Rowing out to win after a quiet winter with the lettuces

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The Ann Glanville sets out to sea in one of the toughest and fastest- growing sports in the world - pilot-gig racing.

Manned by a crew of "hefty lads", the gig, named after a legendary 6ft Cornish oarswoman, will defend its title in the world championships to be held around the Scilly Isles this weekend.

Martin Langdon, a graphic artist and crew member - along with a coalman, two builder's labourers and a firefighter - has high hopes of winning again this year, with crew and boat well-prepared. "We stripped the gig down ... and let it dry out inside the [garden] lettuce cloche," he said, making her "very, very light" for the race, which goes ahead even in the roughest seas. "One minute your oar can be 10 feet in the air, the next you are 10 feet under water," he said.