THE home of Cornish Pilot Gig Rowing is gearing up to welcome its new pilot gig on Sunday.

Newquay Rowing Club will be launching Toby at Newquay Harbour at 2.30pm.

In keeping with the clubs tradition, Toby gets her name from one of the many fish cellars that were located around Newquay.

The Toby fish cellar was located near to Toby Way at towards the bottom of Tower Road and until quite recently, parts of the old building could still be seen. 

Members of the club are looking forward to welcoming Toby to the fleet and are excited that she will be used to take part in the 2024 World Championships in May. 

Toby has been built by boat builders W. C. Hunkin and Sons of Fowey.

She is pale blue in colour with a varnished top strake and dark blue rubbing strake and underside.

A legacy from David Sleeman, a former mayor of Newquay and plumber has paid for Toby to be built.

The clubs very own Toby Row who row’s for Newquay and will be competing in the World Championships is doing an apprenticeship at W. C. Hunkin and Sons and has had the privilege of helping to build the new gig.

Newquay’s Gig Trustees will have the honour of rowing Toby for the very first time as is the tradition with any new Pilot Gig’s launched at Newquay.

Newquay Rowing Club was established in 1921, is the oldest club on the gig rowing circuit.

The first rowing season was in 1922, with the club starting using three old gigs, Newquay (1812), Dove (1820) and Treffry (1838).

Newquay was the last port in Cornwall excluding the Isles of Scilly to have pilot gigs.

Gig racing was a long-established sport in Newquay before 1922.

During the 1830’s, 40’s and 50’s gig racing had become a popular sport all around Cornwall, often with considerable amounts of prize money going to the winning crews.

By the 1880’s gig racing in Cornwall was in decline, the industrial revolution was under way and engines were replacing sail and oar.

Gigs around Cornwall were left to rot or were broken up, but Newquay was fortunate enough to retain some of its gigs.