Here come the girls…

August 06, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Crazy, mad, daring, intrepid – just four words you might use to describe what seven of the ladies from Appledore Pilot Gig Club are planning to do in October this year to celebrate the club’s 10th anniversary.

The magnificent seven will attempt to row an adapted gig boat across the channel to help raise money for a much needed new training boat that will help more people to take up this fantastic sport. The team aim to raise over £10,000 which will cover the cost of the trip, buy the new gig (plus six oars) and give a sizeable donation to the charity Brain Tumour Research.

When you first hear the idea, you think it must have been one of those conversations that got out of control while sat in a bar. This idea might have been hatched in a bar (I don’t know if it was) but it has been planned with military precision and knowing the team, I am absolutely certain they will succeed in their goals of rowing the channel and raising the money.

Appledore ladies rowing at the recent Port Isacc regatta.

Appledore ladies rowing at the recent Port Isaac regatta. (Pictured team not the channel team)

The team is made up from regular Appledore team rowers and consists of Natasha Acres, Zoe Sims, Yvette Parkin, Jan McLean, Linda Stella, Naomi Cudmore and Emily Campbell Jones (plus an extra reserve lady!). This row will require a skilled cox who can not only steer the boat safely through the shipping channels, but also keep motivation and spirits high during the gruelling row, and Len White is just the man for the job.  They estimate that the row will take between 6000 and 10,000 strokes, which in anyone’s book is a lot of rowing.

So what are pilot gig boats? The gigs are 32’ x 4’6”, crewed by 6 people and a cox. Traditionally the gigs were used to take pilots out to ships; the first gig to reach the ship would win the ‘prize’ of piloting the ship into harbour and this is how gig racing was born. Gigs have also historically been used as lifeboats.

Appledore mens crew at Port Issac 2013.

Appledore men’s crew at Port Isaac 2013.

But to make this challenge a real success, it is of course going to need more than hours of training, more than hundreds of blisters and a lot more than a pallet of Jelly Babies (a favourite of the Appledore crew!). It’s going to need you.

The crew will row the channel, that’s in no doubt, but to buy the new boat, the oars and make the donation to the Brain Tumour Research charity, they are going to need your kindness and generosity.

So far (as of 06/08/13) they have raised over £1000 with sponsorship coming from companies including Fatyak Kayaks, The Seagate Hotel, First Design and Singer Instruments, as well as many personal donations; for instance three sisters who are donating £250 to buy an oar named in memory of their mother. Smaller but equally important donations ranging from £10 to £100 are building up fast.

If you would like to help too, making a donation is easy :

  • Donate however much you like as a private sponsor – online at http://www.appledoregigclub.com/pledges.php.
  • Donate in person: pop into The Quay Cafe in Appledore (I’d stop and have some lunch too, the food is amazing!)
  • Buy a kayak square at just £2 per square from one of the crew or from The Quay Cafe, Appledore – you could win a fabulous Fatyak Kayak!
  • Become the title sponsor and name the new boat!
  • Donate £250 or more and have your name on the new boat or one of its oars.

If you have any fundraising questions or would like to send your donation by cheque, please contact the team’s fundraising lead Naomi Cudmore on 01984 641359, or email naomi@lighthousecommunications.co.uk

Please support the Appledore ladies on their quest for France.

Please support the Appledore ladies on their quest for France.

If you would like to see more photos of pilot gig racing, I have more in my online galleries here


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