Ocean to City (Cork) Early Bird Registration Opens

Early bird registration  is now open for Ocean to City, which takes place on 10 June 2017.   There are a variety of course lengths, but it is anticipated that St Ayles skiffs will head out into open waters, before racing right up into cork city centre, on the 28km Ocean course.  There is a specific trophy for fastest St Ayles skiff, won by Coigach in 2015 when the 8 St Ayles skiffs present also took home trophies for second mixed crew overall, Boatbuilder of the Day, and fastest wooden boat.  North Berwick also won the City Course race in a coxed double scull.  All those who took part found it to be a very welcoming challenge, and well worth some considerable journeys.

This year the organisers are using a new online system by ”Active” which will make registering as quick and easy as possible – hooray!  Ocean to City has been going from strength to strength with the 2016 race breaking all the records.  Make sure you are part of it in 2017!

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Morag from Findochty

Here is Morag from Findochty Water Sports Club.  Doesn’t she look great?   Gotta love St Ayles Skiffs. Photo by Allan Robertson.

Extra SCRA points if you know how to pronounce Findochty.

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Project Kraken for Vigilance Around the Coast

We would to bring to your attention an ongoing initiative under the auspices of the
National Crime Agency, Police, and Border Force to increase vigilance along the UK’s coastline and maritime environment.   This information has been brought to our attention by the RYA  and Police Scotland
Additionally from Police Scotland
There are nearly 20,000 miles of coastline, and a complex network of estuaries, navigable rivers, coves, inlets, ports and harbours, all of which can be exploited by terrorists and serious criminals.   Project Karaken is a joint initiative to encourage you to report any unusual or suspicious behaviour in these and other maritime environments.   The leaflets state “No matter how trivial it may seem; if it looks out of the ordinary, we want to know about it. Whether you work in the maritime industries, are a keen sailor, or are just walking along the coast, your local knowledge and your experience of the maritime world means you are well placed to spot anything unusual.   By working together we can help to prevent terrorists and organised criminals posing a threat to your neighbours, your pastimes, your businesses and your livelihoods. They will exploit any opening they find.”
 You are invited to report any unusual or suspicious activity near the coastline and in maritime environments.
This could include, among others:
 • Crew who show signs of nervousness or a lack of awareness of maritime protocols and customs.
• Vessels showing signs of unusual modification or minor damage.
• Increased activity at isolated coastal locations or at unusual times of the day.
 • Any attempts to signal to vessels offshore or guide them into an unusual landfall.
 • Strange patterns of payment, such as large amounts of cash.
 • People testing site security or an unusual interest in site structures and wharfs.
Report it to your local police on 101, or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, and quote “KRAKEN”.
Do not take direct action against any individuals or groups.   If it is an emergency, call 999.

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“Atlantic Challenge” Gig Looking for Crew for Antrim 2018

Atlantic Challenge GB Maritime Training Trust is looking for crew to represent Great Britain at the 2018 International Contest of Seamanship to be held in Antrim, N. Ireland.  The closing date for applications is 1 March 2017.    Contest events will  include rowing, sailing and seamanship, in the GB traditional 38ft gig “Integrite”.  Incidentally, the longest of those oars is longer than 18 feet.


Atlantic Challenge GB is dedicated to the teaching and education of young people through the challenge of the sea encouraging self-confidence, leadership, teamwork and responsibility.  Every two years, teams representing the countries of Atlantic Challenge  (Belgium, Basque Country, Canada, Denmark,  France, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Northern Ireland, Quebec,  Russia and USA) meet in a different host nation to compete in a friendly Contest of Seamanship.

Atlantic Challenge GB is looking for crew members aged between 16 and 25 (but they do not have an upper age limit so also welcome applications from over 25’s!)

The AC Challenge GB website has a short DVD showing you what Atlantic Challenge is all about – www.atlanticchallengegb.org.  As a registered charity, they do have to ask crewmembers to raise an amount towards their expenses and this is fully explained in the Crew Information Pack.

Crew Recruitment Flyer

Crew Information

Crew Application (Deadline:  1 March 2017)

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“The Cygnet” Joins Tasmanian Fleet in Time for St Ayles Skiff International Regatta

Lorrie Harrison writes on the Living Boat Trust website in Tasmania:  ‘Sunny skies and smiles all around as the second skiff in the Port Cygnet Sailing Club was launched by local Federal member, Julie Collins. This elegant skiff was built in super fast time under the guidance of Cygnet boat builder Jeremy, enabling it to be ready for the St Ayles Skiff International Regatta on 17-19 February.’

