THEY are fast moving, resilient, wooden boats with oars that require a lot of technique to master.
Now a group of rowing enthusiasts have set up Hampshire’s first club dedicated to gig boats in the hope more people will become interested in using them.
Langstone Cutters Gig Club celebrated its launch with the naming of its two boats – Spirit of Langstone and Heart of Hayling.
During the ceremony, members dressed in robes and gowns.
They chanted the names of the new boats to Neptune, the Roman God of water and the sea, and tipped champagne into the water as a sign of good luck.
People at the club, which recently celebrated reaching 20 members, then enjoyed a few glasses themselves afterwards.
The boats were painted in blue and white, the club’s colours, in time for the occasion.
The club, which operates from a slipway in Northney Marina, Hayling Island, has been set up in the hope that it will bring different types of gig boats to the east Solent area.
Mike Gilbert, 65, who lives in Langstone High Street, Langstone, founded the club and bought the two boats.
He said: ‘People in Hampshire are quite excited about rowing in gigs.’
‘We hope were not the only club in Hampshire for long but its nice to be first.’
The club is the sister club to the larger Langstone Cutters Rowing Club.
The Langstone Cutters Rowing Club was set up around 15 years ago by a group of men who bought a boat for fun.
The club now has seven boats and around 130 members.
Mr Gilbert said: ‘It’s a fantastic workout to race a gig.
‘You have really got to focus with your crew.
‘It’s all very exciting to be a part of this club at its beginnings.’
‘This week a group of the club rowed up to Emsworth, had a cup of coffee and came back again.’
Gig boats are mainly used for recreational rowing, although the sport holds its own world championships in the Isles of Scilly.
For more information about Langstone Cutters Gig Club visit langstonecutters.com