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    Lowestoft pilot gig Kapiolani, note short washboards at bows, strakes in one unbroken length and blobs of white paint on oars.

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Gig Building

Based on a traditional 19th Century design The East Coast Gig provides people of all ages and abilities with an opportunity to get on the water. The Construction is cold moulded wooden boat takes 4 rowers and a cox.
Coastal rowing is a fast-growing sport which is based in local community clubs and provides healthy outdoor exercise and an opportunity to socialise and compete.
The first clubs around the East Coast have been formed and races are also underway.
Gig number 18 is in production and is built under supervision by apprentices at the Pioneer Sailing Trust’s Harker’s Yard, partly funded by the EU Transcoast Project.
Contact Pioneer Sailing Trust for more information about joining a club, buying a gig or setting up a new club.

Big Gig Day

On the 24th of March 2012, the official launch of the first rowing gig built by Pioneer Sailing Trust was held. It was a chance to share and celebrate the achievements of the Shipwright trainers and apprentices. The event attracted around 400 people to the waterfront in Brightlingsea to watch the launch of the new gig. The event was highly publicised in the town and surrounding areas, with local press, magazines and posters advertising the event.
Transcoast money has supported the build of the mould and the production of the first gig, by funding materials used and trainers to supervise the build.

The gig was paraded down to the waterfront by the local boys and girls Brigade, the Town Crier, The Minister, the Mayor, Colchester Sea Cadets, Pioneer Sailing Trust amongst many other people from the town. It is only the second official boat launch in 10years in the town and boosted morale and strengthened partnerships and links between different clubs and groups in the town as they all worked together to host the event.
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A marquee was set up along the waterfront, and local craft sellers were invited to have a stall which attracted local people to the waterfront. The Pioneer Sailing Trust also held a stall in the marquee to advertise the sailing activities on Pioneer, the Apprenticeship programme and the Transcoast project. Information boards and leaflets were displayed and members of Pioneer Sailing Trusts staff to answer questions about their projects.

Brightlingsea Harbour also supported the event, by providing safety cover on the water and supervised the access to the water. The gig was available for local people to “come and try” with supervision from the Brightlingsea Coastal Rowing Club. It attracted many non water users to the waterfront and gave them the opportunity to engage in an activity. There was a lot of interest from surrounding coastal communities and the event gave the chance for them to have a look at the new gig, try it and ask questions about how to set up a rowing club. The gig will be on loan to the Brightlingsea Coastal Rowing Club and it is hoped this will kick start this new sport in Brightlingsea and the surrounding coastline, at a low cost and accessible level.

The launch event was important in strengthening Pioneer Sailing Trust’s links with the local community and its involvement with the waterfront. It was also an opportunity to strengthen relationships between the town and the waterfront. Transcoast funding has acted as a catalyst for this project. It is hoped that the gig will be one of many, as the sport of coastal rowing grows around the coastline and leaves a lasting legacy for years to come.