About Us

The Gig Rowers

The Gloucester Gig Rowers started in 1985, when a group of Cape Ann women approached boat builder Larry Dahlmer and asked him to build them a boat inspired by the Scilly Isles pilot gigs of Southwest England. The result was the Siren Song — a 30’, plywood-construction gig launched in October of 1987. The original group of women remained active until the early 1990s, when other interests and events intervened.

Siren Song spent some time in dry dock, then was loaned to rowing programs at the Hull Life Saving Museum , Gloucester Museum School,  and in Kittery, Maine.  In the spring of 2001, Siren Song returned to Gloucester. Ann Banks organized a rowing program within the newly-formed Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center.

Between 2004-2007, a second boat – Gannet –  was built by Dave Condino;  this one more in the tradition of the older English pilot gigs.

Over the winter-spring of 2012, we commissioned a new gig to be built at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.  This newest gig, named the Annie B in honor of our own Ann Banks, has been at our dock since summer 2013.

 

Programs

We row from April to December, weather-permitting, on Gloucester Harbor. Most rows are for one hour;  often with a  short break(s).  Our programs include rowing for all abilities.

We provide orientation training for interested persons (Novices) to determine if they have interest in joining and becoming a rower.  After a brief orientation, rowers are encouraged to pursue their interests, ranging from a recreational row around the harbor, to conditioning rows, race training, and competitive racing against other New England clubs. Races are as short as several-hundred-yard, and as long as 20 miles around Cape Ann.  We also engage in intra-club recreational scrimmages periodically throughout the season.

We provide refresher training for our Row Captains, and general rowing and Cox training for all other members.

For more information, please contact us at info@gloucestergigrowers.com.

 

Pilot Gigs

The Cornish pilot gig is a s a 32′ six-oared boat with a beam of 4’9.  The Cornish gig was developed in the early 1800s, and has its roots in the Scilly Isles, 40 miles off of the coast of Cornwall, England. The boats were used to transport a local pilot to incoming sailing vessels, and needed to be both fast and seaworthy. The first boat to reach the ship offshore got the job of guiding the vessel through the treacherous shoals in that area (and therefore shared in the profits).

These boats were multi-purpose, however, and were also used as shore-based lifeboats that went out to vessels in distress, freight carriers among the islands, and to smuggle contraband across the English Channel. Pilot gigs are actively raced in Europe today, and have been adopted (and often adapted) by many youth and adult rowing programs around the United States.

 

The Dory

Originally, Gloucestermen fished from Grand Banks schooners using hand lines over the side of the schooner itself. Later they developed a system that involved launching dories from the mother ship. This system allowed the crew to cover much more territory, and was therefore more efficient. The dories varied in length; our dory is ~17’. While it’s easier to fish with two people handling the dory (and catch), many schooners—including the Lettie Howard—worked with one man setting tub trawls, or jigging over the side of the dory. Our dory is a one-person version.

 

Join

We are always seeking new members! Please explore our website, and send an e-mail to info@gloucestergigrowers.com if you are interested in joining our organization.