Dunure Regatta

Jamie’s Jaunt was our first regatta with a nod to Outcast filmed at out historic harbour.  The race began at the harbour with Skiff and a runner leaving at the daw time and to meet at Port Shuchan to collect a token. The skiffs then made their way down to Croy beach and straight back to the harbour. The course was 5nm with some large swells. Prestwick Coastal Rowing Club took up our invite to the Regatta and went out second.

Both teams did exceptionally well in the inaugural event at Dunure. We are delighted to say that Dunure won the race with great pride and look forward to many more competitions in the future.

A huge thank you to everyone that participated and helped with safety boats and the bbq!


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Safety Equipment – Offer

One of the most vital pieces of equipment you will ever carry in a skiff is a VHF radio and we have found that many clubs have had issues finding a suitable one which floats and is waterproof. So for this one time only offer we have negotiated a discount on a certain range of radios and safety equipment to help make this choice easier.

Many clubs are now taking on longer expeditions round the coast and boat users are choosing PLBs as safety devices, this is highlighted by the kayaker story of Dominic Jackson who was sadly lost from Portsoy harbour in Feb 2017. We have also obtained a discount code for these should clubs wish to go down this route for expedition rowing.

If clubs wish to purchase through Echomaster marine please contact Secretary@scottishcoastalrowing.org for a discount code.

The range of products on offer are:-

IC-M25 Buoyant Handheld VHF
IC-M37E Buoyant Handheld VHF
IC-M73EURO Professional Handheld VHF
IC-M94D DSC VHF with AIS Receiver

Alligator style belt clip for M25, M37E and M94D VHF’s
Alligator style belt clip for M73EURO
Swivel belt clip for M73EURO

Waterproof speaker mic for M25 and M94D
Waterproof speaker mic for M73EURO

Ocean Signal RescueMe PLB1
Ocean Signal MOB1

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Arran Expedition

A group of 19 rowers from Dundee have travelled to Arran to circumnavigate the island in a St Ayles skiff. They were following in the wake of an epic round Arran row accomplished by the Arran Coastal Rowing Club (ACRC) in 2018.

The group based themselves at the Arran Outdoor Education Centre in Lamlash and began and ended their row at the centre over 21 and 22 June.

The rowers formed into teams of six and rowed in relays round the island. The row was broken into six stages. Whereas the Arran club rowed clockwise round the island in a single day, the Dundee group rowed in the opposite direction over two days to make best use of the wind and tide conditions.

The distance covered was around 55 miles and the row took approximately 15 and a half hours, slightly exceeding the ACRC “world record” time of just under 15 hours.

The boat used was a St Ayles skiff commissioned and owned by Dundee Sailing Club. The club is a dinghy cruising club that sails on the River Tay between Perth, Arbroath and St Andrews. Club sailors have also sailed further afoot, including round Arran, Mull, the Small Isles and even to Lindisfarne, so it was only a matter of time before the club’s rowers also started to look beyond the Tay. Once they became aware of the Arran rowing club’s circumnavigation of Arran the challenge was afoot and the Dundee rowers became only the second club to take their St Ayles skiff around Arran, probably? If you know otherwise please let us know.

Dundee Sailing Club only took delivery of their skiff and began a rowing section just over a year ago. Even more remarkable is that some of the rowers that took part in the round Arran row had been rowing for only a few months. The skiff has a sixth seat in the bow which is useful for taking out “passengers” unable to row, those who are new to rowing or a strong sixth “spare” rower to swap in to the crew on longer trips.

The 19 rowers prepared for Arran by attending focussed technical training sessions that took place on a weekly basis, often in rough and testing conditions, and doing longer recreational rows on the Tay. In the event, the weather for the Arran row was mostly benign and always warm.

The Arran Coastal Rowing Club was called upon for advice and guidance during preparation for the trip, which they gave generously. Master boat builder Rory Cowan, from Kildonan on Arran, was invaluable to the Dundee effort when he stepped up to help with some repairs and refurbishment the day before the trip began. He also just happened to be on hand to help at a tiny beach when the Dundee skiff, called Eider, was nosing her way through the rocks looking for a soft landing.

Rory also arranged for the Dundee group to go out in the Arran skiff to experience the slightly different set-up and oars in that boat, from which they took some useful learning points and potential modifications to their own boat.

Whilst no two rows on the Tay are ever the same and our scenery is a delight, the Dundee rowers found much to thrill them during their circumnavigation of Arran including sightings of dolphins, porpoises and seals, the challenge of and slight unease at rowing in unfamiliar, sometimes choppy, waters, gliding along the shore of Holy Isle looking at the shrines and the Soay sheep and leaving their beloved skiff nestled on a beach overnight and returning to find it still there next morning!

During their stay on Arran the group was based at the Arran Outdoor Education Centre. A spokesperson said: “We were looked after beautifully and fed so very well after our strenuous days at the oars. The centre is a stunning base for Arran adventures and we hope to return with more rowers and perhaps some sailors in future. We can’t recommend highly enough that other coastal rowing clubs should come and circumnavigate Arran.”

