Frank Whyte – Inspiration to Findhorn

Many from the skiff community may have already heard of the tragic loss of Frank Whyte on Saturday 21st May.  His sailing boat was capsized by a violent squall while he was sailing in the Moray Firth.

Picture: Morven Mackenzie, linked from PandJ Article below

Frank was an integral member of Findhorn Coastal Rowing Club, always happy to offer support and expertise, an inspiration to us all. The club tell us “He always had time for a yarn and a word of encouragement with his wicked wit and cheerful manner. He was instrumental in the construction of our beautiful boat, “Joppa”. He kept us right, and ensured that we maintained his exacting standards.  A true gentleman whose integrity ran though every aspect of his life, he will be sorely missed as so many were touched by his generosity of spirit. He will be missed as a club member and as a mentor but most of all as a dear friend.   Findhorn’s  thoughts are with his family.”


Short video and article below

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Skiffieworlds: Registration Open

Image for Skiffie Worlds 2016

Entries are now being taken for Skiffieworlds, which as you will know is being held on Strangford Lough from 24 to 30 July 2016.  Skiffie Worlds is the World Championship for the St Ayles Class of community built coastal rowing boat.

We are expecting crews from communities in Canada, England, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Australia, USA and the Netherlands.   We are only able to accommodate 50 skiffs, so please make sure yours is one of them by asking your club secretary to get your entry in.  Entries close on Sunday 12 June.

More information, and a link to the site for entries,  is on the Skiffie Worlds Notice of Race .

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Kinghorn to Launch Yolande 4 June 2016

DSC_0053 (2)Yolande


Message from Kinghorn Coastal Rowing Club:  Come along and meet Yolande, the Queen of Scotland! Kinghorn Coastal Rowing Club is pleased to announce the official launch and naming of St Ayles skiff “Yolande” on Saturday 4 June on Kinghorn Beach at 2pm. Please come along with your skiffs to help us celebrate this occasion. For more information email or checkout our Facebook  group  and Twitter @kinghorncoastal as well as the local press.

We hear that a special Skiff Ale is on tap at the local as well!


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An Eathar Rowing Club hosts Outer Hebrides Cox Training

cross oars

Over the weekend of 13 &14th May 2016  Ali Grant, Ian Stephen and Topher Dawson lead stimulating workshops and talks on the topics of: the role of the cox; safety; communication; commands; launching; weather; tides; maneuvering; skiff set-up; rules of racing and VHF radio use.

Eighteen apriring coxes lined up for the course from a range of clubs including: Uist Rowing Coastal Club, Stornoway Rowing Club, Staran, Ullapool and Shawbost based An Eathar Coastal Rowing Club, who hosted the course. A fun and inspiring time was had by all – both at the Friday indoor sessions at Shawbost Old School Community Centre and also at the sea Saturday session on Loch Carloway. The sun shone on skiffs Blue Moon, Madadh Ruadh and Yackydoola as their crews effectively put into practice the previous days preparation.

cross loch

A big thanks to Ali Grant (SCRA and Rowporty); Topher Dawson (SCRA and Ullapool); Ian Stephen (Falmadair, Stornoway and An Eathar) and also to our excellent trainees Robbie Shields, Lawrence Devenney, Iain (Sked) Macleod, Kenny Neil MacLennan, Rose Bugler, Jan Dawson, Robert & Cheryl Taylor, Lindsay Macdonald, Moni Nicolin, Ken Maclennan, Kay Digges, D J Macleod, Jackie Craig, Debra Myles, Euan Macleod, Rhys Howell and Hettie Knight.  An Eathar are very grateful for the continuing support of Horshader Community Development in our endeavours.

cross clever coxes cross groups

cross listen

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Lottery in Support of Skiffieworlds 2016… Get your Tickets Now!


Some of you will have noticed that the three yearly celebration of the St Ayles skiff that is Skiffie Worlds is coming up in July 2016, on Strangford Lough, County Down.  This is the first time that the Championships have been held outside Scotland. The local organisers plan to make it a professional but fun and community-focused showcase of our sport and the local communities that are taking part.

To maintain the community spirit, and in recognition of the considerable sacrifices that participants will make to travel to this excellent event,  visiting clubs are not charged an entry fee.  That is an important part of what makes our sport so welcoming and friendly.  Although the event is being supported by local councils, SportNI, volunteers from local clubs and other bodies – largely in kind-  the lack of entry fee does mean that there is a risk of funding short fall.

