Two More Skiffs Launched in Northern Ireland

Down Coastal Rowing Club’s project in and around Starngford Lough is going from strength to strength, and with the launch of two more St Ayles skiffs this weekend there will be five skiffs available to take part in the inaugural “Narrow’s Challenge” at the mouth of the Lough next weekend.  Racing will be from Castleward, Strangford, and everyone is welcome to enjoy the spectacle, which is expected to run from about 10am through to 4pm.




Strangford’s Boat ‘Strangfjordr’, pictured above, is varnished outside.  Donagahdee have named their new community built skiff  (pictured below) ” Ramharry” which is the Viking term for “rough and strong”.  Pictures by Bernie Brown Copyright is held by Bernie Brown bbphotographic +44 (0) 7831 164371 .  More pictures and information on the Down Coastal Rowing Club facebook page, from which we have been kindly allowed to take these images.  Good luck to all those in both communities, and also to all those involved in the Narrows Challenge.





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Great River Race Results 2014

Well done to the St Ayles skiffs and their crews that completed the Great River Race in London.  All came in at under 3 hours for the 21 mile course, with newly launched  Groot and Grut 2 being the fastest St Ayles skiff, coming 34th overall.  Provisional results are found here, and a report from Blakeney, who took both Bluejacket and Hoi Larntan, can be found on the CRA Blakeney website.

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Nith Navigation Race Report 2014

Royal West attended the Nith Navigation Race in two boats, and were joined by North Berwick, Troon, North Queensferry and Carrick.  The race is a six mile journey up the River Nith from Glencaple up to White Sands in Dumfries town centre.  Crews enjoyed the delights of the Caerlaverock Tearoom on Glencaple pier as they watched the tidal bore moving up the river.  There was a bit or drizzle as the crews boated, but the water conditions were flat with a decent tidal current helping the crews up the river.

Starting and finishing duties were performed by the Cornet and the Cornet Lass, who lead out Dumfries Common Ridings.

Nith cornet

North Berwick’s double scull Speedwell was first off the start, with crews joining in at 30 second intervals for the time trial event.  As it was the last boat to start was the fastest over the course on the day.  Royal West’s class 2 Jolly Boat “Sprite” was built 120 years ago, and this was her first race for around 15 years.  She is longer and sleeker than the St Ayles skiffs, which perhaps thrive in slightly livelier conditions.  As it was Sprite managed to overhaul all the other boats on the course, apart from the North Queensferry Skiff.  Sprite completed the course in 43 minutes and 15 seconds, a new record for the course, and was recorded as reaching a (tidally assisted) top speed of 9.8 miles per hour.

Jolly boat "Sprite"

Jolly boat “Sprite”

Being pushed the whole way helped the North Queenserry Boat to a win in the St Ayles skiff class, and they were presented with a quaich to take home to Fife.  As ever the prizes for the event were fantastic, with a bottle of SCRA whisky for every finishing crew, and a selection of cheeses for the every crew, but special cheeses for the fastest overall crew and for the oldest crew to complete the course (Troon).  As a first, at the prizegiving barbeque, the first SCRA conker knockout championships was held, won by Susan Wilson from the local town of Annan, who have a skiff ready to go on the water, and hosted an excellent harbour festival event in May.

nith chippy


nith marion


Nith Carrick

Nith Troon

Nith Qferry



The full results are as follows:

Fastest Overall:  Sprite, Royal West of Scotland ABC (Class 2 Jollyboat)  43:15

St Ayles skiffs:

1st   North Queensferry      with a time of 45.30 mins
2nd  Royal West                   with a time of 47.15 mins
3rd   Carrick                          with a time of 47.45 mins
4th   Troon                             with a time of 50.00 mins
Coxed Double Sculls:
Speedwell, North Berwick RC,  with a time of 49.30
Most photos by Robert Dawson.  More photos on line.
Winner of the Golden Conker

Winner of the Golden Conker

Royal West at the Nith 2014

A big thankyou to the Nith Navigation Commissioners, and in particular Roy Kerr, for putting on a magnificent, welcoming event.

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Good Luck to St Ayles Skiffies in London

There are at least five St Ayles skiffs taking part in the Great River Race in London this weekend.  The Race is over a historic 21.6 mile course, up the River Thames from London Docklands, through the centre of London up to Ham in Surrey.    The field is made up of hundreds of fixed seat rowing boats, with a smattering of Dragon Boats thrown in.  Coigach are defending Champions in the mixed crew category, and will be returning again to test themselves against the course and the other crews.  WSV Woudrichem, who recently lauched the 100th St Ayles skiff to take to the water, will be taking part with all three of the Netherlands built St Ayles skiffs.  Norfolk club Blakeney are also expected to field a crew in one of their St Ayles skiffs.  Best of luck to all participants from Scottish Coastal Rowing.

photo: Chris Perkins


Regatta Dates for 2015 Please

The Scottish Coastal Rowing Association is starting to put together the regatta calendar for 2015.  Please could all clubs forward their proposed dates to Sue Fenton by e mail: .    The sooner we get these the better!

We will then add them to the draft calendar as Sue gets them.  The calendar will be publish shortly before the SCRA AGM at the end of October.  If known at this stage it would also be helpful to have a note of the nature of the event (eg Sprints, Long Distance, Expedition, Time Trial) and also which club or clubs are the principal organisers and what the first point of contact should be.  Perhaps an indication of maximum number of entrants would also assist.