Dundee Sailing Club, former RYA Club of the Year, is a community-based sailing and rowing club. The club is located at Grassy Beach, Broughty Ferry. More information can be found on the club website at www.dundeesailingclub.org.uk. The club can be contacted at dundee.sc@googlemail.com

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Skiffie Worlds 2022 mid week update.

It has been a busy few days with lots of great rowing and some exciting finishes enjoyed by all the supporting crowd.

Catch up on all the results and video footage on the Skiffie Worlds website at http:\\www.skiffieworlds2022.com

Mens 40+  finalists –  community spirit at it’s finest.

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It’s more than a boat

For those who weren’t able to make the film show on the 12th June in Anstruther we have now made the video available for you all to watch in the comfort of your front room.

We hope you enjoy it.

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10 Year Anniversary Film

On the 12th June in Anstruther the SCRA were delighted to be able to premiere the film documenting the first 10 years of the St Ayles Skiff, a little later that initially anticipated due to Covid bit it was definitely worth the wait. The film was made to log the events that made this project possible and to show the growth within the communities and the going worldwide all in the first 10 years.

At the Town Hall in Anstruther the rowers and non rowers who gathered from all over Scotland were welcomed with a little glass of fizz to mark this special occasion.  This gave everyone a chance to mingle and catch up with general chit chat before the introduction from SCRA Convenor Stuart Mack and SCRA rep Ali Grant. Thanks were given to RAW Film for their production of the film and time and effort they put in to produce the finished article. It was quite a task gathering all the footage and also meeting with the people involved and the rowers to get their stories and then edit all this information.

The audience were taken back to the very start of the project where it was just a little ideal that grew and grew and to where it is now – skiffs on every coast in Scotland and the 4th World Championships taking place in a few weeks – unbelievable.

The response from the crowd was of real appreciation and feeling of being part of something quite remarkable which was reflected in some of the feedback :-

“Thoroughly enjoyed it, very informative but also very entertaining in parts. Wonderful to see the past and present so well encapsulated”

“As a non rower, I found it a magical, feel-good film about human positivity and community. It was beautifully shot.”

“Definitely an excellent record of the first 10 years – a great collection of memories. I’d like to watch it again soon …. and in years to come”

Plans are being made to make this available to a wider audience and we will keep you updated on this.

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Troon Regatta 2022 – Results

On Saturday 4th June Troon Coastal Rowing Club held their annual regatta on the town’s South Beach. It was a warm sunny day and being the jubilee weekend the beach was extra busy.

Seven clubs took part with skiffs from Arran, Ayr Renegade, Carrick/Stranraer, Firth of Clyde, Prestwick, Royal West and two boats from Troon – Ailsa Lass & Marr Voyager (non scoring for fun entry).

The morning races were 2k beach starts with two buoy turns and on returning to the beach a baton (stick of Troon rock) was handed to a shore runner for a short final sprint finish.

The winners were:
Open women – Firth of Clyde
Open men – Troon Ailsa Lass
Open mixed A – Troon Ailsa Lass
Open mixed B – Troon Ailsa Lass

The afternoon races saw 500m “Monaco” style races with two 180 degree buoy turns.

The winners were:
Open women – Firth of Clyde
Open men – Troon Ailsa Lass
Open mixed – Troon Ailsa Lass

The day finished with 500m beach start coxed pair sprints with Firth of Clyde winning both the Women & Mens races.
It was brilliant to get a great day of racing in the sun amongst the skiffie community.

At the end of the day just before the medal presentation a member of the public spotted a paddle board with an adult and two young girls who had been blown out to sea in an off shore wind and were in difficulty. A crew from Troon jumped back into their skiff, rowed out, brought the girls on board and towed the paddle board back to shore. All were safe & well but it was a reminder of the dangers of open water.

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Ullapool Regatta 2022 – Results

On the 20th to 22nd May, Ullapool Coastal Rowing Club hosted its 11th regatta with rowers from 14 clubs from all over Scotland from Orkney to North Berwick.

On Friday night the 6 local youth teams got a chance to race Avoch’s youth teams, and for many of them it was the first real race they had done. 21 of our youth rowers are coming to Kortgene in the Netherlands at the end of June, so our regatta was an important stage in their training. They rowed well and took the Youth Trophy.

On Saturday, Ullapool opened with a win in the Open Men in breezy and exciting conditions. Avoch followed by winning the Open Women. Eastern took both the 40+ Men (in the regatta’s fastest time of 12 minutes 11.4 seconds) and the 40+ Women, Orkney the 50+ Women, and the current World Champions at 50+ Mixed, Golspie, prevailed again. North Berwick beat us to take gold in the 240+ Men and Nairn scored a convincing victory in the 240+ Women. The 240+ category is for crews whose 4 rowers add up to more than 240 years of age, and for every year past 240 they get one second taken off their time.

Sunday was calm but very wet, and by Sunday night the umpire gazebo collapsed under the weight of its rainwater puddle. The calm conditions allowed some fast times, with Ullapool winning the U40 Men in 12 minutes 15.1 seconds. Strathpeffer’s strong U40 Women won their race and Gairloch got a creditable second place in the U26 Women.

