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2016 Survey

Are you a gig rower?

If you are it’s important that you have your say about the future of the sport.


The CPGA is currently writing a 5 year strategic plan for the sport and now is the chance to have your say.

Step 1: Watch the video below (grab a brew and get comfy – it’s 18 minutes long)
Step 2: Complete the survey below
Step 3: Add a public comment below to share your thoughts

Submission deadline is Dec 31st 2016

STEP 1: Watch this video


STEP 2: Complete this survey

Complete the survey below, or follow this link to complete it on Survey Monkey.

Comments 66

  1. Pingback: CPGA Want your Feedback | GigRower

    1. I would like to see more support for clubs outside Devon and Cornwall, in order to encourage small clubs or those struggling to grow to get better training and access to funding, sponsorship, including their wealth of experience, not to mention making new friendships please.

  2. Interesting video and comments. We row Harkers Yard gigs here on the east coast in and round the Blackwater/Thames Estuary. We only have 18 traditionally built gigs at the moment with up to 14 racing regularly throughout a very competitive winter season. Harkers Yard gigs were only established in 2012 but a lot of what was said here applies now and may do so even more in the future. http://pioneerck18.org/page8/page12/index.html

  3. There are many rowers like myself who are 60+ and have been lucky enough to compete competively and it would be great to continue, so perhaps a new category could be created to facilitate this.

    1. Much has been said here about more categories in which older rowers can race . However, none of these comments seem to realise that there is a very big difference between a 50+ person who has been gig rowing for many years and who knows how hard and physically demanding our sport can be, and someone who has little rowing experience before they take up the sport at 50+.

      1. I totally agree, Greg. I think the CGPA can play a big part in changing perceptions of sporting excellence, and in so doing challenge stereotypes surrounding age. Why not categorize races according to the number of years people have been rowing for? That is what the word “veteran” refers to, after all! Competitions could still have open categories as well, which would of course lend themselves towards clubs’ best rowers competing at the highest level, regardless of how long they’ve been rowing for.

        The recent Gig Rower survey highlighted participation across ages and genders. This can be maintained by giving a clear message that sporting achievement isn’t necessarily limited by age. Consequently, I’m wary of suggestions leading towards professional gig rowers; this seems to go against what many see as the ethos of the sport, and could lead us down the path of reinforcing unhealthy attitudes. For example, the Football Association has a “Veterans” category for The People’s FA Cup, where players can be as young as 35. Now, it may be that the FA is assuming players will have played football since they were 10 or younger, in which case a 35 year-old would definitely be a veteran, but I’m sure many people don’t see it that way. Age is perceived as a limiting factor because that tends to be the case for those who are paid to compete at the highest level in most sports, but it isn’t that simple in ours.

        There have been discussions about this for ages, and maybe this is a good time for the CPGA to make changes for everyone’s benefit.

  4. I am a recent convert from the sliding seat brigade and I think it’s the best sport since sliced bread.
    I believe because of the large amount of veterans rowing ,due to the fact that this is one of the only sports anyone can participate in,there should be more veteran categories than there is.
    At the moment 50 years old is the starting age of the final category .
    So light heartedly why not have for example Vets @40,super vets @50,dinosaurs @60 and fossils 70 and above.
    ps I am a dinosaur.

  5. Let’s just keep spreading the word . The birth of the London club has the potential to make things really take off outside the south west.

  6. Does the CPGA have any influence on the Dutch, American, and Bermudan clubs, and are there any thoughts about defining professional rowers?

  7. Creating a personal membership akin to the British rowing one where you get insurance whilst taking part in the sport would be good and of mutual benefit.
    No offence to British rowing but I’d rather pay the CPGA if they could do something like that.
    Great work from the CPGA and looking forward to seeing the five year plan.

  8. Thanks for asking for our opinions. The future of the sport looks bright, as long as it doesn’t lose what makes it so popular in the first place.

  9. As a growing sport here on the East Coast I can see your dilemma you have with the growing numbers of clubs and trying to fit everyone in at venues being something that will soon be happening here. Agree it’s very important to look after every rower not just the racers.

  10. A video on the art of good gig rowing would be good! One sport but oh so many different techniques – what is right? Does anyone know?

