100th St Ayles Skiff launched at Woudrichem

GROOT & grut 2 became the 100th St Ayles launched on 19 Sep at a well attended party at WSV Woudrichem in the Netherlands.

GROOT & grut 2 launch 19 Sep 2014

GROOT & grut 2 launch 19 Sep 2014

With the benefit of experience, G&g2 is a lighter skiff that G&g1 which could be seen as she was powered out of the tiny marina home of WSV Woudrichem by the crew who have been in regular practice for next weekend’s Great River Race. Both G&g1 and G&g2 together with Dwarsbongel will be in London next weekend to boost the numbers of St Ayles competing.

Dwarsbongel has now been sold to a group in Heusden in Brabant who are intending building a second, and on Sunday, the three skiffs will be taken to Deventer for their Slooproein Club to try out.

We have been the guests of the club here in Woudrichem, and I can strongly recommend a visit to this very pretty old city. The rowing club here will make you very welcome.

Alec Jordan

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A Fyne Weekend at Otter Ferry


fyne winners

North Berwick took overall victory at the Fyne Weekend, and informal social gathering at Otter Ferry on the shores of Loch Fyne.  Conditions were stunning to blissful for the weekend, with the smooth sea loch and mild air squeezing the last out of the summer.

Boatie Blest of Port Seton and Cockenze had joined North Berwick and the hosts Mid-Argyll Rowing Club.  On Saturday morning looked like crews wouldn’t get on the water at all as the fog sat heavy on the water, but by12:30pm the sun began to burn through and some races were organised.  This took the form of three long distance races (about 2 miles), one for Ladies, one for Men’s and one Mixed.   North Berwick’s ladies and men’s crews each won, and the  mixed went to Boatie Blest.   The racing ended with a series of one minute sprints with crews being drawn from a hat and mixing up the three clubs.

fyne race


fyne rest



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South win the Queensferry North/ South Race

Every year there is a challenge between the rowing clubs of North and South Queensferry.  This year the race was from the north side of the Forth to the south between the two bridges, with each club choosing its champion crew to represent them.  After a hard fought and long head to head, South Queensferry won the title from holders North, and with it bragging rights for the year.  Not that much bragging goes on I am sure.




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Screening of Skiff Building and Rowing Film at Findhorn 24 September

On Weds 24 Sept at 8pm, Neville Gabie, artist in residence for the London 2012 Olympics, will be presenting a special screening of his film AFLOAT which follows the Coigach community as they build a skiff and share their passions for boats and the sea.
The second half of the evening features music with Calum Stewart and Heikki Bourgault acclaimed by Acoustic Magazine for making “Music that runs as pure as a Highland stream”.  A leading Uileann Piper and Flautist, Calum Stewart’s powerful and lyrical playing style is rooted in the traditional music of his native northern Scotland.  Findhorn Coastal Rowing Club will be serving homemade soup made from local produce.
The screening will be followed with an informal discussion about boat building, co-hosted with boat builders from Coigach.  The audience will be invited to share their own stories of boats and the sea.  Full details of the event can be found here – http://www.findhornbayartsfestival.com/programme/words_gabie.html
Neville Gabie - Afloat

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First Three St Ayles from Down Coastal Rowing

There are now three St Ayles skiffs afloat in Northern Ireland.    The first was launched  at Ardglass Harbour and named the  “Ardglass Lass” .  She was built by a team of dedicated volunteers as part of the Strangford Lough and Lecale Partnership’s (SLLP’s) community coastal rowing project “The Narrows Challenges.”

adglass lass

Rickey Le Bloas, a boat builder or many years’ experience explained, “The Ardglass team had a late start but we were determined not to be left behind in the race for the water. Once we found a place to build the boat, it was full steam ahead”. William Mulhall, the Ardglass team leader, said, ” It was great to see how everyone pulled so hard together to make the project forge ahead – no sooner did the kit arrive than they had it looking like a boat.” The Ardglass team only took delivery of their kit eight weeks ago, after securing premises from Hendersons .  There is a report on the Ardglass launch in the Down Reporter.

The project has been set up under the banner of Down Coastal Rowing Club, and a total of 9 kits have been supplied to the communities around Strangford Lough and Lecale.  The second and third of boats took to the water this weekend.  First up was “Skart”, launched by the community of Killyleagh.  She was quickly followed by “Black Neb Vixen”, built in the community of Kircubbin.

