Lyme Regis Gig Club opens new sailing opportunities for members

Lyme Regis Gig Club has fitted its lugger ‘Daring’ with a sail to increase seafaring opportunities for its members

LYME Regis Gig Club members have recently been able to try their hand at sailing, after a sail was fitted to their lugger ‘Daring’. 

The club has been raising funds, with a major contribution from Lyme Regis Town Council, for a sail to be fitted to ‘Daring’ for the past three years.

This work has included fitting special rigging mounts aboard the GRP gig, masts, spars and the design and making of a sunning set of tan sails.

On what couldn’t have been a finer morning, with blue sky’s and slight breeze, gig club members rowed ‘Daring’ tentatively out to a visitor’s mooring for a briefing, followed by what was the most exhilarating sail.

Daring’ is rigged with a mizzen mast at the stern and a lug sail on the main mast. Referred to as a lugger, this rig was widely used from the middle of the eighteenth century.

For over two centuries Cornish pilot gigs rowed and sailed to land pilots on the decks of the square riggers entering the western approaches.

These gigs also made handy lifeboats and were used for smuggling, their fast hulls and powerful rigs allowed them to out pace and revenue vessels in service.    

Sailing and rowing ‘Daring’ opens new opportunities for gig club members to learn new seafaring skills, through being part of a team and living the excitement and challenge that comes through being at sea.

Club chairman Marcus Dixon said: “Next season we will look to have more sailing adventure in Daring including rowing to West Bay, for breakfast and then high tailing it back to The Cobb under sail.”

The Gig Club’s sailing project has been made possible through the hard work of a remarkable set of crafts people, including Sam Robinson, boatbuilder; Mark Matthews, MM Sails; and the gig club’s Ray Waspe, David Meehan, Dan Alsop, Jeff Legge; and an extra special thanks to Chris Douglas.

Veterans end rowing season on a high

The Lyme Regis Gig Club Veterans Men’s A Team who competed at Swanage

The club still competes in traditional gig rowing and most recently finished the season by taking part in the Swanage SuperVets Championships, with the club’s Men’s A Team coming in second place

Veteran rowers have to be over 50 years old to cut the mustard and Lyme Regis Gig Club has a great track record, particularly for its men’s squad.

In the last Cornish Pilot Gig World Championships, held in the Isles of Scilly in 2019, the Lyme Men’s A SuperVets Team came second. This was doubly important result as it enabled the club to take two gigs to next years championships, rather than one, which is the case for most clubs who did less well.

In Swanage last Saturday, out of a field of 22 competing gigs, Lyme Men’s B Team came 13th and the Men’s A Team came second, beaten narrowly by Caradon Rowing Club. 

In the fiercely contested women’s races, which saw 19 gigs competing, the Lyme Ladies B Team came 17th and the Ladies A team came a good ninth.

Mr Dixon commented: “And so the 2021 competitive season drew to a close and Lyme Regis Gig Club’s focus shifts, over the coming winter months and out to March next year, to prepare ourselves for what is going to be an amazingly exciting and successful 2022.”

Launched in 2007, Lyme Regis Gig Club is a charity that enables people to participate in the health sport of sea rowing and sailing. For more information visit www.lymeregisgigclub.com

Woodmead Halls

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