Three Naming Ceremonies Coming Up: Gourdon, Whitburn and Siabost


Gourdon are launching ‘Maggie’ on the 11th July following a two year build project by a small and very dedicated build team.  It’s been great to meet the Gourdon members over these past build years, at local events involving Catterline Coastal Rowing Club, and really satisfying to know that the skiffie community network is quietly working it’s magic involving, assisting and including it’s newest members in skiffie activity in the many quiet corners of our coast, demonstrating the friendly inclusion and carmeraderie, that makes the skiffie network work.

‘Latimers Ledja’ is the 100th St Ayles skiff to be launched in the UK, and Whitburn Coastal Rowing Club launch her off the beach between the rivers Wear and Tyne on the beautiful NE coast.  They need more members so please head along to their launch day and have a go at a taster session at 12.30.  And if you plan to go, let them know and secure your cake.


whitburn poster

On the 15th July,  An Eathar Rowing Club based in Siabost, Lewis will launch the ‘Yackydoola’, their newly built St Ayles skiff from the Siabost Bho Dheas shore carpark onto the freshwater Loch a’ Bhaile.   An Eathar CRC has been busy boat building and reviving sea going skills, once wide spread in the community, largely lost in this modern era.  To celebrate their achievements so far they will be joined by other rowing clubs and their boats making a rare spectacle of a small fleet of St. Ayles skiffs.  An Eathar CRC, Row Porty from Edinburgh, Stornoway CRC and Barra CRC are currently expected to attend.

The ‘Yackydoola’ has been named after a boat of the same name that appears in a locally penned Gaelic song written by Kenneth Macleod in the 1920’s or 30’s.  Where fishermen from Siabost got the name from is an interesting question – as it bears some similarity to the chorus of a Hawaiian love song recorded by Al Jolson and Bing Crosby around that time: “Yaaka Hula Hickey Dula.”

Supporters are asked to kindly assemble at Shawbost Old School at 9.30AM to avoid congestion at the shore.

20313_505425929605038_8499282464283879771_n (2)

No excuses – forget Wimbledon –  there’s a St. Ayles Skiff being launched near you!

No Comments

Single Buoy Turns….. Rules and Etiquette Reminder

In SCRA we have adopted the international rule for dealing with priorities where more than one boat is turning round the same buoy.  The priority is fixed three boat lengths before the mark.

At 3 boat lengths, if there is any overlap between 2 crews, the inside crew (i.e. crew closest to the buoy when turning) has priority.  The outside crew must yield to the inner crew and not impede their progress.

At 3 boat lengths, if there is clear water (i.e. no overlap) between the 2 crews, the leading crew has priority. The chasing crew must yield to the leading crew and not impede their progress.

What happens after the three lengths to go mark does not alter the priority…  it is quite likely that as a lead boat with clear water slows to round the mark, a following boat may obtain an overlap, but as this happens after the 3 lengths to go mark it is irrelevant….  the leading boat still has right of way, and the following boat must keep clear.

Ideally an umpire boat will be stationed at around three lengths to the buoy on buoy turns to ensure correct priorities are followed.  However crews should understand the rule, and be able to carry it through with good grace without receiving instruction from an official.  Crews found to obstruct other crews holding priority maybe disqualified at the discretion of an umpire.




Remember that the rule cascades down the fleet, so it is possible that a boat, although leading going in to a turn may have to yield to four or five boats inside if it has not established clear water by the three lengths to go point. Illustrations by kind permission of Welsh Sea Rowing Association.

Crews or coxswains who attempt to intimidate other crews or use threatening or abusive language should be ashamed of themselves and are probably embarrassing their own club mates.  They may find themselves disqualified and not welcome at other regattas.    Anyone who is that desperate to win, should be applying themselves to pulling harder before and after the turn, rather than spoiling the day for others with aggression during the turn.

