New home for ‘Circe’

Saturday 12th January 2019 marked a significant step forward for the newly formed Porlock Weir Pilot Gig Club when they collected their first Cornish Pilot Gig – ‘Circe’.

‘Circe’ CPGA No 37 built by Andrew Nancarrow originally for Truro, launched in 1995, later the property of Nankersey in 2008 and then, following Nankersey and Flushing Mylor Gig Club reuniting she was generously donated to the CPGA by the Nankersey club.

With advertising and then bidding for ‘Circe’ in December, decisions were made and Porlock Weir were given first refusal on purchasing her. Their answer as soon as they heard the news was pure joy and a most definite YES!

Their story will continue to develop, but in the short time that they have been in existence they have achieved a great deal. The community of Porlock has welcomed the club. The gig community, as always have been generous in their support and help.

The following is a summary of the Club to date from their Chair – Ben Allerton.

Porlock Weir is a picturesque seaside settlement nestled into the dramatic coastline of Exmoor National Park. Famous for its dark starlit nights and hues of Purple moorland, endless blue skies and the swirling green waters of the Bristol Channel. It has been the landing ground for the last Saxon King of England, as well as Viking raids.

But it was the people of Porlock Weir and the surrounding area that really sparked our imagination for the beginnings of a Pilot Gig Club.
Our progress in the setup phase is due to the selfless determination and generosity of its members, helpfully facilitated by the guidance of the CPGA, GigRower, Ilfracombe and Clevedon Pilot Gig Clubs.

Everyone has their own preference, but when you study the design of a Pilot gig, governed by its harsh habitat. Its about as close to perfection one could wish for. Its growing legacy stands testament to this.

We couldn’t have envisaged the leap forward over the Christmas period. Finding ourselves in a position to bid for ‘Circe’. It was important for us to be a part of the wider gig community, as we believe that is one of the crucial strengths, coming together, connecting communities, celebrating heritage in a competitive but friendly environment whilst improving mental and physical health.

The Jury is out on the topic of a name change, not for superstitions sake. We have a name close to hearts but will wait for the appropriate time to bring that to fruition. We have to believe this is just the beginning, deliberately carving out a future for Porlock Weir’s own Gig Club.

We felt it was important to become members of the CPGA, because we believe you should start how you mean to carry on. The guidance we’ve received from the CPGA and the wider associated community has been invaluable.

Our aspirations have changed hugely in a very short space of time. That said, there is hunger for deliberate training, and achieving specific goals pushing our current physical and psychological boundaries associated with rowing at sea, as well as exposing ourselves to the regatta environment.

Just to illustrate the timeline of PWPGC from its inception to the present, with a lot in the pipeline unaccounted for.

August 2018 The idea is born between my Wife, 4 month old son Jacob
And I, Ben – now chair of PWPGC.
12th Sept ’18 First group message sent out inviting potential members to
hear the proposal of a Pilot Gig Club. Around 30 attended.
6th Oct ’18 Rival picked up from Boscastle & Crackington
7th Oct ’18 Members attended Ilfracombe Pilot Gig Club by invitation
as an introduction to rowing.
3rd Nov’18 Julie Haughton and her Brother Darren and Julies’ daughter
Caitlin delivered the giglet “Blanche”
5th Nov ’18 Exmoor National Park Authority Partnership formed.
Somerset Activity & Sports Partnership formed.
15th Dec ’18 The now “Annual Porlock Weir Pilot Gig Club Christmas
Auction”. Was a great success.
16th Dec ’18 Private donations exceeding £6000.
19th Dec ’18 Wessex Water donation as a gesture of support
2nd January ’19 Successful bid for “Circe”
12th January’19 Collection of “Circe”

I can’t conclude without saying thank you.

Firstly, the CPGA for without fail being there, without exaggeration around the
Ilfracombe Pilot Gig Club, particularly Simon and Karis Frost.
Clevedon Pilot Gig Club, particularly Richard James.
Boscastle & Crackington Pilot Gig Club for answering our call. Generously parting
With their beloved “Rival”. Your generosity gave us the ability to grow as a club
at a critical time.
Julie Haughton and Darren for sharing their father’s legacy “Blanche” with us.
Exmoor National Park Authority, Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership
Development and Wessex Water.
Finally, thank you to the Porlock Weir Community for your support.

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