The Australian St Ayles skiff register is now being kept up to date on the St Ayles Skiff Community Rowing Association of Australia website.  There are now 13 skiffs on the register.



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Heading West – TWSBA Conference

Pete Danks and Roisin Steele, building another St Ayles at Banff Academy

Back in November, Jordan Boats offered a travel grant for a keen Skiffie educator to attend the TWSBA conference in Maryland at the end of April.

We are pleased to announce that Roisin Steele from Banff Academy successfully applied for the grant. She will be spending nine days in the USA, visiting other educational boat building groups in the New York area before attending the conference.

This is a fabulous opportunity to see how other schools and organisations deliver boat building and rowing in the USA. Our programme is established but still developing and this visit will allow us to incorporate other ideas into our boat building. Banff Academy is one of the few schools to offer boat building as part of the curriculum, and for me personally this trip will allow me to expand my teaching of the subject.

I am also extremely excited as a rowing coach to be able to make close contact with other St Ayles Skiff groups with the potential to develop junior coastal rowing internationally.

Thank you very much to Jordan Boats for this wonderful opportunity


She will be accompanied by Pete Danks who has been running the boat building at Banff Academy for several years, and is a well known face within the Skiffie Community. Pete is travelling to the conference at his own expense. We have also offered support to two other people if they are able to raise the additional funds required to attend.

The post about the Teaching With Small Boats Alliance has raised interest from other skiffies, and it is possible that others will be attending the conference at their own expense.

Alec J

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Dame Katherine Grainger

Congratulations to Katherine Grainger for being made a Dame of the British Empire in the New Year’s honours list.  With four silvers and a gold at five different Olympics she has more Olympic medals than any other British woman, and has won six slide seat world championship golds too.  To have sustained that level of performance over 20 years of representing her country is quite remarkable.   Fundamentally though she is a lovely person and of course is a quine who has showed interest in Portsoy’s skiffs.  So we like her a lot.  Here are a couple of photos from the year that she opened the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival and had a go in St Ayles skiffs.

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2017: A Year Full of Local Regattas

Time to start planning out your rowing year ahead.  We are looking forward to 2017 having more St Ayles skiff events in Scotland than any previous year.  With our still expanding number of clubs we need more new events so that all the new St Ayles skiffs get used and our new community clubs have the opportunity to race.   If you can build a skiff, you are capable of running a good event for others who have built a skiff!  In years when there is a Skiffieworlds our experience is that there is a bit of a lull in clubs putting on new events and  there is slightly less travelling to local events, as sitting crews concentrate on preparation for the worlds.  One of the advantages of only holding the worlds every three years is that clubs own regattas can get established and flourish in the “in between” years.   Not everyone is uber competitive, but taking part in local regattas is still very positive for all clubs, as it gets efficient use out of the boats that so much effort has been put into creating.  Thirty or more rowers can use one club boat in the course of the day, and it is an excellent way to bring on rowers new to your club and give them a focus and a target to work towards.

So lets celebrate all the events that clubs are putting on…..what do we have coming up in 2017…………?  Check the 2017 Events Tab for a list of what is available (and please be sure to e mail Sue with your own event dates as soon as they are set.)  2017 sees the welcome return of excellent venues to the calendar, as well as some brand new regattas making their first appearance.

Boats Returning after a race at Coigach from buieboat website

In the North West Coigach regatta takes place on the holiday weekend of 20/21 May.  The return of the well organised regatta (in a stunning location) is especially appreciated with so many new North West clubs developing.  Hopefully we will see Shieldaig, Lochinver and Cape Wrath racing alongside Gareloch, Loch Ewe, Ullapool and others from the North West, as well as the visitors from further afield who enjoy spending time in the lovely waters around Coigach.  Other North West regattas already in the calendar are Ullapool (8/9 July, the biggest and probably the best organised regatta on our circuit), Shawbost on Lewis (21-15 July) and Shieldaig (12 August).

Shieldaig Regatta Start

Ullapool Regatta (from UCRC website)

Also making a welcome return, this time in the South East, we have Row Porty regatta at Portobello on 10 June.  A very different venue from Coigach, reminding us of the great variety we can celebrate in Scottish Coastal Rowing. Racing takes place off the beach, where the denizens of the city of Edinburgh promenade on sunny Saturdays.  Also in the South East we have entries in the calendar from Dunbar on 24 June, in the amphitheatre created by the three Bridges at Queensferry on 19 August and the wee  voyages (at speed) around Craigleith Island at North Berwick on 26 August.

