Atlantic Challenge GB Maritime Training Trust is looking for crew to represent Great Britain at the 2018 International Contest of Seamanship to be held in Antrim, N. Ireland. The closing date for applications is 1 March 2017. Contest events will include rowing, sailing and seamanship, in the GB traditional 38ft gig “Integrite”. Incidentally, the longest of those oars is longer than 18 feet.
Atlantic Challenge GB is dedicated to the teaching and education of young people through the challenge of the sea encouraging self-confidence, leadership, teamwork and responsibility. Every two years, teams representing the countries of Atlantic Challenge (Belgium, Basque Country, Canada, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Northern Ireland, Quebec, Russia and USA) meet in a different host nation to compete in a friendly Contest of Seamanship.
Atlantic Challenge GB is looking for crew members aged between 16 and 25 (but they do not have an upper age limit so also welcome applications from over 25’s!)
The AC Challenge GB website has a short DVD showing you what Atlantic Challenge is all about – www.atlanticchallengegb.org. As a registered charity, they do have to ask crewmembers to raise an amount towards their expenses and this is fully explained in the Crew Information Pack.
Lorrie Harrison writes on the Living Boat Trust website in Tasmania: ‘Sunny skies and smiles all around as the second skiff in the Port Cygnet Sailing Club was launched by local Federal member, Julie Collins. This elegant skiff was built in super fast time under the guidance of Cygnet boat builder Jeremy, enabling it to be ready for the St Ayles Skiff International Regatta on 17-19 February.’
The Australian St Ayles skiff register is now being kept up to date on the St Ayles Skiff Community Rowing Association of Australia website. There are now 13 skiffs on the register.
Back in November, Jordan Boats offered a travel grant for a keen Skiffie educator to attend the TWSBA conference in Maryland at the end of April.
We are pleased to announce that Roisin Steele from Banff Academy successfully applied for the grant. She will be spending nine days in the USA, visiting other educational boat building groups in the New York area before attending the conference.
This is a fabulous opportunity to see how other schools and organisations deliver boat building and rowing in the USA. Our programme is established but still developing and this visit will allow us to incorporate other ideas into our boat building. Banff Academy is one of the few schools to offer boat building as part of the curriculum, and for me personally this trip will allow me to expand my teaching of the subject.
I am also extremely excited as a rowing coach to be able to make close contact with other St Ayles Skiff groups with the potential to develop junior coastal rowing internationally.
Thank you very much to Jordan Boats for this wonderful opportunity
She will be accompanied by Pete Danks who has been running the boat building at Banff Academy for several years, and is a well known face within the Skiffie Community. Pete is travelling to the conference at his own expense. We have also offered support to two other people if they are able to raise the additional funds required to attend.
The post about the Teaching With Small Boats Alliance has raised interest from other skiffies, and it is possible that others will be attending the conference at their own expense.
Congratulations to Katherine Grainger for being made a Dame of the British Empire in the New Year’s honours list. With four silvers and a gold at five different Olympics she has more Olympic medals than any other British woman, and has won six slide seat world championship golds too. To have sustained that level of performance over 20 years of representing her country is quite remarkable. Fundamentally though she is a lovely person and of course is a quine who has showed interest in Portsoy’s skiffs. So we like her a lot. Here are a couple of photos from the year that she opened the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival and had a go in St Ayles skiffs.
Time to start planning out your rowing year ahead. We are looking forward to 2017 having more St Ayles skiff events in Scotland than any previous year. With our still expanding number of clubs we need more new events so that all the new St Ayles skiffs get used and our new community clubs have the opportunity to race. If you can build a skiff, you are capable of running a good event for others who have built a skiff! In years when there is a Skiffieworlds our experience is that there is a bit of a lull in clubs putting on new events and there is slightly less travelling to local events, as sitting crews concentrate on preparation for the worlds. One of the advantages of only holding the worlds every three years is that clubs own regattas can get established and flourish in the “in between” years. Not everyone is uber competitive, but taking part in local regattas is still very positive for all clubs, as it gets efficient use out of the boats that so much effort has been put into creating. Thirty or more rowers can use one club boat in the course of the day, and it is an excellent way to bring on rowers new to your club and give them a focus and a target to work towards.
