A welcome pack is being developed for new builders, to help them catch up with what we have learned in 4 years of building and using St Ayles skiffs. Part of this will be a paper on building oars, and this has now been uploaded to a sub tab on the boat building tab…. click here if you want a shortcut! This is full of very important information which will improve your rowing experience.
Included on the tab are free plans for four different sets of oars used by skiffies. Help yourselves, with thanks to Alec Jordan, Alan Pendrid, Topher Dawson and John Macintyre for supplying these.
… and if you have ever wondered what it is like for the oar, St Michael’s Rowing Club in Dunlaoughaire have made an oar’s view video to enlighten you. Great soundtrack too, and as ever with the Irish there is a bit of crack (at 1:40).
Congratulations to Ewan Kennedy of the Isle of Seil Rowing Club for winning the 2013 Cruising Log Competition!
The competition is open to all members of Scottish Coastal Rowing Association clubs. Ewan’s log, published on his Scottish Boating Blog describes a four day expedition in the SeilSkiff, Selkie. The adventure starts and finishes from Selkie’s base on the Isle of Seil, taking in visits to the Islands of Seil, Luing, Shuna and Insh. Sailing was experimented with, but most of the 30 miles of so of travel was conducted under oar, in company with a three other boats of diverse type. As well as a passage under the “Bridge over the Atlantic”, and through the exciting tidal waters of the Cuan Sound, the crew fit in a poignant visit to a beautiful bay in Seil Sound which is about to become part of an industrial scale fish farm development.
The log will inspire others to plan carefully and look at ways in which the St Ayles Skiffs can be used to explore our coastline. Thank you to all the rowers and clubs who submitted entries. If you are planning an expedition for 2014 remember to record it for the benefit of others, and as a reminder for yourself of good times, and of course to submit as an entry to the 2014 Cruising Log Competition!
There will be a public meeting in Findochty Village Hall on Thursday 5th December at 19.00 to gauge interest in building a St Ayles skiff for the village to use. Wendy Clements of Portsoy Coastal Rowing Club has been invited to the meeting to give a perspective from along the coast on how they went about starting building a Skiff.
The meeting is being organised by Findochty Water Sport Club, which has been in operation for over 30 years. As one might guess from the name the club members are already involved in a diverse range of activities including sailing (both racing and cruising) sea kayaking, motor boating, creel and rod fishing. The club can call upon a wide range of skills and wants to involve the whole community in building and using a St Ayles skiff, so please go along if you are in the area.
See an earlier post about other clubs on the Moray and Aberdeenshire coasts.
There has been a renewed interest in the possibility of further Skiff Building in the Western Isles. The Stonoway Gazzette reports that there is to be a public meeting at 7.30pm on Thursday 5th December at Ionad Na Seann Sgoil in North Shawbost. The community group hoping to organise a St Ayles Skiff build is called Proiseact An Eathar. The group has a Facebook Page through which contact can be made.
The meeting will hear from SCRA Coaching Representative Ali Grant, and fellow RowPorty founder member Andres Leslie. Local rower Murdo MacLeod will present a short history of boats and rowing in Shawbost. There is also talk of an event on the Island in May….. watch this space.
A quick glance at the SCRA Clubfinder shows that in addition to the Stornoway Rowing Club with their skiff Madadh Ruadh, there are prospective skiff builds in Lochmaddy and Grimsay. A tentative contact has recently been made in Lochboisdale. There has also previously been some interest in Barra. Good luck to all the groups in The Western Isles where in due course there will hopefully be a healthy regatta circuit joining up all the groups.
Ardersier Boat Club have launched their first St Ayles skiff, having built her in the community.
’Esther’ is named after the late wife of Ben, who so generously lent the community his carport to build the boat in. Esther was the village hairdresser for many years, and her salon was a great place to hang out in and get all the local news.
