Get Weston rowing: buying our first boats


Project by Nikki Wood

Total raised £21,647

raised so far

+ est. £1188.50 Gift Aid



Raise money for gig rowing boats to increase participation and encourage community-focused rowing as befits Weston's seaside location.

We're still collecting donations

On the 20th June 2023 we'd raised £21,447 with 128 supporters in 56 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

 New stretch target

Our target is already ambitious but if we were to raise more than £20,000 this would go towards the gigs themselves (which will cost over £20,000) and then the trailer, oars and seat pads which make it possible to row the gigs!  We are researching purchase options now and will update our Crowd soon so you can see the breakdown of planned spend.    

We are raising funds for Weston-super-Mare’s Gig Club to buy two Cornish Pilot Gigs (sea rowing boats) to help the local community get more active, healthy and connected through rowing following the challenges of the COVID pandemic.

Who are we?

Our welcoming sea-rowing club is a sports, health and wellbeing-focused registered charity. The founding Trustees are all passionate watersports enthusiasts with long histories of encouraging community involvement in sport. Launched in spring 2022, the club smashed all targets and got almost 50 members practically overnight: higher than the predicted three-year target. The club now has members from their 30s to their 70s, and hopes to attract more members this year (and younger and youth members, too).

With many committed members and organisers, our crews and boat managed to attend events and regattas within months of launching, at other clubs and venues. Taking crews and supporters to compete in the Isles of Scilly’s Gig World Championships in 2024 is an ambition we’d love to achieve, but we need stability as a club to get there.



The challenge? We need a boat!

Our current loan boat needs to be returned in early 2024. No boat equals no club, so we’re raising funds for two second-hand plastic gigs (boats) so that the club can survive and thrive at the heart of Weston’s waterfront community. Seeing people rowing across Weston Bay and on the River Axe creates much interest, though without a boat for future security, memberships are paused for now. Securing these boats will help us open up the joys of open-water rowing to more people than ever. ‘Blue water therapy’ and experiencing the club’s sense of community and camaraderie has the potential to bring such positive health and social benefits, especially to those impacted by the challenges of the pandemic and now the cost-of-living crisis.  

With two training gigs this year, we can increase membership and community participation without having to scale back or even fold the club once the hired boat goes back to the Cornish Pilot Gig Association. We’ll then be able to run competitive and social training sessions and events and to be as inclusive and accessible to as many people as possible.

Gym memberships can be costly and gyms and competitive sports clubs daunting, which is where Weston’s gig club comes in, with regular sea-rowing and social events running alongside the more competitive side of the club.


Covid in Weston

Weston-super-Mare had one of the highest rates of Covid during the pandemic. This, together with one of the highest rates of deprivation in North Somerset (and the UK as a whole), has left many in the town feeling isolated and lonely, their lifestyle restricted and less active than ever. Rowing is a very good way for people to build up their fitness and their confidence at their own pace, in a friendly and supportive environment. 


How we'll spend the money raised

Our club priority is to buy two second-hand plastic (GRP) gigs with the required seats, oars and safety equipment. Just like these gigs below. Second hand GRP gigs retail for anything between £8,000 and £12,000 and we intend to start the search for our first GRP gigs as soon as we go live with our Crowdfunder campaign.




The Mayor of Weston-super-Mare Councillor Sonia Russe enjoying a pilot seat row with the club.


Joining in a Lundy League gig race at Appledore - getting ready for the start. 

How you can help

There are four simple ways to help us reach our target and make this project a reality:

 1. Make a pledge. Don’t delay if you’re going to support us because momentum is key to success!

 2. Spread the word. Share our project on your social media pages and tell the world to get behind us! The more people we reach, the more support we will get.

 3. Offer rewards. Get involved if you are a local business by donating things we can offer to our supporters. We will give you a shout out!

 4. If you want to run your own fundraiser to support us, maybe a sponsored activity or similar, use the 'contact project' button at the top of our page to let us know. Setting up your own page only takes a few minutes and you won’t need any bank details. Just a fun idea!