The boats have been given numbers 77, 78 and 79 on the St Ayles Register of Craft.

It is not long until these boats will be racing for the first time.  The “Narrows Challenge” will be a longer distance race followed by sprints in Strangford Lough on the first weekend of October.

black neb vixen


Photos Copyright ©Bernie Brown 2014.  More photos can be seen on the Down Coastal Rowing Club Facebook Page.


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Queensferry Results

Back to old school technology for this one:



It was a successful day for Crail, who won both the Men’s and Women’s 40+.  The picture below shows their 40+ men steaming to victory.  The Fife clubs dominated the first place spots, but it was very pleasing to see the mixture of clubs there.  The seven categories had winners from six different clubs.  Conditions were very pleasant for the course of 2km or so.  Crews raced from under the road bridge, towards the rail bridge, before taking two 90 degree starboard turns and heading for home.


CrailRC Men40sm

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Forth Flotilla Report

A big gathering of seagoing vessels,  named “The Forth Road Bridge Flotilla” was held last weekend  to celebrate the 50th birthday of this Firth of Forth landmark.  St Ayles Rowing Club of Anstruther attended with two skiffs, along with  Chippy McNish (Royal West), Jenny Skylark (Row Porty), Ferry Maid and Ferry Lass (Queensferry), Sandbay Century (St Andrews) and Ferry Sonnet (North Queensferry).  The Skiffs were prominant at the front of the  150 or so  other assorted craft.

Elsie from the Anstruther club reports:  “Mustering in the bay we all set off, in nothing like the order we had been given, but everyone just joined in and started rowing.  The wind was kinder than the forecast had predicted and the crews had great fun in the washing machine conditions, sandwiched between yachts of all different sizes and two mini puffer boats which had us choking with the coal smoke from their funnels.  As we were in the inside ‘column’ of three, led by HMS Archer, we had the MV Pharos and Anstruthers own Reaper leading the other two columns and both circled us during the journey.  We all agreed that rowing the 7 miles “under” the new Queensferry Crossing, going up as far as Rosyth before turning and then rowing back down river under the birthday bridge and back to Port Edgar, went all too quickly.  It was a fantastic 2 hour trip which we all thoroughly enjoyed, the sun shone and as usual the skiffies put on a great show!”

Peter Locke from South Queensferry says:  “We went out to our muster point with several other skiffs and NQ had rowed over from their side to join our column of all shapes and sizes of craft going to and fro. Good fun and all very respectful of each other’s space. HMS Archer set off westwards with our column following on. Most of us skiffs were fairly well up the column and although there was a fair choppy swell, we kept our positions and had good banter with other boats. Ranald and Sheena offered us a tow but no need at all but thank you anyway! It was that kind of chop where you go up one wave and hit the next one on the way down. Rachel with her broken wrist was perching in the bow and there were a few shrieks as water came inboard as she was keeping her stookie dry.”

Photos below from Qferry and NQferry facebook.

forth flotilla
flotilla st andrews

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Build Instructions Expanded

Many builders will have used the comprehensive and clear photographs from the Ullapool Coastal Rowing Club website to help them work out the process of building the St Ayles skiff.  We have now used some of these, along with words from Topher Dawson, to add more stages to the build instructions set out on this website.  Please have a read, let us know any comments, and pass the word on to all those who are currently building a St Ayles skiff.   Thanks to all those who contributed to this process.



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Mull Regatta Results 2014

  After a gap of over 40 years, rowing races returned to Tobermory last weekend as Isle of Mull Coastal Rowing hosted their first regatta. Skiffs from Collieston, Ardersier, Port Seton, Luing and Seil joined Mull’s Eala Bhan. In all around 60 rowers enjoyed some good competition.


On Friday evening timed sprints along the seafront provided some warm up practice for boats which had arrived early. Sprinting in lanes of two and three skiffs down the fairway we managed 19 individual timed runs before twilight. (fortunately no speed cameras about that evening to enforce the 4 kt limit) A newly formed team from year 3 at Tobermory High School came well up the ranking and gave an indication of things to come for rowing on Mull. Halfway through the proceedings we were treated to the sight of Collieston’s Admiral Redsocks being rowed through the Doirlinn having been towed up from Oban by the beautiful gaff cutter, Iris.

