Cruising Log Runners Up: Boatie Back in Venice


Those with reasonable medium term memories will recall the excellent cruising log from Boatie Blest describing their road and lake trip to take part in the Voga Longa in Venice which won the SCRA crusing log competition in 2014.  Two of the participating skiffies, Jon Gerrard and Lucy Hyde, were so fascinated by the traditional Venetian rowing style demonstrated by  the local boats that they decided to return to learn how to row venetial style.   Thankfully for the rest of us they have written up their experiences as an entry for the 2016 Crusing Log competition, for which they are one of our much appreciated runners up.

So put another log on the fire, pour another mug of tea out of the pot and be inspired by  their log:

Voga alla Veneta




St Andrews CRC at the Great Glen

Another runner up in the cruising log competition, St Andrews Coastal Rowing Club enjoyed a club voyage down the Great Glen. Thankfully they wrote up the experience for us all to enjoy.  Curl up in front of the fire and find inspiration in the St Andrews cruising log, and enjoy every one of the 59 miles that the rowers covered in “Blue Bay”.

lochness300 leaving-laggan-lock300

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We had some fantastic entries to the SCRA cruising log competition this year.  Isle of Mull produced the eventual winners, who received their magnificent trophy at Loch Tummell.  However all the enties were very much appreciated, and all of them amuse, impress and inspire, so we intend to publish links to them all.  Please be sure to read them and share them to keep you happy during these dark winter nights.

First of all we have two entries from Amble Coastal Rowing Club, both penned by Bryan Miller, and both published primarily on facebook.  The Amble FB page is most effeminately worth a “like”, full of fun and friendship.  So please like and share  “Travellers Tales – Treasure Island”  (Describing a voyage in company with Whitburn and Luing, in and around the Island of Luing,  and Amble at  Eskmuthe Regatta…….(which describes participation in the rowing of the marches at Mussleburgh.)  .  Start to plan your own adventures for next year.

Photos are from the Amble CRC FB page, and accompany the written word.







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Brief Update from the SCRA AGM

Full minutes will follow in normal course,  but those who were not present will want to know the outcomes. Firstly thank you to all the clubs who had travelled from far and wide to take part in the meeting, and thank you for feedback before, during and after.

The new SCRA committee were elected by affirmation and are as follows:

Robbie Wightman (North Berwick) Convenor
Topher Dawson (Ullapool) Treasurer
Andrew Rendle (St Andrews) Secretary
Ali Grant (RowPorty)
Wendy Clements (Portsoy)
Stuart Mack (Boatie Blest)
Richard Wemyss (St Ayles Anstruther)
Cameron Hughes (FOCCR)
Sue Fenton (Isle of Seil)
Fergus Forsyth (Carrick)
Following the meeting, the committee have co-opted Elsie Johnstone of St Ayles, Anstruther to work as part of the committee.
The SCRA membership dues for the year ahead were set at £60, but with a rebate available for small clubs of less than 20 members to bring their dues down to £40.  Many clubs paid on the night.  Membership fees are due now, and can be sent to the treasurer.
The motion with regard to exploring the idea of moving towards standardising oars and oarlock systems was carried by a 75% vote in favour.  The full text of the motion carried was:
“ St.Ayles skiffs have a great variety of oars and oarlock systems and feedback to the committee on balance shows a desire to move toward a more tightly specified design so that all rowers are competing with the same effective equipment. We propose that an international group be set up, to consult widely and propose a common design for oars and oarlock, to be trialled over the 2017 season with a view to reporting on any recommendations (including any recommendations for any transitional arrangements) to National Associations by October 2017.”
The committee of the association will now move towards setting up such a group.


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A New Class is Born: SCRA Picnic Class Races at the Freshwaters

A new racing class was introduced this year.  The SCRA picnic class is a fairly open class of one person rowing boat.  Thank you to Jon Gerrard of Boatie Blest for sharing all the photos in this post to the SCRA Facebook Group.


The front of the field featured the longer narrower, lighter boats…. Topher Dawson of Ullapool in the foreground built this Paul Gartside Flashboat “Splinter”


The class rules allow for any material for hull and oars, although overall length is restricted to 5 metres, and sliding seats and out riggers are not permitted.  Stability is tested by having the rower stand up and turn round.  The boats are not intended to be out and out racers, as they must be capable of carrying a passenger and a picnic.  Do please start building for next year’s event!  If numbers allow we may have one race for sleek boats, and one race for those built a bit more for comfort.