North Berwick

The first Scottish regatta on our 2017 calendar is in Anstruther in Fife on 6 May.  Further up the east coast we have Broughty Ferry regatta on the Firth of Tay on 5th August.  Marvel at the facilities available to that club, and enjoy the excellent baking (as we were urged to do at every regatta by Princess Anne, Skiffieworlds 2013).  Further up into the North East another cradle of Scottish Coastal Rowing is the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival in Portsoy which takes place on 24 and 25 June 2017.  This is quite a big gathering of skiffs (usually around 18 skiffs) hosted by Portsoy Coastal Rowing Club, but part of a large festival with around 20,000 spectators available for the rowing, so worth looking your best.  It is usually real coastal rowing too, properly held in three dimensions.  There is a new regatta and open day slated in for Cromarty  on 22 July.  Hopefully more regattas for the North East will be added to the calendar in the weeks ahead (congratulations to all those who have been well organised and got their 2017 events into the calendar before Christmas!)

In the South West we have the well established regatta at  Troon (10 June) and a brand new regatta on the Isle of Arran on 24/25 June…….  not to be confused with Annan in Dumfries and Galloway, which also has a new regatta on 22 July, as well as the established Bell Ringers Raid on 23 July.  Firth of Clyde Coastal Rowing Club will hold their main regatta at Largs on 2 September, and Carrick Coastal Rowing Club will hold the Exciseman’s chase and sprint races at Maidens Harbour on 9 September.  Glasgow Coastal Rowing Club will hold the Glasgow Cup on 24 September.

Do support as many of your local regattas as you can, as well as travelling a distance to some outwith your region, to help ensure the diversity of these events.  Make sure you buy cake and possibly beer to help to fund the activities that you are taking part in.  Some of the events listed above will be limited in the number of skiffs or the number of clubs that they can accommodate, and some are invitation only, so it is worthwhile checking early doors that your club can attend.  Keep checking the 2017 events tab, for other events being added.  In particular we are expecting to be able to announce dates for some events focused mainly on Juniors.  There will be a Northern SCRA Junior Circuit and a Southern SCRA Junior circuit of events organised by clubs, three in the North and three in the South.

Enjoy planning your clubs year ahead!







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Castle to Crane: 23 September 2017

Our Christmas present to readers of the website is advanced notification of a very exciting event for 2017!  Castle to Crane (this is THE Big Clyde row) will take place on 23 September.

As part of the Clydebuilt Festival in Glasgow there are plans afoot to organise a long distance rowing challenge between Dumbarton and Glasgow.   “Castle to Crane”  will be a race open to entries from all coxed, fixed seat, coastal rowing boats.   We are hoping that replica Birlinn “Orcuan” will lead out a fleet of up to 100 coastal rowing craft from all corners.  The intention is to cap entries at 100 in the first year, so keep checking in here for notification of the official website for The Clydebuilt Festival, and details of how to enter.  Don’t miss out on the first edition of what will become a classic race.

Photo of Gal Gael’s Birlinn “Orcuan” in Princes Dock, Glasgow, from Guardian/ Murdo MacLeod

Castle to Crane will be 13 miles long, and will be run with a little bit of help from a flood tide.  If you are interested it is worth while starting to plan your training and testing suitable cushions.  Exact details cannot be released until agreements are in place with key partners, but we are confident that this will be a tremendous spectacle, run as part of a bigger festival which will be based around the Riverside Museum and the Tall Ship at Kelvin Harbour.  More information is on the Clydebuilt Festival Website.

Oh, and offers of help, and in particular offers to bring suitable RIBs to Glasgow city centre  to act as safety craft, will be much appreciated, and can be intimated to convenor@scottishcoastalrowing.org


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SCRA Photo Competition Winner: “Yolande from Above” – Stuart Sly

Massive congratulations to Stuart Sly for his spectacular aerial photograph of Kinghorn Coastal Rowing Club’s skiff Yolande rowing on the beautifully clear water of the Fife Coast.  The photo featured as Photo of the Week in September this year and led by a clear margin throughout our competition – it’s easy to see why!

You can see the stunning video here: youtu.be/-HyDSGb1mh8

Huge thanks to all entries to our first-ever Photo of the Year competition – there are some incredible shots out there and we want to see MORE!  You can send your Photo of the Week submissions for 2017 NOW to publicity@scottishcoastalrowing.org

Keep snapping!

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