The Isles of Scilly Steamship Group is shipping a record amount of freight to the Isles of Scilly as the islands gear up for the 30th World Pilot Gig Championships this weekend.
Transporting many tonnes of freight supplies – with more than 150 tonnes of freight shipped to Scilly this week already – is a huge logistical operation, but one which the team at the Steamship Group have off to a tee.
The group has also transported 152 gigs to the islands in time for this weekend’s competition, with gigs on board almost every freight, and some passenger ship, sailings since February 4 to manage the huge operation. They should all be back by the end of June, again returned in staggered transports.
More than 3,000 passengers, including rowers, spectators and supporters, will be making their way to Scilly for the biggest weekend in the islands’ calendar.
Cargo shipped to the Isles of Scilly – almost four times the amount of a normal weekend – includes 25 tonnes of beer, four trailers of portable toilets and more than 30 cases of pasties. The Scillonian III passenger ferry’s on-board café is even stocking a range of pasties – including a vegan pasty option – to keep hungry rowers well-fed on the crossing.
Debbie Hunt, the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group’s freight bookings facilitator, has managed the operation for the past 28 years. She said: “It takes months of careful planning to ensure everything can be successfully delivered to Scilly in good time for the Gig Weekend but our staff have been doing this for a long time and are very practiced at managing it. It’s such a fantastic event for the islands, and very exciting to play a part in helping it to happen.”
The Isles of Scilly Steamship Company has supported the World Pilot Gig Championships since its inception 28 years ago, and has transported more than 1,000 gigs to and from the islands over the years, along with providing specially discounted travel rates for competitors and running four extra sailings of the Scillonian over the weekend to meet demand.
The World Pilot Gig Championships celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, having begun in 1990 with just a handful of Cornish teams taking part and growing to become the highlight of the Scillonian and Cornish rowing calendar, with more than 100 teams competing.