There was a fair variety among the five boats that turned up for the racing, with Ullapool CRC being victorious in both the men’s and the women’s race, and thus winning the magnificent new trophy.  After the racing  owners kindly let other skiffies have plenty of shotties in the peedie boats with the very fine conditions that we were enjoying.



Elizabeth Cowan of North Berwick raced a GRP version of a “Shetland Maid”



Andres Leslie of RowPorty built and raced his Drake 17 “Pascaul”. She can be rowed by one or two rowers, and handles the seas off Portobello very well.



Not all the boats were brand new. Adam Graham raced one of Royal West’s historic “sixteens”.



Ben Duffin of Galgael was lead on a team building this beautiful copper fastened 10 foot dinghy “Annie B”, and raced it in the Men’s race for Glasgow Coastal Rowing Club



Picnic Stability Test:  Passed

Picnic Stability Test: Passed




What a stunning day we had as Guests of Loch Tummel Sailing Club for the SCRA Freshwater Sprints, sponsored by Kari-tek:  purveyors of very fine St Ayles Skiff Road Trailers.  Members of at least 36 SCRA clubs were present for the event, which was organised into regional teams.   Rowers had traveled from all corners to attend this reasonably central location, including those travelling from Orkney, Lewis, North Uist, Islay, Norfolk and Langstane.

Twenty one races were squezzed into the day, including two picnic class races, and a sailing club challenge race.  We had a new winner for the Championship Shield:  North East region took  the trophy for the first time ahead of South East, two times previous winners.

See the full table of results, if only to work out what could have been.  All photos are from the An Eathar facebook page.




Thank you again to Loch Tummel Sailing Club for being fabulous and welcoming hosts (who really know how to put on a spread too) and to Kari-tek for their continued support of this event.


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International St Ayles Skiff Regatta in Tasmania


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Inland Coastal Rowing

Not as daft as it might sound.  Would you  be interested in starting up a rowing group, using St Ayles skiffs on one of Scotland’s freshwater Lochs?


Loch Shiel (pic Jon Gerrard)

Some of our Lochs are pretty big (fun fact of the day, Loch Ness contains more freshwater than all the Lakes in England and Wales put together), and can easily get sufficiently lumpy to enjoy the benefits of using a seaworthy craft like the St Ayles skiff to traverse them.  Every year the SCRA goes to visit a different loch for its autumnal “freshwater sprints”.  So far we have found Castle Semple Loch,  Loch Venacher, Loch Insh and Loch Katrine to be excellent Lochs  on which to race and enjoy our skiffs.  We have also enjoyed a two day tour with eight skiffs on Loch Shiel, and skiffs have rowed on Loch Ness, Loch Oich, Loch Lochy, Strathclyde Park Loch, Loch Tummel, Loch Lomond, Kinghorn Loch, Whittader Reservoir, Glasmuir Reservoir…….  I think you probably get the idea.  Although we are coastal rowers, and all our current clubs are on the coast, there is no reason why they should not be joined by clubs based on or near our lovely inland Scottish Lochs.


Loch Katrine (Pic Murdo MacLeod)



Loch Insh- Lumpier than it looks, and it was blowing F7 later on (Pic Ian Mills)

So if you think you could organise the building of a boat within your community, with the idea of using it for regular community fun on your local freshwater loch, and perhaps the odd expedition to row with others on the coast, then please get in touch.  We will do our best to help you find others who feel the same way.

Specifically this weekend, if you are in the Tummel/ Rannoch/ Loch Tay area, please come along to say hello at Loch Tummel Sailing Club where our 2016 Freshwater Sprints are hosted.  There will be 5 skiffs battling it out for regional teams over 20 races, so you will be able to see what the skiffs are like, and speak to plenty of folk who have found a passion in rowing boats and new friendships.


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Prepare to be Dazzled



Boat House 4 at  Portsmouth Historic Dockyard will witness a double St Ayles skiff launch on 26 October. The building of these St Ayles skiffs has been an outreach project involving young people from five local schools and run by Caroline Barrie-Smith, Community Participation & Learning Officer.

The young people will take part in coastal rowing experiences with Portsmouth Sail Training Trust (PSTT) and London based charity Oarsome Chance who have helped fund the project.



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Heave Awa Whitehills

Another new skiff has been launched in the North East.   See the report in the Banffie  including a broader bit about St Ayles in general.

Good luck to Whitehills.



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