Cornish Pilot Gig Association celebrates its 30th birthday

The Cornish Pilot Gig Association represents 69 clubs in nine countries, having only had five clubs when it launched in 1986


Toby Budd (c)

The Cornish Pilot Gig Association (CPGA) celebrated its 30th birthday on Monday, having been founded in the living room of gig builder Ralph Bird on 5 December 1986.

Initially set up to ensure a one-class design for the Cornish pilot gig, the Association has grown to support one of the fastest growing sports in the South West.

The CPGA now represents 69 clubs in nine countries, with over 8,000 rowers taking to the water in traditional Cornish Pilot gigs, which are built to a similar specification as the Treffy, designed back in the 1830s.

Shane Sullivan, chairman of the CPGA, said “The growth of the sport within the UK and overseas has been phenomenal, especially over the past 15 years, all driven by volunteers who are passionate about bringing such a vibrant, non-elite sport to their communities as well as injecting a considerable amount into the South West and local economies.

“As such we now have to look at how the CPGA manages and supports the growth of the sport and aspirations of its rowers.”

Annamarie Phelps, chairman of British Rowing, added: “It is great to see how gig rowing has grown over the past 30 years. It is testament to the hard work of the CPGA and all those involved. Gig rowing is an important part of our sport; dynamic, social and inclusive. We look forward to continuing our close working relationship with the CPGA over the next 30 years and beyond.”

The birthday coincides with the launch of the CPGA’s new website, which can be found at