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.
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.
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:
- Dervaig A Mull Boys 1.31.57
- Collieston Crackers 1.34.52
- Dervaig Ladies 1.35.50
- Mull Masters 1.36.51
- Dimwits Admiral Redsocks 1.39.08
- Dervaig Ladies 1.40.84
- Selkie 1 1.42.30
- Ardersier Classics 1.45.70
- Selkie 3 1.48.59 9
- Para Handy High School 1.49.70
- Ardersier Casuals 1.50.56
- Selkie 2 1.50.90
- Admiral Redsocks 1.52.00
- Para Handy High School 1.52.30
- A Team minus 1.53.01 15
- Ardersier 3 1.53.69
- Ardersier 1 1.53.70
- Para Handy High School 1.55.92
- Ardersier mixed bag 2.09.36
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)
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org we will bet them loaded up! The events which took place this weekend past included:
Launch at Ardglass
Launch at Barra
Skiff racing and social at Amble
Forth Bridge Flotilla
Isle of Mull Regatta
Largs Viking Weekend
Photo of amble skiff by Jeannie Newcombe
The first of two ‘Ship Shape and Bristol Fashion’ St Ayles Skiffs was launched on the evening of the 3 September at Baltic Wharf, Bristol. The boat is named after Edward Colston, ship owner in the 17th century. A prayer was said by the vicar of St Mary Redcliffe Cathedral and the boat christened with water from a Bristol Blue Carafe. A group of young girls rowed the boat up the docks to the delight of the assembled well wishers. The boat is the culmination of a years work by members of All-Aboard Watersports / Rocking the Boat charity.
September 2014 is probably going to be the busiest month so far for St Ayles skiff Launches. More skiffs will be launched this month than hit the water in the first year of the project. Each one of these boats is a successful community project which deserves to be celebrated. If you are involved in one of them please send a couple of photos and a few words so that we can let everyone on here share the joy. Please also let us know if you can fill in more dates to this list (or add more boats!) email@example.com
Dates we are aware of are as follows, the undated are still boats that we expect will be launched in September:
Bristol: 4 September
Barra: 6 September
Ardglass: 7 September
Killeleaghs: 13 September
Kircubbin: 14 September
Woudrichem 2 (Netherlands): 19 September
Wormit: 21 September
Strangford: 28 September
Kaigoura (New Zealand):
Firth of Clyde 2:
The St Ayles Skiff built at Armfields Slip in Goolwa, South Australia has now been launched, bringing the current Australian fleet up to four skiffs. Goolwa is a town south of Adelaide with close links with Port Seton in Scotland.
It is hoped that this boat will travel with others to the Skiffie Championships held in Tasmania in February 2015. There will be sprint racing at the fabulous Australian Wooden Boat Festival, as well as a touring event, longer distance racing at Franklin, and a feature at the Hobart Regatta. With further launches due and boats travelling over from New Zealand it is hoped that at least seven boats will be present. Crews from the Northern Hemisphere are warmly invited, and will be given the use of local skiffs for the championships, and supplemented with local rowers if needed!
Further report on the Goolwa launch and photos on Tasskiffies2015 pages of LBT website. To ask about taking part in the Tasskiffies 2015 conatact Lorrie Harrison, one of the Women on Water at Franklin: w.lharrison[at]bigpond.com
Anyone in Australia and New Zealand wishing to purchase a St Ayles skiff kit should contact Robert Ayliffe: firstname.lastname@example.org
CRA Blakeney organised a tour of the Northern Norfolk broads, which was supported by craft of a variety of shapes and sizes. See their photo report below, and get planning for some row tourism of your own. And remember to enter the SCRA cruising log competition. send your entries to email@example.com . More information on Blakeney and its rowers at http://crablakeney.wordpress.com/
September is the time of year for giving rowers bottles of whisky for turning up at an event. This year the practice will be continued at the Nith Navigation Race as well as Carrick’s Excisman’s chase.
The Nith Navigation Race is a 6 mile processional race. As with all good races it starts at a cafe and finishes at a pub. Last year’s event was a good opener with 5 St Ayles skiffs and a Teifi skiff battling it out, and an incredibly close finish after an hours worth of rowing. Being a time trial the event welcomes St Ayles skiffs, obviously, but also other classes of coastal rowing boats, so have a look around the yard and see what all you can get folk on the water in. By taking part in the race you are helping to demonstrate that the tidal river is navigable right into Dumfries Town Centre, and that the Navigation should be kept open. Report on last years race can be found on this website.
Please read the Notice of Race and get your entries in as soon as possible.
The Tay gained its third St Ayles skiff on Sunday when Broughty Ferry Boating launched their first skiff, named “Brochty“. She was given a taste of the traditional spirit before being lowered into the Tay by rowers and boat builders. She was welcomed onto the water by rowers from Fife clubs. Everyone from the local community is warmly invited to become involved in using Brochty. If you are interested please contact firstname.lastname@example.org .
There are several other launchings coming up. Barra will launch on Saturday 6th Sept. Named by the island schoolchildren, the Barra skiff will be unveiled on Saturday morning at 10.30am in the Square, before being piped down the main street by the Feis Bharraigh Pipe Band to the slipway at the pier.