The boat builders on the Isle of Seil (population 560) have reached the important milestone of “turning” their skiff. The first stage in building a St Ayles is done “upside down”: planking is added to moulds with the keel uppermost. Turning the hull involves lifting the hull clear of its moulds and placing the hull “the right way up” for the next stages in the process including cleaning up epoxy from the planking and starting to fit out the inside of the hull with inwhales, gunwhales and thwarts. Quite often the turning process is accompanied by a quaich of whisky. On this occassion however those already involved in the boat build welcomed fellow islanders with mulled wine and mince pies. There is great satisfaction in seeing the hull the right way up, and looking very much like a boat!
The Seil team are keeping an excellent blog of their build which can be followed by clicking here. They welcome involvement from the whole island community both in the build stage and then looking for getting crews on the water. You don’t need a large population to enjoy and succeed in racing (just ask Coigach…… population circa 300 ).
Seil is surrounded by some of the best water for coastal rowing boats in the UK. The Island, around 10 miles south of Oban, is just one of the communities in Argyll hoping to be up and racing next year. Watch out for Kyles Coastal Rowing Club (Tighnabruaich) and Mid-Argyll Coastal Rowing Club (Lochgilphead). We hope, that these clubs might be able to combine with Islay to have a regular local racing circuit.
More information on the Seil Coastal Rowing can be found on their website www.seilskiff.org.uk