To support the event and make sure that it has the funds available to make it truly brilliant, a lottery is being run, just as it was for Ullapool three years ago.   This is a great way to allow everyone to participate in and contribute to Skiffworlds.  Taking part in the lottery lets the organisers feel that they are supported by the skiffie community in all the work of organising the event.  We hope that all clubs and their members will support this whether or not they plan to attend the Worlds.

wee skiff crop

Did we mention the prize????  Every club will want one of their members or friends to win this.  First prize is a St Bronagh Skiff – an 18ft  fibreglass training/picnic skiff.  This skiff is being built locally in Portaferry to a Selway Fisher design.  She is rowed by 2 people, either with one or two oars each, and is coxed. Other prizes include an iPad Air, a GPS Sportwatch, a coffee maker, local art, local alcohol, a hamper of local food, and many other exciting items.

Lottery promoter Isabel Hood, Strangford CRC rower and chairman of Strangford Lough and Lecale Partnership Advisory Committee explains “I am acting as promoter of the Skiffieworlds Support Lottery which is endorsed by SCRA and licensed by Newry Mourne and Down District Council. We hope that your club can sell some lottery tickets which will be drawn on the final day of Skiffieworlds. Obviously if your club isn’t represented there, we’ll get your prizes to you.  I’ve emailed to addresses on the SCRA database but some may be out of date.  Please could all Club secretaries,  let me have a postal address that I can send tickets to. (Please send it to skiffiesupport ‘at’ ).”

Photo from Strangford Coastal Rowing Club Facebook Page

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Black Neb Skiff Launch 8 May 2016

black neb launch

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Ouse Rewet Launched at Kings Lynn, Norfolk

Another skiff in Norfolk, to take numbers to four.  Ouse Rewet was recently launched by Kings Lynn Coastal Rowing Club.  Image above from their excellent website.  Full report in the Eastern Daily Press

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New Skiff for Lamlash, Arran


A short updated on Skiff building on Arran.  Above is a picture of the Arran Junior Sailing Club skiff which is being built following a grant from “Awards For All ” to cover the build and a double-decker trailer. As was the case with the Arran Coastal Rowing Club boat it is being built in the Arran High School with help of the usual skilled adults and 6 of the pupils. By the start of next week it will be fully planked and a start made on fitting the keel with a hoped for launch date  late June.  Once completed the plan is that both boats will be available for  both the Junior Sailors and the Coastal Rowers and allow for a bit of competition.

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Lydney, Gloucester Skiff talk – Thu 14 April

Following the success of the initial demonstration of All Aboard’s St Ayles Skiff at Lydney on the Severn Estuary in March, Alec Jordan will be delivering a talk at Lydney Sailing Club (GL15 4ER) about the St Ayles and the development of community coastal rowing.

Alec produces the kits for the St Ayles.

The talk starts at 7.30pm for about 40 minutes. There will be ample time for questions and general chat afterwards.

The event is open to anyone who wants to find out more about the St Ayles and coastal rowing, so if you live elsewhere along the Bristol Channel, please feel free to attend.

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Annan Bell Ringers: The Raid on England

Once again coastal rowers are being invited to attend the Annan Harbour Festival with their St Ayles skiffs, and recreate in a race an attempted cross border raid from 1626.

This will be a raid on England, leaving 1 hr before high water from Annan Harbour, racing  the 3 miles over to Bowness on Solway, landing on the beach. Members of each crew will proceed to pub in the centre of village to recover a bell, the first crew arriving at pub have privilege of bringing bell back to Annan and the second crew will bring the  stand.  Crews will start together for the return leg. At  Annan  (estimate return 1 hr after high water) the bell will be reassembled and rung by the winning crew.

The race partially recreates a  raid in 1626 when some men from Annan raided and stole the bell at Bowness which was the maximum insult in those days.  We do however hope that our skiffs do better than those historic raiders who sadly, due to a combination of heavy bell, small boat and a lot of alcohol lost the bell in the Solway. The missing bell has never been found but apparently its watery ring is still heard from time to time.

For more details of this race on 7 May, and how to enter, see the 2016 Notice of Raid


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