The Great Big Cornish Gig Project
Yesterday saw the launch of a very special boat built by wounded, injured and sick armed forces personnel as part of a unique project run by the National Maritime Museum Cornwall.
The Great Big Cornish Gig Project, which is core funded by the Armed Forces Community Covenant Grant scheme, has involved beneficiaries training in boatbuilding skills and building a Cornish pilot gig.
Crowds gathered to watch the boat, named H4H Valiant, as it was launched for the first time into the waters of Falmouth Bay following an official blessing lead by RNAS Culdrose Chaplain Tudor Botwood, in a ceremony which also included a display by the Royal Marines Corps of Drums.
Following the launch the gig will now be rowed from Falmouth to the Isles of Scilly by the veterans who built her, starting on April 2. Once there, ownership of the boat will then pass to the Help for Heroes Gig Rowing Team who will be rowing her in the World Pilot Gig Championships.
Veteran Huw Ingram, who was part of the build team, said: “Finally getting the gig in the water is the culmination of eight months hard work. All the team are hugely proud of what we’ve achieved; a boat built for veterans by veterans.”
Project Manager, Mike Selwood said: “The launch of H4H Valiant marks the culmination of this inspirational project, which has been an honour to be involved in. Our team of veterans, led by experienced boat builders, have accomplished something truly remarkable and this is not the end. Our build team are now preparing for the challenge of rowing from Falmouth to the Isles of Scilly in what we are calling the Epic Row.”
The Epic Row, sponsored by St Austell Brewery, will be completed in eight stages over a period of eight days from Falmouth to Sennen Cove before the final leg to the Isles of Scilly in time for a special handover event on the April 29.