Thanks for your attention and help making this Crowdfunder a success. 

Weston-Super-Mare Pilot Gig Club

Become a fundraiser

Want to raise funds for this cause? It's simple to get started.

Start fundraising


This project offered rewards

£6 or more

Weston-super-Mare gig club sticker

For any pledge of £6 or more show your support for Weston-super-Mare Gig club with a car sticker of the logo. Available to pick up from central Weston-super-Mare

£10 or more

1 hour dog sitting/ dog walking

1-1.5 hour dog sitting or dog walk for your furry friend with another lively playmate to make sure they return tired & happy. This is with an experienced dog owner but non-licenced dog walker/ sitter with a discussion on your dog's suitability and needs pre-walk.

£15 or more

Rowing Taster Session

Come and join the crew for a "taster" of gig rowing and see if it could be the new sport for you. One 30-45 minute row as arranged with the club.

£15 or more

Passenger seat row around Weston bay

Don't fancy rowing yourself? No problem. Let the Weston gig crew do the work, whilst you sit in the passenger seat.

£24 or more

"Erg" Rowing machine training session 1:1

30 minute training session to either introduce you to erg rowing, or improve your technique and training.

£24 or more

One month's Unlimited Yoga with Do Yoga

One month's UNLIMITED yoga with DoYoga, normally £29. Check out the timetable and classes:

£24 or more

Outdoor swimming lesson in Marine lake

A 1:2:1 lesson for adult swimmers to improve technique and/ or gain confidence with outdoor swimming. Suitable for beginners, and improvers, the lesson will be held in Weston marine lake. A 30-45 minute session with experienced swim instructor and outdoor, cold water swimming enthusiast Lauren Deane. Valid between June and September 2023. RRP £35

£28 or more

Circus Fantasia Family Ticket

A family ticket for 4 to the fabulous Circus Fantasia on a date of your choice between 29th May-9th June at Clevedon, Salthouse Fields. Normal price £40

£50 or more

Monthly coffee & cake @ Loves Café and Sprout Café

Plan a monthly treat for yourself for a whole year with monthly coffee & cake of your choice redeemable at either Loves Café or Sprout Café. Normally £78 this represents a real treat at £50.

£100 or more

Name an oar

See your name or the name of your company on an oar for one of Weston's newly purchased training gigs. Forever recognised for your support to the club and community.

£100 or more

1 yr of Weekly coffee @ Loves Café and Sprout Café

Great treat for a coffee lover! 1 year of weekly coffee of your choice redeemable at Weston's very special Loves Café or sister Sprout Café. Normal price of £156.

£150 or more

Bespoke 3D Keepsake Photo Frame

Normally retailing for up to £300 a keepsake photo frame is the perfect way to remember a special occasion like a wedding, or for a collection of baby items. This can be purchased as a wonderful gift as a wedding present or for a new parent. Examples of what is included in a wedding design include a wedding invitation, flowers, sugar craft and more. A consultation upfront to tailor to individual needs. 12x12 inch box frame. Pick up in Uphill

£200 or more

Corporate Team Building Day

Take your team for a unique and fun sporting experience. After a land-based introduction and safety brief, join a cox and some experienced crew for a row in Weston Bay. Maximum 8 people.

£200 or more

Website design and build for your business

Improve your business's online presence: you supply the content, ( )will make you a simple website. Homepage, About Us, Contact/ Find Us, Blog/ News, Gallery, linked Social Media icons. Ts and Cs will apply, get in touch for more info. You'll need to buy/ bring a URL (from 99p) and to pay for ongoing hosting (approx £15pcm). Normal price £499

£1,000 or more

Sponsor a gig

See your company name and logo on the side of one of Weston's first pilot gigs! Valid for 1 year from donation. Only 2 sponsors per gig.

