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2 May 2019, 12:05 | Updated: 2 May 2019, 12:10
A gig crew made up of RNLI volunteers and supporters is taking to the water in the 2019 World Pilot Gig Championships on the Isles of Scilly on May 4th and 5th.
The team, made up of volunteers from Salcombe, Looe, Exmouth and Bristol, will be talking to gig rowers and raising awareness of the RNLI's prevention and safety advice over the course of the two-day event.
Duncan Norris, RNLI volunteer Community Safety Officer at Salcombe RNLI and mens captain at Salcombe Gig Club, organised the crew after the Salcome gig club were short of a mens' C crew for the event.
Duncan thought it would be great opportunity to raise awareness of the RNLI's safety work in the gig community, by having a visible presence and involvement in the sport's biggest event in the calendar.
He put a plea on Facebook and several people came forward. The crew is made up of Dan Margetts, helm at Looe RNLI and 2018 mens world champion, Mark Champion from Exmouth RNLI, and RNLI supporters Geoff Goddier from Salcombe, James Boundy from Cotehele and Luke Griffith and Len Collacott from Bristol.
Duncan is the crew's cox.
He explained: "The rowing community is made up of people who are used to being around the sea and have an awareness of the dangers such as tides and wind.
"Our aim is to raise awareness of the RNLI’s Respect the Water campaign and be a catalyst to conversations about water safety and gig rowing.
"We will be in RNLI branded kit so easy to spot, and will be chatting to rowers and gig clubs as relatable people from the same sporting world with the same passion about rowing.
"We'll also be flying the RNLI's Respect the Water campaign flag while on the water."
Duncan has been organising the crew's training sessions, which is no mean feat with such a geographical spread.
He added: "We have trained about five times as a full crew, which considering everyone is based so far apart is pretty good!
"We’re not necessarily focused on results, although some of our more competitive crew members may be, but rather to represent the RNLI at such a momentous event for the rowing community."
The crew will also have a collection bucket with all monies collected going to St Mary's Lifeboat Station on the island.