NEW! SCRA Rules of Racing 2017 Edition

The committee of the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association has approved the 2017 Edition of the SCRA Rules of Racing .   See also the Shared Buoy Turn Guidance.  The Freshwater Sprints were run using the 2017 rules and all seemed to go well.  Clubs should start to use the 2017 Rules for their own open events from now onwards.

The 2017 rules make certain additions and revisions to the previous iteration including:

5.4.7:  Revised explanation of First (“A”) crews and Second (“B”) crews.
5.5  With regard to Gender the rules codify  a decision that was made in advance of the 2013 worlds that rowers will race in the gender in which they live in their community.
10.9:  Introduction of a fixed time penalty  for transgression of measurement rules in certain circumstances, rather than straight disqualification, provided safety is not compromised.
12.  Support vessels.  Support craft should carry at least the same safety equipment as skiffs and should be in contact through VHF radio.
There are minor amendments to the start procedure, and clarification that a PFD can be either a lifejacket or a buoyancy aid.
Please do have a read through the new rules and encourage all your clubmates to do the same.   It is helpful if everyone…  rowers, coxes, regatta organisers, umpires and supporters all know what is in them!



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Cork Ocean to City ” An Rás Mór”: 10 June 2017

Cork’s Ocean to City Race is looking to welcome St Ayles skiffs again this year.




Last time that skiffs took part Coigach brought home the Trophy for fastest  St Ayles.  They were followed in Second Place by a crew from North Berwick, who were also runners up in the overall competition for mixed crews, decided on handicap across all the rowing fleet.  Coigach (mistakenly relocated to Wales on the prize list) also took home the trophy for fastest  wooden boat.  The St Ayles trophy haul was completed when Jeremy Duffin was recognised as boat builder of the day, for his work on the stunning Strangford Coastal Rowing Club boat Strangfjǫrðr.  These clubs were joined by Portaferry, Ullapool, Dundrum and Blakeney.  The year before it was Blakeney who brought home line honours, although this is definitely one where it is more about taking part, and completing a fairly lengthy challenge in amazing surrounding, rather than just being first to get it over with.   The race rightly has a friendly yet high quality reputation.  Two hundred boats took part in the most recent edition.




Next year’s Ocean to City  – An Rás Mór will take place on Saturday 10 June 2017, as part of the Cork Harbour Festival, and a warm invitation is being extended to the international skiffie community.  Registration will open in February 2017 and special early bird deals, accommodation and transport offers will also be available. More informaiton is available on the new website

If you’d like any further information, please don’t hesitate to contact Joya and her team through the website or  subscribe to O2C newsletter.  And do spread the Ocean to City flyer among your friends.  We have a vague recollection of there being some fantastic partying afterwards, and there was some fairly dark beer involved, but it is a bit hazy.









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Oars and Oarlocks……. Next Steps


A small internationally recruited group is being formed to attempt to design a new oar and oarlock system for the St Ayles skiff.  This is not in any way a small task, because they are going to be asked to come up with something so good that in the long term everyone will be keen to adopt it!  Luckily there will be some brilliant people in the group, and they will be supported by a wider pool of dedicated skiffies who have built and rowed with a variety of oars.

This follows on from feedback sought and received on the current measurement rules after the 2016 racing season. The following  resolution was passed at the SCRA AGM, with 75% of the 36 clubs represented voting in favour:

“ 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.”

Consultation documents are currently being sent out, so that the group can be well informed with regard to what equipment is currently used by clubs, and what skiffies think are the most desirable characteristics of an oar and oarlock system.  A good return on those consultatoins would be very much appreciated, and will help the group with their task.

"Go on, tell me all about your oars"........."er, do you have 9 months ma'am"

“Go on, tell me all about your oars”….. “er, how long do you have ma’am?”

By way of reassurance, there is no intention to make existing systems obsolete at at the same time as the new system is introduced.  The existing measurement rules will continue in respect of existing oars and oarlocks, at least for the medium term.

The Oar and Oarlocks group will be given a fair amount of discretion in coming up with the new system.  In particular they are not to be constrained by requiring to comply with the current measurement rules.   If their ultimate recommended designs for oars and oarlocks are outwith the current rules, and if they are to be adopted, the measurement rules will be changed to allow the particular system to be used, in its entirety (ie oars and oarlocks together).  During 2017 season, exemption certificates may be granted to clubs trying out prototypes of the new system in race situations.