All coxes, rowers and umpires should familiarise themselves with the SCRA rules of racing which can be found here:

1 Comment

Call for Entries: Shieldaig, North Berwick, Tyne

A full list of regattas are available on the SCRA Calendar.  Here are  three regattas a bit later in the season that are looking for your entries.

sheildair poster

Firstly Shieldaig Regatta is being held to coincide with the village’s fete on 1 August.  There are 5 races, round the Island, a distance of about 2.5k.  This is a reintroduction of rowing races, which were held for many years until the numbers of boats to race in dwindled.  We are delighted to be involved in the restoration of a fine tradition.  So far entries have been received from Ullapool, Coigach, Row Porty, Gairlloch and Avoch.  As you would no doubt expect from a regatta held in this corner of the North West Highlands the scenery is utterly stunning, and there is pre and apres skiff.   More details, including how to enter (entries close 19 July)  on the Shieldaig Regatta Notice of Race, with photos and posters on facebook.

sheildaig regatta

Broughty Ferry Boating are holding their first rowing regatta on the same day as Sheildaig, and most of the Southern Clubs will be wanting to show their metal at this new regatta on the Fife and Angus circuit.  More information to come on that one, but you can read about Broughty Ferry on their facebook page.

north berwick flyer

From two brand new regattas to one of the original events, which is a must do for crews that want to prove themselves.  North Berwick Rowing Club will hold their annual Regatta on Saturday 29 August 2015. The event will take the usual format of races around Craigleith Island and back (~ 1.5 miles) in age, gender and mixed categories ranging from junior to over 60’s.   North Berwick hope to see old friends but also welcome new clubs particularly from the north east of England and Northern Ireland. More details will follow but in the meantime any questions, and notifications of intent, to Sandy Wallace NBRC  A list of clubs attending is on the North Berwick website.    The club would be delighted to welcome new clubs, as well as welcoming back regular attenders.

Finally continuing our journey south, the Great Tyne Skiff Sprint Regatta will be held on 5 September 2015, the day before the Great Tyne Row itself.  Crews can therefore make a weekend of it, and clubs can travel to Newcastle with more than one crew for the weekends events.


No Comments

Soups to Die for and Happy Rowers at Queensferry

railbridge start

 Dónal Ferrie reports for us on Queensferry Regatta, with photos by Tony Hamblin:  On Saturday last June 27th North and South Queensferry welcomed eight other Clubs to their annual Regatta held in picturesque setting of Port Edgar Marina. The Skiffs were towed from as far West as Troon and as far North as Broughty Ferry with the remainder coming from both sides of the Forth.  After a few wet and windy days leading up to the Regatta the weather Gods played their part and the day dawned bright and sunny with a slight breeze coming from the West.

From early morning the Marina was a hive of activity with boats arriving from just before eight. After everyone had launched their Skiffs and tied up at the pontoon we all waited for the coxes briefing and then had a half hour wait for the first race to start.  The course was the same as last year which had a start line under the Road Bridge. The Skiffs then headed East and round the first finger buoy, along to the second finger buoy and then a mad dash back to the line under the Bridge.


railbridge start 2

The racing started at 10am with the first of six categories, Mixed Novice, which was won by North Berwick with St Andrews second and Anstruther third.

It was Crail who were the club on form as they won four of the races which included the Women’s 40+, Men’s 40+, Women’s Open and the Pick and Mix albeit with a composite crew in the last race.

rail bridge finish



Broughty Ferry continued their impressive run of form as they won the Mixed Open and came second in the Men’s and Women’s Open. They also came second in the Men’s 40+. North Berwick followed on from their Novice victory with success in the Men’s Open.

The racers were kept fuelled up with a good spread of soups and filled rolls with home baking to go with it.  The caterers in the Club did themselves proud and must be thanked for putting on such a good show.  We also have to thank our Patron the Earl of Hopetoun who took time out of the Horse Trials on his estate to give out the prizes in the afternoon.   All in all it was a very successful day.  Now on to Portsoy.

…..  and a couple of further photos from Ian Mills:

norths qferry and berwick

qferry troon win

No Comments

Hurrah for Helmsdale

Saturday 27th June saw a superb day of skiff racing in Helmsdale at Bunillidh’s first St Ayles Regatta.

From the host club:

On the first sunny day of the year, Helmsdale enjoyed the good weather and the spectacle of the Bunillidh Rowing Club’s first regatta.  There were eight St Ayles skiffs in the Harbour for a day of hard fought competition.  The teams were from Anstruther and Newburgh in Fife, Burghhead in Moray, Ullapool and Achiltibuie from the west coast, Wick in Caithness and Avoch in the Black Isle.

