Exmouth Gig Rowing Club founder, Ben Atkinson, decided to start the club after recognising the potential for the sport on the Exe Estuary, where Pilot Gigs were yet to be introduced to the town.
When first considering whether to set up a club, Ben and Carrie took a last-minute decision to travel to Scilly to watch the championships a week before the event. As you can imagine, travel tickets to get there were very limited but they managed to get a place on the ferry.
The club colour Orange was chosen after Ben looked at all of the other Gig Colours lined up on Hugh town beach and orange was one of the only colours he couldn’t see. He even checked with some lifeboat crew members to ask if any other boats were allowed to be orange. There were no rules against it, so bright ‘Rescue’ orange it was!
A friend put them in contact with Helford who were selling a Gig, so before they knew it they were on the beach at St Mary’s looking at the Helford Gig.
They more or less committed to buy ‘Helford’ before having the funds to complete the purchase! It soon focused their minds on fundraising to pay for that first boat!
The founding members were Ben Atkinson, Carrie Atkinson, Max Champion, Keith Cornish, Phil Gater and Matt Netherway. They were the first Committee to run the club.