Club History

This is the 32nd year of Roseland Gig Club. It is an amazing achievement for any club to remain thriving and successful after this length of time but as we look back and celebrate the coming of age of this very special club we are also able to look forward to a growing, developing and very exciting future for Roseland Gig Club too.

Established in 1986, it was thanks to a band of keen local rowers that the gig club was formed those many years ago. Initially they served their apprenticeship by travelling to Truro and rowing in their gig, the Energy which was on loan to Truro from Falmouth Gig Club. In due course the need to be based on the Roseland became apparent as more and more interest in the sport grew. Due to increased membership it became apparent that fund raising for a gig of their own was the priority.

Some of the wood was donated directly by Howard Lees to a local boat builder, Ralph Bird, and so the gig began to take shape. The William Peters was launched with great pride on 16 May 1987 by Frankie Peters and 2018 marks her 31st anniversary.

She has had an incredible 30 plus years, having been involved in some of our club's most remarkable moments. For years she was our main gig for the World Rowing Championships held on the Isles of Scilly and the ensuing circuit throughout the summer months. She was also the chosen gig for various long rows to France, Ireland, around the coast of Cornwall and most recently our ladies crew from St Mawes to the Isles of Scilly.  

Due to the club rapidly growing in membership it soon became obvious that another gig was required to join the William Peters. The fund raising talents of the club meant that before long they were arranging a celebration launch for our second gig named Rhos.

We were much honored when Sir Steve Redgrave agreed to come and launch her for us on the 28 January 1989. He was suitably impressed with the rowing talents of our club and the Rhos was put straight to the test as training for the forthcoming summer circuit was underway.   

It was another 11 years before the club decided they needed another gig. The beloved William was now quite old and although regularly maintained she had become extremely heavy in comparison to the new racing boats in the ever growing circuit. The Rhos too was finding it hard to compete with new gigs so a new racing gig was definitely what the club needed in order to stay competitive still be challenging the top clubs for the trophies. The Killigerran was launched by Brenda Pye in true Roseland style on 11 March 2000 and has proved to be a winning gig for us ever since.

The sport of Gig Rowing has increased tremendously over the last 30 years and the standard of racing has gone from strength to strength. The club increased dramatically in size over the coming years and with this in mind the decision was made to invest in a further racing boat. It was through many a fundraising event and the overwhelming generosity of the local area and beyond that Polvarth was launched in 2007 by our much loved and sadly missed chairman Phillip Dark and his wife Mavis. It was a wonderful day attended by many and brought our fleet of beautiful gigs to four.

2017-2018 News-

Following on from last year’s decision to expand our recruitment and encourage more involvement in our Club, the decision was made to open our doors to all on Sunday mornings. We are aware that people need to ‘try before they buy’ so we offer 3 trial sessions before asking people to become members. We have had a great response  including a full crew of junior girls (under 16 years). We still have plenty of room for more and the addition of a chalkboard on the doors of our clubhouse has given us the opportunity to regularly share our rowing news and updates. 

Brenda Pye, a founder member of the club sadly passed away in 2015. In 1999 she opened her home Pomerys and invited Roseland Gig Club to take up residence on the ground floor. Brenda also pledged that on her passing that the top two floors were to be leased to the St Just and St Mawes Heritage Group. Both groups have begun the huge project of renovating Pomerys. A full structural survey has been carried out, an Asbestos Report and treatment, a digital 3-D measurement for Architect requirement and initial meetings with each of these professionals. This is a huge project and will involve large costs and we are so fortunate to have the support of several individuals on the Roseland who have offered their help. We have started raising funds by holding various events and have even sold one of our gigs, the Rhos, plus several of our old oars etc to fund these initial costs. Fortunately we were approached by the son of Ralph Bird the boat builder of both William Peters and Rhos, who was keen to buy one of his Dad’s boats. That made the parting a little easier for us. We now begin the work of putting together grant applications and are fortunate to have the expertise of someone who has already had success with grants for local projects.  

We would of course be grateful for any further offers of help or donations towards this exciting project, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch for more information.