If the proposals are adopted, clubs will either use the new system  in its glorious and tightly specified one design entirety, or not at all.  If they do not want to use the new system, it is anticipated that they can continue to use kit which complies with the current rules.   It is hoped that in due course everyone will be able to use equal kit, with oars that they can make themselves, all at reasonable cost and without unreasonable technical demands.



“Ooops, Mum is back in 30 minutes, and I can’t find the hoover”

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Travel Grant to USA for Skiffie Educators

The Teaching with Small Boats Alliance (TWSBA) is a collaboration of educators and programs in the USA that teach maths, science and other essential skills through the process of boat building.
The Alliance holds a biennial conference, that next year will fall on April 27-29 in St Michaels, Maryland, about 80 miles from Washington DC.

One of the speakers at the conference is Rich Eisenberg, the Executive Director of Bayfront Maritime Centre in Erie Pennsylvania where two St Ayles Skiffs have been built. He will be speaking about BMC’s experience with the St Ayles, and the current plan is to hold a panel discussion on multi-oared rowing boats.

I had met the people from the TWSBA a few years ago at Mystic at the time we ran the first St Ayles races in the US. I was fascinated by the way that they had tied the multifarious elements of building a boat to the US Schools curriculum, associating dry academic items to real-world questions in the design and building of small boats – to my mind an essential and very often ignored element in the education of students who are not so hot on learning for learning’s sake (like me!). I strongly believe that the TWSBA has much to offer Skiff building in an educational context in the UK.

Additionally, I have long felt that there have been insufficient links with the Skiffies in North America. To my knowledge (and I hope I am wrong), there has only been one visitor from the UK (apart from myself) to any of the North American Skiffie groups. Attendance at this conference will help initiate personal links with North American Skiffie Groups.

Jordan Boats is pleased to offer a grant to pay for the flight to the USA and the Conference Fee for one attendee. We will also consider some assistance to other individuals who wish to attend the conference.

In order that the air fares are kept to a minimum, applications are invited with a deadline of 12 noon GMT on the 7th of December. The decision on the award will be taken within seven days, and the successful applicant(s) notified by the 14th of December.

To apply for the grant, please send us a short application stating:

Your current educational post

A summary of your experience with the St Ayles Skiff in an educational setting

How you believe your educational work will benefit from attending the conference and how it can benefit other members of St Ayles Skiff communities.

The application should be a minimum of 300 words, and not exceed 1000 words.

There will be some Terms and Conditions attached to the grant which I will publish before the deadline for applications. These will not be onerous.

Please send your application to We will look forward to reading them.

Alec Jordan

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Strangford Tour Runner Up in Cruising Log

Strangford CRC organised a tour of Strangford lough, with many of their members rowing different legs of the route.  Anna Elliott co-ordinated the recording of this In the Round the Lough Row Log which is one of the runners up in the 2016 Cruising Log competition.


The 34.5 mile intended route was split into 3 sections, with crews begin swapped in relay style, either on land or from the support boat.  This is the sort of event that many clubs could do in their home waters, visiting and being supported by neighbouring clubs.  This log will help you with a bit of inspiration and some tips for planning an adventure.  Not everyone will have the entertaining tidal challenges that Strangford deal with every time they leave the slip!




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Skiff Kit Prices

This is a message that I would rather not be having to give, but circumstances force the issue.

The marine plywood used for the St Ayles kits is produced within the Eurozone, and as you will be aware, the value of Sterling has dropped considerably recently. Robbins Timber, the suppliers, have informed me that the price of the plywood will be rising by approximately 15% from the 1st of December. There has also been a small rise in the cost of the Construction ply used for the moulds.

The result of this rise is that the costs of the kits will increase accordingly, with the full kit now £1787, and the plank and frame kit £1399. I have already been in touch with clubs and groups that I am aware are close to being ready to order, but there may be others who are on the cusp of purchasing a kit who are yet to contact us.

To purchase a kit at the old prices of £1698 for the full kit and £1314 for the plank and frame kit, we must receive payment by close of business on Monday 28 November so that the plywood can be ordered before Robbins price rise takes effect.

For anyone who is considering ordering any of the Picnic class boats kits that we produce, there will also be price rises, and the same payment deadline will apply.

My apologies for being the bearer of bad news on this occasion, but there is ample good news in the pipeline which I will post as it is confirmed.

Alec Jordan
Jordan Boats & CNC Ltd

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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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