So lets celebrate all the events that clubs are putting on…..what do we have coming up in 2017…………? Check the 2017 Events Tab for a list of what is available (and please be sure to e mail Sue with your own event dates as soon as they are set.) 2017 sees the welcome return of excellent venues to the calendar, as well as some brand new regattas making their first appearance.
In the North West Coigach regatta takes place on the holiday weekend of 20/21 May. The return of the well organised regatta (in a stunning location) is especially appreciated with so many new North West clubs developing. Hopefully we will see Shieldaig, Lochinver and Cape Wrath racing alongside Gareloch, Loch Ewe, Ullapool and others from the North West, as well as the visitors from further afield who enjoy spending time in the lovely waters around Coigach. Other North West regattas already in the calendar are Ullapool (8/9 July, the biggest and probably the best organised regatta on our circuit), Shawbost on Lewis (21-15 July) and Shieldaig (12 August).
Also making a welcome return, this time in the South East, we have Row Porty regatta at Portobello on 10 June. A very different venue from Coigach, reminding us of the great variety we can celebrate in Scottish Coastal Rowing. Racing takes place off the beach, where the denizens of the city of Edinburgh promenade on sunny Saturdays. Also in the South East we have entries in the calendar from Dunbar on 24 June, in the amphitheatre created by the three Bridges at Queensferry on 19 August and the wee voyages (at speed) around Craigleith Island at North Berwick on 26 August.
The first Scottish regatta on our 2017 calendar is in Anstruther in Fife on 6 May. Further up the east coast we have Broughty Ferry regatta on the Firth of Tay on 5th August. Marvel at the facilities available to that club, and enjoy the excellent baking (as we were urged to do at every regatta by Princess Anne, Skiffieworlds 2013). Further up into the North East another cradle of Scottish Coastal Rowing is the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival in Portsoy which takes place on 24 and 25 June 2017. This is quite a big gathering of skiffs (usually around 18 skiffs) hosted by Portsoy Coastal Rowing Club, but part of a large festival with around 20,000 spectators available for the rowing, so worth looking your best. It is usually real coastal rowing too, properly held in three dimensions. There is a new regatta and open day slated in for Cromarty on 22 July. Hopefully more regattas for the North East will be added to the calendar in the weeks ahead (congratulations to all those who have been well organised and got their 2017 events into the calendar before Christmas!)
In the South West we have the well established regatta at Troon (10 June) and a brand new regatta on the Isle of Arran on 24/25 June……. not to be confused with Annan in Dumfries and Galloway, which also has a new regatta on 22 July, as well as the established Bell Ringers Raid on 23 July. Firth of Clyde Coastal Rowing Club will hold their main regatta at Largs on 2 September, and Carrick Coastal Rowing Club will hold the Exciseman’s chase and sprint races at Maidens Harbour on 9 September. Glasgow Coastal Rowing Club will hold the Glasgow Cup on 24 September.
Do support as many of your local regattas as you can, as well as travelling a distance to some outwith your region, to help ensure the diversity of these events. Make sure you buy cake and possibly beer to help to fund the activities that you are taking part in. Some of the events listed above will be limited in the number of skiffs or the number of clubs that they can accommodate, and some are invitation only, so it is worthwhile checking early doors that your club can attend. Keep checking the 2017 events tab, for other events being added. In particular we are expecting to be able to announce dates for some events focused mainly on Juniors. There will be a Northern SCRA Junior Circuit and a Southern SCRA Junior circuit of events organised by clubs, three in the North and three in the South.
Enjoy planning your clubs year ahead!
Our Christmas present to readers of the website is advanced notification of a very exciting event for 2017! Castle to Crane (this is THE Big Clyde row) will take place on 23 September.
