The champagne corks were popping at gift and lifestyle store Brocante in Cornwall recently, when two members of staff in Fowey – store manager Maria Norman, and logistics manager James Cockley – took part in the World Pilot Gig Rowing Championships and won.
“The winning team was the Fowey Women’s A Crew, where my brother James was the cox and Maria was one of the six rowers,” explained Keiron Cockley, co-owner of Brocante, which has stores in Fowey, Megavissey, St Ives and Charlestown. “It was a tremendous achievement, and not only are the whole Brocante team proud but so is the whole of Fowey. We put in a huge window display to welcome Maria and James back, and a party is on the horizon.”
Added Keiron: “James – as the world’s best cox! – also gave more of his own time to cox the ladies Super Vets, a crew with a combined age of 430!” continued Keiron. “Our mum is one of the rowers in this gig, and it’s officially the oldest crew in the world!”
Exclaimed a delighted Maria: “Lifting the trophy on the podium was a whirlwind! The fact that we had won didn’t really sink in until a couple of days later when we were back on the mainland and being congratulated by all those who had watched on the live stream at home. Lifting the trophy now makes me proud of all the training, early mornings, and countless sessions rowing in the dark over the winter that went into the performances. The shiny piece of metal makes it all worth it!”
The World Pilot Gig Rowing Championship event takes place annually over the May Bank Holiday on the Isles of Scilly (with the exception of the last two years because of CovId restrictions). There were 120 gigs in the championships this year, with each gig having several crews. During the race, variables such as the wind and weather conditions, crew stamina and rowing technique, as well as the efficiency of the boats rowed, all culminated into the final result.
Top: Brocante’s Maria Norman and James Cockley are shown proudly holding The World Pilot Gig Rowing Championship.