    1. Agree completely on all remarks relating to more vet categories – 60+ for eg. This is the group that often set up gig clubs and still make a major contribution to their clubs. We miss competitive rowing . We need a realistic age category. We do not do the work we do to be denied this opportunity.

  11. Great idea, I row Harkers yard Gigs on the east coast and fast approaching 70! So it will be no surprise I have been relegated to the number two boat. We have many members of the different clubs that are ancient, so a class for us would be good.
    Should add that we put many younger rowers to shame🚣

  12. Agree, with the growing older profile, more Vet categories would be good. But, I think resources need to be directed towards encouraging the younger/senior members, perhaps by targeting ‘youth’ rowing more, and endeavouring to retain more of them into senior crews. (Maybe target universities, especially in the west, to get involved?)

  13. For me the most important aspect if gig rowing is how it can help to bring a community together with a common interest. And even more importantly how all ages and whole families can participate together with a shared experience. I could go on.
    Thanks.

  14. I agree with the comments in regard to older rowers. There seems to be a lot of fit older people around who want to keep rowing and more categories are needed. It’s great to see the sport spreading so much and as an island it would be wonderful to see clubs round the whole coast! Long way to go, but you are doing a great job.

  15. Great work by the CPGA. Should the governing body be renamed as 69 clubs in 9 counties….some international clubs too. Just a thought. Look forward to the 5 year plan.

  16. The comments regarding older rowers and the smaller clubs are very pertinent, so please give us wrinklies and smaller clubs a thought with regard to events, training tecniques etc. I think the technique video suggestion sounds great

  17. Great to see the cpga thinking ahead and getting an overall insight of what it’s rowers wish for. I Look forward to seeing these results in the near future.
    Myself being a participant since the early eighties I agree with the comments made by some of the more seasoned rowers that perhaps some more age related events could be considered throughout the season.

  18. Good to get a feel for the structure and work of the CPGA.

    I like the idea of expanding the opportunities for older vets, I’m in the Dinosaur category and still like to row competitively.

  19. Good to see the committee moving forward. It must be a full time job for some of the members of the committee and they should be paid for their work. This should be possible with the amount of clubs/members that the CPGA have.

  20. Agree completely with comments on the need for realistic vet categories, eg 60+. We are often the people who have founded clubs and continue to work to sustain them. We do not do this to miss out on the buzz of competitive rowing.

  21. I think the step to update the classification of the charity so that serving officer aren’t personally responsible is a very good idea, I wish the serving and future officers good luck, as the monster that is gig rowing will continue to grow and keeping “all” the “enthusiasts” happy is often a loveless task.
    But I hope that everyone involved in planning the sports future, remembers, that there’s a whole lot of experience out there, and occasionally ideas, good ideas can come from unexpected places. And I hope all rowers new and Old, experienced and novice appreciate the time given by the organisers of the rowing year, from the World pilot Gig association, to the CPGA to the NRC..

  22. What bugs me is that nobody ever thinks of us boats. It’s alright for you rowers, you stay dry. But us boats get soaking wet & the size of some of the lady rowers’ backsides!! You should try ’em sitting on you & see how much you like it.

  23. Great work CPGA. My only concern is the two major events in the year, World Championships and Newquay, are out growing their revenues.

  24. Great input from those involved taking this sport forward at all levels. Although only an occasional rower myself, it is a fantastic and much enjoyed sport on our river. Those a whippersnapper-shade over 50+ regularly row 3 times a week. Suggestion of technique video sounds a great idea.

  25. Great work . How do we fit in with British Rowing? BR have coaching courses and great films on technique . My preference is Keep it varied and with local character. For all the elite hype most clubs have a large vet and super vet category and some rowers with disabilities the idea of a ‘broad church’ keeps community and character and I suspect is a significant ingredient in the success of the sport. Not much mention so far of how many women gig rowing has got into sport and team sports. This has to be one of our successes.

  26. I agree that more age groupings are needed over the age of 50; there are supervets competing against other supervets 20 to 25 years younger. However the preponderence of older rowers in many clubs is also a problem and more effort is needed to recruit and retain younger rowers. Clubs with Junior sections often do well in recruiting under 14 and under 16 year-olds, but many of these drift away when, for example, they leave for university. Establishing gig boat clubs in universities may help this problem, also ‘sport’ universities (eg Loughborough and Marjon in Plymouth) could establish gig rowing coaching courses.