As part of the Clydebuilt Festival in Glasgow there are plans afoot to organise a long distance rowing challenge between Dumbarton and Glasgow. “Castle to Crane” will be a race open to entries from all coxed, fixed seat, coastal rowing boats. We are hoping that replica Birlinn “Orcuan” will lead out a fleet of up to 100 coastal rowing craft from all corners. The intention is to cap entries at 100 in the first year, so keep checking in here for notification of the official website for The Clydebuilt Festival, and details of how to enter. Don’t miss out on the first edition of what will become a classic race.
Photo of Gal Gael’s Birlinn “Orcuan” in Princes Dock, Glasgow, from Guardian/ Murdo MacLeod
Castle to Crane will be 13 miles long, and will be run with a little bit of help from a flood tide. If you are interested it is worth while starting to plan your training and testing suitable cushions. Exact details cannot be released until agreements are in place with key partners, but we are confident that this will be a tremendous spectacle, run as part of a bigger festival which will be based around the Riverside Museum and the Tall Ship at Kelvin Harbour.
Oh, and offers of help, and in particular offers to bring suitable RIBs to Glasgow city centre to act as safety craft, will be much appreciated, and can be intimated to email@example.com
Massive congratulations to Stuart Sly for his spectacular aerial photograph of Kinghorn Coastal Rowing Club’s skiff Yolande rowing on the beautifully clear water of the Fife Coast. The photo featured as Photo of the Week in September this year and led by a clear margin throughout our competition – it’s easy to see why!
You can see the stunning video here: youtu.be/-HyDSGb1mh8
Huge thanks to all entries to our first-ever Photo of the Year competition – there are some incredible shots out there and we want to see MORE! You can send your Photo of the Week submissions for 2017 NOW to firstname.lastname@example.org
Our roving SCRA treasurer Topher Dawson has been out on a bummel round Wester Ross, and has had the good fortune to drop by on two new groups of skiff builders. Firstly he visited Lochcarron where he saw the second garboard being put on to the villages first skiff. LochCarron Coastal Rowing Association are lucky enough to be building in a comfortable double garage attached to the manse.
Applecross are also very keen to get on with their build! They have ordered the kit and we undertand are collecting it this week. They have not yet sourced the timber or glue but they have sourced a splendid build space, being a lovely large poly tunnel which used to be a restaurant, heated by a community hydro plant. Luxury!
Welcome and good luck to the new builders in the North West.
Following the vote at the SCRA AGM, a group of oar experts has been assembled from Scotland, N. Ireland, England, Australia, Canada and the USA. Topher Dawson of Ullapool, Treasurer of SCRA has been appointed as chairman of the Group.
The first task for the group was to put out a survey to clubs asking what they wanted in a standard design. Thanks to the 61 respondents for their input, which has come in over 16 days. The survey is now closed and the full results can be seen at https://www.surveymonkey.com/results/SM-RKPHSB8F/
Topher reports “In summary, all timber oars are seen as important or very important, so I think we can reject carbon/glass oars. By the same token, cleavers and nylon swivels are not approved of. Cost of materials <£50 per oar is not seen as so important. Clubs are pretty divided about oarlock systems. Many of the text comments show some clubs want the existing freedom to make oars in different shapes and sizes, but many also want more uniformity.”
“Clubs clearly want an oar which is easily made, balanced and hard wearing. The group is debating whether it will need to be solid for simplicity or hollow for lightness. The interplay between clashes, balance and gearing is being studied.
“Generated Exponential Entity Kilomaxwell Solvers are battling with fourth order differential equations in complex number space to bring you the optimum solution. As fresh waves of statistics pour in from all corners of the globe, the power demands of the Numerical Empirical Recombinant Data Smasher dim Ullapool’s Christmas lights and threaten to plunge Wester Ross into total darkness. What can possibly go wrong?”
The group’s next task is to gather information about good existing oars so we know what the best existing practice is. If your club has not yet taken part, please email Topher for a measurement form. The plan is to make prototypes, test them, and bring the best to a regatta near you in order to allow the skiffing public to do a hands-on trial.