There are no excuses for not being in and amongst St Ayles Skiffs this weekend. There are events of one sort or another going on all round the country.
In East Lothian Eskmuthe will be launching their second St Ayles skiff at Fisherrow on Saturday 3 May.
Also on 3 May Bunillidh CRC in Helmsdale, Sutherland, are holding an open day, for potential rowers to come and have a go.
On the River Tyne in Northumberland Gateshead CRC are launching their skiff Harry Clasper on 4 May. They are being joined by skiffs from other North East clubs Blyth, Alnmouth, Byker, Gosforth and Amble who will be holding a regatta with races on the Tyne through Newcastle City Centre. Please could Skiffs be lined up at top of slipway for 2 pm. Mayor naming the boat at 3pm then its down the slipway and off to race. Medals and bottle of bubbly for the fastest crew to be presented by Annamarie Phelps, the chair of British Rowing.
Coxes from several SCRA clubs will be put through their paces at Anstruther in the first SCRA cox training day. If it is a success it is hoped that some coxes training can be rolled out in future events.
Also at Anstruther, St Ayles CRC are holding a community racing day on Saturday 2 May starting at 12.30pm in the east basin of Anstruther harbour. it will be a fun day with races in the harbour area so spectators can see all the action. Teams are: Anster Allsorts, Anster Haddies, Anstruther Fish Bar, Casa Candles, Scottish Fisheries Museum, Tennis Club, Thorntons, Waid Teachers.
On a sunshiny day on the Isle of Mull, ‘Síne Bhan’, sister skiff to ‘Eala Bhan’ was launched yesterday.
‘Síne Bhan’, meaning ‘Fair Jean’ was floated with plenty of local support into the clear waters of Ulva Ferry. She sports a similar white hull and orange sheer strake of ‘Eala Bhan’.
‘Have a Go’ rows were available during the afternoon as well as some lighthearted racing, before retiring to Dervaig for post launch chat and a little bask in the glory of ‘Second Skiff Success’.
Isle of Mull rowing are pleased to have a second skiff ready in plenty of time for their annual regatta, to be held later this year, on the 4th, 5th and 6th of September. Following their inaugural regatta last year, the club are hoping to accommodate up to eight visiting skiffs this time round, and are looking forward to a range of races from evening sprints on Friday to a 6 km race around Calve Island on Saturday.
Keep up to date with the latest St.Ayles Skiff launch and regatta plans by following Isle of Mull coastal rowing’s facebook page.
Our very big thanks to Lynne Addy for photographs of Saturday’s launch.
Once again coastal rowers are being invited to attend the Annan Harbour Festival with their St Ayles skiffs, and recreate in a race an attempted cross border raid from 1626.
This will be a raid on England, leaving 1 hr before high water from Annan Harbour, racing the 3 miles over to Bowness on Solway, landing on the beach. Members of each crew will proceed to pub in the centre of village to recover a bell, the first crew arriving at pub have privilege of bringing bell back to Annan and the second crew will bring the stand. Crews will start together for the return leg. At Annan (estimate return 1 hr after high water) the bell will be reassembled and rung by the winning crew.
The race partially recreates a raid in 1626 when some men from Annan raided and stole the bell at Bowness which was the maximum insult in those days. We do however hope that our skiffs do better than those historic raiders who sadly, due to a combination of heavy bell, small boat and a lot of alcohol lost the bell in the Solway. The missing bell has never been found but apparently its watery ring is still heard from time to time. Please contact Roy Kerr for more information (roykerr(at)ymail.com) and to register an entry as set out in the notice of raid.
More information for all raiders in the 2015 Notice of Raid, and in particular note must be made of the crucial tidal information for this part of the coast.
Will Royal West bring their new Galleon?
Two intrepid St Ayles skiff rowers are attempting to row round the coast of Scotland in a St Ayles Skiff. Frazer MacDonald Hay and Ian Baird have secured the loan of skiff number 8 “Puffin” from the Berwickshire Maritime Trust. They have been busy renovating the skiff and making small alterations to make her more suitable for a long voyage and have even started trying to get fit for the attempt.
However they have come to realise that there are only two of them, and that it takes five to fully crew a St Ayles skiff. They love the idea of having skiffies from all the local St Ayles clubs (and further afield) join them for legs of the journey.
