Are You a Clamp Champ?

You can never have too many clamps!  Here we see Loch Carron putting gunnels on both sides at the same time in February 2017.  Photo from the Loch Carron Coastal Rowing Facebook Page.  Keep up the good work!

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NEW: SCRA Youth Regatta Series 2017

This year will see six new Youth Regattas across Scotland created to encourage participation among young rowers. Many of our great existing regattas do offer a youth category, but usually only one.  These NEW SCRA Youth Series Regattas will each offer at least six categories for young rowers, so that clubs can get a group of youngsters together who will be certain to get at least one row and possibly more at these events. The ‘North’ and ‘South’ circuits will each have three regattas spread throughout the season.  It is hoped that participating youngsters will be able to  visit every regatta in either the north of the south circuits as day trips if they wish.    Each of the events which make up this first Youth Regatta Series will be open to all clubs though, and travelers from further afield will be welcome.  Contact the organisers of each event that you want to attend to make your arrangements.

Save the dates:

Portsoy (Deveron) – 1st April

North Berwick – 18th June

Ullapool – 8/9th July

Largs (Firth of Clyde) – 15th July

Portobello (Eastern) – 16th September

Avoch – 21st October


The Northern Circuit starts soon, with Deveron combining with Portsoy to hold an event on 1 April. For full details of that event, contact Roisin Steele (Deveron CRC) at . Categories will include U17’s and U19’s Men, Women and mixed, and U100 cumulative. The regatta will take place in Portsoy on 1st April with the 2nd as a fall back.  On the Saturday evening there are plans to hold a ceilidh in the Portsoy Salmon Bothy.  Accommodation for those wishing to stay over is available at the new Porstoy Sail Loft Bunkhouse, but must be reserved well in advance.  Sounds like it is going to be a great event to get the series started.

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Ferry Maid

Ferry Maid on the Forth

Queensferry rowing club’s St. Ayles Skiff, the Ferry Maid, out for a winter run before the Rail Bridge.


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Victorian St Ayles Champs March 2017

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Ocean to City (Cork) Early Bird Registration Opens

Early bird registration  is now open for Ocean to City, which takes place on 10 June 2017.   There are a variety of course lengths, but it is anticipated that St Ayles skiffs will head out into open waters, before racing right up into cork city centre, on the 28km Ocean course.  There is a specific trophy for fastest St Ayles skiff, won by Coigach in 2015 when the 8 St Ayles skiffs present also took home trophies for second mixed crew overall, Boatbuilder of the Day, and fastest wooden boat.  North Berwick also won the City Course race in a coxed double scull.  All those who took part found it to be a very welcoming challenge, and well worth some considerable journeys.

This year the organisers are using a new online system by ”Active” which will make registering as quick and easy as possible – hooray!  Ocean to City has been going from strength to strength with the 2016 race breaking all the records.  Make sure you are part of it in 2017!

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Morag from Findochty

Here is Morag from Findochty Water Sports Club.  Doesn’t she look great?   Gotta love St Ayles Skiffs. Photo by Allan Robertson.

Extra SCRA points if you know how to pronounce Findochty.

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Project Kraken for Vigilance Around the Coast

We would to bring to your attention an ongoing initiative under the auspices of the
National Crime Agency, Police, and Border Force to increase vigilance along the UK’s coastline and maritime environment.   This information has been brought to our attention by the RYA  and Police Scotland
Additionally from Police Scotland
There are nearly 20,000 miles of coastline, and a complex network of estuaries, navigable rivers, coves, inlets, ports and harbours, all of which can be exploited by terrorists and serious criminals.   Project Karaken is a joint initiative to encourage you to report any unusual or suspicious behaviour in these and other maritime environments.   The leaflets state “No matter how trivial it may seem; if it looks out of the ordinary, we want to know about it. Whether you work in the maritime industries, are a keen sailor, or are just walking along the coast, your local knowledge and your experience of the maritime world means you are well placed to spot anything unusual.   By working together we can help to prevent terrorists and organised criminals posing a threat to your neighbours, your pastimes, your businesses and your livelihoods. They will exploit any opening they find.”
 You are invited to report any unusual or suspicious activity near the coastline and in maritime environments.
This could include, among others:
 • Crew who show signs of nervousness or a lack of awareness of maritime protocols and customs.
• Vessels showing signs of unusual modification or minor damage.
• Increased activity at isolated coastal locations or at unusual times of the day.
 • Any attempts to signal to vessels offshore or guide them into an unusual landfall.
 • Strange patterns of payment, such as large amounts of cash.
 • People testing site security or an unusual interest in site structures and wharfs.
Report it to your local police on 101, or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, and quote “KRAKEN”.
Do not take direct action against any individuals or groups.   If it is an emergency, call 999.

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“Atlantic Challenge” Gig Looking for Crew for Antrim 2018

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 –  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.

Crew Recruitment Flyer

Crew Information

Crew Application (Deadline:  1 March 2017)

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“The Cygnet” Joins Tasmanian Fleet in Time for St Ayles Skiff International Regatta

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.



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Heading West – TWSBA Conference

Pete Danks and Roisin Steele, building another St Ayles at Banff Academy

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.

Alec J

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