Water Boatmen
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  What Was That?
  If you're by the sea in the south-west of England in the summer, you might see people in very small boats rowing incredibly fast. The boats are called pilot gigs, or gigs for short, and have a crew of seven: six rowers, who have one oar each, and someone who steers the boat.
  Old Boats, New Rules
  The oldest gig in existence, called the Treffry, was built in 1838 and is still rowed by the Newquay Rowing Club today. All gigs built today are based on that one, and in the 1980s strict rules were created affecting their construction. A gig called the Odessa was once forbidden to enter the World Championships because it didn't obey them. Now they're checked three times while being built, by the Association Standards Officer of the Cornish Pilot Gig Association, the governing body of this fast-growing sport. They must be made of a certain kind of wood, elm, preferably grown in Cornwall. They're small vessels, 9.8 metres long, yet they have to be built well enough to survive in the sea.
  Where Can We Find Gigs?
  As well as local races, annual World Championships are held in the Isles of Scilly, a group of islands 45km off the coast of Cornwall. Why a World Championship? Although the sport is most popular in the south-west of the UK, there are also clubs in London, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Netherlands, France, the Faroe lslands, the USA and Australia. None of the competitors are professional, and there are both men's and women's races. Today, 55 clubs and 145 gigs are registered with the Cornish Pilot Gig Association. The championships take place over the May Day bank holiday weekend and attract a lot of attention. In 2013 a film crewjoined one of the newest clubs to make a documentary following them from their beginning to the championships.
  Bad News
  However, not everything is positive, and although a hundred and thirty gigs entered the 2012 World Championships, fewer spectators came than usual. lt's financed entirely by profits from food sold on the day, and usually comes to around ~16,000. Sadly, that year they made fifteen per cent less and so had to use their savings to put on the next event. Chairman Rick Persich says they've been considering other ways of paying for the championships and have been approached by companies wishing to sponsor it. Unfortunately, their offers didn't reflect the responsible nature of the gig clubs. Persich said they didn't want to hand out free drink samples from a brewery, and that free copies of a newspaper would create litter   Why Were Gigs Invented?
  Originally gigs were working boats; they helped guide sailing ships into harbours. The man in charge of the gig was the pilot. His crew would row him out to a ship and he would climb onto it and give the captain directions into the harbour. Using his local knowledge he would avoid underwater rocks and other danger. Captains paid plenty of money for pilots and, as most harbours had more than one gig, they used to rush out to the sailing ships. Because there was money involved, these races were even more competitive than today's non-professional ones: the crews were racing to feed their families.
  Life and Death
  Not only that, the ships were oftenjust about to hit rocks, so it was also about saving ships and even lives as well. Gigs were among the first recorded lifeboats, as early as the seventeenth century. Their speed made them the ideal vessel to be kept ready to rescue sailors in danger at any time.
  Oid They Stay Popular?
  In the early 1900s, steam power and a reduction in the number of ships using the small harbours around the coast of the UK meant that help was no longer needed from gigs. lt's only thanks to local enthusiasts that they are still being constructed and raced today.
  Can l Try?
  Many local clubs offer courses for beginners, or novices, but my tip is the one at Newquay Rowing Club, where beginners can try the sport each Monday night in summer. Despite its incredibly low cost, it is totally professional and great fun. It is available between May and September.
  Useful link
  For more information on gigs and gig racing, go to http:// gigrower.co.uk/
  Activity 1
  Match the word or Dhrase with a definition.
  a.not be killed or destroyed
  b.long spoon-like thing for moving small boats
  c.someone watching an event
  d.when people really want to win
  e.move a small boat with long spoon-like things
  f.normal
  g.a national day off work and school, usually on
  a Monday in Britain
  h.someone who really likes something,
  often a hobby
  i.how an event or project is paid for
  j.a group which controls a sport worldwide,
  e.g. FIFA for football
  Activity 2
  Are the statements true, false, or not given (NG) in the text ?
  1.Everyone in the gig has to row as hard as they can so they can go as fast as possible.
  2.Despite their small size, gigs are very strong.   3.Odessa was made in America.
  4.The World Championships have taken place every year for over thirty years.
  5.Competitors in the World Championships often train seven days a week, but are paid wel
  6.A documentary about one of the newest gig clubs appeared on TV in 2013.
  7.The number of teams racing in the championships isn't reflected by the number of spectators.
  8.Rick Persich is worried the World Championships will have to stop due to financial reasons.
  9. Pilots were paid on a monthly basis.
  lO.Gigs have no professional purpose and exist only because some people like them.
  Activity 3
  A. Change these passive sentences into active ones.
  Courses are offered for beginners by many local clubs.
  Many /oca/ c/ubs offer courses for beginners.
  1.The Treffry is still rowed by the Newquay Rowing Club.
  2.Fifteen per cent less profit has been made by the assoaation this year.
  3.This year's World Championships are being called 'the biggest ever'.
  4.They have been approached by two possible sponsors.
  5.Gigs had been used all over the coast of Britain, but by the 1900s they weren't being used
  as much.
  B.Change these active sentences into passive ones.
  They base all the gigs they build today on that one
  All gigs built today are based on that one.
  1.Someone checks the gigs three times during construction.
  2.People have used gigs continuously since the seventeenth century.
  3.Many clubs are borrowing gigs from other ones.
  4.Peter Martin and Andrew Hicks rebuilt the Bonnet.
  5.Crews rowed their pilots out to ships for 200 years before steamships stopped their use.
  Activity 4
  What's your favourite team sport? How do you play it? Why do you like it? What annual races, or other
  sporting events, are held near you? How did they begin? Why are they run?

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