The eight clubs raced over the 1km course for most of the day and were watched by a large crowd of locals and visitors to the area.  The Helmsdale team have travelled to other events throughout Scotland in the last three years but this was there first ‘home’ fixture.  In the first race of the day, the Over 40’s women, the newly launched Avoch boat ‘Zulu’ was the convincing winner.  A great start for them in their first season of rowing.  Helmsdale then won gold in the Over 40’s Men in a very close finish with Newburgh.  The tide had turned and Helmsdale continued to do well with two more golds in the Over 50’s mixed and the Mixed ‘Decades’ race. In the ‘Decades’ race the teams must consist of rowers from four different decades and shows the wide appeal of this new sport.




 The class of Anstruther however was too great for Helmsdale and they pipped the home team in the overall points table for the day.  This was however a great result for Helmsdale, to come second to the club who started the whole thing five years ago shows great progress.  The St Ayles skiff was the brainchild of the Fisheries Museum in Anstruther and now there are over 130 of the boats launched in Scotland and beyond.





The success of the event was down to the support the club received from the local community and businesses.  The Bunillidh Rowing Club were also supported by grant funding from the Caithness and North Sutherland Fund, Timespan Creative place award, the Community Council and the Community Bus Association.

All of the clubs involved had a great weekend of rowing and enjoyed sampling the local hospitality; the 100+ rowers from across Scotland pledged to return to Sutherland.  It is likely, following on from the success of the weekend ,that Helmsdale will make it a biennial event.

Golspie are currently building a skiff so hopefully Sutherland will see more rowing in the next few years.

Thanks to Bunillidh for a great report received in timely fashion and photos supporting a job well done.

No Comments

12 Mile Row at Loch Fyne Viking Festival

fyne longship
From our viking correspondent:
There can be no finer preparation for a twelve mile row than to start the day with a few raids.  Morning starts 7.00am with the traditional Viking breakfast of bacon rolls and coffee,don costume brush you’re beard and board the Long ship Freydis.  First stop Lochgilphead in torrential rain beach the ship and plunge into the loch, a wee pillage round the town and back aboard.  Second stop Ardrishaig more beaching of ship and plunging into the loch,there is no elegant way to depart a Long ship, the clouds part the sun shines,we still get a drenching at the battle of Ardrishaig, as the battle hardened school kids assail us with every conceivable method of firing water.
fyne view
Row time, and the rowers board their St Ayles skiffs as the sun continues to shine and the wind disappears.  Three St Ayles  skiffs set off  being the two Mid Argyle boats and one from Pittenweem.  Visiting rowers from Troon, Pittenweem and Royal West join the one mid Argyller in one of the home skiffs, and end up leading the field home in 2 hours 15min.
fyne weem
fyne winners
fyne argylle

On dry land there was a presentation of the Trophy and a case of cider to the scratch team.  The trophy will be held by Mid Argyle, a bottle of vodka and a bottle of wine respectively to the other teams. Hot food buffet provided for all in attendance.  The hospitality at every stage of this festival is truly something special.  The organisers Hans Kok and Phil Robertson who built the Long ship are keen to have more skiffs at this event.  If you go next year you will get looked after.
fyne trophy

No Comments

The Gryffon Freshwater Launch

On a beautiful evening the skiff” The Gryffon” (number 102) was launched at Castle Semple Loch in Lochwinnoch (Venue of the 2012 SCRA Freshwater Sprints). Skiffs from Troon and Firth of Clyde attended along with members from Royal West to welcome the new skiff onto the water.  The skiff was constructed by pupils at Gryfe High School in Houston(Renfrewshire) supervised by a dedicated teacher Mr Geff Webster.  The enthusiastic pupils soon picked up rowing techniques and had a very enjoyable time.
gryffon row
gryffon swan

No Comments

Bendigo Build Becomes ‘Billie’


Since last August, the Bendigo Bank funded latest Tasmanian skiff has been taking shape, under the guidance of build Lead Peter Heading and Project Manager Graham Rankin,and now she’s complete, the Tasmanian St. Ayles Fleet becomes four, with ‘Billie’ joining ‘Imagine’, ‘Swan’ and ‘Chiton’.  ‘Billie’ is named after the Living Boat Trust’s much loved canine mascot, President Peter Laidlaw’s faithful collie, who sadly passed away recently.  Peter himself also stepped up to pipe ‘Billie’ into the water, following her naming by John Young.



‘Billie’ was welcomed on the day by ‘Imagine’ and ‘Swan’.