Dervaig A Mull Boys came first closely followed by Collieston Crackers in second. Dervaig Ladies came in third, a full second ahead of the Mull Masters at fourth – which may take some living down.

Saturday morning all six skiffs were involved in the ~2km races down to Aros and back. Port Seton lived up to their reputation, winning all three of the 2km races they entered.   Mull, Collieston and Luing shared most of the other honours.

There was good racing throughout the morning as the weather held, though with a strengthening head wind on the return legs.

Amazingly, the races kept pretty well to schedule and everyone enjoyed a good lunch of home made soup, crab sandwiches, tea and bakes.

After lunch there was time for two races around Calve Island. North about into the Sound of Mull across a moderate swell then a run down the outside of the island before returning through the Doirlinn passage back into the bay. The freshening breeze and choppy sea made for some hard pulling at times. But the east coast boats are well used to nipping out of a harbour straight into the weather and from Collieston’s perspective at least it was as good as flat calm.

The Womens Calve race was won by Mull ahead of Port Seton and Seil. The Mens by Collieston ahead of Luing and Mull. Though first across the line in the Mens was a mixed team from Port Seton.

The day’s overall winner on points was Mull (having done well but also as a result of entering all the races!) However, at the prizegiving, by general acclaim, Ardersier were declared the overall winners of the regatta, having raised over £600 for the Macmillan Cancer Fund through sponsorship of their round Calve race.

Official proceedings over, most folk reconvened in the adjacent hostelry for the evening.

On Sunday morning Ardersier, Port Seton, Colliseton and Mull made it out onto the water for a short social row south. The sight of Iris sailing down the sound to take Admiral Redsocks in tow back to Oban made a fitting end as we all said goodbye. Until next year?

The results  were as follows:


  1. Dervaig A Mull Boys 1.31.57
  2. Collieston Crackers 1.34.52
  3. Dervaig Ladies 1.35.50
  4. Mull Masters 1.36.51
  5. Dimwits Admiral Redsocks 1.39.08
  6. Dervaig Ladies 1.40.84
  7. Selkie 1 1.42.30
  8. Ardersier Classics 1.45.70
  9. Selkie 3 1.48.59 9
  10. Para Handy High School 1.49.70
  11. Ardersier Casuals 1.50.56
  12. Selkie 2 1.50.90
  13. Admiral Redsocks 1.52.00
  14. Para Handy High School 1.52.30
  15. A Team minus 1.53.01 15
  16. Ardersier 3 1.53.69
  17. Ardersier 1 1.53.70
  18. Para Handy High School 1.55.92
  19. Ardersier mixed bag 2.09.36

2km races

40+ Mixed :  1 Port Seton, 2 Mull, 3 Collieston, 4 Luing, 5 Seil, 6 Ardersier

Open Mixed: 1 Port Seton, 2 Mull, 3 Luing, 4 Collieston, 5 Seil, 6 Ardersier

40+ Women: 1 Mull, 2 Collieston, 3 Luing, 4 Ardersier

Open Women: 1 Mull, 2 Collieston

40+ Men:  1 Mull, 2 Luing, 3 Ardersier

Open Men:  1 Port Seton, 2 Mull, 3 Collieston


Round Calve Island Race

Women 1 Mull 44mins, 2 Port Seton 50mins, 3 Seil 52mins, 4 Collieston 54mins,
5 Luing 55mins, (Ardersier mixed crew 63mins)

Men 1 Collieston 37mins, 2 Luing 39mins, 3 Mull 40mins, 4 Seil 42mins
(Port Seton mixed crew 36mins)


Championship Points:

1 Mull 43 points,

2 Collieston 24 points,

3= Port Seton 23 points,

3= Luing 23 points,

5 Seil 11 points,

6 Ardersier 9 points

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skiffs everywhere….. again

robson skiff

It may take a short while to catch up with all the write ups from the weekend.  If anyone could send a couple of photos and a few words (and results where appropriate) for the following events to convenor@scottishcoastalrowing.org we will bet them loaded up!  The events which took place this weekend past included:

Queensferry Regatta

Launch at Ardglass

Launch at Barra

Skiff racing and social at Amble

Forth Bridge Flotilla

Isle of Mull Regatta

Largs Viking Weekend

Any others?

Photo of amble skiff by Jeannie Newcombe

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