A new wooden gig partly built in Lyme Regis has made its debut at the World Pilot Gig Championships.

The gig, named Ammonite, was partly constructed at the Boat Building Academy (BBA) in Lyme Regis.

During the championships, Ammonite, along with the men’s crew from Lyme Regis Gig Club, notably finished at the top of Group C.

The annual event welcomed over 441 crews from across Europe and England's South West to the Isles of Scilly for the May Day Bank Holiday weekend.

This championship includes races from St Agnes to St Mary’s and groups of 12 crews competing for their final position by racing heats from Nut Rock back to St Mary’s.

One of the men’s team members from Lyme Regis Gig Club, Rob Hounslow, was commissioned to build Ammonite for his club.

Mr Hounslow said: "The weather was fairly good over the weekend.

"However, as it progressed, the wind picked up along with the swell.

"It was a bit of a baptism of fire for Ammonite with lots of difficult races back-to-back, but she held up well, as did her crews.

"Our Women’s Super-Vets, Men’s Vets and Women’s A crew, all secured excellent results in the gig over the weekend."

Midweek Herald:

Having trained as a boat builder at BBA from March 2012, Mr Hounslow explained that it took roughly nine months to build Ammonite.

Built with traditional clinker construction, her 24 elm planks are held together with approximately 3000 copper rivets and strengthened by over 60 steam-bent oak ribs.

BBA had made space available to Mr Hounslow to part build the gig.

He said: "I think it was useful for the BBA’s students to witness a commercial build in progress while they worked on their boats alongside it, and I was also able to employ some people to help me along the way, all of whom were ex-students and one, Joe Blathwayt, is also a Tutor at the BBA."

Midweek Herald:

Subsequently, the gig build was completed at the Lyme Regis Gig Club’s own workshop at the Tunnels Shooting range in January 2024.

The principal at the Boat Building Academy, Will Reed said: "Rob is an outstanding boat builder and exemplary tutor, sitting well among our first-class team.

"When he asked for extended leave to build a gig, I was delighted.

"We were all thrilled to accommodate the build in our workshops at the Academy.

"Rob worked tirelessly, and the beautiful craftsmanship is testament to his skill and determination."

Midweek Herald:

Ammonite continues a tradition of the Lyme Regis Gig Club, as all their wooden racing boats are built in their Dorset town.

The three existing boats, Rebel, Black Ven and Tempest, from which Ammonite takes over as the club’s primary racing boat, were all built by local boat builder and fellow BBA graduate, Gail McGarva.

Ammonite is looking ahead to future races, with her next one scheduled at Ilfracombe Gig Rowing Regatta on June 15.

Following this, she has a packed programme of racing across the South West this summer.