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.