The exact route has still to be determined, and will of course be subject to considerations of conditions as the journey proceeds. However they will set off from Eyemouth in early May, rowing from there up the Firth of Forth to the Forth and Clyde Canal, to avoid having to carry the skiff on their backs from Berwick to the Solway. They are going to enjoy the sheltered waters of the west coast, and will probably take an inner route through the Hebrides. From there they will round Cape Wrath and Dunnet Head before heading back down the East Coast, finishing their journey at North Berwick. They hope to visit many of the Coastal Rowing Clubs that they pass, and would enjoy the company of other St Ayles skiffs from time to time.
Please do follow their progress on the Skiff Around Scotland facebook page and at www.skiffaroundscotland.co.uk . You will see that they are hoping to raise some funds for the RNLI as part of their voyage.
Please get in touch with Ian and Frazer directly if you are interested in a bit of exercise, a lot of fun, plenty of chat, a lack of sleep and the acquisition of various aches, pains and blisters. You can be part of a fantastic adventure. Contact them through the “Row with Us” page on their website.
Even if you are not able to join them in their adventure, you can help by making suggestions of dramatic, quirky or intriguing places that they and their crews should visit as they row round the coast. Feel free to post a comment here with your ideas.
Broughty Ferry Boating have launched their second skiff. Number 94 on the UK Register of craft, the skiff has been named after Arthur Nicoll who was a member of the International Brigade who fought against General Franco in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39. He was one of the survivors when 16 volunteers from Dundee died in the conflict, and it was the Arthur Nicoll Foundation which funded the building of the new skiff.
Skiffs from the other Firth of Tay Clubs, Newburgh and Wormit, attended with their crews to welcome Arthur Nicoll to the water. It was a very full weekend for Broughty Ferry, who had successfully campaigned their first skiff “Brochty” at Port Seton regatta the day before, where she had won in three of the six regatta categories.
A crew of Royal Tay Yacht Club cadets, took Arthur Nicoll out for the maiden voyage, and other club members took the chance of a row in the very smart newcomer to the fleet.
Great news announced this week from our friends in the New Zealand Coastal Rowing Association. Following on the success of the Living Boat Trust‘s Tass Skiffie 2015 earlier in February, the Kiwi Raid and St Ayles International Regatta are to be held in New Zealand in 2016.
From the NZCRA:
“Totally inspired by our friends across the Tasman and now totally hooked on the small boat adventure thing, we have put together what we think is going to be a pretty darn good couple of weeks here in Kiwi Land. It’s early days yet and as you can imagine there are a million or so things to do and organise, but we’ve made a start and drawn a line in the sand, we have a plan.”
Interested? Here are the dates for your diary:
Kawau Raid: Friday 29th January – Friday 5th February.
St Ayles Regatta: 6th – 8th February.
Tamaki Raid: 9th – 13th February.
Kawau Bay lies forty minutes drive north of Auckland and the Kawau Raid will involve a trip of eight days, seven nights and a total distance of 62. 5nm, with the longest day’s run 16nm, though the majority of days will be under 10nm. Accomodation will mostly involve camping, so tents required, and showers provided.
The Raid will take in the famous Mahurangi Regatta, a long established Classic Wooden Boat festival, a river trip to Warkworth, a trip to Tiritiri Matangi (a fantastic native bird sanctuary), a visit to the famous Mansion House (home of Governer George Grey) and stunning Kawau Island, involving fantastic sailing and rowing.
A three day St. Ayles Regatta will be held in central Auckland, with a final venue to be confirmed at a later date. The regatta will take a similar format to February’s Franklin Regatta, again with mixed teams, corporate classes and plenty of fun guaranteed.
Finally, the Tamaki Raid will take in Waiheke Island and the eastern bays of Auckland, involving a total of five days, four nights (three camping, one indulgent night in cabins) running a total distance of 41nm, averaging 10nm per day. Competitors are promised visits to Moutuihe, Waiheke and Rotorua Islands and a chance to understand why the Hauraki Gulf is rated as one of the best cruising grounds in the world.
The New Zealand Coastal Rowing Association are looking for enthusiastic parties to register their interest quickly as spaces will be limited. Join Wee Tawera, Frank Worsley and Kaikoura Lass for some great International competition in a beatiful location – perhaps there may be more Straydog Boatworks (suppliers of the Jordan Boats St. Ayles Kits to the NZCRA) skiff kits completed by then and ready to join the New Zealand fleet and visiting skiffs and skiffies.