Portsoy is on 4 and 5 July 2015, should that affect your decisions making.  It is recognised that we now have so many events that there will be clashes of dates.  That is great, because there are not many places that could accommodate all the skiffs turning up at the same time, and there are a lot of folk out there who want to enjoy the sociable pleasure of racing for their club.  However we should all work together to try to avoid clashes with others close by.  For this purpose we have defined geographic regions as follows, and would prefer to avoid a clash of dates within a region:


South East (The Border to South Queensferry)

Fife and Angus

North (which might be further split, as it is a pretty big area from Aberdeen, round the top and down to Ardnamurchan)

Argyll  (Including Mull and Islay)

South West (from Glasgow down to Annan)

Here is looking forward to another excellent year of meeting and racing with skiffies from all over in 2015.

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Wormit Launch “Catalina”

Wormit have launched their first St Ayles skiff, Catalina.  There is a full report on the Courier website.  The boat is named in honour of  the Norwegian flying boats which were stationed at nearby Woodhaven during the Second World War.





Rowing the Tweed for the Paxton Picnic


tweed bridge


Dunbar Coastal Rowing Club organised their fourth Tweed Row.  Crews set off from Spittal, and rowed the four or so miles up the River Tweed from its mouth, under the magnificent bridges in Berwick-upon-Tweed, to Paxton House for the Paxton Picnic.  Eyemouth and Amble attended with their St Ayles skiffs, and members of North Berwick Rowing Club took part with their Hanningfield Skiff.

Thank you to Christine Mincher for the illustrations.

tweed agnes

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So much going on…..

There is so much going on that it is hard to keep up here.  As well as the Exciseman’s Chase and the  Great Tyne Row: some fife skiffs gathered at Kinghorn to give the boat builders and potential rowers at Kinghorn  a shotty;  the Paxton Picnic took place on the Tweed, organised by Dunbar and welcoming boats from Eyemouth, North Berwick and Amble; Portsoy welcomed future skiffies from Findhorn as well as skiffies from Collieston;  Wormit launched skiff 101, welcoming rowers from Newburgh and Broughty Ferry to the ceremony;  ….  and no doubt much else going on too.  Stuff is posted here when we know about it (email , but it is worth while keeping up with Scottish Coastal Rowing on Facebook, where lots of member clubs and individuals post reports on what they have been up too.

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Expedition Rowing at the Great Tyne Row

Fully 35 crews took part in the Great Tyne Row.  Seven of them were rowing St Ayles skiffs.  The other craft included a Dragon Boat, many “restricted” slide seat boats, a Welsh “Celtic Long Boat” and North Brewick’s Hanningfield Skiff, being rowed Ran Dan no less.


Links will be posted to full reports when we get them.  There was a bit of a hold up on the way down to prevent arguments with a massive ferry, which seems a reasonable stand off to back down from.  Full results available online, and a report now up on the British Rowing Website.

Photo J. Turner.

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Racing for Whisky with the Exciseman’s Chase

The Exciseman’s Chase, organised by Carrick Coastal Rowing Club, involves racing from a tent on the shore at Maidens Harbour, North up the coast to Gashouse Bay under Culzean Castle, about 4kms away. At this beach you exchange a token for Whisky, and can also change crews, before racing back to the tent in Maidens where the clock is stopped.

Royal West of Scotland Boat Club were drawn to leave last of the 7 clubs, approx 12 mins behind the first crew from Girvan. Other clubs participating were North Berwick, Cumbrae, Firth of Clyde, Troon and of course the hosts, Carrick.  Royal West started strong catching Firth of Clyde within 15 mins and then Troon soon after. The conditions as crews headed North were challenging, rowing into 4ft swells, breaking at times.

The return journey was equally challenging, but in a slightly different way, as crews had to control their skiffs in a quartering sea. Royal West managed to pass three more boats, including the local club Carrick inside the harbour, on the way back and recorded  an elapsed time of 69 mins, beating North Berwick, whom they had failed to pass, into second.  The East Coasters  elapsed time was 73 mins, meaning Royal West won the Exciseman’s Chase for the second year in a row.  A magnificent trophy was presented, and all clubs were presented with a bottle of smuggled exciseman whisky.  Final results as follows:  1st Royal West (1hr 9mins); 2nd N.Berwick (1hr 13mins); 3rd Carrick (1hr 16mins); 4th Cumbrae (1hr 18mins); 5th Firth of Clyde (1hr 19mins); 6th Troon (1hr 29mins) and 7th Girvan (1hr 34mins).

excise finish


excise run


excise random


After a well deserved rest two shorter races were organised just outside the harbour mouth. The first  was for junior crews and had an excellent turn our of six crews drawn from Troon, Carrick, North Berwick,  and Girvan, plus two composite crews racing in Cumbrae and Chippy McNish. The starts was a little haphazard due to the conditions but did result in a very good race, challenging both crews and coxes.   The race was won by the composite crew coxed by Adam Graham with Royal West providing the stroke man,  two juniors from Norht Berwick  in the middle of the boat and a Troon youngster in the bow.

The final race of the day was an adult race made up of randomly selected crews from all of the attending clubs. Chippy McNish was first accross the line, coxed by Adam Graham of Royal West with rowers from Royal West, Cumbrae and North Berwick.

There was a brilliant atmosphere back at the slipway as everyone mucked in to get all the boats out and onto trailers. The close proximity of the cars, trailers, catering facilities and admin at Maidens is a good environment for clubs to socialise.

Any clubs looking for another chance to reace for whickly should get in touch about the Nith Navigation Race whick takes place on Saturday 27 september.  See earlier post.

All the crews are keen to express their thanks to Carrick Coastal Rowing club for an excellent day on their home waters.

Photos:  Robert Dawson, Troon.

excise prize

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