£10 or more

Talk Ticket: Gemma Best & The World's Toughest Row

Come to Weston's 'Front Room' community theatre to hear local endurance rower, Gemma Best (Clevedon), talk about her two trans-Atlantic rows as part of the epic Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. Date: Wednesday 31st May Venue: The Front Room Theatre, Weston-super-Mare: Address: The Front Room, 13, Central Walk, BS23 1FF Time: Doors from 7pm for event start 7.30pm until approx.9pm/ Q&A, Social may go on later.

£15 or more

Breakfast for 2 at Zoe's Cafe, Weston

Snap up a bargain deal on a delicious breakfast for two at Zoe's Cafe, Weston-super-Mare. Choose a breakfast from the menu with options including a traditional breakfast, vegetarian breakfast with homemade veggie sausages or an omelette of your choice. Includes one hot drink per person.

£18 or more

Mendip Activity Centre 2 hour Activity Try-Out

A 2 hour voucher for Mendip Activity Centre trying out an activity including climbing, abseiling, kayaking or Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP). Valid until 12 May 2024. RRP £26.

£18 or more

Dairy Fix: Yeo Valley Goodie Bag

A bag of Yeo Valley organic dairy products including milk, yoghurt, cheese and cream AND a re-usable cool bag to keep it all fresh and keep you company on picnics this summer. Value of goods and bag is normally £28. Delivery within 10 mile radius of Weston-super-Mare.

£22 or more

MOT before September 2023

Get a great deal on your next MOT with Andy Hall Cars. Normally £45, pick up the MOT for half price!

£30 or more

Kids chicken keeper gift experience

Get the taste of being a chicken keeper, feeding and caring for our gig club member Helen's 4 chickens for 5 days a week. A great and unique reward for children who can take on the chicken keeper role, adult supervision on hand.

£30 or more

Framed ink painting of Uphill Boat Yard

Framed Print of an ink painting of Uphill Boat Yard in Weston-super-Mare by local artist Dan Speakman. The print measures 20x20cms and is printed on 300gsm high quality Conqueror paper, in a black frame with white and black mount. To see the picture please visit Dan's etsy shop and to see how it looks framed please contact [email protected]

£40 or more

Traditional Afternoon Tea for 2 at Berwick Lodge

Delicious Traditional Afternoon Tea for 2 at Berwick Lodge Boutique Hotel in Bristol in the wood paneled lodge or magnificent grounds. Normally £29.95 per person.

£40 or more

Power washing of patio/ driveway (20 sq/m)

Power-washing of selected 20 sq/m area - access to water and electricity supply required. Normally £65.

£40 or more

Pair of Annual Passes to Yeo Valley Organic Garden

Yeo Valley organic garden is open to visitors and hosts a number of events throughout the year. It’s six and a half acres of Soil Association certified ornamental and edible plants in a seasonal patchwork that has been constantly evolving for more than 30 years ago. There is a strong emphasis on confident planting and quirky fun. The garden is situated between Blagdon and Ubley. Standard price is £30 per person.

£45 or more

Delicious dinner for two at Il Michaelangelo

A £70 voucher for Il Michaelangelo restaurant - a Weston-super-Mare institution overlooking Weston Bay. The voucher can be used towards a dinner for two or more before June 2024.

£50 or more

2hr Fishing boat trip in Weston Bay

Fishing trip for 2 hours for one person in Weston Bay with all equipment supplied.

£65 or more

Yachting experience in Weston Bay (2 people)

2 1/2 hour yachting experience around Weston Bay for 2 people with a glass of Prosecco! Set sail from River Axe, Uphill Take in Brean Down, Birnbeck Pier, Knightstone and the Grand Pier. Take the helm and learn the basics of sailing if you wish, then return to Uphill.

£95 or more

2.5 hour Yachting Experience in Weston Bay

2 1/2 hour yachting experience around Weston Bay for up to 4 people with a glass of Prosecco! Set sail from River Axe, Uphill Take in Brean Down, Birnbeck Pier, Knightstone and the Grand Pier. Take the helm and learn the basics of sailing if you wish then return to Uphill.

Payment and personal details are protected