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 or via the Facebook page:

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,

The London Cornish Pilot Gig Club can be found online at

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: 

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:

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:

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:

For the love of (gig) rowing

By David Callaghan, 25, Wandsworth, rower with men’s crew.

I’ve now been living in London for seven months. Anyone who knows me well enough, knows that I always wanted to come and move to the capital. I loved the jolt of the city, the rapid pace that keeps people thriving and living. After university, I returned to Cornwall for a brief spell and had an amazing three years making new friends and meeting amazing people – but I still longed for the city buzz.

Continue reading “For the love of (gig) rowing”