World Pilot Gig Championships

St Mary’s and various points around the Isles of Scilly

Gig racing is the islanders’ favourite pastime. The sport was passed down from oarsmen of the 19th century, who would row their boats out to incoming ships, competing for the job of piloting them into harbour, and nowadays the islands are home to the World Pilot Gig Championships in early May. Venture to St Mary’s for the contest and you’ll be swept away in a lively weekend of rowing and drinking and general carousing. You needn’t miss out at other times of year – the island gig teams compete every Wednesday and Friday throughout summer, and visitors can join in the cheering from a spectator boat.

Places to stay near World Pilot Gig Championships