    1. High, our Club the UCSC, (university community sailing club) is joined to the UOE. We have tried our hardest to get students interested over the last 4 years, taken gigs to freshers day, and put it in the rag and gym club mag. Out of 12000 students we managed to get zero.
      To them it’s not sexy enough, they even have some coaxed 6s and 8s and they are very underused.
      A lot of its seems that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the older generation love the lines and grace of of gigs, a bit like loving vintage sports cars, where the younger people think an MX5 is the coolest thing since sliced bread. The younger generation as a whole, would prefer to sail a foiler, or moth.
      If we can get anyone under 35 it’s seen as a gift from God.
      But the upside is all our other local clubs are in the same boat (no pun intended) so we happily turn out for our races every other weekend, and praise the lord that we still enjoy rowing these wonderful craft in the company of friends.

  27. I think it will be very interesting to see how you get on with your plans to move forward & making this a more professional set-up, the very best of luck with your endeavours & I hope that you get plenty of good feedback to help with this.
    This point has already been raised by several other people but I believe that there could be more supervets events run separately from the normal regattas but then again I do fall into this age category so perhaps I would think this.
    I think also that there could be greater leeway on allowing composite crews to enter gigs at regattas – a large number of rowers do row with other clubs to make up numbers on the day but it would be good to be able to do this at Tribute events & the like. It is a great opportunity to row with friends from other clubs, to make new ones & test yourself against your peers. Personally I think that I have also expanded my learning when given the opportunity to row with other clubs & have made plenty of good friends. I accept that these boats wouldn’t be eligible for points but it would still give more people the opportunity to row.

  28. Its fabulous to be part of such an accessible, amazing sport that’s got such a positive outlook. Cornish Pilot Gig Clubs are dynamic local sports enterprises that deliver so many benefits in rural, and often isolated communities. The positive impact that Gig Clubs have combined across the the region is really very significant. Benefits that include increased fitness, health, well-being, bringing people of different ages together in a positive environment, economic, opportunities for young people and older people – the list goes on and on. The success of the CPGA has also been in creating and developing a sport that has forged strong links between coastal towns through their shared heritage of sea rowing. Anyway it would be great to somehow carry out an impact assessment and case studies that could be used by CPGA and the clubs themselves to support grant and other funding applications.

  29. Gig Rower could host a ‘Wickepedia’ type source of everything to do with gig rowing. It could contain, for example, a directory of clubs and contacts, all of the CPGA publications, names of boat builders, regatta diary, articles on rowing techniques, guides to legal status of clubs etc. The list is endless and, in a Wickepedia-type set up the contributions would come from the readers themselves.

  30. Thank you for all your hard work on this, great stuff.
    I would like to see the term Ladies consigned to the archives. There are no ‘ladies’ in serious sport, we are sportsmen and sportswomen so please let’s have men’s crews and women’s crews!

  31. I have joined at an interesting time. It will be good to see the sport spread through the UK. this should allow us over the next years to see events being added in places none of us have rowed before.

  32. I started rowing quite late in life, in my early 60’s, it fulfilled the type of exercise/competitive sport that I was looking for.
    Although no longer able to row because of injuries from a mis spent youth and recent surgery, I miss it enormously and got no thrill from coxing.
    I think most of the comments regarding older rowers ring true, perhaps as we do not have the ties of mobile careers, families and have more time available, plus feeling the need to stay fit, we are attracted to it.
    The time and commitment that is required to run clubs seems to fall on older shoulders, many younger rowers keen to progress train hard but tend to leave the less glamorous tasks to the ‘wrinklies’, obviously not every club, but the ‘regulars’ out on the water during the whole year tend to be predominantly older rowers.
    I would hate to see an age driven ‘them and us’ situation develop, but some serious thought needs to go into providing the competition that older rowers seek.

  33. Philip Badger

    I still love gig racing but having now reached the rip old age of 61 i would love to see an over 60 category

    I think that there should be a minimum weight introduced so that new gigs are not built to light

    The cost of a new gig is insufficient to sustain the highly qualified existing builders and to encourage new builders

  34. It’s great to hear about the CPGA’s planning for the changes that the rapid growth of the sport is bringing. One of those highlighted was the potential professionalisation of the organisation which I am sure most would agree is necessary . One of the best parts of gig rowing that I have experienced is how inclusive it is; when I began rowing junior membership for the club was only £10, coupled with lift sharing and minimal towing fees for regatta’s, the sport was very affordable for most in comparison to most other sports with weekly subs, expensive kit and double membership (governing body and local club). Whilst it’s important to grow and develop the sport I believe that participation for all should remain high on its list of priorities.

