours/row-2-recovery/

London Cornish Pilot Gig Club are the first Cornish Pilot Gig Club in London, established in 2016 and rowing from both Richmond and the Royal Albert Docks. They are members of the Cornish Pilot Gig Association and offer rowing development from novice to competitive. You can find out more here: http://londoncornishpilotgigclub.org.uk