Gig naming ceremony. Blog by Ellie Jarvis
Gig naming ceremony – by the oldest pilot gig club in N. Devon
The Gig Club celebrated the launch of its brand new fibreglass gig boat on Sunday August 5th. Television presenter, Amanda Lamb, officially named the boat, ‘Headon Home’, by spraying a bottle of fizz over its bow.
Launched from Clovelly Lifeboat slip to cheers from the crowd of gig club members and lifeboat crew, as well as friends, families and well-wishers. The naming ceremony took place on Clovelly Lifeboat Day. The day was chosen especially because the new gig is named in honour of Clovellian and former lifeboat coxswain, Richard Headon. He was awarded the RNLI Silver Medal in 1882, after saving 34 lives in his 12 years of service.
Traditionally, gig boats would carry pilots to meet incoming ships so they could guide them through the treacherous waters of the North Devon coastline. Consequently, gigs would race against each other to show their speed. And there is now a thriving gig racing scene throughout the southwest and indeed, around the world.
Gig club members will be training in the newly launched ‘Headon Home’ for the upcoming Clovelly Gig Regatta on 18th August. The new fibreglass frame is lighter than traditional wooden boats. It is therefore easier to manoeuvre the boat across the pebble stones in Clovelly harbour, as well as making it easier for training.
Amanda Lamb explained that she loves Clovelly and has been visiting the village for many years. The gig naming ceremony and gig-rowing was her first experience. Admiring the strength of the all-female crew who rowed her out of the harbour into Bideford Bay, she was struck by the peace she felt whilst on board. Amanda commented upon the wonderful sound of the oars working in symmetry. Looking back at Clovelly from the calm sea, it was even more beautiful on such a glorious summer’s day.