Local ‘Royalty’ Mary Douglas launched her – Mary is well known in Ardersier as she gives her time to all sorts of good cause, a real Star! Around 200 folk joined the boat builders at the launch and enjoyed soup and home baking, and mulled wine. A raffle raised just over £300 thanks to the raffle sponsors.
Esther was welcomed to the water by Shetland Yole ‘New Dawn’. Ardersier Boat Club are sharing “New Dawn” with other local clubs, and she sails as well as rows! The weather was amazingly good – but apparently it always is in Ardersier! The club is looking forward to teaming up with fellow boatbuilders in Findhorn, Burghead and Avoch for some practicing soon.
Born of this parish.
Today we baptise you.
We shall place you gently
In the cool font of our bay.
Bourne on the neap of a day dream tide,
You are a mythical vessel, sent so
We may reclaim the old skills of
Our lost waters; and our pride.
Ancestors distant, approach our shore
Whisper, wise secrets once more.
For what is forgotten is not yet lost,
Sing through the bones of our oars.
Gentle Esther, cradle us safely,
Yet make us bold.
Snip, cut and comb through pliant waves
like shining tresses still.
Part deftly seas of gold!
Students of Bayfront Maritime Center are building their second St Ayles skiff for using on Lake Erie….. and finishing of their oars for their first skiff. Read all about it on their blog: http://www.bmcstaylesskiff.blogspot.co.uk/. Helped by Spirit, their shop dog.
Australian TV have been covering St Ayles Skiff builds in Australia. What a great piece! It meets some skiffies from Cygnet building their first skiff, and also the Women on the Water from Franklin, who attended Skiffieworlds 2013 in Ullapool. There is a third skiff in build in Tasmania at Taroona.
The picture is from the Cygnet build, with the build organiser Jeremy on the right of picture in his fantastic shed.
You will notice that there is mention of an international St Ayles skiff event at the Wooden Boat Show. Dates for you diary: the show is The Australian Wooden Boat Festival being held in Hobart 6-9 February 2015, and the organisers would love to welcome skiffies from other countries. There will be sprint races for St Ayles skiffs while the festival is on.
In the week following the festival there will be 2km Championship races and longer distance scenic events on the Huon River. These longer events will be held out of Franklin from 10 to 15 February 2015. For more information on the show and the regatta you might want to contact Margie Porte of Women on the Water: marg<at>sturmsoft.com
If you are in the area, remember about the Swiftsure Regatta on 8 December 2013.
A little bit cold on a mid November morning, and two coastal rowing clubs launch their skiffs onto the cold but very calm waters of Loch Fyne , setting off for a row of a few miles over to the stunning location of Otter Ferry.
Mid Argyll Coastal Rowing Club launch their skiff ‘UISGE’ and a lovely little Shetland yole, joined by the Isle of Seil coastal rowers with ‘SELKIE’. Kerr Mitchell of Mid-Argyll reports! Launching from ardrishaig boatpark, we all set off on what was a flat calm sea with hardly a breath of wind, so it was off towards Duncuan Island just off ardrishaig lighthouse and then along the shoreline towards the point of Lingerton, and then into the very scenic Castleton bay, stopping to admire the views then directly through whats known as the doors at Castleton, a small opening between a small Island and the mainland. From there a mile or so in the distance is Otter Ferry. On arrival we meet up with the Kyles of Bute Coastal rowers.. and ‘ARCHIE SMITH’ the skiff… Once we beached the skiffs on the lovely stretch of the sandy beach, it was a dash to the Oystercatcher pub to sit at the open log fire and haddock and chips!…. And then as we embark on the venture home, winds blowing up and the swells start rolling in, all to add on such a fantastic day had by all…….Could this be a new venture for west coast coastal skiffs ?”
We hope that you don’t mind an interior shot for this one. Wow.
Full report here. Congratulations to owner Mike Mahoney and boat builder Mark Robinson of the New Zealand Traditional Boat Building School.