Ullapool got 90 points in total with joint second place going to North Berwick and Eastern at 89 points, and Golspie and Orkney joint 4th at 81 points.

We thank all the above clubs plus South Skye and Lochaber, Eskmuthe, RowPorty, Cromarty and Bunillidh for taking the time and effort to come to Ullapool. Covid has affected all our social activities but it is great to host our regatta and welcome clubs from all over Scotland. Roll on Skiffieworlds 2022!

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SCRA 10 Year Anniversary Film

When we set out to make a documentary film to celebrate 10 years of Scottish coastal rowing, we didn’t factor-in a pandemic which would put the project on hold, mid-way, for the best part of 2 years. However, we are delighted to announce that the film is now complete and there will be a preview screening of this on Sunday June 12th , in Anstruther Town Hall, Cunzie Street, Anstruther, KY10 3DF. starting at 3.30pm.

There is limited capacity at the venue, so if you would like to attend, please email events@scottishcoastalrowing.org and request a space. Tea and coffee will be provided also.

If you are intending to come to Anstruther, we would recommend a visit to the Scottish Fisheries Museum, which is strongly connected to the St Ayles skiff story and an all round treasure trove of exhibits.

The film features rowers from across the country as well as the international community. In recognition that not everyone can be in the same time zone even, the film will be made available online, in the near future, for clubs to enjoy at their leisure for years to come.

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Skiff Rot

Skiff Maintenance

It is worth considering the importance of skiff maintenance now that boats are reaching more advanced years.

Many of our boats are painted but few are varnished and this means that it can be difficult to monitor for signs of deterioration of the wood in the boat or even find the onset of rot.

This is an example of a boat that needed extensive repair where a sound paint / varnish finish had been applied but where the water had managed to seep under a break in the varnish. The result was serious and could have been disastrous. The varnish finish had separated from the timber and a film of fresh water had managed to seep underneath, saturating the wood and leading to extensive rot. The result was that about 4 feet of stem had to be replaced and the timber removed could have all fitted into a shoe box.

One of the advantages of salt water is that it does far more to prevent the rotting of timber though in the end the rot can still win through. By contrast, fresh water supports the conditions promoting rot very well indeed and for that reason if a boat is not kept dry and under cover then it is important to sheet it properly when not in use – including the ends of the stems and aprons. In addition we should prevent an accumulation of fresh water inside the boat and always do what we can to keep boats dry – not easy to do in Scotland, but to preserve our boats as best we can, we must try. This is particularly important for clubs where most of their rowing is done on fresh water.

Anyway, on inspecting this stem, rot was found from the stem head to the waterline and a little further. Fortunately the rot had not extended into the apron as between the stem and the apron there was a sound layer of epoxy put there at build. Fortunately neither had the water penetrated down the apron from the stem head. Had that been the case then an additional repair would have been necessary to replace a length of apron as well.

That said the original intention was to use CPES – (clear penetrating epoxy sealer) to harden the wood and allow it to last until the end of the season before doing a proper repair – but that turned out not to be an option, so the whole thing was replaced.

It does not matter whose boat this is, we did manage to catch the damage in time and it is a timely lesson to us all to ensure that we do look at our paint finishes regularly and carefully and do keep those finishes tidy. It is worth probing the timber a bit with a bradawl too and taking off some of the paint to check the condition of the wood underneath. Remember that what appears to be a sound paint or varnish finish can be separated from the timber and trapping a dangerous rot cell underneath. The photos show some of the damage but whilst it suggests the use of CPES, as stated above, the stem was too far gone.

It is also worth noting that as these boats get older they put on weight – not just water seeping in, but a coat of paint adds something like 2 kilos each time. So for those of us who have managed to get the boats into maintenance each year, we tend to put two coats of paint / varnish on inside and out and that adds weight – two pots of finish per coat – that’s getting on for 4 kilos! Multiply that by 10 for a 10 year old boat and you’ve just added maybe 40kgs – or an additional half crew member!! Yes we do tend to sand some of that weight off, but seldom all of it – so it’s worth having a serious maintenance programme occasionally aimed at making a really good job of the finish and taking off some weight first. This will also enable you to check for rot at the same time.

Another point worth noting is that the keel / hog / apron timber specification at build is for Larch – however do note that there are three main forms of larch in Scotland – European and Japanese – and the hybrid. The European larch is the one we need to go for in our boats as the cell structure is much better for boat building. The cell structure of Japanese and hybrid larch is different and as a result that timber is not as resistant to rot. That said, it is difficult to discern between the types of larch in the plank and the only sure way to tell the difference is by having a look at the cones and twigs – not quite so easy in the timber yard! So I suppose you need to find a reputable timber yard and trust that they are selling you what they say. Even then just take the time to get a really good coat of finish onto your boat and monitor it. Obviously a good option is to go for a bright finish and then you will be able to see any discolouration of timber early if it does get attacked by rot.

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