Seven skiffs attended a fun filled regatta at Fisherrow Harbour on 27 July 2014. Eskmuthe’s skiff “Honesty” was joined by skiffs from Queensferry, Pittenweem, Port Seton, Anstruther and two skiffs from Portobello.
The first event was a mixed blind fold event, 450m (total 900m) around an individual buoy. Which proved a bit of a challenge with lots of oar clashing and miss timing. Unfortunately we do not have a note of the winners, quite possibly because everyone remained blindfolded so no one noticed, but here is a nice photo of the Queensferry Team:
The Living Boat trust, and in particular the Women on the Water Group, today celebrated the unpacking of their second kit. The boat is sponsored by their local Bank, Bendigo Community Bank. Work starts on Wednesday with two teams per week to ensure the boat is completed in time for the Southern Hemisphere’s first International St Ayles Regatta, 12-15 February, 2015.
Troon and Carrick Coastal Rowing Clubs from Ayrshire accepted the kind invitation to row at the annual Dalriada Festival in Glenarm, County Antrim. Attendance is made possible by the very kind sponsorship of the event by P&O ferries, which allows the skiff and towing vehicle to travel on the Cairnryan to Larne ferry for free. Various Scottish Coastal Rowing Clubs have attended the festival over the years, taking squads of rowers across to contribute to the economy and the party in Northern Ireland, thanks in part to this excellent deal.
Unfortunately, for the first time, the racing did not go ahead. The fog was in so thick that the course could not be seen. The Scottish Rowers never the less enjoyed and educated themselves, taking local rowers out in the St Ayles skiffs, and in turn having a go in the local class of GRP gigs. The Ayrshire rowers were also very impressed by the boat houses and pubs available to the local gig crews.
Two new skiffs joined the fleet this weekend, one in Northumberland and one in Sutherland. (For those of you not in the UK it might not be obvious that Northumberland is in the South and Sutherland is pretty far north). The following pictures have all been shared onto the Scottish Coastal Rowing Facebook Group.
Crofton (skiff number 69) was launched at Blythe. She was paraded through town behind a marching band, before being blessed, named and launched. Gosforths “Grace” met her on the water and Byker Belle was also in attendance.
Pride of Bunillidh was lauched in the afternoon in Helmsdale, Sutherland. She is skiff number 70 on the register of craft. She was named by Davy Cowie, a retired fishing skipper whose family owned the previous fishing vessels going by the name Pride of Bunillidh.
Congratulations to all those involved in getting both these boats from sheets of plywood to the stage of launching beautiful skiffs. Good luck to all those who have the opportunity to benefit from the teamwork and hard work that went into building them, including those who put teamwork and hard work into racing them.
Sadly the racing at the Darliada festival due to take place over the weekend was cancelled due to very thick fog. If you can’t see the course, you can’t really race. This of course did not stop a skiff being launched and used around the marina!
There was a gathering of five St Ayles skiffs in Vermont over the weekend. This amounts to half the current North American fleet, and is the biggest gathering of St Ayles skiffs in the one place to date, outwith the UK. The gathering took place on Lake Champlain, where the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum keeps its two skiffs. Lisa Percival reports:
“We had a delightful weekend of rowing last Saturday and Sunday, July 12 and 13!! We had a total of 5 St.Ayles skiffs with two from LCMM, 1 from Ayle of Quinte in Picton Ontario, 1 from Moravian Academy in Pennsylvania (Sephira) and 1 from Renbrook Academy in Connecticut.
“We had glorious weather on Saturday for our 1 mile skiff race to a harbor across Lake Champlain, joined by 2 of our 32’Cornish Pilot gigs. After the race over, most rowers went for a swim or dip in the lake waters and relaxed for almost an hour before racing back to our harbor at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. We had a picnic lunch on the grounds and then rowers went back onto the lake for a more leisurely exploration of the area.
“On Sunday, July 13 the skiffs were joined by our fleet of gigs and several man powered smaller boats for our annual Challenge Race. Due to high winds and the threat of storms, we modified the course to follow the Vermont coastline—it was roughly a 3 mile oval race. Once the race was finished, all rowers and guests were invited to a sumptuous meal provided by our Community Rowing Club.”
Lisa describes it as a “wonderful event for all” and explains how the rowers thought of fellow skiffies from the 2013 worlds and knew how much we would have enjoyed joining in! One for next year?
For those of you interested in the results, clicky clicky. There is also now a report on the North American St Ayles website www.skiffies.org
St Ayles skiffs formed a guard of honour to welcome the Commonwealth Games Baton to the Isle of Cumbrae on 15 July 2014. Six skiffs formed the guard. The local boat “Cumbrae” was joined by skiffs from Irvine Coastal Rowing Club, Royal West, Firth of Clyde, Carrick and Galgael.
Galgael had been involved in making the baton, and the wood for the handle which they crafted came from an Elm Tree in the grounds of Garrison House on Cumbrae. The baton was therefore able to make a brief stop at its birthplace! After the baton made its way off the island, many locals and visitors took up the oportunity to have a try at the sport of coastal rowing in one of the skiffs.
Kathy Mansfield is an award winning marine photographer who was invited by the organisers of the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival Portsoy to attend and record the 2014 festival. Her top quality photos really catch the drama, excitement and outrageous fun of rowing St Ayles skiffs, and are available for purchase. She writes on her blog:
“There haven’t been five fifies in Portsoy harbor for over 150 years — they were the stars of a great gathering, the other stars being countless St Ayles skiffs who despite the strong winds and swell put on a great show with their racing. Add to that the sailing boats, plenty of shanties from British and Norwegian groups, some top Scottish traditional music, food, ceilidhs, crafts — and the inauguration of the North Sea Ring, a coming together of traditional boat groups from around the North Sea. Photos are now uploaded, email Kathymansfield@mac.com for skiff photos @ £15, an event CD at £25 and others by request.”
Have a browse of Kathy’s website gallery for your favourite skiff. Some fantastic pictures in there.
The photo above shows Eskmuthe’s skiff Honesty turning to enter the Old Harbour, Portsoy. The one below shows half the SCRA committee testing the water in Boatie Lodge (and the joinery as it turned out). No one was harmed in the taking of this photo, and not a drop of water was shipped in the boat either!