BRIDPORT Ladies delivered a sensational performance to claim 16th in the Gig Rowing World Championships on the Isles of Scilly and place in the top 10 per cent of competitors.

Every year, the gig rowing world descends onto the tiny isles and the beaches become awash with flags, spectators and rowers.

Hundreds of brightly coloured wooden gigs jut out from the beautiful shoreline.

The World Championships are in their 30th year and the event has evolved from men, racing in their jeans in a handful of gigs, to elite male and female athletes competing in latest technology sports gear.

Clubs from Bermuda, America and Holland as well as the whole South West coast, arrive to challenge the Cornish. Falmouth and Caradon are the Oxford and Cambridge of the gig rowing world. Inevitably, one or other will win the annual title.

One hundred and sixty-three boats took part in two days of very intensive racing. After four gruelling rounds, battling 20mph cross and head winds, the Bridport Ladies A crew kept their nerve, finally placing 16th in the world. Bridport were the highest-placed Dorset crew.

Joint Ladies’ captain, Kirsty Willis, said: “The championships are a true measure of how we are doing – 2019 was the most competitive year ever and Bridport Ladies did us proud!”

Mum and daughter, Sandie and Sally Carruthers, were two of the six ladies in the Bridport A crew.

Sally is 18 and the youngest crew member. Sandie is also joint ladies captain and a well-established super vet rower. Sandie encouraged her strong, fit daughter to give the sport a try three years ago. Sandie beamed with pride, “When you have no more to give, we found more for each other.”

Cox, Mark Vanstone, dedicates himself to the club and his crew. He is also the Bosun so it is his job to make sure the beautiful 27ft vessels are race perfect.

Vanstone spends countless hours on coxing, rowing and boat maintenance. For a volunteer, community group, the sport and club have many dedicated to its success.

Vanstone was extremely proud of his Ladies’ A crew achievement.

He said: “The Scilly result was the culmination of lots of work, with a special crew.”

Over 50 rowers, spectators and coxes from Bridport visited the isles for the Championships. Bridport Ladies B came 47th, making them the top B crew for Dorset. Ladies C were 83rd, having already achieved 23rd place the night before in the vets race.

The men’s vets followed closely behind in 29th. Bridport men’s A crew achieved 39th and the men’s Bs were 137th.

Bridport Gig Club is well and truly on the map and a club to watch out for.

Next up is the Weymouth Regatta on Saturday, May 25.

Bridport welcomes new rowers. Visit and join the Learn To Row course.