MALDON Gig Rowing Club is set to host its first race.

The event, the fourth in the Harker’s Yard Race Series, is set to take place on the River Blackwater on January 18.

The club was formed in July last year and already has 40 members and have one Gig called Record Reign.

Club chairman Bob Fawkes said: “We are a fairly new club and the sport has recently started to take off in the area.

“There is gig racing on the east coast but it is quite new here.

“It is much more established in Scotland and Wales. We just have the one Gig at the moment but are hoping to raise funding to buy another one.”

Record Reign, built at Harker’s Yard, Brightlingsea, has been named after the famous Maldon barge which had the distinction of being fitted out as a Q-ship for submarine hunting during the later days of the First World War, built by Howard & Son of Maldon in 1897.

A Q-ship was a decoy, an armed ship disguised as a merchant vessel to entice submarines to surface so that they could be attacked with gunfire.

The Maldon club will be hosting the very first all gig rowing races on the River Blackwater and Record Reign will be competing against teams from around the area including Brightlingsea, Bradwell, Rowhedge and Wivenhoe.

Aquiline, Audacity, Velocity, Matchless and Vanduara will be taking to the water to take on Record Reign.

There will be separate races for men and women, as well as mixed crews and cadets.

The first start will be at 12.30pm and then every half hour after that at 1pm, 1.30pm and 2pm.

The course will be from Hythe Quay out to just beyond the Promenade Park Extension and back, so viewers will be able to follow the races easily from dry land.

There are several places around the Hythe where refreshments will be served.

Gigs are high-sided rowing boats designed to cope with rougher seas than the smoother waters that inland-water rowing boats contend with.

The rowers sit in line and pull on a single oar each and there is room for a cox, they are also longer and slimmer than conventional row boats.

If you are interested in learning to row or you want to return to competitive rowing, or just want a healthy, outdoor activity there will be an opportunity for you to join the Maldon Gig Rowing Club or find out more about the organisation.

You can also check out their website