  35. Really informative video showing the dedication of a small number of people working hard to keep the Pilot Gig world in perspective. The boats are our heritage and this must not be forgotten, it is good for the CPGA to be moving forward whilst at the same time keeping in touch with the history of the sport. Also, there are very few competitive sports that encompass such a huge age range and this is a great benefit to the whole community as there is something there for everyone both competitively and socially.

  36. To see the sport being given a proper structure and organisation is very good. The maintenance of the sport’s history and culture is crucial.The issues surrounding multi -ethnicity need to be addressed…..there is none. ….society at large is changing. The north coast winter league is a very good idea. Being at Appledore means that spectators can see what is happening . Perhaps a winter league for indoor rowing could be held on a monthly basis. Ideas for coaching and training methods , especially for the young , should be clearly established and promoted.

  37. Thank you to everyone on the Cpga committee, all volunteers who put a hell of a lot in to our sport. We’re never going to please everyone but as someone who’s rowed since the 80s I would like the traditions to be remembered. I have made many friends on the gig circuit and that to me is more important than the racing. I know more and more clubs are starting up but I would hate to see great events like the Under 14 championships at Hayle, County championships at Newquay, World championships in Scilly having to be moved just because it would be more ‘central’ to other counties or because a different location could accommodate more rowers. As a family we have grown up with these events, it would be really sad if they were changed drastically or at the worse taken away.

  38. its good that you are telling the clubs further afield where the CPGA are going and it’s good that you are being open to try regional trials at least that way more people get to try to achieve greater things in this our chosen sport.

  39. We are a small club in its infancy in fact. Structural help would be great, how to motivate new comers to try this great sport, perhaps a loan of equipment when ours are out of commission. Thank you

  40. In no particular order. These are thoughts I had before starting the video

    WORLD CHAMPS – not good enough to say it isn’t us. The organisation is collapsing under weight of numbers, especially accommodation, and if something isn’t done a rival will emerge such as Portland. This would work perfectly well, be much cheaper and not strand boats. If we want the Champs to stay in Scilly (and I guess most of us do) CPGA needs to lean on Champs committee and come to some amicable conclusion.

    VETS – good try recently but needs to be gripped. Old people do most of the club heavy lifting and if those who want to race can’t get a good shot at it they won’t stay for ever. It is ridiculous that some 41yr old can hop out of a front line competitive boat, have a drink of water then race against people 20-40 years older than he or she.

    ROWING RESEARCH – nobody seems to have much idea of the biomechanics of fixed seat rowing. There was mention in GigRower a while back of some instrumented oars but I’ve seen nothing since. CPGA should lead the charge and sponsor someone to sort it out. I imagine this would be the sort of grant attractive project Claire had in mind.

    WEBSITE – I hear what you say about communicating via GigRower but the website ought to be the first port of call. It needs to be much bigger and better, clearly useful and throughly up-to-date.

    LONG DISTANCE EVENTS – CPGA supports none of which I am aware. Quite a lot of us old chaps get more out of these eg Great River Race, Lundy expeditions than from regatta racing. Need more of these.

    CONTROL – CPGA needs to be more directive; what’s good for rowers rather than what the larger noisier clubs want or will allow. Never make much progress otherwise.

    BRITISH ROWING RELATIONSHIP – lovely people I’m sure but we’re always going to be distant relatives. Need to be careful what we outsource to them.

    ROWING STANDARDS – why isn’t there a CPGA coxswains’ course? Why is there any debate as to whether lifejackets should be carried? What should be in the 1st Aid kits we have to have in the clubhouse?

    Congratulations on making the effort and good luck in the New Year. Whatever you achieve will be a vast improvement on politics

  41. Listening to the video their is a lot of exciting new things happening, one thing i think is important is making people more aware of the sport of Pilot Gig rowing, trying to make more links with schools and bringing new and young rowers through, making it a sport of choice. Like football, tennis, especially across the uk. This could be an amazing achievement at the same time not forgetting our values, and the gig of course.

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