Congratulations to everyone at the Franklin’s Living Boat Trust on crafting another beautiful St. Ayles skiff down under.


No Comments

Sail/Run/Row/Run/Sail/Row Race at Newhaven

newhaven skiff finaleThey called it mid-summer madness, and there was plenty of that before the racing even started with Newhaven rowers and Forth Corinthian Sailors, who jointly organise the Forth Midsummer Challenge starting early  erecting gazebos, organising cake, priming bbqs and ensuring the coffee was good and hot!  Each team was made up of a skiff crew, a runner and a sailing crew.  The runner being taken afloat as a passenger on each marine leg, trying to get some recovery in before pounding the street between Granton and Newhaven Harbours. Racing started well when the yachts (with runners on board) made their way out to the bay to start the race. They raced over to Newhaven harbour and the runners ran back to Granton harbour and their waiting skiffs.   The skiffs (with their runners on board) then raced 1.5km before returning to the harbour. The attending skiffs were Dunbar, Broughty Ferry, Newhaven, North Berwick, Anstruther, Boatie Blest (Cockenzie/Port Seton), Crail, Wormit and Eskmuthe. newhaven figureheadThe runners made their way on foot back to Newhaven harbour and the waiting yachts which then sailed back to Granton harbour.


After five keenly contested legs of sailing, running and rowing, everything came down to the last skiff leg which this year was arranged on a rolling ‘Grand Prix’ start basis, with the skiffs lined up in the order that their teams had completed the first five legs of the race. Boatie Blest took pole position, with their hosts Newhaven in second and Wormit, attending their first ever regatta, holding onto a respectable third. The rest of the teams stretched out behind with Anstruther and Crail bringing up the rear. The skiffs completed a lap of Granton Harbour in this order before the horn sounded and they were off, out of the harbour and round a 1.5km course. Anyone who thought it was a foregone conclusion was wrong – Boatie Blest were first to the turn, but it soon transpired that something pretty special was happening behind them as Anstruther charged through the field determined to make up as many places as possible. In the end, they made up seven, pipping Newhaven for second and giving Boatie Blest a real run for their money. An amazing showing, which earned them an impromptu award at the end!  newhave real medals

Final results:

  1. Boatie Blest / Kashangie II
  2. Anstruther / Castellar
  3. Newhaven / Maxine
  4. Broughty Ferry / Lady Nadonna
  5. Dunbar / Indulgence
  6. North Berwick / Silver Lining
  7. Crail / Dorado
  8. Eskmuthe / An Cala
  9. Wormit / Eclipse

Special mention also has to be made of the fine showing from both Broughty Ferry and Wormit, both in their first racing season, and those teams who gamely turned up with one crew to row both legs.

newhaven anster By this time the sun was shining, the burgers were sizzling, the beer was suitably cooled and the choir was singing! All teams then joined Newhaven for food, drinks and prize giving!  Photos on Newhaven Facebook Page.

No Comments

Duchess and Boat Builders meet at Portobello

porty duchess

The Duchess of Rothesay (Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall) met representatives of  RowPorty and boat builders from the Muirhouse Youth Development Group when she visited Portobello on Tuesday afternoon.  She had been invited along to help celebrate 10 years since steps were made towards improving Portobello prom with the creation of Portobello Sailing and Kayak Club and the opening of the Beach House Cafe.

PSKC was in its very early stages when some of its members decided to include coastal rowing in its activities and built a St Ayles skiff.  “Icebreaker” was launched in time to take part in the first ever St Ayles skiff regatta at Anstruther in May 2010.  RowPorty has become one of the most successful clubs in Scottish Coastal Rowing, with a membership of around 120 and a willingness to help and encourage other communities getting started in this boat building and rowing obsession.porty princess

As well as seeing boats 4 and 15 on the register (Icebreaker and Jenny Skylark), the Duchess was able to admire the skiff built by the Muirhouse Youth Development Group, which is all painted and almost ready to launch.   The young builders were unwilling to disclose the skiff’s name to the Duchess, explaining to her that do so at this stage would be unlucky. Three youngsters have formed the core of the building team, tutored by Nik Savage and encouraged and coordinated by Ali Grant. The boat was built within Craigroyston Community High School , Edinburgh and Ali and the team are indebted to Head Teacher, Stephen Ross, and his team for all their support in making this project happen.

No Comments