The pilot gig has a long history in both Appledore and the South West and refers to a 32’ by 4’6” clinker-built rowing boat with six rowers and a Cox. Originally gigs were used to take pilots out to sailing ships and competition for work dictated that the first pilot aboard the ship got the job. With function dictating form gigs evolved into very fast seagoing rowing boats, used for piloting, lifesaving and at times smuggling.
It was a natural progression to start racing such craft and in the late 19th and early 20th Century such sport was as popular and hard fought as it is today. Sadly the introduction of reliable marine engines and accurate charts brought about the demise of the pilot gig as a working boat. If it had not been for the dedication and enthusiasm of a few individuals and clubs both the pilot gig and the sport we know and love today might not have survived.