Fine weather rewarded the skiffies who turned out for the first regatta of the 2015 main season, at Port Seton.
Skiffs from Dunbar, North Berwick, Broughty Ferry, Portobello, Queensferry, Eskmuthe and Anstruther joined hosts Boatie Blest for some entertaining sprint racing and the famous two harbours relay race. The chimneys of Cockenzie Power station formed a backdrop to the racing for the last time. The iconic structures, which helped the relay racers find Cockenzie harbour are to be demolished later in the summer.
Names were drawn from a hat to determine crews for the racing, making for some interesting (and colourful) combinations. The successful crews were those who could adapt quickly to the different styles in the boat.
If anyone can send us any results we will happily publish them!
Photos Max Blinkhorn.
Ullapool Coastal Rowing Club have issued an invitation to St Ayles Skiff clubs to indicate whether they wish to attend the 2015 regatta, by emailing email@example.com. All that is asked for at this stage is an indication that the club will attend, a call for category race entries will come later. The regatta is usually one of the biggest in the SCRA calendar, and the club can accommodate around 30 skiffs.
Camping facilities as well as plenty of holiday accommodation can be found within an easy walk of the race course. A large marquee will be on the pier and there will be music and dancing on Friday and Saturday nights. Races will be held over a course of 2km, starting at 1030 on Friday 10th and Saturday 11th July, the same course as was used for the 2013 St Ayles Skiff World Championship. Fifteen race categories are being offered over the 2km course, with male, female and mixed categories at Under 19, Open, 40+, 50+ and 60+. Time permitting, a sprint time trial will run on the evening of Friday 10th at 19:00, entry to be made on the day. The sprint course is approximately 250 metres long, from The Wee Pier to the Inner Harbour, parallel with Shore St. Entries will be accepted from composite crews.
Further information available on the Notice of Race.
For skiffies everywhere, Launch Day is the ultimate reward following the initial decision and commitment to fund and build a St. Ayles Skiff. It’s a day to be proud and congratulate your fellow team and club members and finally feel the reality of what you have achieved.
And waking up to heavy rain on Saturday 11th April did little to dampen the spirits of King’s Lynn Coastal Rowing Club, when the culmination of two years of planning, funding and building, saw the ‘Lynn Réwet’ launched into the choppy waters of the Great Ouse in Norfolk. Her launch was well attended, despite wind and rain, and in spite of the squalls, she was named by Deputy Mayoress Julie Manning and blessed with a splash of appropriately chosen local brew ‘Worth the Wait’.
Chairman Bob Panrucker thanked all who gathered to wish her well, including a large press turnout, MP Henry Bellingham, and the Mayor and Mayoress, expressing his delight that everyone was complimentary and impressed with the achievments of this small Norfolk club. “My overall impression was of many congratulations on a job well done, support from very many quarters and the very real possibility of building a club that resurrects rowing as a major attraction and pastime to the river Great Ouse in Kings Lynn.”
It is always great to see the support of established Coastal Rowing Clubs assist newer clubs during their St.Ayles skiff build phase, and it is often the case that new skiffies will have their first row in a neighbouring club’s skiff, helping to spur them on with their own build. CRA Blakeney’s Hoi Lartan and Bluejacket were both on the water on Saturday to welcome ‘Lynn Réwet’ – Bob identifies this as a highlight of the event – “One of the best parts for me was the support we received from the Coastal Rowing Club Blakeney and West Norfolk Rowing Club; they made the whole thing a real event by bringing their boats with them and taking part in a row-past. Another was the reception we got from the Ouse Amateur Sailing Club who allowed us to use their clubhouse to entertain later on.”
The launch of ‘Lynn Réwet’ is seen by Bob as the first step in reintroducing rowing as a major attraction on the Great Ouse again, which used to host a major rowing regatta until the 1800s – and it’s not just a coincidence that of course she has been launched on the same day as this year’s historic Boat Races
Bob assures us (though it goes without saying) that everyone involved in the project so far have had a huge amount of fun and are really looking forward to more. Plans are already in place to build a second skiff and grow the club, with new members and even more enthusiasm.
Congratulations King’s Lynn Coastal Rowing Club. Let Regatta Season begin.
All photographs of the launch event are published with kind permission of Jon Jackson.