Gig Build by Peter Martin
Cornish boatbuilder Peter Martin will be setting up shop at Gweek to build a gig to spec from January 2019. He will be supported by his grandson, Dylan Sofio and friend Patrick Killian, who have both studied at boat building school IRYS, in Rhode Island, USA and have also worked at Rolts Boat Yard, Bristol.
The gig will be built from Lincolnshire elm (Cornish elm would have been used originally, but this is now rare and difficult to source).
About Peter Martin
Peter was born in Falmouth, Cornwall: he left school at 15 and worked on the Fal pleasure boats and oyster farms before taking an apprenticeship in boatbuilding at Mylor Dock Yard. After gaining a five-year apprenticeship as a shipwright, he moved to the Ocean Youth Club at Ponsharden to help build their new Robert Clarke design 72ft ketches. It was here that he worked with Ralph Bird whom he had known since the early 60s through rowing.
Having worked in various boat yards, Peter moved to the Isles of Scilly in 1987 after meeting his Scillonian wife through gig rowing. Fiona is niece to the late Tom Chudleigh, who built the first gigs in the 20th century. Peter and Fiona moved back to the mainland in 2014 and made Gweek their home.
After moving to Scilly, Peter was soon commissioned to build a Cameret Crabber “Pettifox” and a 100-passenger pleasure boat “Seahorse” for the Hicks family (pictured above). “Pettifox” can now be seen in Fowey where she is a charter yacht.
Having spent most of his life rowing skiffs, coxed fours and gigs, and latterly coxing some championship crews, Peter was asked to build a gig for Mount’s Bay Rowing Club. Peter has so far built twelve gigs, including four for Mount’s Bay, four for Scilly and two for Holland. He had also over time repaired and renovated all of the old, original Scillonian gigs.
‘Zeeheld’, meaning ‘sea hero’ was Peter’s twelfth boat, commissioned by a Dutch club in 2013. Read more about “Zeeheld” on Scilly Today here.
“Pettifox” was the last sailing to be built on the Isles of Scilly and is still registered with the British Registry. Built in 1992 by Peter Martin and Alfie Hicks Find more info on “Pettifox” on her website here.